Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Courage Stout quality 1923 - 1924

Not far to go now. One last push and I'll be able to collapse over the finishing line.

I realise that I've mostly forgotten to do something: tell you the details from brewing logs I have for the relevant beer. Well, I've remembered this time. I won't claim it's due to my great diligence. I've been putting together Draught! this week. That's the Mini Book which will contain all these pieces based on the Whitbread Gravity Book. I noticed while I was doing that. It's coming along quite nicely. About 150 pages so far and I've even selected the cover image. If all goes to plan it will be out sometime in September.

Annoyingly, there's no fermentation record after 1923 and no racking gravity. Sorry about that. You'll notice that the gravity Whitbread recorded was a couple of points higher than the one in the brewing record. That's no doubt due to the primings, which were added after primary fermentation.

As for brewing techniques, the boils are quite short, but nothing too out of the ordinary. A pitching temperature of a little over 60º F is pretty normal.

This is starting to sound quite dull, but the hopping rate is pretty much par for the course. I can say something about the source of the hops. All the beers had a mixture of West Coast and English hops. WW I had reduced the usage of North American hops in Britain, but they still crop up regularly. I guess because they were cheap.

Courage Stout 1922 - 1928
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Attenuation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp
21st Nov 1922 1043.8 1011.1 4.32 74.68% 8.56 1.56 1.5 1.5 1 62º
21st Aug 1923 1043.8 1011.4 4.29 74.05% 7.54 1.58 1.5 1.5 1 60.5º
30th Nov 1926 1045.4 5.59 1.35 1.5 1.5 1 62º
7th Dec 1926 1045.4 7.50 1.40 1.5 1.5 1 61.5º
14th Dec 1926 1045.4 7.34 1.36 1.5 1.5 1 62º
22nd Mar 1927 1045.4 7.19 1.28 1.5 1.5 1 62º
20th Mar 1928 1046.5 7.71 1.37 1.5 1.5 1 61.25º
19th Apr 1928 1046.5 7.00 1.34 1.5 1.5 61º
6th Sep 1928 1046.5 8.10 1.59 1.5 1.5 61º
Courage brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/08/253, ACC/2305/08/255 and ACC/2305/08/256.

Erm, just checked that. Turns out the English hops in the 21st November 1922 brew cost 375/- a cwt. and the Californian ones 341/-. So a very similar price. But there is a bigger difference later. The brew from 30th November 1926 contains English hops at 189/- and 211/- per cwt., and Oregon hops at 122/- per cwt. Then the difference got smaller again. 20th March 1928: Oregon hops 184/- a cwt, British Columbian hops 200/- and English hops 228/-. I'm totally confused now.  Ah, unless they're taking into account the alpha acid content. That was higher in North American hops, which means you needed to use less for the same effect.

I've just checked alpha acid levels. In the early 1930's, British hops had 4% to 6% alpha acid and North American one 7% to 8%*. Not such a huge difference. I'm flummoxed again.

Courage Stout grists 1922 - 1928
Date Year OG pale malt brown malt black malt crystal malt oats hops
21st Nov 1922 1043.8 57.79% 5.95% 8.50% Californian and English
21st Aug 1923 1043.8 59.14% 6.16% 9.24% Pacific and English
30th Nov 1926 1045.4 52.94% 4.90% 4.90% 4.90% 3.92% Oregon and English
7th Dec 1926 1045.4 57.73% 5.92% 5.92% 5.92% 4.93% Oregon and English
14th Dec 1926 1045.4 60.17% 5.12% 5.12% 5.12% 4.27% Oregon and English
22nd Mar 1927 1045.4 56.73% 5.11% 5.11% 5.11% 6.13% Oregon and English
20th Mar 1928 1046.5 53.96% 6.04% 6.04% 6.04% 6.04% Oregon, British Columbian and English
19th Apr 1928 1046.5 55.85% 5.59% 7.98% 5.59% 6.38% Oregon, British Columbian and English
6th Sep 1928 1046.5 52.86% 5.49% 8.24% 5.49% 6.86% British Columbian and English
Courage brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/08/253, ACC/2305/08/255 and ACC/2305/08/256.

Now the grist. It starts off with the classic London pale, brown and black malt combination. Most London Stouts had used a mix of those three malts for more than 100 years. Some brewers started to play with crystal a little towards the end of the 19th century, so its appearance here isn't unusual.

They don't seem to have got the hang of the Oatmeal Stout thing. They're putting in a serious quantity of oats. Enough to actually notice them. Unlike the other big London brewers I have records for, Courage only brewed one Stout. But doubtless packaged some as Oatmeal Stout.

Courage Stout sugars 1922 - 1928
Date Year OG no. 3 sugar caramel cane sugar Durax CDM primings black invert total sugar
21st Nov 1922 1043.8 4.25% 7.08% 3.97% 12.46% 27.76%
21st Aug 1923 1043.8 5.54% 5.13% 9.45% 5.34% 25.46%
30th Nov 1926 1045.4 11.76% 9.80% 6.86% 28.43%
7th Dec 1926 1045.4 6.74% 5.43% 7.40% 19.57%
14th Dec 1926 1045.4 6.54% 5.41% 8.25% 20.20%
22nd Mar 1927 1045.4 6.47% 5.45% 9.88% 21.81%
20th Mar 1928 1046.5 3.74% 3.45% 6.04% 8.63% 21.87%
19th Apr 1928 1046.5 4.79% 3.19% 4.26% 6.38% 18.62%
6th Sep 1928 1046.5 4.12% 5.03% 2.29% 9.61% 21.05%
Courage brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/08/253, ACC/2305/08/255 and ACC/2305/08/256.

Finally the fun bit. Courage used so many different sugars in their Stout that I've had to give them a table all of their own. If I split the primings into their constituent parts there would be even more. But I couldn't be arsed and I've lumped them all Together. I'm surprised No. 3 doesn't turn up until 1928. That was pretty standard in Stouts. I've no idea of the exact composition of the proprietary sugars, Durax and CDM. At mostly over 20% of the grist the sugar content is high. 15% would be more typical.

This beer is weaker than the other Stouts we've looked at so far and is in a different price class: 8d (7d after 1923) a pint. Let's see how well it performs:

Courage Stout quality 1923 - 1924
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1923 Stout 1010 1046 4.68 78.26% v poor -2 8
1924 Stout 1013.5 1046.6 4.29 71.03% poor -1 7
1924 Stout 1011.3 1046.4 4.56 75.65% v poor -2 7
Average  1011.6 1046.3 4.51 74.98% -1.67
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Rubbish, is the answer. Though the sample size is minute. All get negative scores, and two are pretty bad with a -2. Leaving an overall average of -1.67.

My advice: steer well clear of Courage Stout. Especially as all their other beers ended with positive average scores.

* "Brewing Science & Practice" H. Lloyd Hind, 1943, pages 401 - 402


Oblivious said...

That is quite a lot of oats in the Courage Stout for a non war beer

Ron Pattinson said...


they seem toi have been taking the oatmeal thing quite seriously. It's still way less than the amount of oat malt Maclay put into their Stout.

Leo said...

Is this the basis for the Let's Brew version of 1923 Courage Stout?

(Apologies if I'm missing something obvious, I'm not good at puzzling these things out, so I may well be fumbling badly here.)

The big differences I see between the recipe and the 1923 listing here is the recipe has a higher percentage of pale malt by about 15%, and the recipe doesn't include caramel, except for coloring. So was there another Courage Stout, or does the Let's Brew recipe modify things a bit to make it work better in a homebrewing setup?

I assume, though, if the original record talks about 5.5% caramel, that's not the same thing as modern caramel coloring. Do you have any sense what that was? Maybe something like an invert syrup? Or is it a mystery, like CDM.

Thanks for any clarifications. I'm planning on making the Let's Brew version soon and was just curious for a little more background on the recipe.