Saturday 26 November 2016

1894 Thomas Usher XX 60/-

Here’s a type of beer that was already becoming a rarity in the 1890’s – a genuine Scottish Mild Ale.

I should probably be more specific. It was draught Scottish Mild that was a rarity. There were still plenty of Shilling Ales, the bottled form of Mild that was specific to Scotland. Though the popularity of these beers was on the wane, as increasing amounts of Pale Ale were brewed. The situation south of the border was very different. Mild was the favourite style and becoming ever more popular, mostly at the expense of Porter.

Like most Scottish beers of this period, it had a very simple grist, just pale malt and sugar. It’s not clear exactly what sort of sugar it was. I’ve guessed at No. 1 invert.

To put this beer into its historical context, I’ve put it in a table together with the X Ale from three London breweries:

Mild Ales of the 1890's
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
6th Aug 1891 Barclay Perkins X 1058.0 1015.0 5.69 74.21% 8.32 2.07
13th Jul 1894 Whitbread X 1058.4 1016.0 5.62 72.62% 8.23 2.09
7th Jul 1894 Truman X Ale 1056.5 9.0 2.19
28th Jul 1897 Fuller X 1049.6 1012.2 4.95 75.42% 6.58 1.44
13th Apr 1894 Thomas Usher XX 60/- 1055 1015 5.29 72.73% 10.00 2.77
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/587
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/060
Truman  brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/175
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/1/2
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.

Usher’s beer is surprisingly similar to the London ones, though a little more heavily hopped. Isn’t that a shock? Didn’t the Scots use almost no hops? Oh, I remember. That story is total bollocks. The hops themselves are just listed as Kent and Columbia in the brewing record. Cluster and Fuggles seem fair enough guesses for the varieties.

1894 Thomas Usher XX 60/-
pale malt 11.50 lb 93.88%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 6.12%
Cluster 105 min 1.25 oz
Fuggles 90 min 1.50 oz
Fuggles 60 min 1.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.50 oz
OG 1055
FG 1015
ABV 5.29
Apparent attenuation 72.73%
IBU 78
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

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