Thursday 31 August 2017

Barclay Perkins Mild Ale grists 1914 – 1921

I suppose I should give you the details of the grists of Barclay Perkins WW I Milds.

It’s all rather complicated. So complicated, in fact, that I can’t fit all the details in a single table. There were multiple changes to the ingredients used, mostly prompted by external factors.

For example, flaked maize disappeared from Barclay Perkins grists in the middle of the war. Presumably because maize had to be imported and had become unavailable. The same is true of American hops, which had been very popular with British brewers before the war. Ironically, there was a glut of English hops in the later war years and the government had to step in to stop all the growers becoming bankrupt.

Barclay Perkins Mild Ale grists 1914 - 1921 grains
Date Year Beer OG pale malt brown malt amber malt crystal malt SA malt PA malt flaked maize roast barley
11th Mar 1914 X 1051.3 62.1% 6.8% 11.1%
4th Jun 1915 X 1050.9 76.8% 8.5%
9th Jun 1916 X 1048.6 60.4% 7.2% 12.1%
17th May 1917 X 1046.7 71.3% 10.4% 6.8%
10th Jul 1917 GA 1036.3 74.1% 10.9% 5.9%
22nd Mar 1918 X 1046.5 64.0% 10.3% 13.9%
22nd Mar 1918 GA 1037.8 64.0% 10.3% 13.9%
11th Apr 1918 Ale 4d 1026.7 62.6% 5.4% 12.9% 5.4%
18th Sep 1918 Ale 4d 1025.8 60.3% 8.6% 8.6% 6.2% 1.2%
26th May 1919 X 1036.5 62.2% 4.7% 11.3% 8.3% 0.6%
26th May 1919 Ale 4d 1029.4 62.2% 4.7% 11.3% 8.3% 0.6%
2nd Jun 1919 Ale 4d 1026.4 62.2% 4.7% 11.2% 8.3% 0.6%
3rd Jul 1919 X 1039.4 60.7% 10.4% 4.4% 12.0%
21st Nov 1919 X 1042.4 54.4% 9.4% 4.9% 10.3%
21st Nov 1919 Ale 4d 1028.4 54.4% 9.4% 4.9% 10.3%
20th Feb 1920 X 1042.5 52.2% 9.1% 5.4% 12.4%
20th Feb 1920 Ale 4d 1028.3 52.2% 9.1% 5.4% 12.4%
1st Apr 1921 X 1041.4 19.1% 10.9% 5.5% 20.4% 20.4% 13.6%
1st Apr 1921 Ale 5d 1028.4 19.1% 10.9% 5.5% 20.4% 20.4% 13.6%
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/603, ACC/2305/01/604, ACC/2305/01/606, ACC/2305/01/607 and ACC/2305/01/609.

There were only two grains used throughout: pale malt and amber malt. The latter is an interesting one, as it wasn’t that common in Mild Ale recipes. It seems to have been particular to Barclay Perkins.

I’m slightly surprised by the patchy use of crystal malt. That was a common ingredient in Mild Ale. Unlike brown malt, which Barclay Perkins used in their Milds in 1918 and 1919. Why did they suddenly add it to their Mild recipes? My best guess is that they had a lot of it hanging around and wanted to use it. Or they wanted to offset the loss of body through the drop in gravity.
I’m not sure why would have used the roast barley, other than for colour purposes. It only appears in low-gravity recipes.

Their sugar usage was more consistent, with No. 3 invert and Martineau’s BS in the vast majority of recipes. While a small quantity of caramel was in every recipe. This is obviously to darken the colour. By this time their Milds were semi-dark, not as brown as modern Dark Mild, but noticeably darker than their Pale Ales.

Barclay Perkins Mild Ale grists 1914 - 1921 sugar
Date Year Beer OG no. 3 sugar caramel glucose dark sacc. Garton's X Martineau's BS hops
11th Mar 1914 X 1051.3 13.05% 0.12% 6.81% MK, EK
4th Jun 1915 X 1050.9 9.55% 0.14% 5.00% MK Fuggles, MK
9th Jun 1916 X 1048.6 9.66% 0.14% 10.47% MK
17th May 1917 X 1046.7 5.73% 0.06% 5.73% MK
10th Jul 1917 GA 1036.3 4.49% 0.11% 4.49% MK
22nd Mar 1918 X 1046.5 5.51% 0.69% 5.51% MK, EK
22nd Mar 1918 GA 1037.8 5.51% 0.69% 5.51% MK, EK
11th Apr 1918 Ale 4d 1026.7 5.76% 0.72% 7.19% MK, EK
18th Sep 1918 Ale 4d 1025.8 0.26% 9.85% 4.93% MK
26th May 1919 X 1036.5 12.64% 0.25% MK
26th May 1919 Ale 4d 1029.4 12.64% 0.25% MK
2nd Jun 1919 Ale 4d 1026.4 8.68% 0.35% 3.95% MK
3rd Jul 1919 X 1039.4 5.83% 0.14% 6.56% MK
21st Nov 1919 X 1042.4 10.19% 0.52% 10.19% MK
21st Nov 1919 Ale 4d 1028.4 10.19% 0.52% 10.19% MK
20th Feb 1920 X 1042.5 6.63% 0.36% 13.82% MK, Pacifics
20th Feb 1920 Ale 4d 1028.3 6.63% 0.36% 13.82% MK, Pacifics
1st Apr 1921 X 1041.4 3.03% 0.33% 6.66% MK, Pacific, Alsace
1st Apr 1921 Ale 5d 1028.4 3.03% 0.33% 6.66% MK, Pacific, Alsace
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/603, ACC/2305/01/604, ACC/2305/01/606, ACC/2305/01/607 and ACC/2305/01/609.

Wednesday 30 August 2017

Let’s Brew 1930 Barclay Perkins X

After the turmoil of WW I and its immediate aftermath there was a period of stability in the 1920’s. But that doesn’t mean that everything was static.

The recipe of Barclay Perkins X Ale did undergo a couple of changes during the decade. The most notable being to the base malt. In 1921 the base was 100% pale malt, but that was altered a year later to a combination of Californian pale malt, mild malt and SA malt.

My first thought was that this was an economy measure. As this period of Barclay Perkins logs includes the price of the ingredients, it’s easy enough to check. The pale malt was 56 shillings per quarter, the SA malt 53/6 and the mild malt 53/-. Using 100% pale malt would have cost 198/- more. Not that significant when you consider that the total cost of the grist was 10,494/-. Pale malt would have increased the overall cost by just 1.89%.

So I assume that there must have been other reasons. SA malt produces a less easily fermentable wort, which might be handy if you want to keep the FG up. Otherwise, your guess is as good as mine. Feel free to replace the SA malt with mild malt, which is probably the closest available equivalent.

The grist is about as complicated as they got, as there was also amber and crystal malt included. Which remain at around the same proportion as in 1921, 7% and 5%, respectively. The sugar content has risen a little, from 10% to 11%, and is now all No. 3 invert. The flaked maize content is stable at 13%.

Another nice feature of this period of Barclay Perkins logs is that given the hop variety as well as the region in which they were grown. So I know for certain that most of them were Fuggles, other than the Oregon hops which I’m assuming were Cluster. There’s also 28 lbs (out of a total of 1320 lbs) od something described as “Dust”. It can’t have been shit as it cost almost double the price of the Fuggles.

X Ale is just one of four beers parti-gyled together in this brew. X Sp was almost identical to X, but had an OG just 1º lower. The others were RA 1031º and Ale at 1029º.

Barclay’s range of Milds was radically transformed in 1931, when there was a big hike in the tax rate. Brewers responded by cutting gravities so they could retail their beers at the same price. We’ll be looking at those beers later.

1930 Barclay Perkins X
pale malt 2.25 lb 24.48%
mild malt 1.75 lb 19.04%
SA malt 1.75 lb 19.04%
amber malt 0.66 lb 7.18%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 5.44%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 13.60%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 10.88%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.03 lb 0.33%
Cluster 120 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1043
FG 1013.5
ABV 3.90
Apparent attenuation 68.60%
IBU 31
SRM 19
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 29 August 2017

It's time to pester you again

about my new book:

It's full of new recipes - around half of the 200-odd it contains have never been published before.  With recipes for Lagers, North American Ales and other exoticstuff.

Please buy it. It's dead good. And Andrew is about to go to University.


“Do you fancy a couple of days in Copenhagen, Dolores?”

“Who’s paying for it?”


“For both of us?”


“Of course I’m interested, then.”

I didn’t think Dolores would want to pass up on a free trip to Copenhagen

“When were you last there? It was before the kids were born, wasn’t it?’

“It must be over 20 years.”

“There are loads more bikes now. You’ll see. It’s like here.”

Our flight is at 10:30. So we aim to get to Schiphol around 8:30. That doesn’t quite go to plan as there’s a snarl up on the A10 motorway. The bus ride takes twice as long as usual.

We check in one bag. Luckily there isn’t much of a queue at SAS checkin. Never flown with them before. I mostly fly KLM. For frequent flyer reasons.

Amazingly, there’s no queue to speak of at security. It’s our lucky day. Denmark being a Schengen country, there’s no passport control. What to do now?

Our flight departs from pier C, so we head that way. No Irish pub on this pier. But there is an strange Spanish-themed bar, draught Cruzcampo and all. Me and my gut say hello to the bar while Dolores heads off to a massage machine. She always likes to get massacred when in the airport. Me, too. That’s why I’m at the bar.

After a while, it becomes obvious I’m wasting my time expecting to get served at my seat. I join the queue for take-out service. I don’t go for Cruzcampo. And can resist Heineken Extra Cold. Instead I have a Heineken normally cold. And a double Jamesons. It is 9:30, after all. I have a cold, too. So it’s medicinal.

We eat the sandwiches Dolores made for us as we wait for boarding at the gate.

No red wine for me during the flight this time. Only tea and coffee is free. I make do with a coffee.

The airport has changed a lot since Dolores was last here. When I spot a ticket machine, I suggest we take advantage of it. Last year there was a huge queue at the ticket machines landside. It takes a while. Dutch couple is struggling to make it work. They eventually leave without a metro ticket.

Dolores is getting a little edgy as she doesn’t want to leave her bad unattended on the carousel. We navigate the machine easily enough, but struggle when it comes to paying. After trying a couple of cards - and a bit of swearing – I eventually manage to pay. I then go off in search of Dolores and her bag.

They’ve added a metro and mainline railway connection since Dolores was last here. We take advantage of the former, as there’s a stop a couple of hundred metres from our hotel. I realise I’ve never taken it before. It’s one of those scary driverless jobs. Though the platforms have anti-suicide doors like in Singapore or on the Jubilee line in London.

Surfacing at Kongens Nytorv, things are confusing. The square itself is boarded off. They’re still hard at work on a new metro line. It’s hard to get my bearings.

“I think it’s this way” Dolores says.

“I’m pretty sure it’s this way.” I say pointing in the opposite direction.

After a while of looking at the map to no avail, we walk 50 metres to find a street name. Dolores was right. It is that way.

We’re too early to check in so dump our bags and walk off into town. We’re looking for a cash machine. I always like to have some local dosh. Strøget, the main pedestrianised shopping drag seems a good spot to seek one. Which, eventually, we do.

“You’re right about the bikes. At least they have racks here for them.”

Dolores wants to stop by a supermarket to buy some stuff. I suggest the Irma close to Radhusplads. Coincidentally, that means we’ll just about have to walk past BrewPub. Luckily, Dolores is thirsty.

As it’s a lovely sunny day (apart from the odd evil black cloud and random shower) we sit in the courtyard. As Dolores is also feeling peckish, we look at the food menu. Two open-topped sandwiches are only 160 crowns – 20-odd euros in real money.

The sandwiches are very nice. But not 10 euro nice. Just as well Dolores is in a good mood. I wash it down with something IPA-ey, while Dolores has a wheat beer.

Brewpub Geronimo IPA (6.5% ABV)
Dark for an IPA – a reddish dark amber. Not far off the colour of a paler Dark Mild. Served too cold for my taste. Not a great deal of aroma. Then again, I do have an annoying bastard cold. Pretty bitter in the mouth.

“Try this Dolores, It’s like Mild.”

Tentative sip.

“It’s OK. I could drink it.” Praise, indeed.

“Not a Mild really. It’s an American IPA.”

We only stay for the one. Not sure I could afford a second beer for each of us.

The Irma is smaller than Dolores remembers it. She could well be right. But they have a reasonable enough beer selection.

“Oh look Dolores – there’s a Mumme.”

“Yes, really exciting. Do you think I should get a large or a small jar of sild?”

“I bet it isn’t authentic.”

“What, the herring?”

“No, the Mumme. The ABV is too high for a start.”

We load up on snacky stuff like bread, cheese, herring and beer. Lots of that. I’ve seen the pub price for beer.

“You know the upside to Amsterdam having become so expensive, Dolores? Almost everywhere we go seems cheap in comparison.”

“Except here.”

“That’s very true.”

On the way back we notice an off-licence. We have a look to see if it’s cheaper than the airport for akvavit. The cheapest bottle is 79 crowns. Not much more than the 65 crowns my beer cost in Brewpub. And about the same price as Dolores paid for two bags of sweets for Alexei. What a weird pricing structure this country has.

Akvavitted up, we return to our hotel. We laze around for a short while, snack and drink beer. Well, only I do the last one. It passes an hour or so.

Dolores wants to try another supermarket in Christianshavn, then continue on to the street food place on the harbour. That’s fair enough by me. The advantage of having a central hotel is that we can walk everywhere.

I pick up another couple of bottles of beer at the SuperBrugsen. And some frikadellen. Meat balls, really. I lead such an exciting life.

Dolores takes a look at the cider: “Pah! I’m not paying 19 crowns for that little bottle.”

There’s been a lot of building on the waterfront on this side of town. Lots of new flats. Some not bad, some pretty bland. While other buildings have been adapted from their original industrial use. Like the food market. On the wonderfully-named Papirøen (paper island). I think you can work out which industry used to be here.

All that walking has made me thirsty. “Fancy a drink, Dolores?”


There’s an outdoor bar right outside the food hall. I get a Schotz IPA and Dolores a Royal Classic.

“Ow!” Dolores brushes something from her arm. “Something’s bitten me.” A wasp has randomly stung her. She has no luck with insects. The mosquitoes in our house always go for her, too. I think of her as my insect lure.

It’s a lovely day. With the sky and water competing for who can have the most gorgeous shade of blue. The light really does something to the colours up here. An enchanting sight. Which enchants us right through our drinks. Well, me at least. Dolores still seems bothered by the pre-emptive insect strike.


“That was the point of coming here, Ronald.” As she rubs the sting on her arm.

Between the bar and the hall there’s a little clump of white trees with labels hanging from them. It’s an art project of Yoko Ono, the wish tree. You’re supposed to write a wish on a label and attach it to a tree.

“I know what my wish would be: ‘John Lennon never met you.’”

“That’s a bit mean, Ronald.”

“But sincere.”

The food is all very tempting. Eventually we settle on a Brazilian meat platter to share. It’s very meaty, which I guess is the point. I fetch us some beer while Dolores gets the food.

As we sit chomping on our meat, I wonder why the toddler next to us keeps staring at the ceiling. Then I look up. There’s a glitterball cow hanging there. No wonder he’s hypnotised.

Once we’ve eaten we take our drinks to finish outside. As the sun sets, the colours concentrate even more before fading into darkness. It really is a wonderful spot, with a variety of boats sailing gaily past.

We stroll slowly back to the hotel. Where I guzzle another couple of beers in our room. What a fun day. Tomorrow is the serious stuff with Carlsberg. Though exactly what, other than a dinner in the evening, I’m not totally sure.

* Carlsberg paid for two return flights, two nights in the Strand Hotel, a lunch, a dinner and various beers.


BrewPub Copenhagen
Vestergade 29,
1456 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 32 00 60

Vesterbrogade 1A,
1620 København V.
Tel.: +45 33 13 03 53

Skjold Burne
Østergade 1,
1100 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 14 04 81

Christianshavns Torv 2,
1410 København K.
Tel.: +45 32 64 06 00

La Halle
Trangravsvej 10-12,
1436 København K.

Copenhagen Street Food
Hal 7 & 8 Papirøen,
Trangravsvej 14, 7/8,
1436 København K.
Tel.: +45 33 93 07 60

Monday 28 August 2017


The brewery with the weird "L" on their labels. As I discovered in Berlin earlier this month, they're still at it.

Personally, I wouldn't even recognise it as a Latin character. I wonder who came up with it, why and when? Just has a quick look on the brewery's website. And there's a photo of a railway carriage with the "L" written in a very similar way. So it looks like the weird letter predates WW I.

The brewery has had an interesting life over the last 60 years.  Before WW II, it was run by the Scheller family. It was partially nationalised in 1959, then full nationalised in 1972. (The takeover of lots of middle-sized family firms in that year, under orders from the Soviets, is what did for the DDR economy.) Returned to the Scheller family in 1993, it was sold on to Holsten in 2003, who in turn sold it to Carlsberg. Threatened with closure, the brewery was puchased by the Lohbecks, a husband and wife team, in 2006.

They currently brew a pretty wide range of beers:

Landskron Beers 2017
Beer OG Plato ABV
Premium Pilsner 11.6º 4.80%
Hell 10.9º 4.50%
Pupen-Schultzes Schwarzes 9.8º 3.80%
Weizen 12.8º 5.50%
Lager 13.3º 5.30%
Edel-Bitter 11.9º 5.00%
Kellerbier 12.2º 5.20%
Bernstein 14º 5.20%
Maibock 16.5º 6.30%
Goldbock 16.5º 6.30%
Winterhopfen 13.3º 5.30%
Aktiv 9.5º 3.50%
Brewery website.

Anyway, here are some of their pretty labels:

Sunday 27 August 2017

What I drank in my Copenhagen hotel

I'm just back from a short trip to Copenhagen. It was fun. But would have even more fun if I had been able tto taste any of the beer I drank properly.

My bastard cold was alive and well all through the trip. The bastard. It still hasn't effed off home yet.

All the beers were bought in a normal supermarket. Irma, if you're interested. Like everywhere in Denmark, it has a fairly decent beer offering. I wonder if they realise how lucky they are? Then again, beer isn't cheap there. Nothing is cheap there.

The two bags of sweets we bought back for Alexei cost almost as much as the litre of vodka. Where's the logic in that? Though sugar is pretty dangerous stuff. Unlike healthy alcohol.

Saturday 26 August 2017

Something else you shouldn't forget

is my newish Scottish book. Full of stuff. Information stuff, tables, lots off those, and, of course, a totally ridiculous number of recipes: 350-odd.

It's easily the most accurate history of Scottish beer ever written. Not that hard, as all the others are total bollocks.

Buy my new Scottish book. It's dead good.

Let’s Brew 1921 Barclay Perkins X

In the summer of 1921, the last gravity restrictions and price controls were removed. Happy days.

June 30 1921: Restriction as to Average Permitted Gravities ended. Aug. 31 1921 All control of prices abolished.
Source: "The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The way the recipe has changed from two years earlier is intriguing. The ingredients in the grist have remained identical, but their proportions have changed. The percentage of pale malt has increased, while that of amber malt has decreased. The crystal percentage has remained about the same. Flaked maize is up and sugar content down.

The biggest change is in the hopping, where American hops have made a return. These were unavailable during the war years. Why did they start using them again after years of sticking to just English hops? Because they were cheap. It was as simple as that.

Once again, I’ve substituted No. 4 invert sugar for Martineau’s BS. That’s just a guess, but it leaves the beer with about the right colour.

1921 Barclay Perkins X
pale malt 5.50 lb 63.29%
amber malt 0.66 lb 7.59%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 5.75%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 14.38%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 2.88%
No. 4 invert sugar 0.50 lb 5.75%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.03 lb 0.35%
Cluster 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1040.3
FG 1009
ABV 4.14
Apparent attenuation 77.67%
IBU 41
SRM 18
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale