Saturday 30 September 2017

Not done this for a while

tarted my two most recent books:

Probably the most interesting set of historic homebrew recipes ever published. Not just watery Mild, but all sorts of weird stuff like Continental Lagers and North American Ales. Who could pass on a full set of Heineken's beers from 1911?

Please buy it. It's dead good. And Andrew's shoes will need replacing soon.

And there's also my sadly neglected Scottish masterpiece:

With a shedload of recipes - 370-something - covering the whole range of Scottish beers from the 1840's to the 1970's.

Let’s Brew 1944 Barclay Perkins X

Apologies for the snail’s pace at which we’re progressing through WW II. It’s just that I want to demonstrate how often recipes had to change.

Of course, this is nothing compared to what was going on in Germany. By the time this beer was produced in December 1944, brewing had all but ground to a total halt in Germany. As this table shows:

Year UK Germany
production gravity production gravity
(barrels 1,000) (barrels 1,000)
1938 24,535 1041
1939 25,532 1040.9 31,326 1041
1940 25,499 1040.6 29,774 1037
1941 29,101 1038.5 28,733 1034
1942 29,170 1035.5 25,976 1030
1943 29,956 1034.3 26,496
1944 31,472 1034.6
1945 32,667 1034.5
1949 26,276 1033.4 8,648 1032
1951 25,087 1037 17,360
The Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 56
100 Jahre Deutsche Brauer-Bund 1871-1971, p.202
UK gravities are an average of all beer brewed
German gravities are for the strongest beer allowed. 

I’ve never been able to find figures for German beer output in the last two years of the war. I suspect it was an extremely amount. For the first couple of years after the end of the war, the only brewing that was allowed in the British occupied zone was for the British army.

But back to the beer in hand. The only real change to the recipe from the 1943 version is the replacement of the flaked and malted oats by flaked barley. As we learned last time, this wasn’t exactly a voluntary choice on the part of the brewer. Brewers continued to use flaked barley until the end of the 1940’s, when supplies to maize were resumed.

All of the base malt was SA malt, for which I’ve substituted mild malt.

Barclay Perkins continued to brew both X and XX, even though there were only 2 points difference in their gravities. Talking of which, the primings that X received at racking time raised its gravity to a mighty 1032º.

I’m not totally sure what the finished colour of this beer was. I assume dark. As brewed, it was 10 SRM. But in the front of this brewing book there’s a sheet giving the colour standards for all their beers date 1st April 1946. Both X and XX are listed at 21-22 SRM, meaning they were no longer making a semi-dark Mild. Whereas earlier in the war, X was dark and XX semi-dark.

The hopping is both pretty light and the hops quite old. A third were from the 1941 crop and two-thirds from the 1943 crop. I’ve reduced the amount accordingly.

1944 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 4.25 lb 69.22%
amber malt 0.50 lb 8.14%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 5.37%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 8.14%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 8.14%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.06 lb 0.98%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1029
FG 1009
ABV 2.65
Apparent attenuation 68.97%
IBU 14
SRM 12
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 29 September 2017

Malzbier again

This is great. Just when I was wondering how they stopped Malzbier from fermenting fully, I stumble across something that explains how it worked.

Take a look:

“Malzbier, Sußbier, Caramelbier and so forth. Their common characteristic is a relatively sweet, hop-bitter-free taste; they vary considerably from one another in strength, they are made sometimes from just malt, sometimes also with the addition of sugar. The name "Malzbier" may be used only if at least 15 kg of malt has been used per hectolitre of beer. The malt which is used for these beers is highly-dried Munich malt with a considerable addition (10%) of caramel malt and Farbmalz or Farbebier or caramel. The best mashing scheme is one that produces little sugar (the Springmaisch method), the hopping rate is low (1/2 - 3/4 pounds per 50 kg of malt), as yeast, low-attenuating flocculating yeasts are deliberately used, the fermentation must not be too warm, all with the purpose of a low attenuation. The lagering is short. Draught beer is lagered cold, bunged and filtered, and at racking it is often given a sugar additon of 2-4 kg per 1 hl. In bottles the beer is usually filled with yeast, i.e. unfiltered, so that a secondary fermentation can take place and sediment can be preserved, if this is present, the bottles are pasteurized at 55-60°.”
Ullmann, Fritz ed. (1928), Bier in Enzyklopädie der technischen Chemie Band 2, pp 378, Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin and Vienna. [My translation.]

So it was a combination of a mashing method which deliberately produced few fermentable sugars, a low-attenuating yeast and a cool fermentation temperature.

I can guess what you’re thinking: what the hell is a Springmaisch? I had to look it up myself. Which is slightly embarrassing, as one of the highest-ranking results was from my blog. In my defence, it was something I wrote almost a decade ago. And there are a crazy number of mashing methods.

"Springmaisch method
The einmaisch temperature is 37º C. The mash is then added to boiling hot water. The temperature of the mash is so raised to 70º C. The temperatures between are skipped. This method is used with over-modified malt which saccharifies too quickly."
"Brauerhandbuch" by Karl Hennies, 1937, pages 124-127.

This explains the purpose in this context:

"Mashing method with which the optimal temperatures of the b-Amylase are passed over by adding boiling hot water to the mash; as consequence a low final fermentation degree results."
Berufsschule Main-Spessart website

Fascinating stuff, I’m sure you’ll agree. Though it would be nice if the Ullmann text had been more specific about OG, FG and ABV.

15 kg of malt per hectolitre works out to around 1040º, or 10º Plato. So almost Vollbier.

Note how, despite this being in the Reinheitsgebot for all of Germany era, these beers quite often contained sugar. Which tells me that they must have been top-fermented, otherwise that wouldn’t have been allowed.

Thursday 28 September 2017

Shamelessly promoting my friend

Henry was in my class at Newark Grammar School. He's been a friend for yonks.

Miserable were the hours I picked spuds, when his family still owned potato killing fields.

He's recently set up a brewery on his hereditary estate. And he's been brewing some of my recipes. The firkin of Watney's Red Barrel he dropped off at my brother's for my last visit is the main reason I'm still talking to him.

"If you aren't going to cough up any dosh, at least provide beer for my kids." I told him.

And he did.

The kids were surprisingly happy with their Watneys. Bastards. At least it was cask and not evil keg.

Cat Asylum, it's called. And he's finally got a website.

Broyhan getting even more confusing

I’ve wondered for a long while about when Broyhan exactly disappeared. My guess was around WW I. But it seems it might have limped on a little longer.

Too much information is becoming a problem for me. Flicking through yet another German technical book, I’ve come across a handy little article about beer from the late 1920’s. And it includes Brothan.

It’s just a single sentence, but has confused the hell out of me:

“Broyhan is a top-fermenting, dark, poorly attenuated, lightly hopped beer brewed from barley malt and wheat malt, which is mainly brewed in the province Hannover.” [My translation.]
Ullmann, Fritz ed. (1928), Bier in Enzyklopädie der technischen Chemie Band 2, pp 378, Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin and Vienna.

OK, I knew Broyhan was a low-gravity, half-fermented beer that just had a few hops waved in its general direction. But dark? That makes absolutely no sense. Broyhan is a classic Weissbier, i.e. a beer brewed from air-dried malt. (Weissbier originally did not mean wheat beer, remember. I’ve seen plenty of references to all-malt Broyhans.) It makes no sense for it to be dark.

But, Broyhan was around for a long time – 400 years or so. And brewed over a wide area. So obviously it wasn’t always going to be the same. No beer style ever stays unchanged for long. It’s possible it may have changed colour in its later days. Other beer styles have done. Like, for example, Mild Ale, which turned from pale to dark. Did Broyhan pull a similar trick? I’d love to know.

Wednesday 27 September 2017

Let’s Brew 1943 Barclay Perkins XX

You may be wondering why I’m publishing recipes just a year apart. Simple: a lot happened in 12 months during WW II.

A couple of factors prompted the government to compel brewers to use flaked oats. First, there was a bumper crop of oats in 1942. The second was a rather more threatening development.

"Early in 1943, when the shipping position became difficult owing to the intensified U boat activity, barley was required for use in bread, and brewers were asked to replace flaked barley by flaked oats, but there were some misgivings about its use on account of its high fat content. A series of investigations was carried out to prove its suitability in order to satisfy brewers that they could be used with safety; 10 per cent. was considered a safe maximum. Owing to its huskiness flaked oats had the advantage of improving drainage in the mash tun, although, owing to its bulkiness, those brewers working with a full mash tun found it to be a disadvantage. A bad oat harvest in the following year, however, caused its use in brewing to be discontinued. The Ministry of Food then suggested that flaked oats might be replaced by dried potatoes, the drying plants in beet sugar factories used for drying the exhausted beet slices being utilized for this purpose. Investigations carried out with potatoes dried in this manner, however, proved them to be quite unsuitable for use in brewing owing to the unpleasant flavour imparted to the beer, and as the anticipated surplus of potatoes did not materialize, flaked barley was again used to replace flaked oats, and has continued up to the present time."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing Volume 52, Issue 3, May-June, 1946, page 121.

If you remember, flaked barley was itself a replacement for flaked maize. The use of potatoes in brewing might sound revolting, but I’ve found 19th-century German recipes which included potatoes. No reason why you couldn’t use potatoes in brewing. They are full of starch after all.

No surprise then that this XX, which was brewed in October 1943, contains flaked oats. You’ll note, to just about the maximum safe amount of 10%. But the total percentage of oats was even higher because there was also almost 5% malted oats in the grist. I like to call this Oat Mild. Any chances of that catching on as a style?

The adjuncts are the main difference between this grist and the one from 1942. The percentages of amber and crystal malt, as well as No. 3 invert sugar, remain around the same. What I’ve listed as mild malt was actually partly SA malt. As I don’t think you’ll be able to find that, I’ve upped the mild malt amount.

As usual, it was primed like crazy, raising the OG by 4º to 1035.4º. Which is a bit more reasonable. If you want to simulate this, add some No. 2 invert at the end of primary fermentation.

1943 Barclay Perkins XX
mild malt 4.25 lb 60.89%
amber malt 0.67 lb 9.60%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.16%
flaked oats 0.75 lb 10.74%
malted oats 0.25 lb 3.58%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 7.16%
caramel 0.06 lb 0.86%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1031.4
FG 1008
ABV 3.10
Apparent attenuation 74.52%
IBU 24
SRM 13
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 26 September 2017


For once, a trip that doesn’t start with trailing out to Schiphol. Because we’re travelling the civilised way: by train.

It does mean taking a tram through the city centre. Luckily it isn’t too crowded.  Before going to our platform, we pick up a copy of the Radio Times. Though finding the newsagent is fun. It’s in one of the new tunnels under the platforms. But they all look the same. Which is the right one?

“Look, there’s an AKO there, Dolores.”

“Do they sell the Radio Times?”

“Pretty sure they do.”

I’m right. As always. Though we have to go through the ticket barrier to get there. Amsterdam Centraal is now a closed station. It’s slightly tricky for us because we’re both on one ticket. I have to shuffle quickly through behind Dolores.

Platform 2, we need. And our carriage is right down the end of the platform. Or at least will be when it arrives. There’s a loud mob waiting at that spot. Great.

“I hope they’re not in our carriage.” Dolores remarks.

They are. Despite being a quiet carriage, it’s like sitting in a pub, as they shout at each other across the seats. It’s a works outing that has reserved most of the seats in the carriage. Annoyingly, they’re going as far as we are.

Luckily I’ve some train beer to distract me. Three bottles of Guinness Special Export. A lovely drop it  is, too.

You may have wondered why I wasn’t at the Borefts Festival. It’s because I’m off to Cologne instead. I would have gone for a Saturday of geeking out in Bodegraven. Except we’re going to Cologne to meet Dolores’s sister, whose birthday it is tomorrow.

Reading the paper is doing a great job of zoning out the annoying chatter. As does the roastiness of the Guinness.

The journey takes 2 hours 45 minutes. Which isn’t too bad. And it’s on time.

It’s too early to check into our hotel. Instead we check Früh out. Which is handily close to our hotel. And not too far from the station. That’s important, because Dolores has to go back there to pick up her sister and partner.

While we’re waiting for the hour or so before their train arrives, I get stuck into some food. A Boockwurst and potato salad. Nice, but a bit pricey.

While she’s gone, I shovel down multiple thimbles of Kölsch. The waiter keeps me well supplied, but the glasses remain frustratingly small. One good gulp and they’re all but empty. II do like Früh Kölsch when it’s served Bayerischer Anstich. Delicate, subtle, refreshing and eminently drinkable.

Cologne is much more expensive than 10 years ago. And seems to be getting worse. Way more expensive than Berlin, surprisingly. I suppose that I’ve been spoilt by all my time in rural Franconia. Where a half litre is under 2 euros and no meal costs more than ten.

Fed and watered (well, beered) we adjourn to our hotel to check in. It’s right at the start of Hohestrasse, literally 50 metres from Früh. Not the fanciest of places. But we do have a balcony with a view of the Dom.

After a little rest, we head off to Rewe. That’s supermarket. Dolores wants to pick up a few things. While we’re there, I buy a six pack of Malzmühle Kölsch. And a couple of bottles of impulse schnapps. Just for old times’ sake. Dolores gives me look, but doesn’t make me put them back. It’s proper impulse schnapps as they are displayed just before the till. Don’t you just love Germany?

We eat tea in a Czech restaurant. I have a pleasant, if rather salty goulash. And some Czech beer, obviously: Budvar. It’s a pleasant relief to have a half litre. A beer that takes more than two minutes to demolish.

We plan sitting on our balcony. Dolores and her sister have bottle of wine to suck on. And I’ve got my Malzmühle. But I’m so utterly and totally knacked, I go to bed at eight.

What a lightweight I’ve become.

Früh am Dom
Am Hof 12-18,
50667 Köln.
Tel: +49 221 2613215

Wirtshaus Schwejk
An Groß St. Martin 2,
50667 Köln.
Tel: +49 221 2580634

Monday 25 September 2017

Session Imperial Stout

No, I’m not just pissing you around. Such a thing did exist. Sort of.

WW I had a devastating effect on British beer, especially when it came to strength. Average gravity fell by almost 25% between 1914 and 1922. But the beers at the very top end were the most badly affected. Few could afford to buy beers with gravities over 1100º and most such beers disappeared.

Barclay Perkins, of course, were famous for their extremely strong Russian Stout. It was discontinued during WW I, but then brought back in 1921. But the gravity had tumbled from over 1100º to just 1061º. Not very imperial, really. They did also brew an export version at the old strength, though I’m not sure when that returned. The first record I have of it is in 1924, but it could have been earlier than that.

At not much more than half the strength of the original beer, you really could call it a session version. I’m not sure how this version was matured, if at all. Given its modest gravity, I can’t imagine it being vatted for two years. Though it might have had a few months in vats.

I know that it was usually a bottled beer. Though there is one Whitbread Gravity Book entry from 1925 for a draught version, selling at 8d a pint. From other Whitbread Gravity Book entries it looks like the weaker version was called Imperial Stout and the stronger one Russian Imperial Stout. There was a big difference in price. In 1937 a nip of the strong version cost 10d, while a half pint of the weak one cost 6d.

Both beers were discontinued during WW II and only the stronger version seems to have returned after the war. The first record I have is from 1950, when a half pint bottle cost 22.5d. Though that’s good value compared to their Lager, which cosy 12.5d per half pint despite only having an OG of 1036.5º. So a third of the strength, but almost half the price. I know which I’d have been drinking.

Here are some details:

Barclay Perkins Session Imperial Stout 1921 - 1941
Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel) Pitch temp boil time (hours) colour
1921 1061.3 1020.0 5.46 67.37% 8.49 2.18 2.00 58.5º 2 2
1924 1061.4 1021.0 5.34 65.80% 8.00 2.02 0.00 59º 2 1.75 280
1928 1060.4 1021.5 5.14 64.39% 6.70 1.68 0.00 59º 2.25 300
1929 1060.7 1022.5 5.05 62.93% 8.00 1.95 0.00 59º 2 1.75 290
1936 1060.4 1020.0 5.34 66.88% 6.25 2.25 0.00 59.5º F 2.5 2 360
1940 1055.4 1022.5 4.35 59.36% 7.65 2.09 0.00 60.5º 2 1.75 280
1941 1055.6 1022.0 4.45 60.45% 6.56 1.65 0.00 60º 1.75 1.75 1.5 290
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/608, ACC/2305/01/611, ACC/2305/01/614, ACC/2305/01/621, ACC/2305/01/623 and ACC/2305/01/624.

Next time we’ll be looking at the grist.

Sunday 24 September 2017

Poll result

The results are in for my poll on which book to write next. I would say they were surprising, but on reflection, I guess they weren't.

A clear winner - with over 50% of the vote - was the 1859 Beer Style Guide.

Porter! vol. 2 5 (6%)
Range!! 4 (4%)
Mild! vol. 2 3 (3%)
1959 Beer Style Guide 12 (14%)
Victory! 5 (6%)
1859 Beer Style Guide 43 (53%)
Let's Brew vol. 2 9 (11%)

Which is a little awkward. As, when I thought about it, I had some doubts about this book. Because  I wrote the 1909 Beer Style Guide with Kristen and it seems a bit impolite to write a sequel without his involvement. Given that I've only received a handful of recipes from him over the last couple of years, getting him to write a whole set for a new book doesn't look very likely.

Knocking out the two Beer Style Guides, Let's Brew vol. 2 is the winner. Though, with only 111% of the votes, not a very popular one. Which leaves me in a bit of a quandry. What should I do next?

The biggest surprise was Range! getting any votes at all. As I realise that I forgot to explain what it was. And the title isn't particularly explanatory. I'll put that right now. The book would have eight chapters, eacj covering a time period:

1800 - 1830
1830 - 1850
1850 - 1880
1880 - 1914
1914 - 1920
1920 - 1939
1939 - 1947
1947 - 1970

For each period I'd pick a couple of breweries and have recipes for the full range of beers that they brewed. Like, say, all the Barclay Perkins beers from 1852 or all Whitbread's from 1940. Depending on how mad I go, that would add up to 200-300 recipes.

Any interest in a book like that?

Saturday 23 September 2017

Let’s brew - 1942 Barclay Perkins X

We’re only one year further into WW II, yet there have been some significant changes to Barclay Perkins X Ale.

Most obviously, the gravity has been dropped around 4 points to 1027.5º. Personally, I’m pretty dubious of anything with an OG under 1030º. Though the primings added at racking time did raise that to 1029.5º. But at less than 3% ABV, you’d need to be very determined to get very tipsy.

Flaked maize was a very popular adjunct before WW II. From what I’ve seen, at least 75%, if not more, of brewers used it. With imports of maize drying up or being used for other purposes, brewers had no option but to drop it.

However, a couple of years into the war UK barley production was soaring. So the government decided to compel brewers to use flaked barley as an adjunct. Skipping the malting stage saved on energy. Brewers seem to have used flaked barley in much the same way as they had flaked maize. This beer also has another adjunct, torrefied barley. Not sure why that might have been. Possibly just because it was available.

This is an even stranger wartime recipe. Looks like they were just using whatever ingredients they had. Surprisingly, the adjuncts weren’t really any cheaper than malt. As I can see since the brewing record lists the prices:

grain price per quarter (shillings)
Torrefied barley 215
amber malt 280
crystal malt 235
MA malt 190
MA malt 225
lager malt 125
flaked barley 205

It looks like the lager malt, given its low price, was something that had been bought before the start of the war. And doubtless that’s why it was included here: they were just using it up.

The hops, as you would expect, remain all English. Three types of Mid-Kent Fuggles.

The colour is given as 12 SRM in the brewing record, but I know that, while there had been semi-dark and dark versions of both X and XX before the war, the semi-dark X and dark XX had been dropped early in the war. Meaning you’ll need to colour this up to 20 SRM with caramel.

1942 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 3.75 lb 60.98%
amber malt 0.50 lb 8.13%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 5.37%
lager malt 0.25 lb 4.07%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 8.13%
torrefied barley 0.25 lb 4.07%
no. 3 sugar 0.50 lb 8.13%
caramel 0.07 lb 1.14%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1027.5
FG 1006
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 78.18%
IBU 18
SRM 12
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 22 September 2017

Malzbier, dunkel

Are you finding all these different types of Malzbier confusing? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

We’ve just seen another dark, top-fermenting Malzbier, though that was called Gerstenmalzbier rather than simply Malzbier. Though this Malzbier is also brewed from 100% barley. I’m really struggling to see the distinction.

Anyway, I’ll crack on with summarising Olberg.

To brew this beer Munich malt is always used as a base with 6-8% caramel malt and a sufficient quantity of well roasted Farbmalz. Mashing in is at 35º C then the temperature is slowly raised, after resting for half an hour, to 50º, 62º and 70º C, when it’s rested for half an hour for saccharification. A third of the mash is left in the tun while the other two-thirds, the thick mash, is boiled in the kettle for 30 minutes. When this is returned to the thin mash the temperature of the combined mash is raised to the mash out temperature of 75º C. The wort is drawn off after a rest of 30-40 minutes.

The sparge is performed so that a wort of 10-12º Balling is produced. As soon as the kettle is full, the hops are added at a rate of 0.6 pounds per 50 kg. of malt.

Depending on the outside temperature, the wort is pitched at between 15º and 19º C (15º C is normal) with I litre (1.5 litres in winter) of top-fermenting yeast and is fermented in a tun. When a barrel fermentation is preferred, the wort is moved from the collecting tun to one or two hectolitre casks. Naturally the pitching temperature needs to be 3 to 4º C higher.

When primary fermentation is over, to get the beer completely clear it’s filled into 4 to 10 hectolitre casks and from there into bottles. The casks can be bunged and the beer then filtered and put straight into bottles. Alternatively, the casks can be left unbunged and 2 to 3% Kräusen added. If the beer needs to stay bright for a long time, it’s pasteurised at 75º C for half an hour.

Breweries which produce strong beers and which have a small side kettle can make a Malzbier from their sparge wort. Of course, these won’t good, strong Malzbiers, but only cheap ones with sugar added. It’s also possible to make a smaller quantity properly. Naturally, you can also run off a few hectolitres of wort before it’s hopped. Boil for 1.5 hours, hopping rate 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Malzbier, dunkel in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 81-82, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

Let’s see if I can work out how this differs from the last Malzbier. The gravity looks higher – 10-12º Balling rather than 8-12º Balling. The grist is also different containing Farbmalz in addition to Munich and caramel malt. The hopping rate is a little higher at 0.6 rather than 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt. But that’s not really significant.

One big difference is that no sugar solution is added before bottling. Which leads me to assume that perhaps this wasn’t as sweet as the other type of Malzbier. Though, unfortunately, there’s no mention of the degree of attenuation, making that just guesswork.

Another guess is that these beers weren’t that alcoholic. Probably not over 2% ABV, despite having the gravity of a standard-strength beer.

Thursday 21 September 2017

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists 1935 – 1936

Time to take a look at Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists in 1956 and 1836.

If you can remember as far back as last week, you’ll recall that there was a large degree of variation in Barclay’s Mild Ale grists. Are we going to find the same with their Pale Ales? In a word, no.

Whereas there was quite a bit of variation with the sugar and the base malt for X Ale, there’s none of that for the Pale Ales. Not only are the malts and sugars used the same for all brews, the percentages are pretty much identical, too. The only tiny difference is in the hopping, where not all examples contained Golding varieties. Other than that, everything is the same.

Interesting that there should be such a contract between Bitter and Mild. I’m not sure why that might be, Other than that they were more reluctant to play around with the recipe of the pricier beers but were prepared to use whatever was to hand for Mild.

Note that the sugar percentage is higher than for X Ale. It was often the case that Pale Ales would contain more sugar than Mild. Especially stronger Pale Ales. It was a hangover from the 19th century when brewers wanted to keep the body and colour as light as possible.

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists 1935 - 1936
Year Beer OG pale malt PA malt flaked maize no. 2 sugar caramel hops
1935 PA 1052.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties, Saaz dry hops
1935 PA 1052.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties, Saaz dry hops
1936 PA 1052.7 29.17% 44.73% 7.78% 18.15% 0.16% MK Fuggles, Saaz dry hops
1935 XLK (bottling) 1039 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1935 XLK (trade) 1045.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1935 XLK (trade) 1045.5 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1936 XLK (trade) 1045.9 29.17% 44.73% 7.78% 18.15% 0.16% MK Fuggles
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

Wednesday 20 September 2017

Let’s brew Wednesday - 1941 Barclay Perkins X

We’ve now moved on to the war years, and the effect of the conflict is easy to read. There are the sure signs of supply difficulties with some ingredients.

Barclay Perkins had been enthusiastic users of unmalted adjuncts since they were first allowed in 1880. Usually in the form of flaked maize. It made up about 14% of the grist in 1935, but in this version there’s none. There’s also far less sugar, down from over 10% to around 3.5%. Neither of these recipe changes would have been voluntary.

To compensate for the reduction in sugar and maize, the percentage of base grain has increased from around 60% to over 80%. Many would tell you that this would have improved the beer, but I’ve become much less snobby about adjuncts. I doubt the brewery or its brewers necessarily thought raising the malt content was improving the beer.

No. 3 invert is a guess. There’s no indication of the sugar type in the brewing record. Which leads me on to another, indirect impact of the war. This record is less complete than pre-war examples. The colour isn’t listed and neither are details of when the beer was racked. Was this due to less experienced personnel working in the brew house?

One thing that hadn’t changed was very heavy priming, three quarts per barrel. Which raised the OG by three gravity points to 1034.3. Though that still leaves it with a lower gravity than the 1935 version had before priming. A general reduction in the brewery’s gravities left X Ale not much stronger than Ale 4d. Eventually the gravity differential would dwindle to virtually nothing, dooming Ale 4d to being dropped.

1941 Barclay Perkins X
pale malt 0.33 lb 4.78%
mild malt 5.50 lb 79.59%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 4.78%
amber malt 0.33 lb 4.78%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.26 lb 3.76%
caramel 0.16 lb 2.32%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1031.3
FG 1006.5
ABV 3.28
Apparent attenuation 79.23%
IBU 18
SRM 16
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 19 September 2017

O'zapft is

The Oktoberfest in Munich kicked off on Saturday. And by chance I stumbled on a live report about it on German television.

It says a lot about the event's status in Germany that a full two hours (11:00 to 13:00) was dedicated to it on national channel ARD, sort of the equivalent of BBC 1.

Obviously they showed the parade of drays and marching bands trailing up to the festival site. And of course they showed the major of Munich tapping the first barrel. But there was lots of other interesting stuff that was new to me.

Well, even the tapping ceremony was of interest. It took place in a Spaten tent, Schottenhamel. I assumed that there would just be the one wooden cask for show, with the rest of the beer kegged. But that wasn't the case. You could see beer from the wood being served in the background. And here was me thinking only Augustiner still supplied the festival with oak barrels. I didn't think Spaten still produced cask beer.

They even had an interview with one of Schottenhamel's beer tappers. Luckily Dolores was on hand to translate his impenetrable Bavarian accent. Evidently he'd inherited a magic tap, one that served quicker than any other. Turns out it wasn't so much magic, as a specially-modified tap he'd inherited from a colleague. He turned down an offer of 1,500 euros for it.

What was particularly nice was that the presenters were all tucking into beer while presenting. Not going crazy, but visibly drinking beer on camera. And they were all wearing traditional dress. (Did I mention Dolores picked up a second-hand dirndl while we were in Berlin?)

But most interesting was the stuff about Oide Wiesn, a festival within the festival. Originally introduced as a one-off event for the 200th anniversary in 2010, it's become a regular feature. Featuring old-fashioned farground rides and smaller beer tents. And here's the bit that really got my attention: all the draught beer is from the wood.

It left me longing to be there with a litre of beer in my hand. Maybe next year.