Saturday, 11 November 2017

Let's Brew - 1956 Shepherd Neame ESXA

What a year 1956 was. Mostly because that’s when I was born.

This beer was brewed just five days after that wonderful event. I’ll be honest with you. I’m not exactly sure what this beer was marketed as. Extra Strong Xmas Ale, perhaps? It was brewed in late October, which would be about right for a Christmas beer.

It certainly looks like a Burton Ale type of beer, with its gravity in the 1050’s. I’m guessing that it was a bottled beer, though I can’t be certain. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that looks like it in the Whitbread Gravity Book.

ESXA was brewed in a parti-gyle with three other beers: DB, LDA (both at 1029.4º) and Br (1026.3º). DB and Br were both Brown Ales, as far as I can tell. LDA I assume stands for Light Dinner Ale, making it a Light Ale. Presumably by putting the all dark sugar in one of the coppers.

Why is there a small amount of wheat malt in the grist? Probably for head retention. It doesn’t appear in their Bitters, but does in these bottled beers and their Mild. As in many 1950’s beers, there’s a small amount of malt extract used, presumably for extra enzymes. The No. 2 invert sugar is a substitute for a proprietary sugar called Wortex.

The hops are listed as “Sh” which I take to mean that they were from their own hop gardens. Which would make them Kent hops. As usual, I’ve interpreted that as a combination of Fuggles and Goldings.

1956 Shepherd Neame ESXA
pale malt 8.00 lb 74.77%
wheat malt 0.50 lb 4.67%
malt extract 0.10 lb 0.93%
No. Invert 3 sugar 1.25 lb 11.68%
No. Invert 2 sugar 0.75 lb 7.01%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.10 lb 0.93%
Fuggles 105 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1053
FG 1018
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 66.04%
IBU 30
SRM 17
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61.75º F
Yeast a Southern English Ale yeast


Anonymous said...

Why would a mash of 75% pale malt need extra enzymes?

StuartP said...

Good choice.
Shepherd Neame's weaker beers are very hit-and-miss - once in a while you'll get a lovely pint of Masterbrew, but generally it's pretty poor stuff. If you find a good keg somewhere, get stuck in.
The stronger brews - e.g. Spitfire - are much more reliable.