Wednesday, 31 January 2018

let's Brew Wednesday - 1901 Boddington's IPA

Welcome back Kristen. I’d been sitting on this for a while. I can’t remember why. Maybe it will come back to me.

IPA was Boddington’s top-range Pale Ale. And the direct ancestor of post-WW II Boddington’s Bitter. Though it did undergo a few changes over the years. Such as quite a big drop in gravity.

In 1901, Boddington only brewed two Pale Ales, this beer and an AK. The latter had a classic gravity for the style of 1046º. Their range was completed by four Mild Ales, X, XX, XXX and XXXX, one Strong Ale and a Single and Double Stout. Which is a pretty classic late-19th-century set.

The grist is very simple: just pale malt and invert sugar. The malt being a mix of English and Californian. The invert, well, it could be any type. Though No. 1 is probably the best guess for a beer of this type.

With 10 lbs. of hops per quarter of malt, this was easily their most heavily-hopped beer. The Milds were hopped at about 5.5 lbs. per quarter of malt, the Strong Ale and AK at 8 lbs. per quarter.

There’s not really much else to say about this beer. It’s very straightforward, which is typical of the period. I’m slightly surprised that there’s no flaked maize. Most brewers at the time used 10-15% in their grists.

Time to pass you over to Kristen . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: Really neat eye opener for this one laddies. Such a pale beer well back at the turn of the 20th. Solidly hopped, a bit rounder on the end than ones we’d see today but all and all something that would fit into pretty much any beer bar in the world these days.

Malt: Two pale malts. A bit grainy from the US malt but nonetheless, pick two nice ones. Or a solid one….even if its just all American, Belgian, whatever. Just not pils. For the invert, there is so little in this, and its pale, just swap white sugar for it, you won’t tell the difference. 

Hops: I would mention the 5 different hops they used in this beer except they did the same for every beer they seemed to produce. A blend of the same hops, where there doesn’t seem to be rhyme or reason as to how they are broken down. Just split up for whatever reason. That said, you can really use anything for this. Anything at all as it will sing with the malt. There was no indication of any sort of dry hopping but to me, I think you have to. At least 0.5lb/bbl (4g/L) minimum…frankly, this is the type of beer that could take a giant thumping in the hop back but, then it wouldn’t be this recipe, which is what we are talking about.

Yeast: Pick something that doesn’t attenuation so well and I’d under pitch a touch to to keep her a bit more round on the end. London III really would go swimmingly with this beer. Stay away from anything really minerally I’d say…or weird.

Cask: Standard procedure:
1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.


Unknown said...

Hi Ron and Kirsten,
Interesting recipe, a couple of points : 1) UK brewers wouldn't use a Cluster type anywhere near the end of the copper in this quality of beer ,due to the "cattiness" that Kirsten mentioned ( Sonomas being an explanation to this'd rule)
2) The maturation period is too short at under a week , two weeks would be nearer the mark.
3) Colour : It would have been darker in hue , at a minimum of 13-18 ebc .
Best Regards

Ron Pattinson said...


I wouldn't be so sure about Cluster not being used towards the end of the boil. In 1914 they were using Cluster as dry hops. Something I would never have expected a UK brewery to do.

qq said...

B&B have published an insert to a Boddies brewing log that listed their annual hop purchases :

Combine that with their previous report of a 1968 Boddies recipe : which lists hops as

Meakin 47.5%
Baxter 47.5%
Wye 4.8%
0.88 lbs per barrel

Meakin grew Mid-Kent Bramlings in Southfleet (near Gravesend/Bluewater), traded via Morris, Hanbury, Jackson in Paddock Wood (now part of Lupofresh). It's interesting to see Bramlings split out from Goldings, these days they get lumped together.

Baxter were their main supplier of EKG, via Wigan Richardson (based in Worcestershire).

Bit excited that they were actually buying Northern Brewer commercially from Wye College via Bairds, not least because there will be lots of analysis of their Northern Brewer in Wye's Annual Review of that year.

But that hops list gives you an idea of how they spread their purchases across different merchants and farms, even if the end result was pretty similar. Ron, do you have any photos of similar lists from different years?

Going back to the 1901 version - presumably the English malt at least would have been Chevallier, which seems to up the FG by a couple of points.

And then you get into the messy, messy business of pre-1981 Boddies yeast.

On an unrelated note, does anyone know what the story is with Wyeast 1318 London III? US homebrewers are convinced it's a Boddies yeast, which suggests either a lack of geographical knowledge or a complicated story, I've seen it suggested that it came from Courage originally.

Unknown said...

Hi Ron,
The "Californian" hops as in the ledger aren't identified as a specific type , and would more than likely be a Willamette type, and from what I understand from the brewing ledgers and , research would only be a first or second charge, and on the yeast strain recommendation , I'd go for a blend of two types, Manchester area and Burton types
That being said , it's down to personal preference re yeast strains .
Best Regards
PS: I have seen "Oregon"(Cluster) as a late hop addition and as a racking hop in some beers , usually milds though.

Ron Pattinson said...


Willamette onnlt dates to 1976. Doing a quick bit of research on the internet, I did find references to Cluster being grown in California. Anyone have more information on the varities being grown on the West Coast before WW II?

qq said...

AIUI from this kind of time through to the 1970s it was 90-95% Cluster, but don't quote me on that.

BrianW said...

There's a decent overview here with a lot of references that would be worth digging into:

Mike said...

A local history column in the main Sonoma County Newspaper referenced an oral history with one of the descendants of some of the original hop growers. According to that, the original growers were said to have ordered hop rootstock from Germany to start their farms. This may or may not be a common thing but it points to the possibility of having more varieties available than just Cluster.

I would be interested to see if "Sonomas" were sometimes treated differently. That being said, I can't imagine Clusters weren't the dominant variety grown there historically.

Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, that well known 1923 Courage Stout recipe you published had a half ounce of Cluster as the flavor hop, although obviously in a dark beer the flavor would be less dominant than here.

I've always wondered how consistent modern Cluster is to the old one. I'm not completely sure there wouldn't be a good bit of drift in flavor over the decades, especially if they were primarily bittering hops and selection was going on for other characteristics, farmers may not have worried so much about the flavor.

Unknown said...

Hi All ,
On the Sonomas varieties, there could well have been german types grown in Sonomas County , there were also Golding types as well , though I've only seen them used in one UK brewery's records as yet ,with US varieties nearly allways being labeled solely by geographical origin, not type , which is bloody frustrating to say the least.

PS: Thanks Ron , I did know about Willamette only being from the '70 s , but through research, and talking to older brewers , chose it as the most suitable replacement for 'California'