Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1915 Barclay Perkins Dark Lager

Barclay Perkins had the luxury of owning a small Brewhouse in addition to their main plant. In it they brewed small-batch beers but also experimental brews. This beer falls into the latter category.

Lager was popular enough in London to turn up publicans’ price-fixing agreements. But the war presented Lager drinkers with a problem: most of it was imported from Germany or Austria. Some replacement supplies were found in Holland and Denmark, but importing anything became more and more problematic as the war progressed.

Barclay Perkins brewed both a decoction and infusion mash a couple of days apart in March. This is the infusion mash version. I’ve chosen that for a couple of reasons. One: it’s easier for home brewers to do and infusion mash. Also, I don’t understand fully what’s written in that record. Lastly, it doesn’t seem to have gone very well as they didn’t get the extract they expected.

The recipe is very simple: two malts and two hops. The latter being Worcester (1914 CS) and Burgundy (1914 CS).

The fermentation was conducted at a proper, cool Lager temperature, never getting above 50º F. After primary fermentation it was racked to an aluminium tank in the cold store, presumably for lagering.

Unusually for Barclay Perkins, the brewing water wasn’t treated.

After the war Barclay Perkins built a shiny new Lager brewery and became one of the leading UK brewers of the style.

1915 Barclay Perkins Dark Lager
pale malt 11.25 lb 91.84%
amber malt 1.00 lb 8.16%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.25 oz
Strisselspalt 39 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1053
FG 1023
ABV 3.97
Apparent attenuation 56.60%
IBU 27
Mash at 157º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 45.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 2042 Danish lager


Anonymous said...

120 minutes for a boil seems like a lot of fuel during wartime. Considering how much pressure the government was putting on brewers to cut grain consumption, did they also move to cut down on fuel use by 1918 and cause brewers to shorten mash and boil times?

Ron Pattinson said...


2 hours was the boil time of most Barclay perkins beers. They only started reducing the time in 1919.

Also this was an experimental brew on their small kit. It wasn't using a great deal of energy, anyway. The decoction version was boiled for 3.5 hours because of the poor extract.

Not seen any evidence of mashing times being reduced.

John said...

Was a dark lager any lager that wasn't 100% pale malt? I'm possibly making a fool of myself (I know nowt about this subject really) here but I thought dark lagers were dunkels, and were dark, dark, if you see what I mean?

Ron Pattinson said...


Dark LAgers came in all sorts of colours. This one might well have been darkened with caramel at racking time. Barclay Perkins liked doing that.