Wednesday 21 February 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1971 Boddington IP

A recent Twitter discussion about Boddington’s Bitter prompted me to dive into some of the records I harvested last year in Manchester.

I’ve still got hundreds of photos of brewing records – not just Boddington’s – that I haven’t processed yet. It’s a time consuming process. And I have finite amounts of time. I usually have some other motive, such as writing a book, for delving into them.

Note that the brew house name wasn’t Bitter, but IP. Which, undoubtedly, originally stood for IPA. Though I guess this beer isn’t very much like a style Nazi’s idea of an IPA, with its OG of well under 1040º.

The recipe is surprisingly complicated, containing three or possibly four types of malt. I’m not sure about the wheat, as the description is pretty vague.  That, along with the lager malt, is responsible for the very pale colour of the finished beer. There are three proprietary sugars in the original: DMS, Fla. and Br. I’ve no idea what any of them are and have replaced then with No. 2 invert.

I’m not sure if you can still get enzymic malt. If you don’t have it, just bump up the pale malt.

The hops are barely described in the record, only listing the growers name. There’s no clue as to where they were grown, what variety they were or even which year they’re from. Meaning the hopping as an almost total guess.

If anyone is interested, I can also publish recipes for this beer from the 1950’s. 1960s and 1980s. It would be interesting to see any changes to the recipe.

1971 Boddington IP
pale malt 5.25 lb 67.74%
lager malt 1.00 lb 12.90%
enzymic malt 0.25 lb 3.23%
wheat 0.25 lb 3.23%
flaked maize 0.25 lb 3.23%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 9.68%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1035.5
FG 1003
ABV 4.30
Apparent attenuation 91.55%
IBU 28
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)


Thom Farrell said...

According to Mike Dunn in Local Brew (1986), 1971 was the year that Boddingtons IP was reformulated. Can you back this up? Cheers

Nick said...

DMS is surely Diastat Malt Syrup.
Fla could be Superflavex, a malt extract with crystal malt, but that was normally SFX.Not a clue about Br.

Ron Pattinson said...

Thom Farrell,

just had a quick look. The 1966 and the 1972 recipes look very similar to this. Only real difference that I can see is that the 1966 version contains no lager malt and the 1972 version is only 1034.5. Other than that, they're pretty much identical.

John Kellett said...

Yes please Ron, would like to see the other grists, keep up the good work.
Thanks John Kellett

Thom Farrell said...

How unusual was it for a British brewer to use lager malt in an ale grist during this period?

Ron Pattinson said...


not that unusual. Hardy Ale had some.

CD said...

Could the "enzymatic malt" be replaced with US 6-row, which has high enzyme levels?

J. Karanka said...

FG of 1.003! That's much drier than what people usually think of a pint of bitter.

Ron Pattinson said...


I suppose you could, though enzymatic malt is a very specific thing.

Raoul Duke said...

Isn't encymatic malt similar to acidulated malt?
Given the original, relatively comlex grist and the small percentage of encymatic malt couldn't it be possible that it was used to keep mash-PH at the desired Level?

qq said...

The time I'm really interested in Boddies is the "great change". In the 70s Michael Hardman referred to as an archetype of the ‘intense bitterness’ of British bitter and the 1977 GBG called it ‘exceptionally bitter’. That changed at some point in the early 1980s - probably around late 1981 according to internet anecdote. Some of that "bitterness" may have been 1.003 dryness of course.

So Ron, it would be interesting to see if anything changed in the recipes around that time - or at least start by looking for differences between the recipes of eg 1977 and 1985, and then seeing if one can refine the time at which any differences kicked in?

I have a bit of an obsession with the Boddies yeast. There's rumours that they "lost" the yeast in the early 80s, and that that was a big part of the "change". I don't know the history of Boddies well enough, but a lot of breweries cleaned up their yeast at that time as part of the move to cylindroconical fermenters or even continuous fermenters (the latter pretty much require a single yeast strain and one that drops well). So there may have been the pressure from equipment changes, as well as a possible cockup in the lab.

Certainly an attenuation of >90% implies the yeast either contained some "clean" "Brettanomyces" or a diastaticus Saccharomyces. Diastaticus is a label for any yeast with the STA1 gene that munches complex sugars that normal yeast can't eat - it has been in the news lately after White Labs were sued for selling yeast contaminated with a diastaticus strain. If you're expecting an FG of 1.012 and the diastaticus munches it down to 1.002 then at the very least you'll have a beer that tastes wrong, and probably bottles exploding from the extra CO2. So I'd be tempted to add a bit of WLP644 Sacch Trois or something to the yeast mix, just to get that attenuation.

Certainly 1318 "London III" won't get you there on its own. But I have a deeper problem with that yeast - anyone from Britain can see the obvious problem with the claim that a London yeast came from Boddies. I've seen it suggested that it came originally from Courage. The US yeast companies seem to mostly use yeast harvested from bottles in the 1990s, so I wonder if what happened was that after Boddies had a problem with their original yeast they bought in yeast from Courage. Or it might just have been in their yeast bank?

It'd be interesting to do some DNA work with 1318 and compare it with yeast from old Courage IRS and/or yeast from a Simonds Farsons Cisk beer in Malta, which as the name suggests was part of the Courage empire and supposedly still use a derivative of the Courage yeast. And of course compare it with yeast from old Boddies - has anyone rescued old Boddies yeast? I'd be interested...

To use three sugars they must be in there for specific purposes - a "heavy-lifting" brewing sugar (Br?) to provide fermentables, a "caramel" for adjusting colour to spec (DMS = Dark Muscovado Syrup?) and then well, possibly sugars for tweaking gravity and/or priming??? Do you have quantities of each? You've mentioned before that the Brewers' Almanack had lots of adverts for this kind of thing, perhaps a 1971 edition might provide inspiration?

qq said...

Looking at the 1987 recipe :

One big difference is that the grist simplified - 96.3% English pale malt, a smidge of 6-row and then 0.4% invert (presumably just to adjust OG to target).

Mash at 150F (was 151F), OG 1034 (was 1035.5), FG 1.006 (was 1.003), SRM 7 (was 5), attenuation 83.62% (was 91.55%), ABV 3.78% (was 4.3%).

So it looks like the yeast was doing pretty similar things as in 1971, if you allow for the 9% invert in the earlier beer.

Is there any reference to hop vintage in the 1971 records? In 1987 the hops averaged 3 years old - and there was less of them :

1971 1oz Fuggles @90, 1oz Goldings @30, 0.25oz Goldings dry hop.
1987 0.82oz Goldings @90, 0.38oz Goldings @20.

So 2.25 oz of (fresh-ish?) hops, versus 1.2 oz of knackered old ones, in a much simpler, less fermentable grist.

Northern England Brewer said...

Isn't Wyeast 1318 from Young's brewery, rather than Boddingtons? It can't be Boddingtons, surely, which was a multi strain affair that apparently got lost for ever. Without the yeast they used I think it is impossible to accurately reproduce the beer so many of us loved. Unfortunately. Won't stop me trying though, so big thanks for the recipe and information.

qq said...

Wyeast 1768 is generally linked to Young's, it's unlikely they would have two from there.

But all these commercial yeasts are isolated from a single colony, so can't hope to replicate the full brewing performance of a traditional multistrain. However, as I mention above a lot of breweries went down to a single strain as part of the move to modern fermenters in the 70s/80s. And in the particular case of 1318, it's possible that it represents a London yeast that Boddies started using after they lost their original multistrain.