Saturday, 16 February 2019

Let's Brew - 1887 Fullers XXK

With Fullers in the news, I thought it was time to chip in something. With a look back into their brewing records. And what better beer to pick than their Burton Ale.

This beer demonstrates well the decline in gravities in the early 20th century. This was Fullers only Burton Ale and would have been available in their pubs as one of the standard draught beers. Their equivalent beer in the 1920s, BO, had an OG of just 1061º. Even OBE, considered super-strength between the wars, was only 1072º

Though I’m not 100% sure that’s what they billed it as in the 1880s. They may well just have called it Stock Ale. Exactly when such beers adopted the name of Burton is unclear to me. Maybe Martyn Cornell can pin the date down better.

The grist holds few surprises, having a typical 19th-century simplicity. The slight exception being the presence of some crystal malt, the use of which was mostly limited to Mild Ales in the 19th century. The brewing record is very vague about the sugar employed, simply describing it as “Sacc.”. No. 2 invert is my best guess.

The hops were HB, EK, W of K, illegible and Poperinge, all from the 1886 harvest. As this beer was brewed in April 1887, all were pretty fresh. This is reflected in the high (calculated) IBUs of 74.

Though that would probably have been tempered a little by the time of sale, as I’m sure XXK would have received some ageing, probably at least 6 months. I’m pretty sure that in London ageing of Burton Ales was performed in trade casks rather than vats.

1887 Fullers XXK
pale malt 13.50 lb 79.41%
crystal malt 80 L 0.50 lb 2.94%
No. 2 invert sugar 3.00 lb 17.65%
Poperinge 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 60 mins 3.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1080
FG 1021
ABV 7.81
Apparent attenuation 73.75%
IBU 74
SRM 14
1st Mash at 150º F
2nd Mash at 155º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

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