Friday, 9 July 2021

Early 19th-century IPA

Still banging the IPA drum. Not quite sure why, other than that I've started. Why stop now?

To delight you today, I've details gleaned not from analyses, but from brewing records. Giving an insight into the hopping levels. As expected, they're between very high and insanely high. Anything over 20 lbs per quarter (336 lbs approx.) of malt is very heavy.  To contextualise, Combe's - if it was really them -- Porter got just 10 lbs per quarter and even the strong Keeping Stout no more than 20 lbs. Younger's Scotch Ales, 5 to 7 lbs.

To explain the question mark, Combe is just a guess. All I know for certain is that it isn't from Reid, as it says in the archive catalogue. Why do I guess Combe? Because it's in a Watney Combe, Reid archive. And the quantities brewed too large for Watney. Can't be sure, though. Unless by some miracle I came across another Combe brewing record.

Given the way IPA was produced and aged, the FG when sold would have been considerably lower than the racking gravity I've listed. The final rate of attenuation would have been considerably higher, 85%-95, much like the analyses from the 1840s.

Not sure of the intended market. Possibly both export and domestic. Pretty sure I've seen UK adverts for Younger's XXP.

Early 19th-century IPA
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1838 Combe? IPA 1056.2 1007.0 6.51 87.55% 28.62 6.53
1839 Combe? IPA 1056.8 1007.0 6.59 87.67% 26.6 5.88
1851 Younger, Wm. XXP 1072 1018 7.14 75.00% 24.00 8.18
1852 Younger, Wm. XXP 1067 1017 6.61 74.63% 24.00 8.20
1858 Younger, Wm. XXP 1059 1016 5.69 72.88% 21.05 5.00
  Average   1062.2 1013.0 6.51 79.55% 24.85 6.76
Brewing record held at the Westminster City Archives, document number 789/264.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/5.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/14.


Anonymous said...

If you ever come across descriptions of the flavor profiles they were after with the hopping, it would be interesting to read about.

I have to assume they weren't just after preservation and equalizing bitterness levels, and knew a lot about how hop flavor itself changed after beer went through a long fermentation and aging. I can't believe they were simply thinking that massively increasing the hops in an aged beer was a formulaic compensation for the effects of storage, the way some of the more naive writers of 10-20 years ago repeating the IPA origin myth seemed to think.

I don't know if this something 19th century writers would have noted, though. It may have been too obvious, for all I know.

Ron Pattinson said...


having read lots of old sources, it was all about preservation. Anything which was going to be aged was always heavily hopped. Flavour wasn't a primary consideration.