Saturday 4 November 2023

Let's Brew - 1868 William Younger 80/-

It's time for another type of recipe. One from Scotland. A lovely Shilling Ale.

Don’t get confused by the name. 80/- of the 1860’s was a totally different style of beer to what it is today.

The lower end of the Shilling Ales were effectively sorts of Mild Ale. That is, moderately-hopped beers that were sold young. In the case of Shilling Ales, that was usually in bottled form. That’s given away by the casks into which it was racked. This particular brew was packaged into 8 hogshead, 34 half hogshead and 10 quarter hogsheads. These were bottler’s rather than pub casks. Draught beer was mostly packaged in barrels and kilderkins.

There are a couple of odd features of this beer. A quarter of the hops were spent hops from another brew. I’ve greatly reduced the hopping to account for that. On the other hand, it’s very heavily dry-hopped. Which is unusual for a weaker Shilling Ale.  

The original fermentation was pretty short. It was brewed on 5th September and racked on the 10th. I’m not convinced that the gravity was fully tracked in the fermentation record. My guess for the true FG would be more like 1025º.

There’s an interesting note at the bottom of the page saying that the 6th September was a particularly hot day with the temperature hitting 80º F. Which demonstrates the power of attemperators, as the fermentation profiles look the same as in cooler weather. 

1868 William Younger 80/-
pale malt 15.75 lb 100.00%
Goldings 90 min 2.00 oz spent hops
Goldings dry hops 1.25 oz
OG 1068
FG 1030
ABV 5.03
Apparent attenuation 55.88%
IBU 26
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 185º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

The above is an excerpt from my award-winning book on Scottish brewing:

Which is also available in Kindle form:


Anonymous said...

Not seen spent hops used like this before I dont think? Have you come across it much, or at all Ron? Was it just penny pinching do you think?

Anonymous said...

Do you uave a sense what customers called this in a pub?

It was interesting looking back at some of the Younger labels on the site because in at least one case they used the XX/- notation, sometimes they used familiar names like India Pale Ale or Best Mild, and sometimes they seemed to use unique names like Holyrood Ale. It's not clear to me how it sorted out in the everyday level.

Ron Pattinson said...


Ive only really seen it at William Younger.

Ron Pattinson said...


probably just Ale.



Anonymous said...

If the spent hops had initially been used for dry hopping (not boiled ) wouldn’t pretty much all of the alpha acids remained for bittering a future batch? Seems messy, but doable.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Ron. Is it a 19th century thing or does it continue later?

Rob Sterowski said...

While previously used hops still have plenty of bittering power, the issue with re-using them is that you don’t really know how much power they still have. This wouldn't be a big problem for a brewery the size of Wm Younger though as they would quite soon figure out by experience how much to use.