Tuesday 28 November 2023

Shepherd Neame sugars in 1971

Next, we’re taking look at the sugars.

You can see that Shepherd Neame was one of the brewers who threw some malt extract into the mash tun. Presumably, to add extra diastatic power. I’m not sure it was really necessary. It seems to have been a sort of safety net for nervous brewers.

It’s odd to see No. 3 invert turning up in beers like Light Ale. Beers you would expect to be quite pale. Whereas you would expect to, and do, find it in the Mild and Brown Ale. Here, it appears in everything except the one Pale Ale parti-gyle.

And that’s about where my understanding of the sugars ends. Everything other than the Brown Ale/Mild parti-gyle included something called Wortex. What was it? I don’t rightly know. But, given the beers it appears in, I doubt it had much colour.

Whereas the UKCS in the dark beers probably was quite dark. My guess is that the “CS” stands for caramel syrup. And, certainly, that assumption helps to give the finished beers the expected colour.

WSI? Possibly some sort of Special Invert? That’s about the best guess I can come up with.

I won’t bother with a table for the hops. All the beers contained the same two types, both from the brewery’s own hop gardens, one from the 1968 harvest and the other from 1970. 

Shepherd Neame sugars in 1971
Beer Style malt extract no. 3 sugar Wortex UKCS WSI caramel total sugar
Brown Ale Brown Ale 0.80% 9.61%   9.61% 6.41% 1.49% 27.92%
Mild Mild 0.80% 9.61%   9.61% 6.41% 1.49% 27.92%
Light Ale Pale Ale 0.92% 11.01% 5.50%       17.43%
Bitter Pale Ale 0.99%   6.93%       7.92%
Best Bitter Pale Ale 1.10%   6.59%       7.69%
Abbey Ale Pale Ale 0.64% 12.74% 6.37%       19.75%
Old English Stock Ale Pale Ale 0.92% 11.01% 5.50%       17.43%
Bishop's Finger Strong Ale 0.71% 11.35% 7.09%       19.15%
Stout Stout   6.12%       2.04% 8.16%
Shepherd Neame brewing book held at the brewery, document number H-5O5.


Richard said...

Guessing Wortex was a trade name🤷‍♂️

Anonymous said...

Can we look forward to some recipes from Shep? I'd love to brew some of them. Thanks Ronald.


Jonathan said...

"Wortex" = wort extender maybe? Wahl mentions colorless corn sugar blends of glucose, maltose, and dextrose made to imitate wort were available in the US, maybe it's something similar to extend the length of the brewing run?

Anonymous said...

Judging by the name, Wortex suggests a non-diastatic malt extract syrup. But it could indeed be a maltose syrup made from starch as well. Probably intended for extending the brew length.

Iain said...

Jonathan, I believe back in the day (possibly in Wahl's time), Schell's used to use a similar wort substitute consisting of boiled dextrose and hops to ‘krausen’ fermenting beer during lagering.