Monday, 25 September 2017

Session Imperial Stout

No, I’m not just pissing you around. Such a thing did exist. Sort of.

WW I had a devastating effect on British beer, especially when it came to strength. Average gravity fell by almost 25% between 1914 and 1922. But the beers at the very top end were the most badly affected. Few could afford to buy beers with gravities over 1100º and most such beers disappeared.

Barclay Perkins, of course, were famous for their extremely strong Russian Stout. It was discontinued during WW I, but then brought back in 1921. But the gravity had tumbled from over 1100º to just 1061º. Not very imperial, really. They did also brew an export version at the old strength, though I’m not sure when that returned. The first record I have of it is in 1924, but it could have been earlier than that.

At not much more than half the strength of the original beer, you really could call it a session version. I’m not sure how this version was matured, if at all. Given its modest gravity, I can’t imagine it being vatted for two years. Though it might have had a few months in vats.

I know that it was usually a bottled beer. Though there is one Whitbread Gravity Book entry from 1925 for a draught version, selling at 8d a pint. From other Whitbread Gravity Book entries it looks like the weaker version was called Imperial Stout and the stronger one Russian Imperial Stout. There was a big difference in price. In 1937 a nip of the strong version cost 10d, while a half pint of the weak one cost 6d.

Both beers were discontinued during WW II and only the stronger version seems to have returned after the war. The first record I have is from 1950, when a half pint bottle cost 22.5d. Though that’s good value compared to their Lager, which cosy 12.5d per half pint despite only having an OG of 1036.5º. So a third of the strength, but almost half the price. I know which I’d have been drinking.

Here are some details:

Barclay Perkins Session Imperial Stout 1921 - 1941
Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel) Pitch temp boil time (hours) colour
1921 1061.3 1020.0 5.46 67.37% 8.49 2.18 2.00 58.5º 2 2
1924 1061.4 1021.0 5.34 65.80% 8.00 2.02 0.00 59º 2 1.75 280
1928 1060.4 1021.5 5.14 64.39% 6.70 1.68 0.00 59º 2.25 300
1929 1060.7 1022.5 5.05 62.93% 8.00 1.95 0.00 59º 2 1.75 290
1936 1060.4 1020.0 5.34 66.88% 6.25 2.25 0.00 59.5º F 2.5 2 360
1940 1055.4 1022.5 4.35 59.36% 7.65 2.09 0.00 60.5º 2 1.75 280
1941 1055.6 1022.0 4.45 60.45% 6.56 1.65 0.00 60º 1.75 1.75 1.5 290
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/608, ACC/2305/01/611, ACC/2305/01/614, ACC/2305/01/621, ACC/2305/01/623 and ACC/2305/01/624.

Next time we’ll be looking at the grist.

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Poll result

The results are in for my poll on which book to write next. I would say they were surprising, but on reflection, I guess they weren't.

A clear winner - with over 50% of the vote - was the 1859 Beer Style Guide.

Porter! vol. 2 5 (6%)
Range!! 4 (4%)
Mild! vol. 2 3 (3%)
1959 Beer Style Guide 12 (14%)
Victory! 5 (6%)
1859 Beer Style Guide 43 (53%)
Let's Brew vol. 2 9 (11%)

Which is a little awkward. As, when I thought about it, I had some doubts about this book. Because  I wrote the 1909 Beer Style Guide with Kristen and it seems a bit impolite to write a sequel without his involvement. Given that I've only received a handful of recipes from him over the last couple of years, getting him to write a whole set for a new book doesn't look very likely.

Knocking out the two Beer Style Guides, Let's Brew vol. 2 is the winner. Though, with only 111% of the votes, not a very popular one. Which leaves me in a bit of a quandry. What should I do next?

The biggest surprise was Range! getting any votes at all. As I realise that I forgot to explain what it was. And the title isn't particularly explanatory. I'll put that right now. The book would have eight chapters, eacj covering a time period:

1800 - 1830
1830 - 1850
1850 - 1880
1880 - 1914
1914 - 1920
1920 - 1939
1939 - 1947
1947 - 1970

For each period I'd pick a couple of breweries and have recipes for the full range of beers that they brewed. Like, say, all the Barclay Perkins beers from 1852 or all Whitbread's from 1940. Depending on how mad I go, that would add up to 200-300 recipes.

Any interest in a book like that?

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Let’s brew - 1942 Barclay Perkins X

We’re only one year further into WW II, yet there have been some significant changes to Barclay Perkins X Ale.

Most obviously, the gravity has been dropped around 4 points to 1027.5º. Personally, I’m pretty dubious of anything with an OG under 1030º. Though the primings added at racking time did raise that to 1029.5º. But at less than 3% ABV, you’d need to be very determined to get very tipsy.

Flaked maize was a very popular adjunct before WW II. From what I’ve seen, at least 75%, if not more, of brewers used it. With imports of maize drying up or being used for other purposes, brewers had no option but to drop it.

However, a couple of years into the war UK barley production was soaring. So the government decided to compel brewers to use flaked barley as an adjunct. Skipping the malting stage saved on energy. Brewers seem to have used flaked barley in much the same way as they had flaked maize. This beer also has another adjunct, torrefied barley. Not sure why that might have been. Possibly just because it was available.

This is an even stranger wartime recipe. Looks like they were just using whatever ingredients they had. Surprisingly, the adjuncts weren’t really any cheaper than malt. As I can see since the brewing record lists the prices:

grain price per quarter (shillings)
Torrefied barley 215
amber malt 280
crystal malt 235
MA malt 190
MA malt 225
lager malt 125
flaked barley 205

It looks like the lager malt, given its low price, was something that had been bought before the start of the war. And doubtless that’s why it was included here: they were just using it up.

The hops, as you would expect, remain all English. Three types of Mid-Kent Fuggles.

The colour is given as 12 SRM in the brewing record, but I know that, while there had been semi-dark and dark versions of both X and XX before the war, the semi-dark X and dark XX had been dropped early in the war. Meaning you’ll need to colour this up to 20 SRM with caramel.

1942 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 3.75 lb 60.98%
amber malt 0.50 lb 8.13%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 5.37%
lager malt 0.25 lb 4.07%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 8.13%
torrefied barley 0.25 lb 4.07%
no. 3 sugar 0.50 lb 8.13%
caramel 0.07 lb 1.14%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1027.5
FG 1006
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 78.18%
IBU 18
SRM 12
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 22 September 2017

Malzbier, dunkel

Are you finding all these different types of Malzbier confusing? Don’t worry, you’re not the only one.

We’ve just seen another dark, top-fermenting Malzbier, though that was called Gerstenmalzbier rather than simply Malzbier. Though this Malzbier is also brewed from 100% barley. I’m really struggling to see the distinction.

Anyway, I’ll crack on with summarising Olberg.

To brew this beer Munich malt is always used as a base with 6-8% caramel malt and a sufficient quantity of well roasted Farbmalz. Mashing in is at 35º C then the temperature is slowly raised, after resting for half an hour, to 50º, 62º and 70º C, when it’s rested for half an hour for saccharification. A third of the mash is left in the tun while the other two-thirds, the thick mash, is boiled in the kettle for 30 minutes. When this is returned to the thin mash the temperature of the combined mash is raised to the mash out temperature of 75º C. The wort is drawn off after a rest of 30-40 minutes.

The sparge is performed so that a wort of 10-12º Balling is produced. As soon as the kettle is full, the hops are added at a rate of 0.6 pounds per 50 kg. of malt.

Depending on the outside temperature, the wort is pitched at between 15º and 19º C (15º C is normal) with I litre (1.5 litres in winter) of top-fermenting yeast and is fermented in a tun. When a barrel fermentation is preferred, the wort is moved from the collecting tun to one or two hectolitre casks. Naturally the pitching temperature needs to be 3 to 4º C higher.

When primary fermentation is over, to get the beer completely clear it’s filled into 4 to 10 hectolitre casks and from there into bottles. The casks can be bunged and the beer then filtered and put straight into bottles. Alternatively, the casks can be left unbunged and 2 to 3% Kräusen added. If the beer needs to stay bright for a long time, it’s pasteurised at 75º C for half an hour.

Breweries which produce strong beers and which have a small side kettle can make a Malzbier from their sparge wort. Of course, these won’t good, strong Malzbiers, but only cheap ones with sugar added. It’s also possible to make a smaller quantity properly. Naturally, you can also run off a few hectolitres of wort before it’s hopped. Boil for 1.5 hours, hopping rate 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Malzbier, dunkel in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 81-82, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

Let’s see if I can work out how this differs from the last Malzbier. The gravity looks higher – 10-12º Balling rather than 8-12º Balling. The grist is also different containing Farbmalz in addition to Munich and caramel malt. The hopping rate is a little higher at 0.6 rather than 0.5 pounds per 50 kg of malt. But that’s not really significant.

One big difference is that no sugar solution is added before bottling. Which leads me to assume that perhaps this wasn’t as sweet as the other type of Malzbier. Though, unfortunately, there’s no mention of the degree of attenuation, making that just guesswork.

Another guess is that these beers weren’t that alcoholic. Probably not over 2% ABV, despite having the gravity of a standard-strength beer.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists 1935 – 1936

Time to take a look at Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists in 1956 and 1836.

If you can remember as far back as last week, you’ll recall that there was a large degree of variation in Barclay’s Mild Ale grists. Are we going to find the same with their Pale Ales? In a word, no.

Whereas there was quite a bit of variation with the sugar and the base malt for X Ale, there’s none of that for the Pale Ales. Not only are the malts and sugars used the same for all brews, the percentages are pretty much identical, too. The only tiny difference is in the hopping, where not all examples contained Golding varieties. Other than that, everything is the same.

Interesting that there should be such a contract between Bitter and Mild. I’m not sure why that might be, Other than that they were more reluctant to play around with the recipe of the pricier beers but were prepared to use whatever was to hand for Mild.

Note that the sugar percentage is higher than for X Ale. It was often the case that Pale Ales would contain more sugar than Mild. Especially stronger Pale Ales. It was a hangover from the 19th century when brewers wanted to keep the body and colour as light as possible.

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale grists 1935 - 1936
Year Beer OG pale malt PA malt flaked maize no. 2 sugar caramel hops
1935 PA 1052.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties, Saaz dry hops
1935 PA 1052.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties, Saaz dry hops
1936 PA 1052.7 29.17% 44.73% 7.78% 18.15% 0.16% MK Fuggles, Saaz dry hops
1935 XLK (bottling) 1039 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1935 XLK (trade) 1045.7 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1935 XLK (trade) 1045.5 29.15% 43.09% 8.87% 18.59% 0.30% MK Fuggles, MK Golding varieties
1936 XLK (trade) 1045.9 29.17% 44.73% 7.78% 18.15% 0.16% MK Fuggles
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Let’s brew Wednesday - 1941 Barclay Perkins X

We’ve now moved on to the war years, and the effect of the conflict is easy to read. There are the sure signs of supply difficulties with some ingredients.

Barclay Perkins had been enthusiastic users of unmalted adjuncts since they were first allowed in 1880. Usually in the form of flaked maize. It made up about 14% of the grist in 1935, but in this version there’s none. There’s also far less sugar, down from over 10% to around 3.5%. Neither of these recipe changes would have been voluntary.

To compensate for the reduction in sugar and maize, the percentage of base grain has increased from around 60% to over 80%. Many would tell you that this would have improved the beer, but I’ve become much less snobby about adjuncts. I doubt the brewery or its brewers necessarily thought raising the malt content was improving the beer.

No. 3 invert is a guess. There’s no indication of the sugar type in the brewing record. Which leads me on to another, indirect impact of the war. This record is less complete than pre-war examples. The colour isn’t listed and neither are details of when the beer was racked. Was this due to less experienced personnel working in the brew house?

One thing that hadn’t changed was very heavy priming, three quarts per barrel. Which raised the OG by three gravity points to 1034.3. Though that still leaves it with a lower gravity than the 1935 version had before priming. A general reduction in the brewery’s gravities left X Ale not much stronger than Ale 4d. Eventually the gravity differential would dwindle to virtually nothing, dooming Ale 4d to being dropped.

1941 Barclay Perkins X
pale malt 0.33 lb 4.78%
mild malt 5.50 lb 79.59%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 4.78%
amber malt 0.33 lb 4.78%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.26 lb 3.76%
caramel 0.16 lb 2.32%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1031.3
FG 1006.5
ABV 3.28
Apparent attenuation 79.23%
IBU 18
SRM 16
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

O'zapft is

The Oktoberfest in Munich kicked off on Saturday. And by chance I stumbled on a live report about it on German television.

It says a lot about the event's status in Germany that a full two hours (11:00 to 13:00) was dedicated to it on national channel ARD, sort of the equivalent of BBC 1.

Obviously they showed the parade of drays and marching bands trailing up to the festival site. And of course they showed the major of Munich tapping the first barrel. But there was lots of other interesting stuff that was new to me.

Well, even the tapping ceremony was of interest. It took place in a Spaten tent, Schottenhamel. I assumed that there would just be the one wooden cask for show, with the rest of the beer kegged. But that wasn't the case. You could see beer from the wood being served in the background. And here was me thinking only Augustiner still supplied the festival with oak barrels. I didn't think Spaten still produced cask beer.

They even had an interview with one of Schottenhamel's beer tappers. Luckily Dolores was on hand to translate his impenetrable Bavarian accent. Evidently he'd inherited a magic tap, one that served quicker than any other. Turns out it wasn't so much magic, as a specially-modified tap he'd inherited from a colleague. He turned down an offer of 1,500 euros for it.

What was particularly nice was that the presenters were all tucking into beer while presenting. Not going crazy, but visibly drinking beer on camera. And they were all wearing traditional dress. (Did I mention Dolores picked up a second-hand dirndl while we were in Berlin?)

But most interesting was the stuff about Oide Wiesn, a festival within the festival. Originally introduced as a one-off event for the 200th anniversary in 2010, it's become a regular feature. Featuring old-fashioned farground rides and smaller beer tents. And here's the bit that really got my attention: all the draught beer is from the wood.

It left me longing to be there with a litre of beer in my hand. Maybe next year.

Monday, 18 September 2017

How sour is Gose?

My elder son, Andrew, recently moved out. Great news for me and Dolores.

No, it’s not that we don’t have to buy him beer any more or wash his clothes. He brings his washing around and raids Alexei’s beer stash. Much more practical than that. It’s freed up his room.

I’m in the process of turning it into my office. I bought some massive bookshelves from a local bookshop that was closing down and moved some of the ones from the living room up there. Finally my books will all be easily accessible and in one place.

I’m only part way through the process, but I’ve already recovered a couple of book I hadn’t been able to find. It’s a miracle I could ever find any book, given there was no logic to how they were stored. I desperately need to find a couple of books for an article I’m writing.

One of those books is “Gose-Häppchen”, undoubtedly the best book written about Gose. It was so long since I’d seen it that I’d forgotten much of its contents. Including a reproduction of a very important document. And one that should settle an argument about how sour Gose was.

The document in question is an evaluation of the first test batch brewed for Lothar Goldhahn at Schultheiss in Berlin in 1986. This is the beer that was based on descriptions of Gose drinkers and which got their nod as matching the original. That seems pretty conclusive proof that this beer was authentic.

And do you know what’s great? The document lists the acidity: 3.1 pH. To put that into context, vinegar is 2.9 pH. Only the very sourest Lambics have a pH value that low.

It’s just like I’ve been telling everyone: Gose shouldn’t be “slightly tart”, it should be mouth-puckeringly sour.

Here’s the document, in case you don’t believe me:

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Gerstenmalzbier hell und dunkel

No, I hadn’t forgotten. Just been busy with other stuff. And having a few arsing issues, due to the need to translate from German. Finally, another style from Olberg’s “Moderne Braumethoden”.

This is another type of low-gravity, sweet top-fermenting beer. They were a funny lot, traditional North German beer styles. Most were pretty weak, either through a low gravity or a poor degree of attenuation. Few seem to have been intoxicating. I guess drinkers were used to knocking back a spirit or two with their beers.

Right, let’s get on with the paraphrasing.

These sweet-tasting beers are produced in various different ways based of the preferences of the intended customers.

In general they are brewed dark. It’s recommended to use Munich malt with in addition an appropriate amount of Farbmalz and 5% to 8% caramel malt, which will lend a natural sweetness and stop the beer attenuating too much.

In the first method short kettle mash is employed, with mashing in at 35º C. The mash is left to stand for half an hour to allow it to dissolve, then the temperature is raised to 50º and finally 70º C, at which temperature saccharification takes place.

In the second method the mash is heated in the aforementioned way to 65º to 68º C, a third is left in the tun to saccharify and the rest is boiled for half an hour before being added back to the tun, raising it to the mash out temperature of 75º C. After a rest of half an hour the wort is run off. It is then boiled for 1.5 to 2 hours with half a pound of good hops per 50 kg of malt, added 45 minutes before the end of the boil. The gravity varies between 8º and 12º Balling, depending on the price it is to be sold for.

The wort is top-fermented in tuns at a temperature of between 12º and 17º C (15º C is normal), depending on the outside temperature. Per 50 kg of malt 1 litre of yeast is pitched. At the end of primary fermentation the beer is filled into 2 to 5 hectolitre barrels, and is allowed to overflow through the bung. The clear beer is filled into bottles from these casks.

Or the beer is transferred to 10-hectolitre casks, bunged after three days and then the highly-carbonated beer is filtered directly into trade casks after having a cooled, boiled sugar solution in the required amount added to it.

To brew pale, golden-coloured Malzbier, high-dried pale malt is used along with 5% caramel malt. The mashing scheme is as above, with a 15 minute boil of the thick mash. Care is taken that during primary fermentation the expulsion of yeast is not interrupted. For this reason a pure yeast is used.

Higher gravity beers don’t need to be sparged because of their strength and beers over 11º Balling are hopped at a rate of 0.75 pounds per 50 kg of malt. High-dried malt is used, which naturally tend to a lower degree of attenuation, also the higher saccharification temperature of 70º C has the purpose of producing less easily fermentable sugar such as maltodextrine.
Source: Olberg, Johannes (1927) Erntebier in Moderne Braumethoden, pp 72-73, A. Hartleben, Wien & Leipzig.

Half a pound of hops per 50 kg of malt is a very low level of hopping. Not so surprising as the beer was intended to be sweet. It’s the equivalent of 1.65 lbs per quarter of malt. An English Mild Ale of the same period had 5 to 6 lbs per quarter, a Bitter 7 to 8 lbs and Strong Ale as much as 14 lbs.

I really wish there was some mention of the degree of fermentation. I suspect it was very low. Certainly the Malzbier brewed at Groter Jan in Berlin in the 1930’s was under 2% ABV despite having an OG of 11.5º Plato. That was hopped at about 0.25 lb per barrel, which is about the same as Olberg recommends for Malzbier.

I’m tempted to knock up a recipe, though keeping the degree of fermentation low might be a problem. Would any of you brew it if a did publish a recipe? I don’t want to just waste my time.

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Let’s Brew 1936 Barclay Perkins DB

I’m always working on stuff in the background. Things that may or may not surface at some point.

One of my current projects is converting the old recipes in Mild! plus to my new standard format. It’s a bit weird having them in two different formats. Latest up for revision is Doctor Brown Ale, Barclay Perkins Brown Ale.

You probably remember me saying that Brown Ales don’t turn up that often in brewing records. That’s because at many breweries it was just a bottled version of Mild, though it may well have been primed differently. Meaning there are no records for specifically Brown Ale.

One exception was in London, where both Barclay Perkins and Whitbread had a beer called DB that was a separate brew. Neither beer was a version of their Brown Ale, but an individual brew with its own particular grist. A grist unlike that of either their Pale Ales or Mild Ales.

The lack of mild malt and amber malt mark it out from the Milds, while the presence of crystal malt and No. 3 invert set it apart from the Pale Ales. Having a grist unlike any other beer meant that it had to be brewed single-gyle, something Barclay Perkins didn’t do very often. Most brews were dome sort of parti-gyle.

Another feature which singles DB out is the very heavy priming. A maximum of 1 gallon per barrel was used in other beers. DB has two gallons. Which is enough to raise the effective OG to 1046.5º.

In the case of Milds, which were cask-conditioned, some of the primings would have been fermented. Not so sure if this would have been the case with DB. Doubtless in would have spent some time in a tank before bottling, but I’m not sure how much fermentation would have been going on. Assuming little, the degree of attenuation falls to about 66%.

1936 Barclay Perkins DB
pale malt 6.00 lb 64.31%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 10.72%
maize 1.25 lb 13.40%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 5.36%
brown sugar 0.50 lb 5.36%
caramel 0.08 lb 0.86%
Fuggles 150 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1041
FG 1010
ABV 4.10
Apparent attenuation 75.61%
IBU 29
SRM 15
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 15 September 2017

Barclay Perkins X Ale grists 1935 - 1936

As promised, here are the Barclay Perkins grists. Well, some of them.

I’ve decided to split them up to make the tables a bit more manageable, I’m kicking off with X Ale. Basically standing in for all of their Milds. Because X Ale was in all of the Mild parti-gyles and sometimes single-gyled.

When I started harvesting these records I was struck by how much the grists changed over a short period of time. Without there being external factor, like a war, forcing changes. I’m not really sure what to make of it. For example, why does one version randomly contain some lager malt?

Let’s take a look at the grains first. There are several ever-presents: pale, amber, crystal and mild malt, plus flaked maize. But only the pale and crystal malt percentages are reasonably constant at around 20% and 5%, respectively. While amber malt and flaked maize are all over the place, with a variation of over 100%.

Barclay Perkins X Ale grists 1935 - 1936 (malts)
Year Beer Style OG pale malt amber malt crystal malt MA malt SA malt lager malt flaked maize
1935 X Mild 1034.8 23.55% 9.42% 6.28% 37.68% 17.27%
1935 X Mild 1034.8 18.37% 7.65% 5.36% 43.62% 15.31%
1936 X Mild 1034.7 18.66% 7.11% 5.33% 29.32% 14.22% 14.22%
1936 X Mild 1034.7 19.03% 3.81% 5.71% 41.86% 5.71% 13.32%
1936 X Mild 1034.8 19.23% 4.05% 5.06% 32.40% 16.20% 7.09%
1936 X Mild 1034.8 19.42% 3.88% 5.18% 33.02% 16.19% 7.12%
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

There’s a similar story with the sugar:

Barclay Perkins X Ale grists 1935 - 1936 (sugar and hops)
Year Beer Style OG no. 2 sugar no. 3 sugar caramel Martineau BS hops
1935 X Mild 1034.8 5.23% 0.58% MK Fuggles, Kent Fuggles
1935 X Mild 1034.8 9.18% 0.51% MK Fuggles, Kent Fuggles
1936 X Mild 1034.7 0.48% 10.66% MK Fuggles, Kent Fuggles
1936 X Mild 1034.7 10.15% 0.41% Kent, MK Goldings
1936 X Mild 1034.8 15.52% 0.45% MK Fuggles, MK Goldings
1936 X Mild 1034.8 14.68% 0.50% MK Fuggles
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

The only sugar used in every grist was caramel, which was used for colour. I would have expected No. 3 invert to be in all the grists. That’s the usual Mild sugar. It seems odd to find No. 2 invert, which was usually used in cheaper Pale Ales.

All of the hops were English and from Kent. Mostly Fuggles, but with some Goldings, too. Nothing unusual there, though a lot of brewers would have been using North American hops in the 1930’s.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Barclay Perkins Ales in 1935

Now that I’ve tracked down ACC/2305/01/620 I really should use it for something. So how about taking a look at what it contains.

I’ll warn you that it doesn’t contain every beer they brewed in 1935-36. Because it’s just for their large plant. The Park Street complex contained two further brew houses: a Lager brewery and a small batch one where their more exotic beers were brewed.

Most of the seven beers brewed in the large plant were “trade” beers, i.e. draught. Only XLK and later IPA were bottled beers. IPA seems to have replaced the bottled version of XLK in 1935. Why, I’ve no idea. Maybe they wanted to compete with Whitbread’s bottled IPA. Though that would be a bit odd, as Whitbread’s IPA was much weaker, just 1036º.

I say seven beers, but there were actually more than that. They brewed seven, but by priming and colouring their three Milds they actually had ten beers. So X and XX both came in semi-dark (11 SRM, 20 EBC) and dark versions (20 SRM, 40 EBC). While A was given more primings to create RA (Royal Ale).

Here’s the set in table form:

Barclay Perkins Ales in 1935
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp
A Mild 1030.7 1006.5 3.20 78.82% 5.38 0.68 2.5 2.25 2 62º
X Mild 1034.8 1007 3.68 79.91% 5.38 0.78 2.5 2.25 2 61.5º
XX Mild 1042.7 1013 3.93 69.55% 5.38 0.95 2.5 2.5 2 61º
PA Pale Ale 1052.7 1017 4.73 67.75% 6.98 1.47 2.5 2.25 61º
XLK (bottling) Pale Ale 1039.0 1008.5 4.03 78.19% 6.47 1.02 2.5 2 61.5º
IPA (bottling) IPA 1044.7 1011 4.46 75.39% 6.47 1.17 2.5 2 61º
XLK (trade) Pale Ale 1045.9 1012 4.48 73.85% 6.98 1.27 2.5 2.25 61º
KK T Strong Ale 1056.0 1019 4.89 66.05% 7.19 1.22 2.5 2.25 2 61º
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

There was a much bigger price differential between the weakest and strongest beers than you’d find in a pub today. The strongest Bitter was double the price of the cheapest Mild.

One of the strange outcomes of WW I price controls was a very rigid pricing system in the interwar years. Draught beers retailed at 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d or 8d, depending on their gravity. In general, these stuck very closely to the gravity and price bands of the final set of price controls.

And, certainly in London, brewers kept a very close eye on whet their rivals were doing in terms of the gravity and price of their beers. Both the Whitbread and Truman Gravity Books list not only the gravity, but also the price.

This is what Barclay Perkins beers cost in the public bar:

Beer Price per pint
A 4d
X 5d
XX 6d
XLK (trade) 7d
PA 8d
KK T 8d

Next we’ll be looking at the grists, which changed more often than you might expect.