Wednesday, 22 February 2017

1909 Maclay Table Beer 28/-

Table Beer was a bit of a Scottish speciality in the 19th century. When this low-gravity beer was shipped to England and beyond.

English brewers – in the big cities, at least – had kicked Table Beer into touch early in the 19th century. The Scots not only persisted with it, but earned good money from it. But towards the end of the 1800’s, it peters out in Scotland, too. The last William Younger example I have is from 1898. Making this the latest one I know.

Parti-gyled with 56/- Mild, you might have expected it to have the gravity. In reality, 28/- only had just over a third of the 56/- gravity of 1061º. For a pre-WW I beer, 28/- is laughably weak.  Though at least in those days you paid the tax proportionate to gravity, even below 1027º.

The grist is pretty interesting for a Scottish beer, with a full three different types of malt. Yahoo! Not a huge amount of bitterness, but what would you expect in a sub-2% ABV beer?

1909 Maclay Table Beer 28/-
pale malt 3.00 lb 63.16%
amber malt 0.125 lb 2.63%
black malt 0.125 lb 2.63%
grits 1.00 lb 21.05%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.50 lb 10.53%
Cluster 120 min 0.25 oz
Hallertau 60 min 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.50 oz
OG 1022
FG 1007
ABV 1.98
Apparent attenuation 68.18%
IBU 16
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Braugold, Erfurt

With the end in sight for my Scottish book, there's not much time for writing blog posts. A sane man would stop posting every day. Draw your own conclusions.

It's frustrating because, without external interference, the book would be done by now. And annoying filling in the last few bits. The good news is that I've only post-WW II boiling and Scotch Ale. Shouldn't take more than a day or two.

An tired and tested way of banging out a post is to resort to DDR labels. If nothing else they look pretty. Prettier than my words, if I'm honest.

I really rated Braugold back in the Happy Days. Angerbräu was pretty damn good, nice and bitter. And a decent draught Pils I remember drinking in a pub opposite the cathedrals in Erfurt itself. With my Mum, brother and various other members of our wedding party. My brother's friend Eddie got separated from us when he was distracted by a group of Russian soldiers.

Love the blood splatter on the last label.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Porter fraud

Search the newspaper archive for Bass and what you'll mostly find are reports of court cases. Trademark cases against brewers and third parties passing off another beer as Bass Pale Ale.

Given the number of cases, people using their brand fraudulently must have been a big headache for Bass. But it seems they weren't the only ones to suffer brand fraud. Barclay Perkins, the fame of whose Porter spanned the world, were victims, too.

The name of Barclay, Perkins, & Co. having been affixed without their permission to Bottles containing ALE AND PORTER brewed by other parties:—

will be paid to any person giving such information as will lead to the conviction of the offender or offenders. By order,
JOHN TYRER, Sole Agent,
46, Hanover-street, Liverpool.
Dec. 3lst. 1853."
Liverpool Mail - Saturday 13 May 1854, page 1.
The very next advert explains exactly what John Tyrer did: he was an export bottler.

JOHN TYRER, SOLE AGENT for BARCLAY, PERKINS, and Co, begs to call the attention of Merchants and Shippers of Export Ale and Porter, to his Export Bottling Depot, Hanover-street. and Heywood’s Yard, where orders to any amount for BARCLAY, PERKINS & CO.’S LONDON PORTER; EAST INDIA PALE ALE, properly matured for long voyages, also BASS & CO.’S, and other EAST INDIA BURTON ALES, of the First Brands, can now be executed on the shortest possible notice.

Devoting himself to this branch of the trade, the most particular care will be exercised in putting up Ale and Porter. And it is well known that BARCLAY PERKINS & CO.’S name has been extensively attached to bottles containing spurious Porter, John Tyrer has determined, in order to prevent such frauds for the future, and for the purpose of affording to Shippers the best guarantee that they are supplied with the genuine article, to adopt Betts's Patent Capsule Covering on the Cork, and discontinue the use of tin foil altogether. Capsules, with his Name and Address stamped thereon, will be fixed over each bottle, and by this means Consignees abroad will have full for detecting the frauds practised, there, by filling the English labelled bottles with foreign beer, and passing them off for English brands.

Sole Agent for
Barclay, Perkins & Co.

The want of such an establishment has been long felt, and the arrangements now entered into will enable John Tyrer to compete with any of the London Houses, either in quality, packing, or PRICE.
46, Hanover-street, Liverpool, April 13, 1854."
Liverpool Mail - Saturday 13 May 1854, page 1.
I was asked a couple of weeks ago when beer was first exported already bottled. A quick investigation unearthed evidence from the 1840's. I suspect the real date is a good bit earlier that that. The usual way of packing bottles for shipping was in barrels padded with straw. It's often forgotten that there were two types of barrel. "Wet" barrels which contained liquids and "dry" barrels that contained solid goods.

I'd best explain what "by filling the English labelled bottles with foreign beer" means. Returned bottles which had contained genuine Bass were refilled with another beer. For this reason Bass recommended customers deface the label before returning the bottle to make refilling impossible.

More than 50 years later, Barclay Perkins were still struggling with fraud:

When buying LONDON STOUT, ask for BARCLAY, PERKINS’, and INSIST upon seeing their Name on the Label, as other Stouts are being sold with Labels similar in Colour and Appearance, which deceive the eye. BARCLAY PERKINS’ LONDON STOUTS are the BEST, and have stood the Test for more than 200 Years."
Fifeshire Advertiser - Saturday 05 February 1910, page 4.
The bastards, deliberately designing their labels to look like those of Barclay Perkins

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Postwar Scottish Stout

I'm just filling in the final gaps in my Scottish manuscript over the weekend. The end is almost in sight.

I've marked all the sections that are incomplete and I'm working my way through them. They're all in the final section, covering 1939 to 1970. Or so. The end date isn't 100% fixed.

I was surpised to see I hadn't included the grist table. Then I looked in the spreadsheet. It was obvious what I'd been dodging:

Only five beers but more than a dozen ingredients. An absolute nightmare of a table to assemble. Hence my lack of arsing to get on with it.

That's sort of the story of me writing a book. I throw down the headings then start filling in the easiest bits. The stuff I can do mostly from my head. Next I'll start attacking specific sections with multiple megaton nuclear tables, divided by the occasional paragraph of text. The hard stuff - where I need to go back to the brewing records or do extra research - gets left until last. And - as in this case - the awkward data.

Now I've had time to think, the answer's there: transposition.

With the book just about done, time to get Alexei to conjour up a cover. I'll get an ISBN number next week. That's just about everything. Except one last thing. A title.

Any suggestions? There's a free copy of the book if I use your title.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Let's Brew - 1909 Maclay Mild 56/-

As I slowly assemble recipes for my new Scottish book, I realise how small a percentage of the brewing records I own I’ve ever turned into recipes.

The Mild Ales from Maclay are a case in point. Before WW I, like most Scottish breweries, Maclay still brewed genuine Mild Ales. At least things that were called Mild Ale in the brewery.  I’m inclined to believe that they were for one good reason: their grists differ from Maclay’s Pale Ales. After WW I, the Scots mostly abandoned Mild Ale. The few that were still produced I suspect were destined for the English market.

Talking of grists, the one from this beer tells a story. The tale of the gradual darkening of Mild Ale around 1900. It’s a process that I’ve observed in England, too. I’ve no real evidence as to what drove this change, only wild guesses. Which I won’t bore you with here. We may never know the real reason.

Neither of the two Milds Maclay brewed, 56/- and 42/-, was equivalent to London AX Ale. 56/- had a gravity around 10 points higher, while 42/-, at just 1035º, was far weaker than anything brewed in the capital. Around 1900 Scottish gravities began to diverge from those in England, with beers being brewed that were far weaker than anything seen in England until the latter phase of WW I. In 1914 the average OG in England was 1051.69º, but four points lower in Scotland at 1047.67º*.

Maclay’s Pale Ale grists also contain amber malt, though a smaller percentage at just 1.5% of the grist. Only their Milds included black malt. The purpose of the black malt  was surely to darken the wort. I suspect that Maclay were already colour-correcting with caramel because there’s a section in the brewing records with the title “colourings”. Unfortunately, I haven’t found an example where this was filled in.

As most of Maclay’s beers of this period, there’s a fair dose of grits, around 20% of the grist. The only exception were the Stouts, which instead contained 30% oats.

I’m not sure exactly what the sugar was. In the record it’s described as “inversion”. It’s obviously some sort of invert sugar. Possible one that Maclay had made themselves. No. 2 is me just playing it safe. It could also have been more like another invert, for example No. 1 or No. 3. Feel free to use one of those if it suits you.

Maclay used the same combination of hops in all their beers: Hallertau of three different ages (1905, 1906 and 1907 harvests), Californian hops from 1907 and two sets of English hops from 1905 and 1908. Because of the age of some of the hops I’ve reduced the hopping.

* Brewers' Journal 1921, page 246.

1909 Maclay Mild 56/-
pale malt 8.75 lb 66.67%
amber malt 0.50 lb 3.81%
black malt 0.125 lb 0.95%
grits 2.50 lb 19.05%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.25 lb 9.52%
Cluster 120 min 0.75 oz
Hallertau 60 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.50 oz
OG 1061
FG 1025
ABV 4.76
Apparent attenuation 59.02%
IBU 36
SRM 12
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Beer and music

What was I drinking when I listened to Hawkwind in the 1970s? Homebrew mostly, as I was broke as a back on a mountain. Blankety blank, dosh-wise.

Strange to think of that 70's me, with his crap trousers, rubbbish hair and all sorts of socialising issues. I can can look back in horror at that me, but it's still me. All the crap baggage I've lugged around a lifetime. It's still all there.

Friday, 17 February 2017

1909 Maclay Strong Ale

Writing the new Scottish book has unlocked many secrets. Not through extra reasearch, for the most part. But through combining information I'd already collected.

Admittedly, for one of the most revealing, I did take a second look at brewing records. Directly comparing the mashing schemes of multiple breweries was very revealing. Especially as to how prevalent the underlet mashing technique was. I wasn't especting that.

I've just put together the first set of Maclay recipes for the book. From 1909. I tell a lie, I had already done a couple from the 1930's. The later Maclay records in the Scottish Brewing Archive look more like someone's personal notebook than official records. They're in small notebooks with cardboard covers and lined pages. While those from 1909 are in a properly bound pre-printed ledger.

The 1909 book is in what I call English format. With each brew getting a whole page. Most Scottish breweries went with the one line per brew, across two pages, system. They're fairly well detailed, unlike the later notebooks. Which is how I know Maclay was another Scottish brewery to underlet mash.

Another thing I noticed. An early example of a new type of Scottish beer. A Strong Ale that, rather than being a type of Mild Ale, was a super-strength Pale Ale. Like this example from Maclay, which was parti-gyled with a 54/- Pale Ale. After WW I, this was the type of Strong Ale most Scottish breweries made. Other than William Younger. Who always were different.

Yet another new style for my BeerSmith.

Thursday, 16 February 2017

A strange place for a supper party

Here’s a random report about the Ballingall brewery in Dundee.

Well, not totally random because it contains some pretty handy information. But it starts off with something I’m more accustomed to seeing in London: a dinner party held within a Porter vat:

A supper party without beer or other fluids to assist the digestion of the solids is, in these degenerate days  - as our teetotal friends would be inclined to call them — a rarity ; but a supper party held within a beer vat is a  still more uncommon spectacle. Such a party was held one night this week, in the premises of Messrs Ballingall & Son's, the well-known brewers at the Pleasance; and considering the novelty of the situation, it is well deserving public notice. Messrs Ballingall have lately, owing to the great increase of their porter business, been obliged considerably to extend their facilities for brewing, and one feature of their additions has been the erection two large new vats, for storing beer - among the largest receptacles of their kind in Scotland. They are strongly built of the best seasoned oak, jointed in the same manner as casks, and circled with hoops at intervals of about 20 inches. The dimensions of each are something surprising, being 17 feet in depth, and from 12 to 14 feet in diameter; but the best idea of their capacity will be obtained when we mention that each will contain 250 barrels of liquid, or between 3,000 and 10,000 gallons. Before putting them to their proper use, Mr Ballingall resolved to try their capacity another way, and on the evening in question invited several of his friends, to the number of about a dozen, who, descending to the bottom of the vat by means of a ladder, found there an excellent "spread," to which the most ample justice was done. The novelty of the idea gave a certain piquancy the repast, but all agreed that a more comfortable supper room could not have been improvised. There were no draughts except such as were of an agreeable and stimulating kind; and after supper the acoustic properties of the vat were shown off to great advantage by the vocal powers of the company, "Success to the firm of Messrs Ballingall & Son," was drunk with three times three, and hope expressed that their vats would never again contain such a company, but that they would always be in full operation, and be a source of profit to their owners.”
Dundee Advertiser - Friday 13 April 1866, page 5.

The 1860’s is a weird time to be installing new Porter vats. It’s the decade when Keeping Porter rapidly fell out of favour in London, before disappearing completely in the 1870’s. After which most London brewers ripped out their largest vats, only leaving some of the smaller ones for ageing Stout.

I’m also surprised that a Scottish brewery would need extra Porter capacity at this point. Even in London sales were slipping. I assume by Porter they mean both Porter and Stout. By the 1860’s few Scottish breweries were producing a true Porter. I suspect that these vats were really for Stout. Scottish breweries had a good export trade in Stout, particularly to the West Indies. As we will see later, Ballingall had an extensive export trade.

In London, a 250-barrel vat was nothing special. In the capital the largest vats were measure in thousands if not tens of thousands of barrels.

Next time we’ll be looking inside Ballingall’s brewery in more detail.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1965 Whitbread Mackeson Stout

“Let’s do a Sweet Stout next time” Kristen wrote to me. I thought, let’s go for the granddaddy of all Sweet Stouts: Mackeson.

When this beer was originally brewed, Mackeson was a big, mainstream product in the UK, heavily advertised on television. So much so that I can still remember the slogan: “It looks good, it tastes god and by golly it does you good”. Sadly, its fortunes were soon to take a turn for the worse.

Associated with old codgers sat in the corner of the pub with a half, Mackeson became as fashionable as the Bay City Rollers. Along with Brown Ale and Light Ale, Sweet Stout was a bottled beer that suddenly fell from favour. So much so that it’s hard to imagine now the enormous quantities of it that were sold.

Whitbread had been early players in the bottled beer game and as early as 1914 50% of their output was in bottled form. That was an enormous percentage for the time. I’m sure most UK breweries never got anywhere near that percentage at any point in the 20th century. It was through bottled beer that Whitbread became distributed nationally.

So a beer like Mackeson was very useful to have in their portfolio. And probably why Whitbread bought the Hythe Brewery in 1929. Especially a specialist and niche product like Mackeson. A beer they had a chance of getting into rival brewers’ public houses.

The version brewed at Chiswell Street in London, of which this is an example, was parti-gyled Whitbread’s other two Stouts, WOS, an Oatmeal Stout for the domestic market, and ES (Extra Stout) which was exported the Belgium. Which means some brews of Mackeson contained malted oat. How weird is that?

As brewed, Mackeson had a fairly normal attenuation of 70-75% apparent. Because the lactose wasn’t present during primary fermentation only being added after racking. It would have tasted very different before the addition of the lactose.

1965 was the year Whitbread started to voluntarily used unmalted grains, in the form of flaked barley, for the first time. The only other time had been when forced to by the government in WW II. A sad day.

Time to hand over to Kristen . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: Bluntly, sweet stouts are a confusion to most brewers for many reasons. My guess is because very few people actual drink them, nor make them, anymore. It starts at the levels of sweetness. I’m talking proper sweet stouts now. Not the bastardized American versions that are basically a ‘comparatively’ sweet stout. Not the ones that are used as a vehicle for selling a process or a trademark, new bottle, new glass, etc etc. Only a few places still make them in the good old UK, and they don’t make much no matter how tasty they are. A lot of American brewers like chucking lactose into big stouts to beef them up but I like to think they are doing it to stick it to the millennials, again. Doesn’t make them sweet stouts. Stouts that are poorly fermented and sweet aren’t sweet stouts either. There is still one place where they like their ‘sweet’ stouts. Funny enough, these are in the hot tropical regions. You’ll basically find two versions; either in the lower alcohol ‘sweet’ stout or the omnipresent ‘tropical stouts’,  which on a side note is my desserted island beer (porpoiseful pun). There is just something refreshing about drinking a ‘hot’ 7.5% stout…soul soothing no less. To me, the very most important thing about this recipe, is that I’ll be half naked on a beach in Jamaica drinking myself legless on 7.5% tropical, sexy and ‘sweet’ Dragon Stout while you read this. So you can hate me, or you can hate me and do something stupid like doubling the gravity and making a big bastard of a beer and drink my sexy dad-bod out of your mind…I’d probably up the invert percent to 12-15% so it doesn’t get too heavy…but that’s not this beer. Wait! Just make this first before you cackhand it all up… Can we please just focus on this beer Kristen? Holy crap, who brought this guy…

Malt:  I’ve talked about mild malt a lot before. I have thought. Many thoughts sometimes. Basically, to me, Kristen, Paul’s Mild malt is in a league of its own. That’s not to say that all the other mild malts aren’t beautiful snowflakes in their own way…I’m saying, they may be snowflakes, but in the way your mom says you’re a unique snowflake. Seriously though, I’ve tried pretty much all non-UK mild malts and most are pretty much bluster and word smything. E.g. Turkish Delight. Sometimes you don’t need 3000# of Mild malt. Sometimes you can’t get 10# of the stuff. The most important thing to me about this entire recipe is that you get off your Khyber Pass and just do it. If you can’t get the mild malt good stuff, use a really nice and chewy pale malt. Maris is always great. Optic if you can get it. Canadian pale is really nice. Stay away from German pils and US pale malts on a whole. Even though not traditional, you can always throw in some Vienna or Munich to a more basic pale malt to get that ‘maltiness’ up a bit. I mean, there is nothing from stopping you from doing all Munich or Vienna. To me, this beer is much more about the play with roast and sugar than the base malt…although if you can, do it right. ALSO: Note that the lactose is added to this after fermentation which will bump up the gravity by 5 points or so. You can, however, throw it in at the whirlpool which I’ve found no difference AND is much easier to do, IMO. Which means if you put it in the whirlpool, your OG and FG will be about 5pts higher. Givertake. YMMV.

Hops: Doesn’t matter. Use whatevers. There is just a good amount to add an edge to the finish to keep its corpulence down.

Yeast: A nice English yeast will do nicely. Or a neutral one. Or a lager, like the tropical versions. Whatever your favorite house strain is, or play around with something new. Just make sure its healthy and not Belgian, Weizen, Wit, etc etc POF+.

Cask: Standard procedure:
1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017


My new Scottish book is full of information. Too full. But even then, there's the odd bit I can't shoehorn in.

I spent the weekend looking at mashing details. I know that sounds a bit dull, but it was both English and Scottish mashing schemes. Which adds an extra piquancy.  It meant putting together loads of fascinating tables.

But there wasn't room for all of them in full. I couple I just used extracts from. That's how stuffed full the book is. 70,000 words, at the moment. Though probably half of those "words" are numbers. That's how many tables there are.

The tables below I assembled for a larger table on mashing schemes in the 1930's. A fascinating topic. No, I'm not taking the piss. It is dead interesting. And through looking at mashing details more closely I've learned stuff. In particular, stuff about underlet mashing.

I've always though of underlet mashing - adding more hot water to the mash through the bottom of the tun a while after the initial infusion - as a particularly London practice. After looking in more detail, it seems that the practice was widespread in England. Though the process wasn't exactly the same everywhere.

Courage 1930 KKK, MC and X mashing scheme
strike heat mash heat stood hours
mash 1 158.5º F 146º F
underlet 173º F 149º F 2
sparge 1 160º F
sparge 2 160º F
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/258.

Courage's underlet was relatively cool compared to Camden's:

Camden 1922 PA mashing scheme
strike heat mash heat tap heat
mash 1 157.5º F 149º F
underlet 185º F 155º F 154.5º F
sparge 1 165º F 157.8º F
sparge 2 161º F
Camden Brewery brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/9/5.

While Tetley's was hotter still:

Tetley 1934 X1 mashing scheme
strike heat mash heat tap heat stood hours
mash 154º F 147º F 155º F 0.75
underlet 200º F 152º F 153º F 1
sparge 168º F 147º F
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/ACC3349/552.

Maybe I should start looking more at mashing. There's so much fun to be had.

Monday, 13 February 2017

Diamant Brauerei Magdeburg

A change of pace today. I'm still up to my eyebrows in Scottish beer. But I thought I'd offer you a little relief from it. Witj some DDR labels.

There's something about DDR label design I just love. Not sure why. Partially nostalgia, I guess. For those fun days of the DDR. Oddly, I seem to be the only person who considered East Berlin a holiday paradise. But what else can you call somewhere beer is dirt cheap and you have more money than you can spend? It's so weird looking back. Weird that a walled city seemd somehow normal.

I wish I'd collected more labels at the time. I only have a handful though I know I drank dozens of different beers, mostly from Berlin, Sachsen and Thüringen.

But I digress. I'm supposed to be banging out a quick post of little more than some pretty beer labels. Labels from the Diamant Brauerei in Magdeburg. I never drank any of their beer that I can recall. Never been to Magdeburg, other than passing through it on the train to Berlin.

Brilliant ended up as part of Brau und Brunnen and closed in 1994. It's since re-opened as a museum and brewpub in part of the old premises.

Diamant Brauhaus
Alte Diamant Brauerei 21,
39124 Magdeburg.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Thinking about shit

Just about to start watching that New Zealand detective thing with Dolores. When I remembered I had no post for tomoroow. That's today now.

I've spent the last couple of days researching and writing about mashing temperatures. I've never really extracted and compared mashing details before. When I sellotaped the numbers together, I got this:

Mash and tap heats overview 1922 - 1934
Beer mash heat underlet heat tap heat 1 tap heat 2 tap heat 3 tap heat 4
1928 Usher PA 60/- 151º F 148º F 160º F 152º F 147º F
1933 William Younger  XXP 152º F 150º F 153º F 155º F
1933 Drybrough P 60/- 152º F 148º F 160º F
1932 Lorimer & Clark XXP7 148º F 153º F
1930 Adnam PA 145.5º F 149º F 156º F 155º F
1930 Barclay Perkins XLK 148º F 155º F 153º F 157º F 153º F
1931 Fullers OBE, XX, X 147º F 151º F 148º F 147º F 147º F
1930 Courage KKK, MC, X 146º F 149º F
1922 Camden PA 149º F 155º F 154.5º F 157.8º F
1934 Tetley X1 147º F 152º F 155º F 153º F 147º F
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/70.
Adnam brewing record held at the brewery.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number ACC/2305/1/616.
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.
Camden Brewery brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/9/5.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4.
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/ACC3349/552.
Lorimer & Clark brewing record held at the Caledonian Brewery.

It explained the difference between English and Scottish mashing. And exposed Lorimer & Clark as the odd man out.

Can't say more. Dolores is getting restless.

Here's a prety label instead:

Saturday, 11 February 2017

1851 William Younger DBS Stout

Like my life in general, the blog is hostage to my frantic attempts to finish the Scottish book.

I spent today extracting mashing details and boiling times. What everyone dreams of doing on their day off. Which is what today was for me. My 90% day.

Spent staring at brewing records. The most difficult bit. Exactly why the mashing stuff wasn’t in my standard spreadsheet. Too difficult to neatly record. That said, today’s big revelation came from doing exactly that. Lumping together information in a table. Thank you data.

As important as carving data into edible form is throwing together as many recipes as possible for the book. Noticing the early period was poorly represented, I jumped on this mid-19th-century Stout from William Younger.

The classic pale, brown, black malt combination is complimented by a shitload of hops. The attenuation is surprisingly high for something Scottish.

Have to get back to watching the TV with Dolores. Longish boil, quite warm fermentation. In my book I’ll be going into ball-crushing detail about fermentation temperatures.

OK Dolores. I’m, done.

1851 William Younger DBS Stout
pale malt 13.75 lb 71.43%
brown malt 3.75 lb 19.48%
black malt 1.75 lb 9.09%
Goldings 90 min 4.00 oz
Goldings 60 min 4.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 4.00 oz
OG 1078
FG 1015
ABV 8.33
Apparent attenuation 80.77%
IBU 139
SRM 50
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 184º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday, 10 February 2017

William Younger Strong Ale grists 1922 - 1939

More cheating with a table from my hopefully soon-to-be-finished Scottish book.

Part of my writing process is gluing together tables. All sorts of numbers. Luckily most I've already tamed and coralled into spreadsheets. This lot required catching first as well.

I've been bum-bitten big bananas this past week by earlier lazy-arsing. When I didn't bother sweeping up every grain from the theshing floor. In my defence, some photos are pretty blurry.

I'm so glad I've seen records from other Scottish brewers. Because William younger were as  unusual as a Glaswegian fan of the England football team. If I relied totally on them, I'd have a false impression of Scottish brewing. And a weirdly false one. As you'll see.

See those grits percentages of around 30%? They aren't typical of Younger's beers. Most had more like 40%. At the same time as piling in the grits, Younger mostly laid off sugar. If you buy my book, you'll see how differently other breweries did things.

Talking of my new book, I just knocked off the section on Mild Ale 1914 to 1920. And added to the bit on Pale Ale for the same years. I hope it isn't getting out of hand. I keep thhinking of new stuff to add.

I need to go for my walk. So here's Younger's comedy grists:

William Younger Strong Ale grists 1922 - 1939
Year Beer OG pale malt crystal malt MA malt grits lactose
1922 1 1082 69.70% 30.30%
1922 3 1053.5 69.86% 30.14%
1929 1 1087 69.70% 30.30%
1929 3 1054.5 68.28% 31.72%
1933 1 1085.0 67.35% 28.57% 4.08%
1933 3 1055.0 67.44% 32.56%
1933 3 pale 1055.0 65.85% 34.15%
1939 1 1084.0 74.29% 5.71% 2.86% 13.33% 3.81%
1939 3 1053.0 88.73% 11.27%
William Younger brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers WY/6/1/2/63, WY/6/1/2/68, WY/6/1/2/70 and WY/6/1/2/76.

Thursday, 9 February 2017

William Younger dry hopping 1921 - 1939

I'm still labouring away at the number face. Which is why I've no time for proper posts. Just ones cheaply spun from a few shoddy numbers.

I'm pulling together all sorts of data for the Scottish book. Lots of which has never been assembled before. At least not that I've ever come across.

Dry hopping is a good example. Has anyone ever seriously compared English and Scottish dry hopping routines? I think not. Probably because bugger all people are interested in this sort of technical shit. Apart from me and hopefully a few geeks.

On my evening walk, I realised this table needs reorganising. Bum. More work. I was planning on having the book done by the end of next week. End of the month is more realistic. Especially if I keep adding stuff.

I estimated 35,000 - 40,000 words. I'm currently at 62,000 with a fair few holes still to fill. Two of the chapters have bugger all in their Techniques section. Need to fix that tonight with a new shaft down to the number seam.

Let me know what you make of this:

William Younger dry hopping 1921 - 1939 (oz. per barrel)
Year 1 3 Pale XXX DBS Btlg Pale XXPS Ext XXP Btlg LAE
1921 3.89 3.83 2.42 7.65 3.8 7.04
1933 2.01 2.06 1.98 6.10 2.02 6.52 1.82 4.85
1939 2.25 2.08 2.05 3.05 2.92 2.09 2.02 4.16
William Younger brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers WY/6/1/2/63, WY/6/1/2/70 and WY/6/1/2/76.

1 and 3 are Scotch Ales, XX is Mild, DBS Btlg is Stout and the rest are Pale Ales.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Let's Brew Wednesday -1874 Cain XXX

What can I say? I’m rowing away in the writing gallery like crazy. Not much time for posts. Can’t waste words. Saving for book.

I’ll leave it to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: So we go from something super easy, refreshing, quaffable and easy going to this big bastard. It’s not so much that its big, though nearly 7% isn’t ‘small’, it’s the huge amounts of hops that go into this big fella. To me, something that’s perfect to go right next to that watery IPA we did last week. 

Malt:  Two malts. English pale and some brown malt. Even though only a small amount, the brown malt lends a lot of character to this sucker. Seriously, don’t leave it out. I really like the Fawcett stuff. Concerto malt is super malty if you can get it. If not some MCI pale would do wonders, or any type of Maris is great too. All that said, Canada Malting Pale malt is a take on English pale malt so if you haven’t ever used their stuff, you really should be. Play around and pick something neat.

Hops: This beer will be entirely different if you use high alpha hops over low alpha ones. First Gold or Brewer’s Gold would go swimmingly although are getting up there a bit. Why not play around with some of the newer Czech or German varieties? Kazbek’s are super bright, as well as some Hallertauer Melon or Blanc? Oh, man, a nice combo of NZ Wakatu, Riwaka and Motueka would really bring all that squishy fruit to this. Basically, make sure they are fresh, have some fun, keep the garlic chives out please.

Yeast: A nice English yeast will do nicely. Whatever your favorite house strain is, or play around with something new. Just make sure it’s healthy.

Cask: Standard procedure:
1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Mild or Stock

I've been busy with the sections in my new Scottish book on Mild and Stock Ales in the late 19th century.

It's reminded me what a pain Scottish brewing can be. They were way less consistent in their naming conventions. An X pretty much always means Mild Ale in England. Not so in Scotland. In fact, I often struggle to spot which beers might be Mild Ales.

Thomas Usher's beers are an example. I originally classified all their X Ales as Milds. But on closer inspection, it looked more likely that they were Stock Ales. Mostly based on hopping rate. And the recipe.

I'm not 100% sure that I've got it right. But what can I do? There are other Usher beers with the suffix M or MA which I am completely sure about. This is them:

Thomas Usher Mild Ales 1885 - 1914
Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1885 54/- M 1062 1023 5.16 62.90% 5.00 1.42
1885 68/- M 1080 1025 7.28 68.75% 10.00 3.44
1914 44/- MA 1032 1012.5 2.58 60.94% 5.00 0.69
1914 50/- MA 1035 1013 2.91 62.86% 5.00 0.75
1914 60/- MA 1038 1015 3.04 60.53% 5.00 1.07
1914 80/- MA 1046 1016.5 3.90 64.13% 5.00 1.29
1914 100/- MA 1065 1027 5.03 58.46% 5.00 1.40
Thomas Usher brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers TU/6/1/1, TU/6/1/2 and TU/6/1/5.

I bet you want to see thge Stock ales now? If you're still awake, that is. Here you go:

Thomas Usher Stock Ales 1885 - 1914
Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1885 X 1050 1013 4.89 74.00% 9.00 2.00
1888 XXX 1054 1011 5.69 79.63% 11.00 3.58
1888 X 1050 1012 5.03 76.00% 11.00 2.75
1888 XX 1054 1012 5.56 77.78% 12.00 3.24
1894 XX 60/- 1055 1015 5.29 72.73% 10.00 2.77
1912 X 60/- 1052 1016 4.76 69.23% 6.75 1.49
1912 X 1045 1014.5 4.03 67.78% 6.50 1.21
Thomas Usher brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers TU/6/1/1, TU/6/1/2 and TU/6/1/5.

See what I mean about the hopping? Though the gravities do seem low for Stock Ales.