Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Session IPA

There's a reason for this. Which will become apparent later, but which I'm too sick to be arsed with telling you.

If you're wondering why I've used a Pale Ale label, it's because that's what it was sold as after a certain point.

1909 Whitbread PA
pale malt 10.25 lb 80.39%
no. 1 sugar 2.50 lb 19.61%
Goldings 90 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 60 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1062.7
FG 1019
ABV 5.78
Apparent attenuation 69.70%
IBU 61.5
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

1924 Whitbread IPA
pale malt 6.00 lb 82.76%
no. 1 sugar 1.25 lb 17.24%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1035
FG 1007
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 80.00%
IBU 51
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

1944 Whitbread IPA
pale malt 5.75 lb 82.14%
crystal malt 60L 0.75 lb 10.71%
no. 1 sugar 0.50 lb 7.14%
Fuggles 75 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 20 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1031
FG 1005.5
ABV 3.37
Apparent attenuation 82.26%
IBU 31
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Monday, 24 October 2016

Random Dutch beers (part forty-six)

More Boks. I've still quite a few to work through.

First is an old favourite:

't Ij Ijbok, 6.5% ABV
it's a pretty paler shade of brown. Smells of metal and cream. Al least what litttle I can smell through my clogged up nose. Got a bit of a cold thing going on. Liquorice and metal in the mouth.

My brother David is visiting.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dave?"

"No, I don't need any beer yet."

"But it's almost 1 pm."

He's turned into a right miserable old git.

Next is another from the same brewery.

Ij Dubbelbock, 8.8% ABV
Unsurprisingly, this one is darker. A very dark brown with a tan head. It looks lovely. I can't really smell anything. Not so much my blocked nose as the smell of Dolores cooking my birthday cake overwhelming the beer aroma. Pretty sweet in the mouth and bitter in the finish. Bit too sweet for my taste.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dave?"


Nice and succinct.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Shepherd Neame grists in 1956

Time to look at what went into Shepherd Neame’s beers in 1956. What fun that’s going to be.

Let’s kick off with their Pale Ales. Because they’re the simplest. Just pale malt and the merest hit of malt extract. All-malt beers were extremely rare in Britain in the 20th century. I’m trying to think of any others I’ve come across, but am stumped. Just about every beer, other than Guinness, contained some sugar.

Do you see what else is missing? Crystal malt. Most Milds and Brown Ales would have contained some. This is the fun of looking at new breweries. Every so often there are real surprises. Like the malts Shep’s used. Who would have guessed that the four would be pale malt, black malt, wheat malt and oat malt? There’s only one dark malt and that was only used in one beer.

Talking of which, the black malt wasn’t mashed to the Stout but added during the boil. There’s a very good reason for that: the Stout was parti-gyled with BA. The first wort was used for BA and the second wort, which had the black malt and all the sugar added to it, formed the majority of the Stout. Robert Younger did something similar. Presumably they were forced to brew this way due to low demand for Stout. They didn’t need as much as a full brew length.

The Strong Ales, Brown Ales and – weirdly – LDA – all have the same recipe and were parti-gyled together. They contain about 19% sugar, which is towards the high end. 15-20% was pretty normal. No. 3 is what you would expect. No idea what Wortex is, other than a type of proprietary sugar.

The hops all came from their own gardens.

Shepherd Neame grists in 1956
Beer Style OG pale malt black malt wheat malt malted oats no. 3 sugar malt extract caramel Wortex UKCS cane hops
Br Brown Ale 1026.3 76.51% 4.03% 13.42% 0.67% 5.37% Kent
DB Brown Ale 1029.4 76.51% 4.03% 13.42% 0.67% 5.37% Kent
MB Mild 1030.2 88.11% 5.59% 0.70% 5.59% Kent
LDA Pale Ale 1029.4 76.51% 4.03% 13.42% 0.67% 5.37% Kent
BB Pale Ale 1030.2 98.63% 1.37% Kent
BA Pale Ale 1032.4 98.63% 1.37% Kent
PA Pale Ale 1035.5 98.63% 1.37% Kent
SXX Pale Ale 1039.3 98.63% 1.37% Kent
SS Stout 1026.3 74.07% 11.11% 3.70% 1.23% 4.94% 4.94% Kent
AA Strong Ale 1044.3 76.51% 4.03% 13.42% 0.67% 5.37% Kent
ESXA Strong Ale 1052.6 75.50% 3.97% 13.25% 0.66% 6.62% Kent
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

Let's Brew 1932 Lorimer & Clark XXP 8

Here’s another of Lorimer & Clark’s Pale Ales, this time the top of the range 8d one.

You may have noticed something with these pre-war Pale Ales. 6d, 7d and 8d are about the same gravity as post-war 60/-, 70/- and 80/-, respectively. Funny that. I’m still not convinced that 60/-, 70/- and 80/- were ever really the hogshead price of the beers bearing the name. Were they just totally random?

There isn’t much I can say about the recipe that I didn’t bring up when discussing XXP 7. Because their four Pale Ales were all parti-gyled together. So this is just like the XXP 7, but with a little more of everything. Except for the dry hops. All four Pale Ales have the same quantity of dry hops. Odd that. Usually the dry-hopping is proportionate to the strength.

Best Bitter is how I’d describe this. Though with fewer hops than an English version. Er, I’m really running out of stuff to say. Malty, I would guess. Don’t believe me? Brew it up, write in and call me an idiot if it’s different.

1932 Lorimer & Clark XXP 8
pale malt 7.75 lb 77.50%
flaked barley 1.25 lb 12.50%
malt extract 0.50 lb 5.00%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.50 lb 5.00%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1045
FG 1011
ABV 4.50
Apparent attenuation 75.56%
IBU 28
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62.5º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday, 21 October 2016

Brewers' Exhibition 1950

It’s an odd thought that the first large beer event in Olympia wasn’t the Great British Beer Festival. Also that beer competitions are nothing new.

EIGHTEEN men with 16,000 bottles of free beer stood in a gallery at Olympia today, at the Brewers' Exhibition.

Almost gloatingly, it seemed to the observer, they raised the bottles to the light and inspected their contents, then had them opened by eager helpers and sipped the contents.

But, to the disgust of the spectators, kept back by uniformed attendants, not a drop was drunk.

The great beer-tasting competition was in progress to decide from where comes the best bottled beer from, north or south. Bottles from all parts of Britain, from 584 different entrants, competed for the honour and there were more from the Empire.

Beer-tasting is a ritual, the chairman of the tasters, Fred J Bearman of Weymouth, stated. "First" he said, "the bottle is lifted to the light to ensure that it is absolutely brilliant. Then it is opened and there come the test for head, aroma, and condition, then the palate takes over.

"Not a drop must drunk. No taster could afford to spoil his palate."”
Leicester Daily Mercury - Monday 02 October 1950, page 7.

Eighteen judges for 16,000 bottles? Though that can’t be 16,000 different beers, it’s still an awful lot. With almost 600 companies entering, there must have been at least a couple of thousand beers. Which is still a lot for eighteen judges to get through. As obviously more than one judge would try each beer.

Though I guess if you aren’t drinking it, you’d be able to get through more. But if you don’t swallow beer, you can’t fully taste it. Especially bitterness on the back end. The use of the word “sip” implies a small taste. I suppose by not drinking they mean not drinking the whole bottle.

Never had uniformed attendants at any beer judging I’ve done. Then again, there wasn’t ever an audience, either.

Here’s a wonderful example of local press homerism:

Brewers' Exhibition
The most typically Scottish stall at the 62nd Brewers' and Allied Traders' Exhibition, which opened this morning, is that of a Glasgow firm which makes labels and show cards for nearly every kind of beverage — alcoholic and non-alcoholic — known to man, and whose designs reach the farthest flung outposts of the world. Gaily decorated in Macdonald tartan upholstery, the stall, which occupied a commanding position in the National Hall at Olympia, is proving a Mecca for the visitors who will throng the hall until the exhibition closes on Friday.

This is the oldest trade show to be held in Britain, and as the years have gone on it has grown in importance. For the first time this year it occupies two halls at Olympia, the Empire Hall and the National. The heavy engineering section is representative of the latest types of brewing and bottling machinery, some of which is exhibited for the first time. Allied industries embrace coopering, brewing ingredients, bar equipment, and materials and machines used in the soft drinks trade.

An important feature is the number of competitions to be judged during this week. They are for the best brew of bottled beer; the best Empire Wine; the best fomented beverages made from apples and pears; and the best barley and hops. Scotland is well represented in the entries, particularly in the grain section, Fife and the Borders being especially prominent.

Other Scottish exhibits include those of an Edinburgh firm specialising in soft drinks and cordials, which has a papier-mache Highlander as a motif; and of two Glasgow firms, one exhibiting refrigerator equipment and the other stationery and labelling devices.”
The Scotsman - Tuesday 03 October 1950, page 4.

Indeed, what could be more Scottish than tartan upholstery and a papier-mache Highlander?

“best fomented beverages made from apples and pears” That would be cider and perry then. Weird to use such a convoluted terms when two simple ones will suffice.

Was it really the oldest trade show? It did start in the 19th century, so it could be true. I’d look it up, but I’m in a bit of a lazy-arse mood.

The show ran 2nd – 6th October, from 10 am to 6 pm and cost half a crown to get in.

You can see how quick some brewers were to show off their awards:

Obtainable in all their Houses at
11d. pre Small Bottle (Public Bar)
Biggleswade Chronicle - Friday 06 October 1950, page 10.

Here’s another:

Another Diploma


in the Bottled Beers Competition at the 1950 Brewers Exhibition, Olympia, London

Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 11 October 1950, page 5.

And another:

Russells' PALE ALE First Prize
Russells' IMPERIAL STOUT Second Prize
Yorkshire Evening Post - Saturday 18 November 1950, page 2.

I could continue, but I fear it would bore you. I’m yawning as I type.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Shepherd Neame beers in 1956

Last time we looked at Shepherd Neame’s beers from a very grim time, the late 1940’s. With hardly any beers over 3% ABV. Let’s take a look and see what things were like almost a decade later.

In the late 1940’s Shep’s only brewed six beers (I say brewed because I’m sure they marketed more, Brown Ale for example): four Pale Ales, a Mild and a Stout. By 1956 they’d added several more beers, boosting their range to five Pale Ales, two Brown Ales, two Strong Ales, a Mild and a Stout.

Amongst the new beers were two stronger Pale Ales, PA and SXX. Leaving them with what looks like far too many beers in the style. The five only cover a spread of 10 gravity points, 1029º to 1039º. PA is only a little higher in OG than BA was in 1947. It looks like the gravities of both BA and BB were dropped to create room for PA. SXX was slotted in at the top as a new Best Bitter.

Adding a stronger Bitter was common in the early 1950’s. A brewery’s flagship PA would have been knocked down to the mid-1030’s by WW II. When a little more wiggle room was created for stronger beers, many added a new, stronger Bitter. Shepherd Neame must have added SSX and PA between 1947 and 1950. Because they’re not in the 1947 book but are in the 1950 one.

AA is an interesting one. I was wondering what the hell it stood for until I looked at my Whitbread Gravity Book analyses for Shepherd Neame. There’s a beer of 1044º called Abbey Ale. That must be it. You’ll notice that I’ve called it a Strong Ale. Given its strength and colour (8 EBC) it could be a Pale Ale. But it was parti-gyled with their Brown Ales, not their Pale Ales. So I’ve plumped for Strong Ale as style.

Not sure what ESXA might stand for. But it has a similar OG to Bishop’s Finger. Possibly it’s an early version of that. I’m really not sure.

The biggest surprise was seeing two Brown Ales, both under 1030º. I assume DB stands for “Double Brown”, though “Single Brown” or even “Three-quarters Brown” would be more appropriate. I assume that in 1947 their Brown Ale was simply a bottled version of their Mild. So it’s odd that they introduced two new Brown Ales.

The Stout has managed to get even less Stout. In 1956 it was scarcely over 2% ABV, making it look quite Scottish. Though not quite as sweet as those Stouts from north  of the border. When we look at the grist I’ll explain the weird way this beer was brewed. Again quite Scottish, now I think about it.

Shepherd Neame beers in 1956
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp
9th May Br Brown Ale 1026.3 1008.3 2.38 68.42% 4.38 0.52 1.75 1.5 61.5º F 68º F
9th May DB Brown Ale 1029.4 1010.5 2.49 64.15% 4.38 0.58 1.75 1.5 61.25º F 68º F
19th Oct MB Mild 1030.2 1007.2 3.04 76.15% 4.95 0.60 2 1.5 62.25º F 68º F
9th May LDA Pale Ale 1029.4 1010.0 2.57 66.04% 4.38 0.58 1.75 1.5 62º F 68º F
15th Oct BB Pale Ale 1030.2 1006.4 3.15 78.90% 8.82 0.75 2 1.5 1.5 62º F 68º F
15th Oct BA Pale Ale 1032.4 1006.6 3.41 79.49% 8.82 0.81 2 1.5 1.5 62º F 70º F
15th Oct PA Pale Ale 1035.5 1007.2 3.74 79.69% 8.82 0.88 2 1.5 1.5 62.5º F 70º F
15th Oct SXX Pale Ale 1039.3 1009.4 3.96 76.06% 8.82 0.98 2 1.5 1.5 61.5º F 71º F
4th May SS Stout 1026.3 1009.4 2.24 64.21% 1.68 0.23 2 1.5 62º F 68º F
9th May AA Strong Ale 1044.3 1016.9 3.63 61.87% 4.38 0.87 1.75 1.5 60.25º F 70º F
24th Oct ESXA Strong Ale 1052.6 1017.7 4.62 66.32% 5.55 3.67 1.75 1.5 61.75º F 71º F
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1956 Shepherd Neame MB

It’s a very special beer for a very special day.

For two reasons. Today is my 60th birthday and this beer was brewed on the day that I was born, October 19th 1956. That it’s a Mild just makes it even more appropriate.

In most other respects, it’s not that special a beer. It isn’t particularly strong, though the gravity had increased a tad since 1947. Just about enough to tip it over into intoxicating land. It just manages to scrape in over 3% ABV, usually my bottom limit for bothering.

Shepherd Neame didn’t go for complicated recipes. This one just has a single type of pale malt, a dash of malt extract, No. 3 invert sugar and something called UKCS which must be some type of proprietary sugar. I’ve just bumped up the No. 3 content to allow for this.

At this point Shep’s seem to have only been using hops from their own gardens. At least that’s all that turns up in the photos I have. It makes perfect sense, the brewery being located in Kentish hop country. I am surprised by the modest level of their hopping. I’ve always imagined breweries in Kent being enthusiastic hoppers.

I quite like the fact that it’s such an ordinary beer. One meant for supping by the gallon down the pub with your mates. It seems appropriate for a beer born on the same day as me.

1956 Shepherd Neame MB
pale malt 5.50 lb 84.49%
no. 3 sugar 1.00 lb 15.36%
malt extract 0.01 lb 0.15%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1030.2
FG 1007.2
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 76.16%
IBU 19
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 62.25º F
Yeast a Southern English Ale yeast

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Random Dutch beers (part forty-five)

More Dutch Boks. Not sure how much fun it will be this time, as it's a couple of industrial jobs.

It's been a much quieter week. And this is my second weekend in a row with no travel time to relax. In a beery sort of way.

Despite the name, this is probably brewed at Dommelsch. My joint least-favourite Dutch brewery along with Bavaria.

Hertog Jan Bokbier, 6.5% ABV
It looks the part with a very dark brown colour. Quite an unusual aroma. Which fruit is that? Cherries. Artifical cherry flavour. In the mouth it's sweet and thin, with no discernable bitterness. It's amazing how you can make a beer of 6.5% this blad. It tastes like watered-down cherryade. How bizarre. Not undrinkable, as I'd feared. I've had some real stinkers from Dommelsch in the past.

Both the kids are up and it's only just after 1 PM.

"Do you want to try my beer, Lexie?"

"What is it?"

"Hertog Jan Bokbier."


"What do you think?"

"I don't know. It tastes like it comes out of a barrel."

"Why do you say that?"

"It's a bit woody, sort of. It tastes like the beer they throw into gravy.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dolores?"

"Mmm. It's OK."

It's now Sunday and thebeef joint I picked up in Margate is roaasting in the oven. Even Andrew is back from his mate's. Not looking that lively, mind. And very grey. I can't understand the way these young kids drink to excess. You'd never catch me doing that.

I approach the next Bok with some trepidation. Because despite it being the best-selling Bok, it isn't to my taste.

Grolsch Herfst Bok, 6.5% ABV
I grabbed it in Dirk's yesterday. It can't have cost that much, but I don't remember exactly. Smells of sugar and metal. Really sweet in the mouth, ending with a weird metallic sugariness. Like licking sugar off a cast-iron frying pan. And not in a good way.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dolores?"

"Mm. It's nice that one. Very sweet, but not nasty. Which one is it?"


"It's not as horrible as most of the beers you have me try."

Monday, 17 October 2016

Shepherd Neame beers in 1947

I’ve worked my way through all Shepherd Neame’s beers in 1947. I suppose I should share the details with you.

The six beers are an exciting bunch. Unless you feel like getting tipsy, in which case they wouldn’t be a great deal of use. The strongest is just 3.74% ABV. In fact all of them qualify as genuine session beers, being below 4% ABV.

Having four beers at 1027º is something I’ve not seen before. And all are different styles: Mild, Stout, Light Ale and Light Bitter. I’m particularly impressed by a Stout of that gravity. How the world had changed since the 18th century.

Given the low OG, it’s surprising how high the rate of attenuation is. Quite often you’ll see the FG of low-gravity beers being left quite high, presumably to leave a little body. The AK, at just about 85% attenuation must have been pretty thin. But at least it was just about strong enough to get you intoxicated.

Other defining features: quite high pitching temperatures, though the low OGs partially explain that; quite longs boils at 2 hours; quite a low level of hopping.

To expand on the latter point, Whitbread PA, which had a gravity the same as BA, contained 50% more hops. While their XX Mild, also with an OG of 1027º, contained double the weight of hops that MB did. Whitbread’s beers had between 6 and 9 lbs of hops per quarter, while Shepherd Neame’s were all under 5 lbs.

Shepherd Neame beers in 1947
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp
6th Jan MB Mild 1027.1 1005.5 2.86 79.74% 3.84 0.44 2 2 63º F 68º F
16th Jan LDA Pale Ale 1027.1 1007.2 2.64 73.47% 4.47 0.52 2 2 62.75º F 68º F
15th Jul AK Pale Ale 1027.1 1004.2 3.04 84.69% 4.80 0.53 2 2 2 62.5º F 68º F
6th Jan BB Pale Ale 1031.3 1006.6 3.26 78.76% 4.75 0.61 2 2 62.75º F 68º F
16th Jan BA Pale Ale 1034.3 1006.1 3.74 82.26% 4.70 0.65 2 2 63º F 70º F
10th Jan SS Stout 1027.1 1006.1 2.79 77.55% 4.09 0.49 2 1.83 62.75º F 68.25º F
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

Next we’ll move on to grists.

Shepherd Neame grists in 1947
Beer Style OG pale malt black malt flaked barley malted oats no. 3 sugar WCCS sugar CD JC malt extract hops
MB Mild 1027.1 68.70% 9.16% 9.16% 3.05% 9.92% English, Kent
LDA Pale Ale 1027.1 74.42% 9.30% 15.50% 0.78% English, Kent
AK Pale Ale 1027.1 92.31% 6.29% 1.40% English, Kent
BB Pale Ale 1031.3 85.04% 14.17% 0.79% English, Kent
BA Pale Ale 1034.3 86.90% 12.41% 0.69% English, Kent
SS Stout 1027.1 60.94% 9.38% 9.38% 9.38% 7.81% 3.13% English, Kent, 3lbs hopulon
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

They aren’t the most complicated of recipes. The Pale Ales, with the exception of LDA, were mostly pale malt with some flaked barley and a little malt extract. The other beers all included sugar, some No. 3 invert and some proprietary sugars.

The most complicated grist belongs to the Stout, which has two different types of sugar, the only coloured malt and malted oats replacing flaked barley.

It’s interesting that Shepherd Neame used no crystal malt. I’m not so surprised in the case of their Pale Ales, as it’s only really in the 1950’s that crystal became common in Bitters. But it’s definitely strange that there’s none in their Mild. Whitbread in this period used crystal malt in all of their Ales with the exception of Double Brown.

No surprise that the hops are all English. Shepherd Neame is located in the middle of hop country. Also the UK was self-sufficient in hops in this period. And short of foreign exchange which would have been needed to buy US hops.