Sunday, 23 April 2017

Milk Stout 1938 - 1939

You may be wondering about my current Milk Stout obsession. Why? Would seem a logical question.

It's because I'm on my travels. Not as I write this, but as you read it. I'll be in Michigan when this is published, a couple of days into my Macbeth tour. I've no idea when I'm away if I'll have either the time or the inclination to write blog posts. So I write them all before I leave. Enough to have me covered until a couple of days after I return. Having a theme saves me the trouble of thinking up post ideas.

Lots more lovely Milk Stouts. Though they're still a bit all over the shop, varying in OG from 1036º to 1066º. Which is pretty much identical to the last set. Except top dog this time is William Younger. I published a recipe for 1939 William Younger Btlg DBS and remarked it didn't look like the usual idea of a Milk Stout. I'm heartened to see that it clearly was marketed as a Milk Stout, because it's a perfect match for the two examples in the table.

You can see that the gravity of Mackeson has fallen a little, from 1060º in 1929 to 1056º in 1939. While at the same time the FG has risen from 1020º to 1025º, reducing the attenuation from 66% to 55%. The conclusion must be that it was becoming sweeter. The ABV also dropped from 5.2% to 4%. I don't think I would have appreciated that.

The most significant change is in the average rate of attenution, which has fallen from 64% to 61%. It looks to me as if Milk Stout in general was getting sweeter. Something I suspect will be confirmed when we look at Milk Stouts during and after WW II. There's another couple of posts mapped out.

Milk Stout 1938 - 1939
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1938 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout 6 1048.6 1019.2 3.79 60.49% 325
1938 Bernard Milk Stout 9 1057 1013.6 5.65 76.14% 320
1938 Birkenhead Brewery Milk Stout 1057.9 1020.9 4.78 63.90% 320
1938 Brickwoods Milk Stout 10 1052.6 1016.2 4.72 69.20% 330
1938 Fullers Milk Stout 8 1045.5 1020.4 3.23 55.16%
1938 Gilmour Milk Stout 9 1047.4 1014.5 4.26 69.41%
1938 Hydes Milk Stout 9 1052.4 1016.5 4.65 68.51% 225
1938 John Smith Milk Stout 1047.9 1016 4.13 66.60%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1056.5 1025.5 3.99 54.87%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1058.25 1026.75 4.05 54.08%
1938 Richdale, John Milk Stout 9 1045.1 1017.2 3.60 61.86% 320
1938 Stone, Wm. Milk Stout 1055.4 1027.6 3.57 50.18%
1938 Truman Milk Stout 1047.1 1021 3.36 55.41%
1938 Watney Milk Stout 9.5 1048.6 1020.2 3.66 58.44%
1938 Watney Milk Stout 10 1050.5 1025.3 3.23 49.90% 175
1939 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout 9 1049.2 1020.2 3.74 58.94% 320
1939 Calder Alloa Milk Stout 10 1052.5 1021 4.06 60.00%
1939 Kemp Town Milk Stout 9 1046.8 1015.7 4.02 66.45% 200
1939 Leicester Brewing & Malting Co. Milk Stout 11 1040.3 1011.5 3.73 71.46% 200
1939 Lovibond Milk Stout 1051.9 1019.4 4.20 62.62% 425
1939 Mackeson Milk Stout 12 1056 1025 3.99 55.36%
1939 Ridley Milk Stout 1049.2 1020.2 3.74 58.94% 330
1939 Tamplin Milk Stout 1036 1011.5 3.17 68.06% 225
1939 Taylor Walker Milk Stout 10 1061.1 1031 3.86 49.26% 800
1939 Truman Milk Stout 9.5 1047.7 1022 3.31 53.88% 250
1939 Truman Milk Stout 9.5 1045.7 1020.1 3.30 56.02% 275
1939 Warwick & Richardson Milk Stout 1052.4 1021.2 4.02 59.54% 300
1939 Watney Milk Stout 10 1050.3 1024.5 3.31 51.29% 175
1939 Wm. Younger Milk Stout (Monk Export Brand) 1065.8 1023.9 5.42 63.68% 500
1939 Wm. Younger Milk Stout 12 1065.5 1019 6.04 70.99%
Average 9.6 1051.4 1020.2 4.02 60.70% 316.6
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Let's Brew - July 1917 Magee Marshall Government Ale

What joy! I’m able to bring you another luverly, watery Government Ale. Courtesy of Edd Mather, who has taken a look at the Magee Marshall brewing records.

It got me dead excited when I learned about that. Because Magee Marshall was a prominent brewery in Bolton and is mentioned by name in The Pub and the People, the brilliant Mass Observation book about working-class pub culture in the North of England.

July 1917 is a very significant date because that’s when the first restrictions on beer gravity were introduced. Half of the beer a brewery produced had to be below 1036º. But, on the other hand, the price of this beer was controlled. It retailed for a maximum of 4d per pint in the public bar. Brewers and drinkers alike took to calling such beer Government Ale. Which didn’t go down well with the government, which eventually banned the use of the name.

Most brewers produced a (for the day) low-gravity Mild as their Government Ale. It made sense, as Mild was the biggest seller for most breweries. Initially, these beers were much like modern Mild Ales. But as the UK’s grain supply became more and more stretched, new restrictions turned it into a non-intoxicating drink. Some were as weak as 1.1% ABV. Not really beer at all.

Magee’s Government Ale wasn’t a complicated beer. Just pale malt and sugar. Which begs the question: what colour was it? Probably not that dark, though it’s hard to know for sure. It could have been coloured with caramel.

Unsurprisingly, the hops are all English. By this phase of the war pretty much no foreign hops were being used.

Edd sent me the recipe in a rather different format from the one I usually use. So I’ve included both his and my formats.

July 1917 Magee`s Government Ale
pale malt 7.00 lb 93.33%
cane sugar 0.50 lb 6.67%
Fuggles105 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1034.5
FG 1009.5
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 72.46%
IBU 32
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 163º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

July 1917 Magee`s Government Ale
OG 1034.5
FG 1009.5
ABV  3.40%
Malt ;
Maris Otter 93%
Cane Sugar 7%
Hops ; IBU
East Kents 17
Bramling X 14
Dry Hop (east kents) 1 oz per barrel
Boil :  1.75 Hours
Mash Directions
Strike Temp: 73º C
Mash Temp: 64º C
Mash Length: 1.75 Hours
Sparge Temp (START AT 1.75 HRS): 73º C
fermentation temperature 16-18º C

Friday, 21 April 2017

Milk Stout 1925 - 1937

I should temporarily change title of the blog to The Milk Stout Story". Don't worry. I'm nowhere near finished with the topic.

I've dove into my collection of Gravity Book analyses to spear all the Milk Stout examples. And there are quite a few. All I can say is: what a diverse bunch.

For a start, the gravities are all over the shop. As you can see, the original, Mackeson, had a very respectable OG of 1060º in 1929. To put that into perspective, Guinness Extra Stout was around 1055º between the wars. The examples in the table vary from 1036º to 1066º. Though admittedly the high one is a Belgian example from Lamot. Though, at 1064º the strongest UK-brewed dexample isn't that far behind. The overall average of 1053º is probably about the same as the average for all Stouts.

Some of the rates of attenuation surprised me by how high they were. I wouldn't expect a Milk Stout, with all that unfermentable lactose to get higher than 65% apparent attenuation. Yet there are a few pushing 80%. Not sure how they achieved that, unless the quantity of lactose used was quite small. At the other end, there are a few at 50% attenuation of less. Which is more like you would expect. The overall average of 64% is higher than I would have guessed.
Note that the price per pint didn't always necessarily reflect the strength of the beer. At a time when beer strengths weren't gerneally known, it was relatively easy for a brewer to overprice a beer.

What I see is typical of fairly new styles. initially, different brewers interpretations vary considerably in strength and character, but eventually settle into a similar pattern. We'll see if that's true as I slowly creep through the decades.

Milk Stout 1925 - 1937
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1925 Simonds Milk Stout 11 1062.1
1927 Ashton Gate Brewery Milk Stout 9 1052.4 1015.7 4.76 70.04%
1928 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1058.7 1017.5 5.35 70.19%
1929 Mackeson Milk Stout 10 1060.4 1020.4 5.18 66.23%
1930 Beer & Rigden Milk Stout 1054.4 1027.1 3.50 50.18%
1931 Calder Milk Stout 1059 1023 4.65 61.02%
1931 Fremlin Milk Stout 10 1047.5 1019.9 3.56 58.11%
1932 Carter, Milner & Bird Milk Stout 11 1044.2 1013.4 3.99 69.68%
1933 Murray Milk Stout 1036 1018 2.31 50.00%
1933 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1049 1018.5 3.94 62.24%
1934 Fremlin Milk Stout 8 1048.7 1020.4 3.65 58.11%
1934 Woodhead Milk Stout 8 1041.6 1016.3 3.26 60.82%
1935 Allsopp Milk Stout 9 1049.3 1013.8 4.61 72.01%
1935 Ansell Milk Stout 11 1060.7 1018.1 5.53 70.18%
1935 Fremlin Milk Stout 8 1048.8 1020.2 3.69 58.61%
1935 Lamot Milk Stout 1065.7 1016.9 6.35 74.28%
1935 Mann Milk Stout 10 1044.6 1022.9 2.79 48.65%
1935 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1048.4 1014.3 4.42 70.45%
1935 Simonds Milk Stout 10 1055 1018.3 4.75 66.73%
1936 McEwan Milk Stout 12 1064.4 1013.1 6.70 79.66%
1936 Wm. Younger Milk Stout 10.5 1063 1014.7 6.30 76.67%
1937 Allsopp Milk Stout 12 1050.3 1014.5 4.64 71.17%
1937 Ansell Milk Stout 12 1060.8 1018.1 5.54 70.23%
1937 Calder Alloa Milk Stout 1055.75 1022.25 4.32 60.09%
1937 Mackeson Milk Stout 1057 1024.5 4.19 57.02%
1937 Mann Milk Stout 9 1043.8 1023.8 2.56 45.66%
1937 Marston Milk Stout 9 1045.8 1010 4.66 78.17%
1937 Murray Milk Stout 6 1044.8 1019.2 3.30 57.14%
1937 Seed, Richard Milk Stout 11 1052.9 1011.3 5.42 78.64%
1937 Wenlock Milk Stout 8 1053.5 1025.9 3.55 51.59%
Average 9.8 1052.6 1018.3 4.39 64.26%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Younger, Wm. & Co Gravity Book document WY/6/1/1/19 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Macbeth comes to Manchester (part two)

Beer Nouveau as an easy stroll from our hotel. All we need to do is follow the railway line running from Manchester Piccadilly.

It takes us along the ironically named Temperance Street. Which is Beer Nouveau’s official address. As we’re walking down the, to be perfectly honest, rather desolate street, I hear someone call ”Ron” behind me.

It’s Matt Thompson, a fellow blogger who will be attending the event*. He gets me to pose below a Temperance Street sign. I can’t imagine why.

When we arrive at the brewery, there are already a few people there, sampling the historic beers that have been brewed for the occasion. It’s more Shilling Ales, though not the same ones as in Macclesfield.

Steve Dunkley, the man in charge at Beer Nouveau, quickly puts a beer in my hand. Steve has been doing some interesting things with wooden casks. Putting beer in them, mostly, which I guess doesn’t sound that interesting. But it is when you have exactly the same beer served from a plastic cask using a beer engine and by gravity from a wooden cask. I wouldn’t have believed what a difference it could make, had I not experienced it myself.

I’m pleased to say that a few brewers have taken an interest in oak casks. Definitely something to watch out for. Who said SPBW was irrelevant?

I’ve time for a few beers while I wait for the final stragglers to show up. Which I’m not going to complain about. That was, after all, one of the points of setting this whole trip up: getting to drink beers from historic recipes. How else would I get the chance?

Happily there’s a projector for me this time. Makes life much easier. I positively rattle through the talk, finishing in just 2 hours 45 minutes. That’s a full 15 minutes quicker than yesterday. Maybe some editingis needed before I take it to the US later in the month.

We have a few more drinks when I’m done talking before trailing back to our hotel. I finish off more of bottles that I’ve acquired. Can’t take them on the plane is my excuse.

* You can read Matt’s account of the event here:

Beer Nouveau
Temperance Street Brewery
75 North Western Street,
Manchester, M12 6DY.

Buy my new Scottish book.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1933 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout

Can you believe that there are still Barclay Perkins brewing records that I haven’t processed yet? But it’s true. Somehow I got stuck in the late 1920’s and never even got to the early 1930’s records.

This beer is in one of the unprocessed sets. It’s not made any simpler by the fact that Barclay Perkins had several brewing books at this point: one for their main brewery, one for the Lager plant and one for their small-batch brewery. Milk Stout was made in the latter.

Which tells me straight off that they weren’t selling a huge amount of Milk Stout. This batch was just 18.75 barrels. At a time when they were brewing their standard Mild in batches of 500 barrels or more. So clearly not a huge seller at this point.

I’m not sure what happened later, as it doesn’t turn up it the next small batch brewing book. Looking at analyses, the OG was lower in the later 1930’s, around 1048. Which is suspiciously similar to the OG of London Stout. My guess is that they simply added lactose at racking time to some of that.

The grist is pretty complicated, with four malts plus roasted barley. Barclay Perkins were unusual in that sense. Most London brewers went for black or chocolate malt. Given the percentages, you have to wonder if the amber malt was diastatic. Unusually for a Barclay Perkins beer there’s no flaked maize. Perhaps just as well, given the small percentage of base malt.

For once the hop additions aren’t a guess. There are three types of hop, Fuggles, Worcester and Goldings, with two added “at inch” and the rest after an hour. I take “inch” to mean when the copper was filled with wort.

I’ve upped the FG and OG by 3 points to account for the “Milk Stout sugar” primings added at racking time. These had at OG of 1150º and were added at the rate of two gallons per barrel. I’m taking this to be some sort of proprietary sugar that was mainly lactose*. I’ve upped the lactose amount accordingly.

* It handily says at the start of the brewing record that MSS (Milk Stout sugar) was 250º L. So about 65 SRM.

1933 Barclay Perkins Milk Stout
mild malt 4.75 lb 41.76%
brown malt 0.75 lb 6.59%
amber malt 1.25 lb 10.99%
crystal malt 80 L 0.75 lb 6.59%
roast barley 1.00 lb 8.79%
no. 3 sugar 1.00 lb 8.79%
lactose 1.75 lb 15.38%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.10%
Fuggles 150 min 2.00 oz
Goldings 90 min 1.00 oz
OG 1055
FG 1027.5
ABV 3.64
Apparent attenuation 50.00%
IBU 41
SRM 38
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Macbeth Tour Midwest dates.

It's almost time for me to grab my bags and head towards the airport for the first intercontinental leg of my Macbeth Tour.

I'm struggling to remember all the details at once, I've so many events planned. So this is as much for my benefit as yours.

Saturday 22nd April, 16:00 - 18:00
New Holland Brewing, Pub on 8th
66 E 8th St,
Holland, MI 49423

Sunday 23rd April

Dow Center Rooms A & B
22 E. Galloway Drive
Hillsdale, MI 49242
Serving 5 different 1894 Thomas Usher Beers at 2:30 pm.  Ron will talk at 3:00 pm

Monday 24th April, 18:30
Bent Brewstillery
1744 Terrace Dr
MN 55113

'For all you home brewers, please, no home brew for this event. If you want to bring a bottle for us (Ron and Kristen) that would be wonderful and Kristen even said that  he'll write up some notes/comments on it and send them back to you as long as you label it!'

Tuesday, 25th April, 16:00 - 21:00
Master Brewers Meeting
The Starkeller/August Schell Brewing
2215 North Garden Street
New Ulm, MN 56073
German Sour Beer Styles

Thursday 27th April, 19:00–22:00
Earthbound Brewing,
2710 Cherokee Street,
St. Louis

Saturday 29 April 2017, 19:00 - 22:00

Broad Ripple Brewpub
842 E 65th St
46220 Indianapolis

Monday 1st May, 19:00 -
Duke's Alehouse and Kitchen
110 N. Main St.,
Crystal Lake,
IL 60014

Buy my new Scottish book.