Thursday, 26 November 2015

Random Dutch beers

Being a lazy, lazy git, I'm returning to sort of beer-reviewing. Sort of, because, let's face it, my descriptions are pretty crap.

Sell yourself in the first paragraph, that's what they say. That should have ensured I've got this post to myself. Other people are grossly over-rated. Nice to be able to relax in my undercrackers.

Brand IPA
What's happening to the world? A Heineken Lager brewery making an IPA? I guess it will be an Imperial Stout next. Be interesting to know a couple of things. Is it top-fermented? Is it brewed in the Brand brewery? The aroma is oddly savoury and quite subdued. In the mouth it's like bitter marmalade. Very bitter marmalade. I wonder what the hops are? They don't taste particularly New World. A nice enough beer, though I wonder who its target market is.

St. Christoffel Blond
Brewed at the Proefbrouwerij according to RateBeer. Good spicy hop aroma. Grassy in the mouth and pleasantly bitter at the end. A decent drinking Lager. Pretty label, too.

Hertog Jan Weizener
Another attempt by one of the Big Boys (the Biggest Boy, in fact) to brew a non-native style. RateBeer calls it a Witbier, even though it appears to be in the German style. At least from the name. I spotted a vague whiff of cloves. Either it's not particularly strong or I'm coming down with a cold. I did just sneeze, so it could well be the latter. The label says it contains orange peel and coriander. So a Witbier, I guess. I wonder where it's brewed? Really in Arcen?

Off to peel off the labels now.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1958 Fullers London Pride

This is a beer you may possibly have heard of. I’ve heard it’s quite popular.

It certainly is with Dolores. Pride is her preferred drink, when in London. Though you’ll notice that the brewhouse name wasn’t LP, as in later logs, but SPA. Which presumably stands for Special Pale Ale. I’m not sure exactly when it was introduced, but it seems to have been sometime in the early 1950’s. Something called Best PA appears in the Whitbread Gravity Book in 1951. It looks very similar to Pride in gravity. The first mention of London Pride in the Gravity Book is in 1953.

Many brewers took the opportunity to introduce a stronger Bitter in the 1950’s. Wartime restrictions had killed forced Bitters to drop below 4% ABV. Both Watney and Youngs called theirs Special Bitter, beers of a similar strength to London Pride. They sold for 2d a pint more than Ordinary Bitter. A premium I’d be willing to pay for the extra oomph.

It’s a simple recipe. Which I’ve made even simpler by replacing the glucose and the proprietary sugar PEX with more No.2 invert. The sugar content is quite low. 10% to 15% was more usual. In case wondering, the current version of London Pride has quite a different grist. Fullers now brew all-malt. There’s 5% crystal malt, 0.25% chocolate malt and the rest is pale malt.

The original mashing scheme was an underlet mash. It started at 144º F and stood for half an hour. There was then an underlet that raised the temperature to 152º F and it was stood for 2 hours. Feel free to replicate that if you want to go for full authenticity.

That’s all I can think of so over to me for the recipe . . . . .

1958 Fullers SPA
pale malt 7.75 lb 79.49%
flaked maize 1.50 lb 15.38%
no. 2 sugar 0.50 lb 5.13%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1043.2
FG 1011.4
ABV 4.21
Apparent attenuation 73.61%
IBU 34
SRM 12
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Branded Brown Ale in 1953

Enjoying this series? I think I am. Not totally sure. Let me get back to you in a day or two.

Brown Ale. One the favourite styles of the 1950’s. Which is why I’m surprised there are relatively few examples, a mere 17. 16, really, because Southwarke Ale (as it’s really spelled) is an Old Ale. Not difficult to work out. That’s how it’s described on the label. Their Brown Ale was called Doctor Brown. Which for some reason doesn’t make the list.

Flowers had a whole bunch of Brown Ales – Poacher, Brownex, to name two – though some were from the J.W. Green portfolio. At this point the two were still separate companies. Whitbread also had another Brown Ale, Double Brown. That was their original Brown Ale, stronger and more bitter than was usual by the 1950’s. It was already taking a back seat to Forest Brown, a more typical type, and would be phased out within a couple of years. Forest Brown continued through the Whitbread period as the group’s flagship Brown Ale.

Simmonds Berry Brown Ale was a big brand in its day, brewed not just in Simonds’ own Reading brewery, but at other plants they owned, too. It was a big enough brand to survive the Courage takeover, though with the name changed to Courage Berry Brown Ale. I wonder how long it lasted? That got me wondering: what was Courage’s own version called? About as dull as you could get: Courage Brown Ale.

What’s left of this lot? Double Maxim. Though even that has long left its home brewery. Will Brown Ale die out? Probably not as long as Newcastle Brown still retains popularity. But I can’t see it becoming part of a brewery’s standard range again.

Branded Brown Ale in 1953
Brewery Beer Type
Whitbread Forest Brown Brown
Barclay Perkins Southwark Ale Brown Ale
Flowers Anchor Brown Ale
Fremlins Double Elephant Brown Ale
H. & G. Simonds Berry Brown Ale
John Smith's Tawney Brown Ale
Meux's Brewery Winter Ale Brown Ale
Mitchells & Butlers Sam Brown Brown Ale
Star Brewery Old Star Brown Ale
T. Losco Bradley Red Lion Brown Ale
Thompsons Brewery Bell Brown Ale
Tomson & Wotton Double Thatch Brown Ale
Westoe Breweries Lifeboat Brown Ale
Wm. Younger Castle Brown Ale
Vaux Double Maxim Brown Ale, bottled
Higson's Brewery Double Top Brown Ale, bottled
Yates's Castle Brewery Cobnut Brown Ale, bottled
Brewery Manual 1953-1954, pages 382 - 394.

Stout next, I think.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Glückauf Brauerei, Gersdorf

More DDR brewery fun. I've neglected it a little recently.

A shame, because Dolores got me a dead handy book, "Die Biere des Ostens", for my birthday. It's all about the breweries of the former DDR. A bit old, but still handy. For example, it tells me that Glückauf brewed 60,000 hl a year in 2004 when the book was published.

I'd been wanting to write something about the Glückauf brewery, just beacuse I like their labels so much. Well, some of them. One set is pretty dull.

Gersdorf is a small town about 15 km west of Karl-Marx-Stadt, sorry, Chemnitz, in the state of Saxony. The brewery was founded in 1880, nationalised in 1946 and sold to management in 1991. Between 1995 and 1998 a completely new brewery was built and the old one turned into a museum. As far as I can tell, it's still privately owned.

here are some lovely old seals:

Notice the unusual beer in there? Pilsner Schankbier. I've never come across another. Nor seen a mention of one anywhere. Judging by the label, it must be pretty early. It doesn't even state the price.

The next set aren't quite so pretty, but do give an idea of the range they brewed.

All three of those are still brewed. Or at least there's still a Pils, Helles and Dunkles Bock in their range. Tale a look:

Glückauf beers in 2015
Beer Style OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation
Pilsener Pils 11.50 2.20 4.90 81.57%
Premium Pils Pils 11.60 2.30 4.90 80.87%
Edel Helles 11.70 2.41 4.90 80.19%
Kräusenbier Kellerbier 11.50 2.01 5.00 83.19%
Bock Bock, Dunkel 16.00 4.34 6.30 74.11%
Schwarzes Schwarzbier 11.80 2.51 4.90 79.52%
Deputat Helles 4.90
Edelpils Pils 4.90
GB Prime Pils 11.50 2.20 4.90 81.57%
Gersdorfer Ale Pale Ale 6.80
Heller Bock Bock, Hell 6.30
Cheer Kirschbier 11.60 3.60
Brewery website

Schwarzbier is becoming a standard beer in parts of the East, particularly Saxony. I don't know how many used to be brewed, other than Köstritzer. I'm not sure Kellerbier existed at all in the DDR time, though some of the bottled beers were pretty roughly filtered.

I'm not sure why they four Pils, all with virtually identical specs. I suspect there are only really two variants, one at 11.5º Plato and another at 11.6º Plato.

I was quite shocked to see a relatively small brewery brewing something called an Ale. Not quite sure what it is or if it's top-fermented, but based on the ABV, it looks like they're aiming for Pale Ale to me.

And finally there's a cherry abomination. I won't say anything more about that.

Lots more of this to come when I can get my arse in gear.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

20 hours in Britain

I was back in the UK extremely briefly this week. Not even a full day.

I won't go into too many details as to why, because it was a work thing. And I don't talk about that here.

Being in another country for such a short time - and almost half of it spent sleeping - is disorientating. Here's a quick check list of what I did:

Bought the Radio Times and the Christmas Viz. Got some sweets for Alexei and some salt and vinegar crisps for Andrew. Plus two bags of crumpets for me. If Andrew doesn't nab them all first.

But what about beer? Here's the really sad part. I had two bottles of Singha in a Thai restaurant and that was it. My hotel only sold keg beer and there wasn't a pub close by. Just a Harvester. And no guarantee that would have cask. So I watched Peep Show in my hotel room.

All was not lost. There are plenty who get snotty about Wetherspoons. But there's one great service they've provided: putting decent beer into airports. I'd a while to wait for my plane. Time for a quick pint. There was nothing too exotic or weird on the bar. But there was an old favourite. A beer that rarely disappoints, unless the cellarman is a complete idiot. London Pride.

It floated down. A pleasure from first gulp to last sip. Shame I only had time for the one.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Branded Old Ale and Strong Ale in 1953

It’s been a while. And, yes, I had forgotten. At least, temporarily. Not to worry, I’ve remembered now.

Though I can’t recall what the point of the series was, other than conjuring up multiple posts from table. Then again, doesn’t that pretty much sum up my blog?

This is quite a long set. I can think of a couple of good reasons why. Strong beers were more likely to be named because they were higher profile beers. And they were very often bottled. At a time when pump clips weren’t universal and keg still rare, the branding opportunities at point of sale were much smaller for draught beers. Amongst draught beers I think it’s no coincidence that many of the first ones to be heavily branded were in keg form. You had those brightly-lit bartop boxes to splash a name across.

Unsurprisingly, the adjective “Old” features heavily in names. Though, ironically enough, not in any described as Old Ale. How odd.

How many of these beers survive? I think only Robinson’s Old Tom. Though a revival of Colne Spring Ale is on the cards. And Tally Ho! Is still around, but brewed by someone else, Adnams. Mind you, Adnams have been using the name since the 1880’s.

I love some of the names. Oh be Joyful in particular. Also the echo of Arctic Ale. And Lees enigmatic “C”. Though to be fair that wasn’t a their own brand, C Ales be9ing brewed by several breweries around Manchester. Before you ask, I’ve no idea of where the name came from. Unlike October Brew which is doubtless a reference to the old practice of brewing strong keeping beers in either March or October. Though for conjouring up the cosy image of a strong beer on a cold, dark winter’s evening, it’s hard to beat Fireside.

Branded Old Ale and Strong Ale in 1953
Brewery Beer Type
Benskin's Colne Spring Ale Old
Broadway Brewery Broadway Old
Brickwood Little Bricky Old Ale, bottled
Samuel Webster Coronation Old Brown, very strong
Flowers Breweries Dragon's Blood Old English Ale
East Anglian Breweries Old Nell Strong
Samuel Webster Old Tom Strong
Wm. Younger King of Ales Strong
Barclay, Perkins Winter Brew Strong Ale
Brampton Brewery Golden Bud Strong Ale
Dutton's Oh Be Joyful Strong Ale
Campbell Praed Pride Strong Ale
Courage Double Courage Strong Ale
Drybrough Burns Strong Ale
Frederick Robinson Old Tom Strong Ale
Fredk. Robinson Young Tom Strong Ale
Gardner Kentish Fire Strong Ale
Guernsey Brewery Double Pony Strong Ale
H. & G. Simonds Old Berkshire Strong Ale
Ind Coope & Allsopp Arctic Strong Ale
J. & J. Morison J & J Strong Ale
J. C. & H. R. Palmer Tally-Ho! Strong Ale
J. W. Lees C Strong Ale
John Rowell John Barleycorn Strong Ale
Massey's King's Ale Strong Ale
Morrell's Brewery College Ale Strong Ale
Richard Whitaker Bantam Strong Ale
Timothy Taylor Blue Label Strong Ale
Ushers Wiltshire Brewery Triple Crown Strong Ale
Wenlock Brewery Fireside Strong Ale
Norman & Pring Imperial Strong Ale, bottle and draught
Cornbrook Brewery Cornbrook Old Tom Strong Ale, bottled
Daniel Thwaites Big Ben Strong Ale, bottled
Greene King Stingo Strong Ale, bottled
Truswell's Brewery October Brew Strong Ale, bottled
Daniel Thwaites Old Ben Strong Ale, draught
Truswelt's Brewery Imperial Strong Ale, draught
Hope & Anchor Old English Strong Beer
Lamb Brewery Stingo Strong beer
Higson's Brewery Stingo Strong beer, bottled
Lamb Brewery Rouser Strong Bitter
Ridley Stock Strong Brown Ale
Ridley Xmas Strong Brown Ale
Brewery Manual 1953-1954, pages 382 - 394.

Stouts next. Maybe.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Dutch Dubbelbock 2015

The last in my series spun from this year’s Bokbierfestival programme. It’s a much shorter set than the others, with only 11 examples. Ten really, as one is just the 2014 of the same beer, Duits & Lauret Rook Dubbelbock.

Mommeriete and Zeeburg are the only to that were bottom-fermented. Which struck me as odd. Surely Brand can't be top-fermented, s the programme claims?

I have to start off with the term Dubbelbock itself. It’s a mix of Dutch and German. Proper Dutch would be Dubbelbok, proper German Doppelbock. You’ll note that none of the beers below uses either. I can only think of one explanation. Everyone is copying the name of Brand Dubbelbgock, the first beer of this type brewed in Holland.

According to the German definition, a Doppelbock should have a minimum OG of 18º Plato. Something all the beers in the table managed, except for Duits & Lauret and Bijdehand. With a gravity of 26º Plato, Emelisse have some justification for tacking on an Imperial to their beer’s name. It has the highest OG and highest ABV of any of the beers at this year’s festival.

A quick comparison with my other two categories is illuminating. Unsurprisingly the average OG of the Dubbelbocks is easily the highest. More surprisingly, it’s FG is only slightly higher, giving it this group the highest degree of attenuation. Not what I would have guessed at all.

That Dubbelbock is both darker and more bitter on average makes lots of sense. Though there is considerable variation amongst the individual beers for both. Which means I’m not sure you can read too much into the averages.

Time for the tables.

type OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour (EBC) bitterness (EBU)
top-fermenters 17.17 3.90 7.18 78.64% 67.6 30.7
bottom-fermenters 16.83 4.20 6.86 76.37% 54.2 30.4
Dubbelbock 19.2 4.30 8.33 79.31% 71.8 35.5

2015 Dutch Duppelbock 
Year Brewer Beer OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour (EBC) bitterness (EBU)
2015 Pelgrim Pelgrim Dubbelbock 19.3 2.94 9.00 85.71% 95 30
2015 De Lepelaer (H) Beemster Dubbelbock 18 3.35 8.00 82.44% 40 75
2015 Bijdehand (H) Provenier Dubbelbock 17.8 3.50 7.80 81.40% 80 25
2014 Duits & Lauret Rook Dubbelbock 2014 18.0 4.08 7.60 78.52% 70 27
2015 Brand Brand Dubbelbock 18.0 4.27 7.50 77.50% 65 27
2015 Emelisse Emelisse Imperial Dobbel-bock 26.0 6.78 11.00 75.77% 45 45
2015 Duits & Lauret Rook Dubbelbock 17.5 60 28
2015 Molenduyn (H) Dubbelbock 85 36
2015 Reuzenbieren (H) ReuZ Dubbelbock 100 35
2015 Mommeriete Gramsbarger Dubbelbock 18 4.27 7.50 77.50% 65 38
2015 Zeeburg (H) Zeeburg Dubbelbock 20 5.17 8.20 75.62% 85 25
Average 19.2 4.30 8.33 79.31% 71.8 35.5
Bokbierfestival programme 2015, pages 24 - 28.

Maybe I’ll be arsed to do the foreign Bocks.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Bokbier 2015 (part four)

Some more of this season's Dutch Boks.

Scheldebrouwerij Wildebok
Smells quite nice. And has the right basic flaour profile for a Bok: bit of caramel sweetness, balanced by bitterness from either malt or hops. But there's a nastines in the middle: over-boiled cabbage. Makes it pretty tough to drink. I can't finish it.

Bronckhorster Ijsselbock
Looks Lovely: dark brown body and cream-coloured head. Accentuated by the beer being pretty fizzy. Hang on while I knock out most of the condition with my twizzling stick . . . . . 

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

. . . . . . .

That took a while.  Still not quite finished . . . . . . Must have double the CO2 of Duvel. Was it worth the elbow grease? Not really. Another cabbagey one. Worse than the last one. Bitter in a bad way.

Het Uiltje Bosuil
Not a Bok, but a black IPA from a hot new Dutch brewery. Smells very nice, all that fruit salad stuff. Pretty much the same in the mouth, put sort of sour, too. Is that just from all the hops? I'm fucked if I know. Probably just an illusion. Pretty bitter, in a pleasant enough way. I'll finsh this one.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1910 Barclay Perkins KKK

Time for another Edwardian Burton Ale. Probably one of my favourite style/period combinations.

Without WW II, would people still have been slurping back this sort of loony juice in the 1970’s? I suspect not, but you never know. Though, in fact, one of the biggest disincentives to brewing strong beer only dates from the 1920’s. In 1921 tax was set at 100 shillings a standard barrel, but as a concession to the brewers, in 1924 a rebate of 20 shillings per bulk barrel was introduced. This made stronger beers less tax-efficient.

Let me explain. A beer of standard-barrel gravity, 1055º, would pay 100 shillings minus 20. So 80 shillings tax. A beer of half standard-barrel gravity, 1027.5º, would pay 50 shillings minus 20, making 30 shillings. That meant that a 1055º beer paid 1.45 shillings per gravity point, but a 1027.5º beer just 1.09 shillings. This system continued right up until WW II.

I’m pretty sure this was a draught beer. Though I doubt it was a ubiquitous presence on the bars on Barclay Perkins tied pubs. You certainly wouldn’t have been able to knock back many pints of it in a session. A pub wouldn’t have got through huge quantities. But a beer this strong didn’t need to be shifted as quickly as one of 4% ABV.

The drop in strength in WW I caused lots of problems with draught beer quality for this very reason. Older beers had been more robust through their greater strength and heavy hopping. Landlords didn’t need to be that careful in their cellar management. After the war that was no longer true and many struggled to get their beer into good condition.

That said, Barclay Perkins did have a beer similar to this between the wars. KKKK, with an OG of 1079, was a winter seasonal which, if their adverts are to be believed, was served from a pin on the bar. A pin of Old Ale on the bar was something you still saw in the 1970’s and 1980’s during the colder weather. Maybe it still happens in the tied houses of some regional brewers.

Time to let Kristen weave his magic . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: Look at the 1909 BP KK we did recently. Notice anything similar?? Yeah, these babies are twins!! Well, not exactly twins as there are a few differences but definitely ‘blood’.

Malt: The only difference between the KK and KKK we see here this week is the lack of SA malt, hence no mild malt. Choose two nice English pale malts or just one...or really whatever you’d like that is a really nice pale malt. I’m going with Maris Otter and Optic b/c they are great and I have them right in my little grimy bands… A touch more invert No2 but not massively so. Loads more caramel but same as always, feel free to lose it, or make your own but don’t go sub’ing in any sort of sinamar or the like.
Hops: Loads more hops than even last week. About equal split between Hallertauer and Goldings this time round. All towards the beginning and a load of dry hops should make this nice and aromatic.  I really prefer my dry hops on for a short time, around 3 days, at about 64-65F. I find I get exactly what I want and if I leave them on longer, it adds nothing…personal preference though

Yeast: (repeat of last week) Same problem as always with these types of beers is trying to keep the gravity higher and not finishing too dry. As long as you are north of 1.015 or so I think it will be close enough. Any drier than that and it will get oppressive.

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, 17 November 2015

Yet another Hammonds takeover

Back with Anthony Avis and another example of the strange atmosphere in many old brewing companies.

Case was one of the later companies Hammonds acquired, in 1959. It was located in Cumbria in the extreme Northwest of England.

“Case & Co began as a wine and spirit business in the main street of Ulverston in the middle of the nineteenth century, and expanded with the growth of Vickers shipyard in Barrow, building a brewery and acquiring a tied house estate in that town. The brewery in Barrow was begun by Geoffrey Case's father, and was his private domain; Geoffrey was allowed no part in its control until he had turned forty and by the time he took charge, it was a brewery business entirely, based in Barrow. He became the brewer, and the brewery became his main interest in life, apart from his horses and point to point meetings; and his golf. He was a good brewer, and his beer was very popular. His equipment was ancient, parts of it literally held together, if not with pieces of string, then assuredly with lengths of rope; but he knew how it was done and managed it all with adroitness. He had a good foreman brewer inherited from his father, who carried him through the learning phase.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 65.

Usually brewery owners were keen on getting their son involved in the business with a view to the continuity of the business. Though autocratic owners weren’t rare, either. The son, as in so many cases, seems to have got a taste for country living, judging by his interests. Held together with rope? Very classy.

This next bit made me smile:

“His brewing routine produced very low rates of wastage, a matter of intense professional interest to the other brewers in the Hammonds group, after Case was taken in. This was until it was realised that the brewery fermenting vessels had such thin walls that they bulged when full. The Excise officers only calibrated the first three feet or so when assessing duty; the result was that Geoffrey gained quite a number of gallons of duty free beer.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 65.

It’s an indication of the poor state of repair of many breweries. Many don’t seem to have had much in the way of investment since before WW I. The pressing need to replace knackered equipment prompted many to sell up. The most recent example I can think of is Gales. They needed to completely replace their brewhouse and either didn’t have the money or the inclination.

It seemed there were some real boozers in the brewery:

“Bookwork was not his favourite occupation, so he left the accountancy side of the business entirely to the company secretary, a man from the Principality named Tudwal C Roberts, a long serving employee locked into the drinking habits which then were common in small breweries. He had sacrificed his liver for the company and its owners, and if one could have warmed one's hands in York by the glow from James Melrose's nose, then a fire could have been ignited in Barrow from the heat of Tudwal's rubicund face.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 65.

This sounds like me at a works do:

“The final negotiations were conducted in the Midland Hotel in Manchester over a luncheon, at which I was present with PLBL, the joint managing director of Hammonds. We met Geoffrey Case and T C Roberts, and soon settled outstanding points of detail and then went downstairs for luncheon. I noted the wretched Tudwal drank everything within reach, and with a neurotic and self absorbed compulsion; it was not drinking for pleasure and companionship, it was consumption because alcohol was available; it put me on notice.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 66.

Not even I would do this:

“Some weeks later I made my first official visit to Barrow and to Case's office there. I saw T C Roberts in his room and was astonished by his behaviour. As we sat talking, he got up from his chair and sidled round to a filing cabinet, pulled open a drawer; and taking an opened bottle of red wine from it, with a glass, he filled it and drank, with his back to me. Some inner force made him do this; perhaps he did not care what I might be thinking; perhaps he was ashamed at his involuntary behaviour - I do not know. When he had finished splashing the wine down his throat and shirt front, he turned round and returned to his seat with no comment at all. It happened several times during the meeting; to me it seemed so unreal.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 66.

Surely he should have been drinking beer in a brewery?

Many brewery owners seemed extremely naïve about the result of selling up:

“Geoffrey Case never got over the fact that he had sold the brewery and therefore control; like many before him, he held to the belief that somehow he had got his money out of the company, but that everything would stay the same. Initially, John Lees-Jones, a fellow director on the Hammonds board, and I went every week to Barrow, and gradually we altered the way the company was run. Geoffrey reverted to being the brewer only; Dudley Renwick was brought in by us as general manager; he was a member of the Deuchar brewing dynasty of Newcastle upon Tyne, and a man with an air of authority.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 66.

It ended in tears for Geoffrey Case:

“The sole responsibility for the brewery had oppressed him and because of the sale he now had help and understanding from his new colleagues; and for him the outlook improved distinctly. He was a pleasant, hesitant, shy countryman. The idyll of his existence lasted a few years only; UB was formed, Hammonds went, and out of it came United Lancastrian Breweries, and a regime not to his liking. The outcome was inevitable.”
"The Brewing Industry 1950 - 1990", by Anthony Avis, 1997, page 65

Seem to have been a very eccentric bunch running breweries.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Bokbier 2015 (part three)

More randomish Bokiness.

Heineken Tarwebok 6.5% ABV
Not much of an aroma. Very sweet. Like a toffee apple with triple toffee.

Dolores: 'That's really sweet . . . and very thin at the end."

Grolsch Herst Bok 6.6% ABV
Sweet in a reallly dull way. "sweetened with sugar" it says on the label. I can believe it, the way two sips have got my teeth aching.

Dolores: "Mmm . . . that's quite nice." I let her finish it.

De Vriendschap Hopbock 6.6% ABV
This is from an outfit in the new wave of Dutch brewing. Smells like a mix of Caramel and grapefruit. Tastes much the same. But it finishes really bitter. More bitter to me than the 41 EBU's the Bokbierfestival programme proclaims. IPA Bok, really. Quite pale, too.

"Uugh. I don't like that one. Bitter."

Cost €2.45 for 33 cl. About €2 euros more than 7% ABV Amstel Bok (for 30 cl.) Which is a really good Bok as well as being dirt cheap.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

2015 Top-fermenting Dutch Bok

Tables – dontcha just love ‘em? I do, as you’ve probably already gathered. I really do have a thing about numbers. Can’t get enough of them.

You really wouldn’t want to see what goes on in my head. It even looks weird to me. But I’m digressing like a digressing stick.

My second look at the 2015 Bock crop is focused on top-fermenting examples. It’s a sign of the transformation of Dutch brewing that these greatly outnumber their bottom-fermenting counterparts. 63 to 29, if you’re interested. Though neither of those totals includes beers labelled Doppelbock.

Once again, a couple of the beers fall outside the parameters of a Dutch autumn Bok. Anything under 15º Plato is too low in gravity. And anything with a colour value below 30 is way too pale.

Though the two beers with the highest EBU value were both top-fermenters, there’s nothing to pick between the average bitterness of them and the bottom-fermenters. Most of the other averages are also pretty close, with the top-fermenters slightly higher in gravity and ABV. The biggest difference is in the colour, where the bottom-fermenters are significantly paler. Take a look:

type OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour (EBC) bitterness (EBU)
top-fermenters 17.17 3.90 7.18 78.64% 67.6 30.7
bottom-fermenters 16.83 4.20 6.86 76.37% 54.2 30.4

I’m having arsing issues again so I’ll leave you with all the pretty numbers lined up neatly in rows.

2015 Top-fermenting Dutch Bok 
Year Brewer Beer OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour (EBC) bitterness (EBU)
2015 Openluchtmuseum Goye Goet Herfstbock 14.5 3.30 6.00 78.24% 104 17
2015 Apeldoornse Bierbrouwerij DeVlijt Veluws Schavuyt Bockbier 14.7 2.58 6.50 83.24% 52 30
2015 Leidsch Bier Pumpkin Raisin Bock 14.9 2.05 6.90 86.95% 47 37
2015 't IJ Ijbok 14.9 2.79 6.50 82.16% 17 24
2015 Van de Streek (H) Black Bock 14.9 3.73 6.00 76.05% 66 57
2015 De Eem (H) Eem Bok 15.0 2.89 6.50 81.63% 65 37
2015 Erik's Bier Erik's Zwarte Piet bokbier 15.5 1.20 7.70 92.71% 90 31
2015 Gringel (H) Valkenburgse Gringelbock 15.5 3.43 6.50 78.93% 40 25
2015 Scheldebrouwerij Wilde Bok 15.5 3.43 6.50 78.93% 40 24
2015 Hertog Jan Hertog Jan Bockbier 15.9 3.86 6.50 76.87% 100 23
2015 Kompaan (H) Weizen bock 15.9 3.86 6.50 76.87% 140 41
2015 Attemer Brouwerij Attemer Bock 16.0 3.04 7.00 81.93% 69 26
2015 Groningse Bierbrouwerij (H) Hunebed bock 16.0 3.04 7.00 81.93% 70 30
2015 Jopen 4 Granen Bok Bier 16.0 3.04 7.00 81.93% 22
2015 Koningshoeven La Trappe Bockbier 16.0 3.04 7.00 81.93% 95 34
2015 Maximus Maximus Bock 7 16.0 3.04 7.00 81.93% 75 35
2015 Hemel Rookbok 16.0 3.96 6.50 76.41%
2015 Hemel Oerbok 16.0 3.96 6.50 76.41%
2015 Troost Bok 16.2 3.81 6.70 77.63% 55 38
2015 De Vriendschap Hopbock 16.3 4.11 6.60 75.97% 26 41
2015 EleganT EleganT Bruintje 16.4 1.99 7.80 88.51% 81 38
2015 Largum Guur 16.4 2.46 7.55 85.83% 62 37
2015 Bax (H) Oma's pruim oude bok 16.5 4.31 6.60 75.10% 59 29
2015 Berging Brouwerij (H) Koe Bok 16.5 4.50 6.50 73.98% 57 31
2015 Jantjes Bieren (H) Udens Bockbier 16.5 4.50 6.50 73.98% 35 33
2015 Pauw Pauw's Herfsttrots 16.7 4.71 6.50 73.07% 80 18
2015 Snab (H) Ijsbok 16.9 0.31 9.00 98.27% 100 32
2015 Snab (H) Ezelenbok 16.9 3.08 7.50 82.73% 90 32
2015 Breugems (H) Saense bock 16.9 4.01 7.00 77.46% 72 28
2015 Bourgondische brouwers (H) Willem de duitser 17.0 3.01 7.60 83.27% 94 34
2015 Mieghehn Bokkendonks Bokbier 17.0 3.55 7.30 80.18% 65 36
2015 Klein Duimpje Slobberbok 17.0 3.74 7.20 79.11% 85 32
2015 De Vriendschap Tarwebok 17.0 4.11 7.00 77.02% 40 20
2015 Groningse Bierbrouwerij (H) Brandaris Blonde Bock 17.0 4.11 7.00 77.02% 60 20
2015 Groningse Bierbrouwerij (H) Kruisheren Constatinus Bock 17.0 4.11 7.00 77.02% 20 40
2015 Linden boom Herfslbock 17.0 4.11 7.00 77.02% 80 22
2015 t Volen Valenbock 17.0 5.04 6.50 71.71% 100 23
2015 Hommeles (H) Bokkepruik 17.0 66 30
2015 Oudaen Oudaen Herfstbock 17.4 4.54 7.00 75.20% 75 21
2015 Wageningen Mordicus 17.4 4.54 7.00 75.20% 60 22
2015 Texelse Texels Bock 17.8 4.36 7.33 76.76% 56 26
2015 Rodenburg Bronkhorster Usselbock 18.0 5.19 7.00 72.57% 50 26
2015 Witte Leeuw (H) Oktober 23 18.0 5.74 6.70 69.60% 90 24
2015 Het roze varken Wintervacht 18.3 4.59 7.50 76.24% 63 51
2015 Oldskool (H) Einbockish 18.5 6.64 6.50 65.76% 40 32
2015 t Wort Wat (H) Polderbock 18.7 4.30 7.90 78.27% 77 31
2015 Rock city beers (H) Bockalade 19.0 2.61 9.00 87.12% 160 30
2015 De Arn (H) Bokkige Arn 19.0 4.43 8.00 77.97% 60 30
2015 Gooische biergilde (H) De blauwe bock 19.0 4.44 8.00 77.94% 80 28
2015 Jopen Johannieter 20.0 3.70 9.00 82.62% 22
2015 Oldskool (H) Shut the Bock up 20.0 5.17 8.20 75.62% 10 20
2015 Rodenburg Brok in de keel 20.5 5.17 8.50 76.26% 37 53
2015 Texelse Texels Stormbock 21.0 3.01 10.00 86.66% 67 24
2015 't IJ Dubbelbok 21.0 3.91 9.50 82.60% 52 25
2015 De Prael Herfstbock 21.0 7.14 7.70 67.77% 60 29
2015 Praght Praght bokbier 2 22.7 9.33 7.50 60.96% 80
2015 Naeckle brouwers Naeckte bok 7.50
2015 Blauwe Ijsbeer (H) Weijsbeer bock 6.00
2015 Dampegheest Dampegheest bockbier 7.00
2015 Oijen Oijens Bockbier 6.00
2015 Pampus Bokshoorn 6.80
2015 Praght Ftevobock 7.50 50 28
2015 Ramses Ramses Bok 7.00 88 59
Average 17.17 3.90 7.18 78.64% 67.6 30.7
Bokbierfestival programme 2015, pages 24 - 28.

Just Doppelbock to go.