Saturday, 3 November 2007

Guinness and roast barley

A couple of comments about yesterday's post have prompted me to investigate roast barley, patent (black) malt and roast malt.

In "Guinness's Brewery and the Irish Economy 1759-1876" by Lynch and Vaizey and it says this (talking about the early 19th century) on page 158:

"For example, roasted barley was a good substitute for roasted malt, but its use would have evaded the excise on malt."

This is from "Guinness 1886-1939" by S.R. Dennison and Oliver MacDonagh page 11 (again talking about the first half of the 19th century):

"The brewing processes changed little over the century. It is necessary to go back to 1819 to find a mildly revolutionary change in the introduction of 'Patent Brown Malt'."

"it shall not be lawful for any Brewer to have in his or her Brewery, or in any Part of the Premises connected with his or her Brewery, any raw or unmalted Corn or Grain" -- Duty on Malt (Ireland) Act, 1813 (section 10). (Thanks for this quote, beer nut)

It seems to me that:

1. Irish brewers weren't allowed to use unmalted barley in the early 1800's
2. Guinness used roast or patent malt
3. Guinness was an early adopter of patent malt - Whitbread didn't use it until several decades later

This has left me wondering exactly when Guinness started using roast barley.

Going back to "A Bottle of Guinness Please" by David Hughes I think I've found the answer. On page 74 it says that in 1972 the Guinness Park Royal brewery in London brewed extra Stout from a grist to 70-71% malted barley (I uppose it means pale malt) 9-10% roast malt and 20% flaked barley. On page 75 it gives the 1983 Park Royal grist - 60% pale malt, 30% flaked barley, 10% roast barley.

The bjcp say this of "dry" Stout: "The dryness comes from the use of roasted unmalted barley in addition to pale malt, moderate to high hop bitterness, and good attenuation." So I suppose pre-1980's Guinness wasn't true to style. I wish I'd known that at the time. Then I could have marked bottle-conditioned Guinness down.

Until yesterday I had assumed that Guinness had been using roasted barley for centuries. Once again, how wrong I was.

Zythophile has dug up even more interesting information about early Guinness grists in Bristol-fashion Guinness and the roast barley question.

16 comments:

Lachlan said...

Are you certain that Guinness brewed in Dublin was brewed to the same recipe as in London, and that they changed at the same time?

And I don't really follow the first quote - wouldn't evading excise mean roasted barley would be MORE likely to be used? Or were only excised products allowed as ingredients?

Ron Pattinson said...

I read is meaning it was illegal to use unmalted grains because it avoided the malt tax. This was certainly the case in England. One of the main reasons for the the malt and hops only rules were that tax on beer was collected as a tax on malt and hops.

The use of unmalted grain ine brewing was illegal in England before 1880. I interpret the text as saying that the same rules applied in Ireland.

You're right, the information I have is only for Park Royal and not for St. James's Gate.

My guess would be that the recipes wre pretty much the same in Dublin and London. You used to find both sorts in British pubs (it always said on the label where it had been brewed). My brother used to claim he could tell the difference between the two. But he's a Sunderland fan. What does he know.

Lew Bryson said...

Ron...
You seem a bit evasive here, or at least, not your usual firm self. Was the use of unmalted grain in brewing illegal in Ireland, or was it not? You've got me going now; when do we find out for sure?

Sorry to seem demanding, but you keep setting the bar so high for yourself (and the bjcp!).

Ron Pattinson said...

Lew, we find out for sure by doing some more digging. I have the details of English taxation and restrictions on ingredients. In fact I have a coule of sourcea on that. I can only find oblique refernces to taxation in the Guinness histories. It should be possible to find out exactly what the rules were. But it may take some time.

Sometimes there isn't a quick answer.

Lew Bryson said...

Rest easy, I'm just eager. Finding out that using unmalted grains was illegal in England was an eye-opener, and I'm kind of on the edge of my seat about the Irish thing. I've stopped talking about the origins of stout and porter; obviously what I've read and heard is bushwah. I'm waiting on you, Ron. When's the book come out?

The Beer Nut said...

"it shall not be lawful for any Brewer to have in his or her Brewery, or in any Part of the Premises connected with his or her Brewery, any raw or unmalted Corn or Grain" -- Duty on Malt (Ireland) Act, 1813 (section 10).

Ron Pattinson said...

lew, I think I have at least 12 months more research before I can start writing my history of British beer styles 1800-1970.

beer nut, that's absolutely brilliant. Exactly what I wanted to know. Where on earth did you find that? Confirmation that, indeed, the use of unmalted barley was illegal in Ireland.

The Beer Nut said...

An online version of the entire UK statute book is one of the weapons at my disposal. Searching for "unmalted" threw this up.

There's no such prohibition in the original duty on malt act of 1804, so it looks like it took nine years for the exciseman to figure out what was happening. He probably noticed his pint suddenly tasted different.

Zythophile said...

This is just my guess, but it seems likely they only started using (cheaper) roasted barley, rather than roasted malt, after the passing of the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880 removed the tax on malt, and allowed brewers to use any sort of grain, malted or not ...

As far as differences between Dublin and Park Royal were concerned, Guinness seems to have gone out of its way to replicate the Dublin environment in North West London, to the extent of "painting" the Park Royal brewhouse in 1936, before it opened, with dregs from the St James's Gate fermenting vessels, to get the right microflora in the air ... "draught" (keg) Guinness seems to have been different to the extent that the Dublin version apparently had two per cent of aged beer in the mix, and was unpasteurised. so yes, your brother may have been able to tell one from the other ...

Ron Pattinson said...

zythophile, it was bottled Guinness my brother meant.

Interesting about the microflora. It sounds like a lambic brewery.

Lew Bryson said...

Balls. This is terrific, and only partly because it rips a huge hole in the arse of so many bloviating beer dorks. Honest, it's only partly. For me, anyway. YMMV. Thanks for making my day, Beer Nut!

Zythophile said...

Whoops, sorry, didn't notice you'd covered the Free Mash Tun Act in a previous post, made myself look a twannock there .. anyway, Ron, you've inspired me again to do some digging of my own, which as it came in at far too long for a comment, is now here

Lachlan said...

"The use of unmalted grain in brewing was illegal in England before 1880."

Your site lists Meux recipes from 1839 and Barclay Perkins recipes from 1851 which contain roasted barley. Am I missing something? Did something change before 1880?

I think it's interesting that Amsinck lists Guinness' beers in 1868 as not containing any brown malt. I don't recall seeing any English porter grists from that era not containing at least some brown malt. Not sure what it means though...

Ron Pattinson said...

Lachlan, well spotted. That's my error. In the logs it just says "roasted" and I've incorrectly expanded that to be "roasted barley". It should, of course, be roasted malt. I will be correcting my web page.

Guinness seem to have dropped brown malt soon after they started using roast malt. I have found a single London Porter without brown malt - Whitbread Porter from 1871. The only non-London English Porter grist I have (Hammonds from 1903) doesn't have any brown malt in it either. It may just have been London brewers that kept using it.

Lachlan said...

Hmmm... well, the Durden Park Beer Circle make exactly the same mistake in their book.

They also list beers from the Neville Read brewery of Windsor (1858) and Reid's Griffin Brewery (1838) which contain roasted barley.

Is the term "roasted malt" not well known in the UK? It's a pretty big coincidence that you'd both make such a mistake, don't you think (not that it's out of the question)?

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm used to the term black malt rather than roasted malt. It's my own ignorance.

It's not obvious in the logs because they just say "roasted". And I have to admit that when I saw the word on Porter and Stout logs I immediately assumed it meant roasted barley. If I had thought more carefully, I would have realised that it couldn't have possibly been unmalted barley, because of the laws in force at the time.

Thanks very much for pointing out my error, BTW. It's prompted a very interesting discussion and made things much clearer in my mind.