Sunday, 10 February 2008

Scotch Ale V

When is he going to stop going on about Scotch Ale? Not yet is all you need to know. Sometime. When I've run out of material. It may take some time.

Today's source is "A Cyclopaedia of Six Thousand Practical Receipts, and Collateral Information" by Arnold James Cooley, 1854, pages 44 - 45.
ALE, SCOTCH. This ale is brewed from the finest pale malt, (made from the best English barley,) and the best East Kent Hops, or for long keeping, Farnham's or Country's. The brewing is restricted to the colder portions of the year, as it never succeeds so well during the months of May, June, July, August, and September. Only one mash is made, and that at a temperature of about 180°, with one-third of the quantity of the water necessary for the brewing. The mash-tun is then covered up for half an hour, when the wort is drawn off, and a quantity of water, at the same temperature as before, sprinkled uniformly over its surface. Тhis is performed by throwing the water into a vessel with a bottom full of holes, somewhat resembling a shower-bath, from whence it descends and gets equally distributed over every portion of the malt. After an interval of about twenty minutes, this wort is drawn off from several small cocks or holes, placed round the circumference of the bottom, by which means the hot water is made to percolate equally through every particle of the mass. This operation, called "sparging," is performed a second time, with a fresh portion of hot water, and after a like interval, is again drawn off. This process is repeated several times, until the density of the mixed worts becomes adapted to the quality of the ale required Usually eight or ten "spargings" are employed, the latter at about 5° or 10° cooler than the first The skilful brewer so divides his water that it may produce a wort of the proper gravity; but when a very strong one is required, the latter "sparges" are used for table beer, or as water for mashing a fresh quantity of malt. In this way, 1 quarter of malt will yield full 81 lbs. of extract. The wort is next boiled, with 4 lbs. of hops to every quarter of malt, and afterwards cooled down to 50° before adding the yeast. The latter must not exceed half a gallon for every 100 gallons of wort. The fermentation now commences and proceeds slowly, and in some brewings is accelerated by rousing up twice a day. Should more yeast be absolutely required in a few days, a little may be added. The fermentation generally continues for 15 to 20 days; and the ale is not cleansed before the degree of attenuation does not exceed 0.5 lb. per diem, and not more than quarter of the original gravity of the wort remains. This process is then performed by drawing off without skimming. As soon as the fermentation is finished, the ale is put into carefully prepared casks, and stored in a cold cellar. Here it soon becomes fine, and seldom wants racking before sale. The usual gravity per barrel of the best Scotch ale is about 36 or 40 lbs., and is seldom lower than 32 lbs. or higher than 44 lbs.
There's so much good stuff in this description. I'll summarise for you:
  1. brewed from pale malt and Kent hops
  2. not brewed in the summer
  3. single mash and multiple sparges
  4. 4 pounds of hops per quarter
  5. extract of 81 lbs per quarter
  6. pitching temperature 50º F
  7. long, slow fermentation of two to three weeks
  8. FG bot more than 25% of OG
  9. OG usually between 1100º and 1111º, minimum 1089, maximum 1122º
I don't know about you, but I'm beginning to be pretty convinced of certain characteristics of Scotch Ale. The above list includes most of them.

I'm pretty tempted to get a Scotch Ale brewed. You can help me work out the recipe, if you like.


Fatman said...

Lots of chlorides in the liquor rather than the sulphates used for IPA. Lower hop rate than IPA. But, same pale malt, same EK hops. ABV around 10%.

Something occurred to me yesterday Ron; quoting hopping rates is all very well but when are the additions timed? This is crucial. All at the start, as in modern stout, would be pretty interesting...pretty much all the flavour would be from pale malt...mind you, there's be enough of that...

Ron Pattinson said...

Funny you should ask about the timing of hop additions. I do have information about this which I guess I should have included.

This comes from "Scottish Ale Brewer" (talking about India Beer) pages 164-165:

The Burton brewers average around 20 to 22 lbs, per quarter, and they generally prefer East Kents; but the average of others , for this beer, is about 16 to 18 lbs. If the former quantity is used it would be advisable to divide it thus:- Six pounds per quarter are first put into the copper, and boiled for 20 minutes, after which 8 pounds per quarter are added, and with the first quantity boiled 50 minutes longer, making in all one hour and ten minutes, and leaving the remaining eight pounds per quarter for the second wort . . .

This first wort now being into the hop-back, and the copper charged with the second, it is boiled with the remaining 8 lbs. of hops for two hours. It is to be borne in mind, that the hops from the first wort are not returned, but are allowed to remain in the hop-back, the wort still draining from them. At the expiry of two hours, the second wort is run upon them, and by this means, much, of not all of the valuable matter imbibed by the hops from the first wort will be given to the second. To extract what remains from the second wort, after it has run from the hop-back, the brewer will use his own discretion, either by pressing, or by a return wort."

"Scottish Ale Brewer" has some good stuff about India Ale. I'll probably be quoting more it soon.

Fatman said...

I wouldn't expect a late hop character from the second addition as 50 minutes is probably long enough to boil it away. But the use of a hop back and double mash is interesting and would lend a certain late hop flavour, albeit not a particularly pungent one.

But...did they hop in the fermenter and/or cask? That would change things around altogether.

If you come across any more detail on hop use..........

Ron Pattinson said...

"Scottish Ale Brewer" again talking about India Ale (p.168):

"Fermentation in the cask is generally completed in fourteen to twenty days, according to circumstances. At the above period, if the brewing has been rightly managed, the beer will be tolerably fine. The beer is now racked into hogsheads, and allowed to remain until the fancy has completely subsided, when a pound or somewhat more of the finest hops, having been previously prepared by working them up with some of the beer, is put into each hogshead, which is immediately chived or bunged down.

I have adopted what I have found to be a very beneficial practice; instead of breaking the hops with beer, I mash with a little rich boiling ale wort at 100 or 110, Allan, and when cool, I add about a pound to each hogshead, with a little of the remaining worts. This provides nourishment for the beer, and renders it fuller to the palate."

There was a very short fermentation in tuns (24-30 hours) before filling into puncheons, which were topped up every two hours with "ejected wort". It seems to be some sort of cleansing process like a union. There were no hops mentioned in these first two phases.

Fatman said...

Ron, can you just go over the hopping rates again? I've found a (secondary) source that is suggesting Barclay Perkins Imperial Brown Stout (1856) OG 1107 had nearly 4.5 kg/bbrl in it. According to my 'hopulator' the bitterness comes in at around 400 using a crude modern copper. Even assuming much poorer extract we're looking at eye watering bitterness. Besides, it must be practically impossible to get that much hop material in the copper.

Source: Harrison 1976. A book of old recipes compiled and tested by members of the Durden Park Beer Circle.

And yes, it too references dry hopping in quite a few old styles. They also reference long maturation periods - not too surprised given the hop rates.

Ron Pattinson said...

That tallies with my figures for 1856 IBSt. Though I'm sure it will be exactly the same brew that I looked at. They usually only brewed it once a year.

OG: 1107
hops lbs/barrel: 10.12
hops lbs/qtr: 15.86

The 1862 version I have details of is just about identical:

OG: 1100
hops lbs/barrel: 10.02
hops lbs/qtr: 15.58

In the 1856 version, 227.25 barrels were brewed from 145 quarters of malt. Which means 1.567 barrels to the quarter. The yield was just 60.52 pounds extract per quarter. But about a quarter the grist was brown or black malt from which you would expect a lower yield.

Ron Pattinson said...

Fatman, I have a lot more details of Barclay Perkins beers here:

Fatman said...

There you go then - I've learnt something surprising. It seems the US micros weren't the first to brew extreme beers afterall.

It's still an astonishing amount of hop per glass.

Ron Pattinson said...

I would usually say that you have to take into account that many of the hops used would be one, two, three or more years old. But IBSt was the one beer that used all new hops.

This isn't by any means the most heavily-hopped beer I've come across. 15 pounds per quarter is far less than IPA, which generally had over 20 pounds per quarter.

In brewing manuals they mention that such beers need to be matured a long time until the "harsh bitterness" has mellowed.

But you're right, American micros weren't the first to super-hop their beers.

Oh, about getting all the hops into the copper. Barclay Perkins equipment was designed for the standard Porter, with brew lengths of 1,200 - 1,400 barrels. IBSt was brewed in much smaller batches: 200 - 400 barrels. The coppers would only have been half full.

Another interesting point: in the early 20th century Barclay Perkins usually added a bushel (about 40 pounds) of black malt in the copper. I assume this was to extract as much colour as possible. I haven't had chance to check how far this practice went back.

Fatman said...

Thanks Ron, I'm getting all inspired!

The aging of the hops makes a big difference to bitterness, possibly reducing it by over 20% per year. It would make sense in brewing IPA to use aged hops for their preservative qualities in much the way lambic brewers do (albeit on a different scale). So if BC used fresh hops IBS may still be the most bitter beer ever brewed (I almost hope so).

Beta acids in aged hops oxidise to bittering substances (not nearly enough to make up for the degradation of alpha acids) and an old Belgian brewer once told me they are mighty fine for brewing porter because this bitterness is soft. Must check that.

I had an 8% english IPA last night and I'm beginning to understand the kind of beer enjoyed in those times.....

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm trying to think if I've ever found a beer in the logs apart from IBSt that used all fresh hops. Can't recall any. The oldest hops I've seen used were 11 years old.

The pratice of using hops more than a year olf wasn't confined to thye 19th century or the UK. Whitbread were still doing it in the 1950's, as were Heineken.