Apologies for continuing to torture you with draughts of my book. But here's more that I haven't finished writing properly yet. 18th century styles again. I hope this makes things a little clearer.
You'll be pleased to hear that I've started work on some of the other chapters. So you shouldn't have to put up with much more from the 1700's. Oh no. One of my favourites will be occupying my attention for the next week or two: beer in WW I.
It was Brown Beers which cauased the revolution in London brewing at the beginning of the 18th century. Both Porter and Stout were types of Brown Beer, though originally bore different names.
Stout was first used to refer strong Beers and Ales of any type. Stout Brown Butt-Beer is the precursor of what today is recognised as Stout. But there was also Pale Stout, a strong Beer made from 100% pale malt. Barclay Perkins brewed a Pale Stout until just after 1800 (Barclay Perkins brewing logs). As the 1700's progressed, Stout Brown Butt-Beer was shortened to Brown Stout, a name London brewers continued to use right into the 20th century. It was the strongest Beer brewed from brown malt in London.
Starting Butt-Beer (or Common Butt-Beer) is what would later come to be known as Porter. This was the standard-strength Beer made from brown malt. Porter was no sudden new invention, but a tweaked form of Brown Butt-Beers that had already been brewed for a considerable length of time. The dramatic change wasn't in how these Beers were brewed, but matured and delivered. These were the first Beers to be aged at the brewery and delivered to pubs ready to drink. For publicans, not having to lay down their own stocks to mature, it was much more convenient. It was hit with drinkers, too: "common Butt-beer is at this time in greater Reputation than ever in London, and the Home-brew'd Drinks out of Credit" ("London and Country Brewer", 1736.)
Initially all Porter was aged for a relatively modest period. According to Obadiah Poundage "four or five months was deemed to be sufficient age for it to be drunk at." No blending of "stale" and "mild" Porter took place. This is quite different from 19th century pratice, where only a portion of Porter was aged, but for longer periods. A quantity of this aged Porter was mixed with "mild" Porter before it was dispatched to pubs.
The two main subtypes of Ale brewed from brown malt were Common Brown Ale and the stronger Stitch. The main differences with Brown Beers were the hopping rate and the fermentation temperature. Ales had only about 25% of the hops of the equivalent strength Beer. Ales also had a warmer, faster primary fermentation.
"Thus also the common brown Starting Butt-Beer is Brewed, only boiled with more Hops an Hour and a half, and work'd cooler and longer than the brown Ale "London and Country Brewer", 1736.
Common Brown Ale was usually drunk young. Stitch was sometimes aged. Ales intended for ageing were more heavily-hopped than those intended for immediate consumption.
As Porter became all the rage, Brown Ales lost popularity and by the early 19th century had disappeared. The name was not revived until a century later, when it was used to describe a very different drink.
Pale Ale and Amber Ale
These were the strongest Ales, with starting gravities just a little lower than October Beer. The hopping rates were higher than for Ales brewed from brown malt, but still much lower than for Pale or Amber Beer. They were usually drunk aged.
Despite the name, this Pale Ale was not the direct antecedent of the 19th century Pale Ale. The hopping rate of just one pound per barrel is proof enough of that. Rather, they evolved into 19th century X Ales, the precursor of modern Mild. Though overshadowed by Porter for much of the 18th and early 19th centuries, Ales continued to be brewed. When fashions changed in the 1850's, Ales became once again the staple drink of Londoners.
Artyfacts from the Nyneties #5: Sainsbury’s Bière de Garde, 1991 - The image above comes from the Sainsbury’s supermarket in-house magazine for November 1991 and is a great reminder that interesting beer didn’t arrive in...
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