I'd been waiting for this. It's a major reason why I monitor the Ratebeer reviews of my two Whitbread recreations. And someone finally said it ". . not quite to style . .". Whitbread SSS was the beer in question.
Not to style. What on earth does that mean in the context of a recreation of an historic brew? That Whitbread weren't brewing stylistically correct Stouts in 1914? Or that in 1914 they weren't brewing a Stout according to 2009 style guidelines? Either way, it's a ludicrous way to judge a beer.
In 1914, Whitbread were by definition brewing to style. Being one of the large London Porter brewers, their beers had helped to define the style in the first place. SSS is a typical Triple Stout from before WW I. I should know. I've looked at plenty in brewing records. So by the standards of its day, it's definitely to style.
Expecting a beer originally brewed nearly 100 years ago to fit a modern specification is just crazy. How on earth could they guess how a small bunch of fanatics would define Stout a century later? Mystic Mogg move over.
And exactly which style isn't it true to? Ratebeer classifies it as an Imperial Stout. But that's not what it was. It was a Triple Stout. That lies between a Double Stout and an Imperial Stout, in terms of strength. Amazingly, given the mad proliferation of styles in the last 10 years, Triple Stout isn't recognised by either the BJCP, Ratebeer or BeerAdvocate.
Eventually, I knew a reviewer would say "not true to style". It gave me a cheap laugh. I hope it tickles your ribs, too.
Grace Brothers Brewery, Santa Rosa, CA And The Puzzle of Memory - (Circa-1900 image of Grace Brothers Brewery, Santa Rosa, CA. From Sonoma Heritage Collections, http://heritage.sonomalibrary.org/). This m...
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