I had planned looking at boil times over the whole time slice I cut out of the logs. But I didn't have time. And I'd rather do it properly than rush. So today's post only covers the 19th century. If you can't remember as far back as Sunday, this is the claim (from BeerAdvocate) I'm checking:
"Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort"The main problem with that statement is this: which period in time is meant by "traditional"? Because, and this came as a surprise to me, Younger's boiling times varied considerably across the 19th century. Time for a table.
I've limited the table to the shilling Ales. For a couple of reasons. Firstly, they are the only beers that were brewed in every one of the years I'm examining. Secondly, the shilling Ales are the Scotch Ales.
You must have noticed something. It's so bleedin' obvious. The boil times steadily increased as the century progressed. To give some sort of benchmark, I'll tell you that London breweries mostly boiled for between 1.5 and 1.75 hours.
The 1831 times are pretty short. Especially considering the gravity of the beers. You might have expected longer boils to concentrate the wort. But that's not the case. In fact it was the weaker beers that were boiled longer. The 1898 times are pretty long, averaging on close to 3 hours. I wonder why they changed?
BeerAdvocate's statement about long boils is true. If "traditionally" only goes back to the 1880's and no further.