Friday, 30 October 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1916 Truman No.1 and No. 5

Kristen and I have finally overcome our fear of Truman's Burton logs. And here's the proof. Two lovely Burton Ales from mid-WW I.

Numbers. As you know, I love numbers. Handy when dealing with Burton brewers, who tended to number rather than name their beers. Truman followed very closely the pattern set by Bass. They started at No.1, their Barley Wine, and worked down through other Strong Ales to 6, 7 and 8 which were Milds. There was also a range of three Pale Ales called P1, P2 and P3. (You'll be hearing more about them later. They'll be playing an important part in our 1909 Beer Style Guide.)

No.1 is Barley Wine, so what modern style is No. 5 most like? No idea. Really no idea at all. There may well be no modern equivalent.

There were very few brews of No. 1, usually only one or two a year. No.5, on the other hand, was brewed frequently, party-gyled with a variety of other beers. No. 4, No. 6, No. 7, No. 8.

The lack of sugar in this brew is a WW I thing. You see it quite a bit, beers being brewed all-malt during the war, presumably because they couldn't get hold of sugar.

Not much of my bullshit today. I'm busy with the 1909 Beer Style Guide. You'll love it.

Now over to Kristen . . . . .

Grist and such
Wow, what a huge number of ingredients or such a simple beer. Count them, five different English pale malts, one American 6-row and about 12% Flaked maize. Absolutely no sugar. The gravity on the No1 is 1.095 which is quite massive for no sugar and the No5 is no slouch at 1.060. If you want to make this, make any combination of 5 pale malts you like. I've only listed 3 in the recipe as most people can easily get 3 types.

The hopping on this one is very high. The No1 clocks in right around 50 and the No5 right around 65 or so. Exactly the same hopping rate for both but the gravity reduces the number of bu's for the No1. The No1 would have definitely gotten more dry hops which is what you see here. As for most cases in Burton that I've seen the strong American hops would go in at the beginning leaving the more 'pleasant' English varieties for the end.

As in standard Truman fashion they gyled his beer with three different worts. Truman is different in that the blended each of the the worts into 4 different strength parts and used those to blend the two different beers. It gets massively complicated for anyone wanting to follow these to a tee. Frankly, I don't think these two particularly benefit from doing a gyle with them. If you do them straight, as I have written, it will make your life much easier.

Water salts
So for the first time, or one of the first time, I've included water salts that weren't in the log. Us it or don't. The big difference between the Burton-type beers was the magnesium and sulfates in the water that really accentuates the bitterness and increases the perception of bitterness on the palate.

Tasting notes
No1 - Massive resins, marmalade and citrus. Big chewy bread down. Sweet alcohols and lots of ripe pears and apples. Drying finish for strength with the water salts really accentuating the length and breadth of the bitterness.

No5 - Same as the first except with a more robust hop profile. The bitterness is even great making the finish even more dry.


Oblivious said...

Interesting about the lack of sugar, Do you have evidence was in the importing of sugar or the engery required to extract it that was prohibitive .

Also was maize been imported or been going locally?

Gary Gillman said...

I wonder how these will fare with cellar treatment. Another idea: place a small keg in the trunk of your car and sample in 6 months (provided freezing is not a risk).

In the 1920's, moonshiners used to put their liquor in oak kegs in the trunk and drive around the country to improve it. There is a tradition of improving whiskey and other hard drinks (not just fortified wines) by ocean shipping, and this was a late echo of this practice. Of course, IPA is, or was, all about the same thing.

Even with a beer not well-attenuated, I think this experiment would be interesting where it is well-hopped. Another way: lash a keg under a rocking chair that sees continual use, another old stratagem, although you don't see these chairs much these days.


Kristen England said...


Not in one single log, of the hundreds and hundreds I've been over, has never indicated a location for maize. It either says flaked maize, or just maize. Happens a lot for sugars. Some places always indicate where the sugar was from but these places use different sugars in their different beers. Other places that seem to just use one type of sugar for all their beers just indicate how much and the number (1,2,3).

Gary Gillman said...

There was significant production of maize, especially in its flaked form, in England in this period. Christine Clark gives the details in her superb study, The British Malting Industry Since 1830.