Thursday, 29 April 2010

Another example of parti-gyling

Guess what I've got for you now? That's right, another example of parti-gyling. How did you guess?

This is also from the 1930's, but from another brewery: Courage. In this example there's a wider range of gravities in the beers and they aren't all of the same style. KKK is a Strong Ale, the other two are Milds.

Let's start with KKK:

Here's that same information in table form:

Courage 22nd Sept 1930 KKK
barrels gravity SG grav points
102 30.4 1084.2 3,101
15 12 1033.2 180
0 2 1005.5 0
3 0 1000.0 0
120 27.34 1075.7 3,281
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/258.

You'll note that the beer used almost all first wort. Not surprising, as its gravity was only just lower than that of the first wort.

Now MC:

In table form:

Courage 22nd Sept 1930 MC
barrels gravity SG grav points
in FV 5
119 30.4 1084.2 3,618
148 12 1033.2 1,776
91 2 1005.5 182
5 0 1000.0 0
363 15.36 1042.5 5,576
in FV 6
70 30.4 1084.2 2,128
98 12 1033.2 1,176
52 2 1005.5 104
220 15.49 1042.9 3,408
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/258.

The MC was blended in two separate fermenters, FV 5 and FV 6. The blends were slightly different in their composition, but had the same gravity.

And finally, X:

Courage 22nd Sept 1930 X
barrels gravity SG grav points
in FV 13
88 30.4 1084.2 2,675
109 12 1033.2 1,308
161 2 1005.5 322
4 0 1000.0 0
362 11.89 1032.9 4,305
in FV 16
88 30.4 1084.2 2,675
109 12 1033.2 1,308
159 2 1005.5 318
8 0 1000.0 0
362 11.89 1032.9 4,301
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/258.

This was also blended in two different fermenters, FV 13 and FV 16. And again the blends were slightly different.

The worts were generated by a typical mashing scheme: mash, underlet and sparge. I would go into it in more detail, but I don't have the space here. (Or rather it would make this post even longer and duller than it already is.)

Someone asked why they bothered with all the trouble of party-gyling. Having to fiddle with different worts and that. But, the way breweries were set up and the way they brewed, it wasn't as awkward as you might think. The first wort was moved to the coppers and already boiling by the time the sparge had begun. Rather than leave the wort lying around until the whole mashing process was complete, which could cause problems later on, boiling started immediately. The second wort would have been drawn off by the time the first wort had been boiled. Often the same copper would be used to boil all three worts in succession. They had a long brew day. For this brew, the mash started at 10 PM and the last wort was drawn off at 8 AM the next morning.

Let me know if you've had enough parti-gyling. I've a couple of thousand more examples I'm just aching to pester you with.


Martyn Cornell said...

The KKK was presumably, from the name, a Burton Ale in style, which points to the blurry distinction between some (?many?) 20th century milds and Burton Ale: similarly while Bass No 1 was its strongest Burton Ale, Bass No 6 (which I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn was parti-gyled at the same time as no 1) was sold as a mild.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I always suspected draught Old Ales were really strong Milds. Andc that's not far wrong.

Fullers party-gyled their Burtons and Mild. (Kristen should have an example of that for next week's Let's Brew.) As you've seen, Courage did, too. At Barclay Perkins, the grists of KK and their many Milds were different.

Gary Gillman said...

I can't recall now where I read this - it may have been here from Ron or a reader - that Burton Ale (the original Burton) did not seem ever to have be an aged style. I would think this must be so. Because its sweetness, a hallmark of the style, would have been effaced with months of aging: at least if stored on the lees in bottle or cask. (We should not count later developments with filtration or pasteurisation).

It is remarkable how fast dryness can occur with classical storage. Last night at a local bar I had a bottle-conditioned porter from the west of Canada. It was almost completely dry, not sour, but the sugars were all used up by the yeast. (I blended it with a draft local dark beer that was under-attenuated and all was well).

This has happened to me numerous times with bottle-conditioned porters from afar. Burton could not have retained its famed sweetness if drunk very old. Old ale in contrast would have been fairly dry and tart.

And yet, I know that the terms "Old" and "Burton" were often synonymous in the 1900's. It is an example of the confusion that attends beer styles. Or maybe what was considered old by 1940 was different than what was old in 1840. Or a bit of both again, perhaps.


Adrian Avgerinos said...

Martyn, you bring up a good point and something I've been trying to understand for a while now: similarity of English beer styles

I've been trying to group beer styles by their ingredient use and that led me to an attempt at brewing 3 different batches of beer using similar ingredients.

The first batch I called an IPA and the grist was a blend of pale malts (American 2 row, American 6 row, and Fawcett Maris Otter) and amber colored sugar syrup ("No.2"?). The second I called a Porter and was the same basic pale malt blend except I replaced the Maris Otter with Briess Special Roast, and used a black colored sugar syrup ("No.3?).

The last batch I called a Mild and was the same grist as the IPA. For the sugar I used the black syrup. The IPA and Porter were hopped similarly and the Mild used half the amount.

Could I make a Burton Ale by doubling all the ingredients in the Mild recipe? Double the Porter to make a Stout? Double the IPA to make a pale barleywine (or Double IPA to beer geeks)?

For what it's worth, the IPA was crisp, dry, bitter, but extremely bland and the color of Heineken. I've since rebrewed that beer but used all Fawcett Maris Otter and added a hop addition during wort cooling (Kristen calls that a "hop stand"). Not exactly "traditional" but I think I'll get more flavor this round.

The only English-derived beer style that I don't really fits this theme is American style Brown Ales. Hop flavor like an IPA, light roast flavor similar to a Porter, and colored like a dark mild. Best I can tell from reading sites like this one and Martyn's, it wasn't typical for a British brewer to incorporate a *small* amount of roast flavor. It seems it was either all or nothing for that kind of flavor profile.

Ron Pattinson said...

Adrian, not sure you've got that quite right. But some isn't far off.

Many breweries used the same basic recipe for, or party-gyled, their Porter and Stouts.

A Barley Wine was more likey to be party-gyled with another Strong Ale. Or a super-strength Mild. Fuller's Old Burton Extra, which could be described as a Barley Wine, was party-gyled with Mild. (Kristen should have a recipe for that next week.)

Breweries party-gyled their Pale Ales. Things like AK, IPA and Pale Ale. And maybe an Export PA. The IPA was usually one of the weakest variants. But as pale Barley Wines are a recent innovation, they weren't party-gyled with Pale Ales. Truman are a good example. They never party-gyled their Pale Ales with their Barley Wine. Though they did party-gyle it with other Ales. All those weird bloody numbered things.

If you're interested, I can provide sample grists and typical party-gyle combinations. There are really only four basic English styles: Porter, Pale Ale, K Ale, X Ale.

Ed said...

The advert I get at the bottom of this post is for a James Last album. This surprises me for two reasons: firstly that he's not dead yet and secondly that parti-gyling somehow has keywords that link to him.

Ron Pattinson said...

Ed, the advert generator must be pshychic. How else could it know of my love for James Last?

Gary Gillman said...

One of the most fascinating things about brewing history is the disappearance of long aging in the English tradition. (Even in the German one it is falling off but with less significance there). You can argue about drops in alcohol and hop levels, and changes in malts, but palate in this regard, while certainly affected, will still be recognizable to what existed 100 years ago.

But what exists today comparable to the storied (supposedly) Somerset vatted ales and all those old tart-but-not-sour porter specialties? A few hints exist in Belgium. Gale's Prize Old Ale offers a glimmer. The Americans' experiments with sour beers might perhaps disclose something of the old process, although I sometimes wonder if they understand what aged in the sense of sound old really meant.

Thus, in setting out styles reductively, I'd add, even though it's not a style properly speaking (cutting across the others as it does), aged beers. This is truly a lost style or almost so. Pale ale might get some aging but I am talking about pale ale aged up to two years in wood, as e.g., in that marvelous (U.S.) Evans IPA ad Martyn used to illustrate a recent posting on his site.

The experiment proposed by Fuller for its porter (to age some in wooden casks) is a welcome return to an old tradition: let's see what comes of it, the results may turn out really well. Aging in wood is the key to the "old" style, holding beers in glass on the lees might approximate to it in some cases but it can't ever be the same.


Martyn Cornell said...

Gary, the commentary I have seen suggested strongly that Burton Ale needed some cask ageing, certainly longer than pale ales, to be fit to drink, at least in the 19th century. I have seen mention in the 1840s to bottles of Bass No 1 that were several years old for sale, so long bottle-ageing of Burton Ale was certainly practised. And as Ron will confirm, in the 1950s Andrew Campbell speaks of Old and Burton being synonyms still, at least in London.

However, as Ron says, in the 19th century it really does look as if Old Ale was generally aged X-type mild. I think that the analysis of "only four basic English beer styles" is spot-on.

Gary Gillman said...

Well, some Burton ale clearly was aged for some time, as we know too from Ballantine's Burton Ale in the 1900's, famously kept in wood for years before bottling (even 20 years). This analysis from 1870 addresses differences between "old ale", including Old Burton Ale, and mild ale, and points up greater extract, alcohol and acetic development in the former. Fair enough. (Although many of the mild ales noted had fairly high acid levels too, in some cases comparable to the old ales).

Yet, everything I have read about Burton Ale (the pre-pale ale style) has always insisted on its great sweetness. Whether as drunk in Russia or Britain, this has always been noted. This character is, as the British medical journal agrees, a hallmark of mild ale. Burton Ale (and Scotch Ale) essentially were very strong mild ales and this is why in my view parti-gyling worked for preparation of a Burton style and mild ale, as e.g., in the Fuller's case noted by Ron.

This character endured even with long age - George Saintsbury makes this clear of bottled Scotch Ale in his Notes on a Cellar-book, for example.

How did brewers ensure this character? Perhaps by filtering the beers before bottling, perhaps by techniques which ensured sufficient dextrins which could not be consumed by residual yeast (or wild bugs). Perhaps Trent Valley hard water, as far as Burton Ale went, assisted such preservation. Yes, some acid notes would develop, but I would turn the analysis in the medical journal on its head to suggest that more typically, sweetness masked the acid. There was lots of extract in the old beers to do so, assuming the yeasts didn't eat it all up, which is a fair assumption I now think.

Putting it a different way, if the acid ending up dominating the taste, I think that was a stock beer characteristic, the boundary from what Burton Ale was had been crossed. Gale's Prize Old Ale (which never was a Burton Ale of course) would be of this type, a true old ale.

In contrast, Young's Winter Warmer, a Burton Ale in style, always was a sweet and luscious beer from what I recall, it was old only in the stylistic sense. Same thing for the original Fuller's ESB and its predecessor differently named, which when I first drank it was quite sweet. (I have read the hop rate was increased in later years).

Once shipping started, perhaps the character of these ales changed to a degree, and the association with an aged character began but still Burton Ale was never a hard ale.

Just one other comment, which is that the term Old Burton may well have originated, not with reference to any set of attributes conferred by long keeping, but simply to mark off the beer from the newly emerging pale ale style. This is something you see perhaps with the 1800's term, Old Bourbon. There is reason to suppose that it meant, not bourbon long aged in oak, but simply the type of whiskey common in the original Bourbon County, the boundaries of which were much larger than was the case even by 1800.

When people started calling the original Burton Ale old, I suspect some merchants started to age it! Still, it always retained its great sweetness and that is a hallmark of mild ale.