Thursday, 31 March 2011

Porter and Stout grists in the 1920's

Time to return to one of my favourite topics: Porter and Stout grists. I just can't get enough of that gristly stuff.

We're back in the 1920's, looking at one of the most important brewing manuals of the day, "Brewing and Malting" by John Ross Mackenzie. It's one of those doorstep tomes, full of scary organic chemistry. I'm steering well clear of those sections because, well, they scare me. Porter and Stout grists. I feel much more at home with them.

"Stout and Porter Grists.—
A proposition advanced in some treatises dealing with the practical side of brewing, namely, that the initial heat for black beers should be low, needs qualification. It has been stated that palate-fulness is thereby brought about, but the tendency will be exactly the reverse, unless lines similar to those suggested on the next page be followed. One might even go so far as to say that in some cases, those for instance where black beers are brewed in comparatively small quantity by country brewers having no large local demand for that class of product, an initial even higher than that used for running ales is required. More than in any other beer is a good firm persistent head a desideratum in black beers, and from what has been said before it will be understood that this is attainable solely by ensuring the presence of a good proportion of dextrin, whether it be combined as malto-dextrin, or free, as was at one time supposed.

And although there is no diastatic capacity in the black or roasted malt, which forms part of the grist, and very little, if any, in the brown and other coloured malts, there is equally no starch in the former, and very little in the latter to undergo hydrolysis, so that the question of the wort's relative poverty in diastase does not come into play, and indeed has no foundation in fact.

There is no doubt that the extraction of a large proportion of albuminous matters, especially in the form of peptones, also tend to give softness and body, if their presence can be secured without the extreme degree of conversion into maltose, which. unless special precautions be taken, they will determine. This might be done by working on lines laid down in an earlier part of this chapter, i.e., by getting a low initial heat and rapidly and considerably raising it (to diastase-crippling point) by free steam, or by some specific modification of the limited-decoction system, or by the employment of the hot-grist process. But failing facilities for these, our own experience makes for higher heats than those used for ales. Similarly, we hold that the "rest" or "stand" after mashing should, if anything, be curtailed.

Black beers are brewed from a mixture of pale, brown, or amber, crystal or chocolate as preferred, and patent, or black, malts, though in Dublin, and we believe in Cork, the brown is omitted. The Irish brewers' patent malt, however, is not the over-roasted black stuff (giving a rough and burnt flavour) which so often does duty for that material in England. It is rather of a rich chocolate brown, and being used in large quantities easily escapes the extreme slackness which samples taken from the country breweries here would often exhibit. Also, as we are given to understand, the brewers in Ireland depend largely, if not solely, upon malt, while in England sugar is considerably used, and that often of very inferior quality, under the questionable idea that anything will do for stout, as the colour covers a multitude of sins.*

* Also it may be added that another characteristic of the Irish system is attenuation pushed to an extreme that the English brewer, who rather aims at keeping a high proportion of unattenuated matter in beer of this class, never dreams of, body and condition being afterwards secured by "worting," i.e., by adding strong wort in incipient fermentation (what the German brewers know as Krausen, anglice Kreising)
"Brewing and Malting" by John Ross Mackenzie, 1927 , pages 253 - 254."

So the idea was to get a dextrinous wort, both for reasons of fulness of body and good head retention. The need for Porter and Stout to have a thick, lasting head comes up time and again in old brewing manuals and other sources. So often, that I'm inclined to believe it. His suggested method of achieving this - a low initial heat quickly raised by steam - looks a bit complicated to me. Mashing at a higher temperature seems a much simpler method.

I'm surprised that brown malt could contain some distase. The method of production at this period - rapidly raising the kilning heat by throwing bundles of wood into the fire - I would have expected to destroy every last bit of diastase.

Irish Stout. I love it when this is mentioned. As usual, the way its manufactured differed from English practice is highlighted. Guinness dropped brown malt from the grists very soon after the development of black malt. It's one of the things that distinguished it from London Stout. That and the absence of sugar.

Martyn Cornell will be pleased to see the term "worting" used instead of krausening. So we've got worting, gyling and krausening as names for the practice of priming with wort. I was initially confused by the reference to the extreme degree of attenuation. Analyses of Guinness at various points in the 20th century show that it was in the early 1950's that its attenuation was raised to 80 - 85%. But it seems that they were already attenuating highly during fermentation. However adding in the unfermented wort would have raised the FG.



Guinness Extra Stout 1921 - 1951
Year
Beer
Price
size
package
Acidity
FG
OG
Colour
ABV
atten-uation
1921
Extra Stout
9d
pint
draught

1015.8
1054.8

5.06
71.17%
1922
Extra Stout

half pint
bottled

1021.5
1054.7

4.28
60.69%
1923
Extra Stout

half pint
bottled

1016.2
1054.2

4.93
70.11%
1928
Extra Stout

half pint
bottled

1010.1
1054.2

5.75
81.37%
1932
Extra Stout

half pint
bottled
0.77
1014.4
1057

5.54
74.74%
1933
Extra Stout

half pint
bottled
0.1
1012.2
1055.2

5.60
77.90%
1939
Extra Stout
10d
pint
bottled
0.07
1013.7
1054.5
1 + 10
5.30
74.86%
1940
Extra Stout
1/3d
pint
bottled
0.06
1013.7
1053.7

5.20
74.49%
1941
Extra Stout
1/3d
pint
bottled
0.04
1014.6
1052.6

4.93
72.24%
1941
Extra Stout
1/3d
pint
bottled
0.08
1012.1
1048.9
1 + 9
4.78
75.26%
1942
Extra Stout

pint
bottled
0.08
1013.3
1046.9
1 + 8.5
4.36
71.64%
1943
Extra Stout

pint
bottled
0.06
1011.8
1045.9

4.43
74.29%
1946
Extra Stout

pint
bottled
0.08
1010.8
1041.7
11 Brown
4.01
74.10%
1947
Extra Stout
1/7d
pint
bottled
0.07
1010.5
1041.8
1 + 6
4.06
74.88%
1948
Extra Stout
1/3.5d
pint
bottled
0.12
1012
1047.2
1 + 6.5
4.57
74.58%
1948
Extra Stout
2/-
pint
bottled
0.04
1012.6
1045.2
1 + 9
4.23
72.12%
1950
Extra Stout
1/11d
pint
bottled
0.06
1008.6
1048.6
1 + 8
5.21
82.30%
1951
Extra Stout
1/3d
half pint
bottled
0.05
1007.5
1049.1
1 + 8
5.43
84.73%
Source:
Whitbread Gravity Book documents LMA/4453/D/02/001 and LMA/4453/D/02/002 held at the London Metropolitan Archives

I wonder when they stopped worting? Was it around 1950 when the attenuation suddenly increased? It would explain it.

Another difference between Irish and London Stout was the black malt. From the description, Irish black malt sounds somewhere between the usual black malt and brown malt. Does anyone still make it? As Guinness now use roasted barley, maybe not.

12 comments:

Barm said...

The crucial phrase is that the wort is "in incipient fermentation". It's an important distinction because you're not just adding sugars to the mature beer for the possibly tired original yeast to ferment; you're adding a lot of fresh, very active yeast which will also clean up any remaining unfermented sugars in the mature beer.

Is there a common opinion in British brewing on exactly when it stops being wort and is referred to as beer? I'm aware that to the Germans it's Würze only until the yeast is pitched, after which it's Jungbier.

The Irish patent malt might be similar to what we now call chocolate malt, perhaps.

First Stater said...

Barm, in the US a 2 year old can make wort. It only becomes illegal when the yeast is introduced and it becomes beer.

Gary Gillman said...

The part I found most interesting is where he refers to over-roasted malt and the resultant rough and burnt character. In my view, roasted barley leads to a similar character "a fortiori".

I find many craft porters and stouts not to my taste where not made from all-malt and even some of the latter have a raw and over-roasted taste as this author noted.

Guinness does not, but it is so restrained in flavour that this is neither here nor there.

I would think Sinebrychoff Porter must use all-malt and coloured malts not too over-charred since the resultant taste is silky and soft. Ditto Carnegie. Some brewers use, I know, roasted barley yet get a good result, e.g. Sinha (Lion) Stout. I guess in the end it's not the materials as such, or not entirely, but a knowing brewer's palate that can make the real difference.

Gary

Oblivious said...

"I'm surprised that brown malt could contain some distase. The method of production at this period - rapidly raising the kilning heat by throwing bundles of wood into the fire - I would have expected to destroy every last bit of diastase"

Probably there are some cooler spots that allow enzymatic actively to survive

Also amylases maybe be more thermo stable in a lower moister environment like malted grain than compared to a fully saturated system like a mash tun

Craig said...

I've written before about my most recent brew, a stout based on the 1883 Guinness grist, consisting of pale, amber and black malts. Obviously St. James's Gate has a few years of brewing on me, but I did think it strange that that one of characteristics that defines Guinness, it's roasted coffee flavor, was conspicuously missing. It now appears that the Irish black malt, falling somewhere between brown and black malt, flavor-wise, may have contributed a bit or brown malt, roasted flavor, as well than the charcoal-ish character of traditional black malt.

It would be interesting to see if you could "roast-up", a bit of brown malt to impart some characteristics of both black and brown malts.

Rod said...

Barm -
"Is there a common opinion in British brewing on exactly when it stops being wort and is referred to as beer?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, because this is not a word that we use at Meantime, but once the yeast is pitched and fermentation starts does the wort not become gyle? Once fermentation stops it's (green)beer.

Rod said...

Barm -
"The Irish patent malt might be similar to what we now call chocolate malt, perhaps"
Yes, that's what I thought.

Craig -
"It would be interesting to see if you could "roast-up", a bit of brown malt to impart some characteristics of both black and brown malts."
See above - chocolate malt is probably quite close, and a safer bet than trying to roast up brown malt yourself.

JessKidden said...

re: "worting, gyling and krausening"- I've seen interviews with Fritz Maytag of Anchor in which he refers to the process as "bunging", as well. (Might even be used on their website.)

Most US brewing companies, being founded by Germans, who used the method for carbonation called it "krausening", although often spelling it "kraeusening" in ads (looks more "authentically old world" I guess).

Rod said...

"called it "krausening", although often spelling it "kraeusening" in ads (looks more "authentically old world" I guess)."

The "e" after the a stands in place of the more usual umlaut - this is the standard German convention.

Craig said...

...And besides, chocolate malt is mentioned in the blurb as something unto itself.

Rod said...

Craig -
"Black beers are brewed from a mixture of pale, brown, or amber, crystal or chocolate as preferred, and patent, or black, malts, though in Dublin, and we believe in Cork, the brown is omitted."

I first read this as meaning that (in England) various brown malts are used together with black malt, but, in Ireland, only black malt is used. Re-reading it, I can see that it's not as clear as that, but I still agree with Barm that the nearest thing you're likely to get to the Irish patent black these days is chocolate.

Craig said...

Rod

My only issue with chocolate malt is that it's roasted in a different manner, wet, than brown and black malts, which are roasted dry. I think that the dry method produces that charred, ashy, bitterness that you get from black malt. I don't know if chocolate can offer that. That charred ashiness is a signature characteristic of Guinness. I can't believe that they would alter their recipe without being able to get similar results.