Thursday, 26 April 2012

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1949 William Younger DBS

I would have posted this last week. Except I was away from home. Better late than never, eh?

We continue in the bewitching world of postwar Britain. When the food and raw materials situation was in some cases worse than during the war. That was certainly the case with brewing materials.

I'll be straight with you. This recipe was a nightmare to interpret. The malts (other than the base malts) are nothing more than a scribbled letter with a number under them. Somehow - I'm not sure how - the brewer managed to write "Rst" so it looks like "Lac". That crazy old-fashioned writing. I could only work it out by looking at other DBS brews.

See what I mean:

We've made educated guesses as to what M and C stand for, I'm pretty sure C is crystal. And the only type of malt that starts with  an M that I can think of is mild malt.

As you can probably guess from the shitload of lactose, we're in Sweet Stout territory here. Scottish Sweet Stout territory, which is the sweetest of all. That's a stack of caramel, too. Black and sweet, that's what this baby must have been. A real granny Stout.

DBS is a beer that underwent radical changes in character over its long life. Here you can see those changes in table form:

William Younger DBS 1851 - 1939
Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp
1851 DBS Stout 1089 1025 8.47 71.91% 14.00 5.68 2.25
1858 DBS Stout 1071 1020 6.75 71.83% 20.00 6.84 1.75
1869 DBS Stout 1065 1018 6.22 72.31% 13.33 3.83 2.25 3 62º
1879 DBS Stout 1073 1035 5.03 52.05% 12.86 5.00 1.75 2.25 58º
1885 DBS Stout 1073 1025 6.35 65.75% 15.86 5.51 2 2.5 56º
1898 DBS Stout 1069 1023 6.09 66.67% 7.50 2.26 3 3.5 59.5º
1913 DBS Stout 1065 1022 5.69 66.15% 10.65 2.63 2.5 3 59.5º
1921 Btg DBS Stout 1060 1019 5.42 68.33% 10.65 2.63 2 2.5 60º
1923 DBS Stout 1058 1029 3.84 50.00% 4.21 1.67 2
1933 DBS Btlg Stout 1066 1025.0 5.42 62.12% 9.31 2.14 2.5 3 60.5º
1939 DBS Btlg Stout 1066 1023.0 5.69 65.15% 6.06 1.59 2.5 3 60.5º
Documents WY/6/1/2/5, WY/6/1/2/14, WY/6/1/2/21, WY/6/1/2/28, WY/6/1/2/31, WY/6/1/2/45, WY/6/1/2/58, WY/6/1/2/70 and WY/6/1/2/76 of the William Younger archive held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

See how, in general, the attenuation fell over time. As did the gravity. The FG, on the other hand, remained fairly constant. The beer in the recipe has a higher FG than the much stronger 1869 version. The hopping rate fell dramatically at the end of the 19th century, which must have had a big impact on the flavour of the beer.

Though I haven't shown it in the table, there were big changes in ingredients, too. The 19th-century incarnation was pale, brown and black malt, with no caramel or lactose.

Tha's me done. Over to Kristen . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:


This beer has a ton of different malts in it. Let’s just keep it simple shall we? The blend of pale malts makes this more complex so at least use two if you can. Some Golden Promise and Optic work very nicely but use what you can. The Mild malt can be replaced if you can’t get it with any type of pale…there isn’t enough to make that big of a difference. The two big keys to this beer are the caramel and the lactose. If you don’t have access to caramel, don’t worry about it. If you do, you’ll see you need about 30srm (60ebc). Is it needed, no, but for all those that have it, its easy enough to do. The lactose. You need it. The beer won’t be the same without. Go and find it if your shop doesn’t have it. Crunch hippy stores usually have it. Add it any time during the boil.


Arctic Alchemy said...

Wow, that's a lot of lactose by percentage. I will try this one because it's a style I don't brew that often and this seems like something very different. Excellent work on the decoding fellas!

Kristen England said...

Seriously. Ron and I were back and forth quite a bit. We find tons of abbreviations, rarely are they single letter. not to mention these people have no concept of written English.