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Author Replies
SteveG
07/07/07 10:16 AM  
Time to think about a historical beer swap
The brett project, at least this pass at it, is officially behind me. Time for the next...

I will contact Ron this week if there are enough people interested in brewing beer styles that have been mostly swallowed up by the passage of time. He has a terrific archive of such beers with enough data to take a stab at recreation. If you would like to give a go at breathing life into a beer style that has not been commercially seen in a century or so please contribute to this thread.

For the sake of managing the interested parties, please keep responses specific to involvement in the swap. Posts relating to historical beer that are unrelated to the swap should be posted in another thread.

Al B
07/07/07 12:23 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Interested , but Like to know more specifics .....
SteveG
07/07/07 12:31 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
The possible targets should I hope be available this week. In short Ron has compiled recipes that are sufficiently in line with todays brewshop availabilites to recreate. We could pick one and all brew it, though I think it would be more interesting do have several going. More info then on yesterbeers. Anyway, the exact way we proceed will be decided democratically.
N8
07/07/07 01:53 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I'm your Huckleberry...
SteveG
07/07/07 02:57 PM  
Good answer Doc!
neonmeate
07/08/07 01:49 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I'm in for sure! I was one of the only entrants in his last challenge. They came out very interesting. These beers need to be brewed and drunk.

And you don't need to declare the brett project over... if you're brewing some of the imperial stouts etc.

mikehahn
07/08/07 02:06 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Hi, this sounds interesting. Historic beer. Years ago, I made an attempt at a German Gose. Which is a sour saline tasting beer made with wheat and barley with a lactic bactria yeast. I'm with Al, more specifics. mike
SteveG
07/08/07 07:21 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
>>And you don't need to declare the brett project over...<<

You need to note the "at least this pass at it" part - an important detail. Brett exploration will probably be a permanent fixture here. My goal for the last swap was to produce something worth publishing - and I finally accomplished that. Its worth mentioning this cause if it goes over well I'd definately look at doing something similar here. I'm not so sure it would be viable given a more conventional project, but the more oddball ones seem like they could have potential. And something like a historical beer swap could definately be news to the homebrewing world.

SteveG
07/08/07 10:13 AM  
OK, some details...
I just took a look at Ron's site:

www.europeanbeerguide.net

If you scroll about 20% of the way down you'll see a section called "Homebrew challenge - big prizes". I'm not so sure a contest interests me, but Ron does provide some great data. The list of possible brews is very long, mostly they are variations of porter and stout. Some are pretty big, I noticed at least one OG in the 1090s. The lowest I saw was 1031, though by and large big beers are far better represented.

There are a couple general comments he makes that are worth noticing...

>>the hopping rate 25% less than listed (to take into account the fact usually at least 30%, and sometimes more than 50%, of the hops were 2, 3 or even 11 years old)<<

I'm not so sure I agree with this, as homebrewers we usually do not get the freshest of hops. This is probably worth discussing.

Yeast is not specified in the recipes, however before you get to those he does state "Whitbread or Guinness would be my choice, but any British ale yeast is OK." These look to me to be the candidates:

WhiteLabs specifically avoids connecting their yeasts to commercial origins. But at first glance, these look to me to be the most appropriate choices:

WLP002 English Ale Yeast

WLP005 British Ale Yeast

WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast

WLP013 London Ale Yeast

WYeast ia a lot more forthcoming in this area. These look like the logical choices from them:

1084 Irish Ale Yeast (maybe Guinness)

1098 British Ale Yeast ("The original dried yeast from Whitbread")

1099 Whitbread Ale Yeast

Comments?

Eric K
07/08/07 02:29 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Sounds like a great idea Steve! A cask conditioned ale instantly comes to mind. What time frame are you thinking about? A fall brew perhaps.

Did Roger Waters and London place the seed in your head?

SteveG
07/08/07 05:17 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Timing is as yet undetermined, when we have a willing crew we'll work that out. Fall sounds good though. Actually Al offered up the idea, at the beginning of the year I asked what swaps people would be interested in, that's what he suggested.
Al B
07/08/07 10:32 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Man. I'm lookin' at this info......parti-gyle mashing, brown malt that I don't think is anything like the commerical variety.......hops soaked in water ......."stale" beer (a la Brett)....yeah, sound like something I'd suggest ;~)
Lachlan
07/08/07 10:38 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I was the other entrant in Ron's homebrew challenge. I recently discussed the hopping reduction issue with him, and his response was thus:

<<"There are 3 reasons I suggested the 25% reduction in hopping rates:

- generally between a third and two thirds of the hops used were 18 months or more old

- the hops werenít stored under modern conditions

- the Alpha Acid content was probably slightly lower in the 19th century

Hopping is the area where individual brews most differ from each other. There are different combinations of vintages of hops, hop levels change according to the time of year. Itís very complicated. But the constant presence of large percentages of hops that were 1, 2, 3 even 11 years old, suggest that using the full amounnt of fresh modern hops would be a distortion.">>

Having learnt that as much as 2/3rds of the hops were more than 18 months old (and presumably stored unrefrigerated) I thought that a 25% reduction was probably too little. In any case, at these hopping levels, the 25% reduction makes little difference in IBU terms. 100% or 75% of the original hop rates will both usually get you to the theoretical solubility limit of iso-alpha acids anyway.

I think something like this is definitely worth pursuing. I've got a version of 1862 Barclay Perkins TT Porter (see Ron's site) in secondary at the moment and it's looking really promising.

Lach

Scott Jackson
07/18/07 10:30 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
What about an American historical beer? I brewed my Pre-prohibition pilsner (CAP) a couple of weeks ago. This is the same recipe as the one I brought to the NHC.
Al B
07/18/07 12:32 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
<<We could pick one and all brew it, though I think it would be more interesting do have several going.>>

I'd go with the latter myself. I sorta like the looks of the 1805 TT Porter.

Al Barclay

SteveG
07/18/07 01:35 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Scott, the objective is the breath life into forgotten beer styles of yesteryear. CAP is great, I usually brew one every year. And I would not be opposed to a swap involving one, Belgian board or not I'm a very big fan of lagers. But I don't think a CAP would blend well in a line up whose beers essentially disappeared 150 years ago.
gabbagabbahey
07/18/07 05:00 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
So would you include brett and/or other bugs in the mix? Considering any big beer would have been aged for sometime and they would almost undoubtly be present. Just a thought.
Al B
07/18/07 10:28 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
<<So would you include brett and/or other bugs in the mix?>>

I would think so if we go back into the 1700s. Ha! We're never past the Brett .........Mwa HAHAHAHAHA!!! (more evil laughter)

Scott Jackson
07/19/07 10:18 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Well, pre-prohibition style CAP is not available commercially that I have found and it disappeared 100 years ago.

However, if you don't want it that just leaves more for me.

There is also Kentucky Common Beer or American Stock Ale. Are those historical enough for you?

Al B
07/19/07 10:28 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I think Steve is leaning towards the info from Ron P. regarding jolly ol' England's historical brew. From looking at the recipes, they seem to be on the same page as far as grist just different percentages of malts. I dunno.

Originally, I was thinking of any historical brew (I am still trying to get around to a Gotlandsrika - a really old brew of the Vikings - they say, well, there aern't any commercial varieties of that either).

WitSok
07/19/07 01:06 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
What about experimental historic beers? Recently I attempted my first gruit. It was brewed using the steinbeir technique. Can't be sure it is accurate, but is an old style made with an old method.
Al B
07/19/07 01:16 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
A stein-gruit?!? Gads. That sounds like some experiment.
SteveG
07/19/07 02:04 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I guess I should have been more specific. "Historical" is maybe not such a great descriptor, after all a heck of a lot of beer styles out there have over a century on them thus could be called historical. The motivation here were the beers that Ron dug out of an archive that none of us have ever heard of. Maybe a better label for this is "The beers that time forgot" swap. It isn't that I would not be delighted to enjoy your CAP Scott, but the point was more the mystery of beers that have disappeared not only from the shelves but from the very consciousness of even the likes of us. There may not be a lot of CAPS on the shelves, but we all know what it is, many have made one or more and it isn't that out there to see one in a brewpub. Ron found data on brews that have not been made or sampled in 150 years, breathing life into these dead style sounded facsinating.

That being said, Kentucky Common Beer or American Stock Ale? What are those? I've never heard of them, do you have info?

Scott Jackson
07/19/07 04:02 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Both beers were brewed with a percentage of corn and seem to have disappeared with Prohibition (just like my version of CAP). Both also seem to have a lactic component (unlike my CAP).

There is a lot of info on Kentucky Common Beer (see www.homebrewer2005.blogspot.com/2005/06/kentucky-common-beer.html) but less so on American Stock Ale. Bob Kaufman would be a good resource for that. Here is a recipe (www.tastybrew.com/newrcp/detail/193).

Dsanborn
07/21/07 05:15 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
There is a beer brewed here in WI that is supposedly a prepro cap, but I'll need to revisit the details (especially to check on the lactic component). I know the recipe calls for a proportion of corn...

It's the Fountain Brew (brewed for the Monach tavern in Fountain City, wi). The owner of the tavern has the recipe from the old Fountain City Brewing Co. given to him by the former asst brewmaster - my understanding is that FB didn't change a lot post prohibition and the recipe is SUPPOSEDLY prepro...

I'll have to take a drive up the river to taste it again.

cheers, scamborn

ps. I also have a book "Dr. Chases recipes for the household" or something like that - published in 187?. It has a good section of brewing that I've tried to delve into a few times...Another source of potential recipes and info?

Chet
07/22/07 11:29 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
I've played around with Kentucky Common Beer a couple of times. Here's a better source:

www.lagersclub.com/louhistory.htm

"Dark Cream Common Beer - This beer, using 1-2% black sometimes also 1-2% crystal malt, and or 3-8 grams of brewers caramel per barrel was popular in the Louisville/ New Albany area and referred to as Kentucky Common Beer in the Wahl-Henius Handy Book of Brewing, though it was locally known as cream beer or common beer.

There is some evidence that partial sour mashes were used to lighten the body. It was usually made with about 75% malt and 25% corn grits or sugar, 11 or 12 degrees B (1.044-1.048). Like cream ale, it was consumed fresh, usually as draft beer. In 1913 it was estimated that 80% of the beer consumed in Louisville was of this type. Many local breweries made this type of beer only. It is a distinct beer style originated in Louisville"

Mosher's Radical Brewing has a page on it as well.

This thread is inspiring me to make one again...maybe next week.

Al B
09/17/07 11:23 AM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
So I gave it a shot yesterday - 1805 TT porter from Barclay Perkins.

56% pale malt

44% Brown malt (mix of Fawcett, Simpsons, and toasted Crisp brown malts)

1.875 oz Kent steeped in 142F water, infusion added to kettle, mashed @ 156F, batch sparged, carmelized first quart of runnings into a thick goo. Had some wood chips in the mash ~ 1oz as mashtuns of yester-year were made of wood. Pitched 1099 Whitbread @ 68F. Smells great.

Al Barclay

SteveG
09/17/07 12:30 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Doing anything with your yeast when you're done? I have plenty of base and brown malt, 2 ounces of EKG pellets and an ounce of whole leaf fuggle.

Yesterday was annual barley wine day, I'm fermenting it with a special WYeast called "Yorkshire". Not bad, but I don't see it as a typical London ale yeast.

N8
09/17/07 12:35 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Sounds nummy, Al. I've been planning on doing a historic beer as well. But, I broke my arm in a downhill longboard accident, so some of my brew plans are on hold. I was going to go for the BP light ale that clocks in at 1.035OG, I think it was.

I'll get to it, it'll just be a bit longer out than I had originally planned.

Al B
09/17/07 12:45 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Steve,

You can have the bread cake if you like, I also have the 1098 british in the pouch too that you got @ home sweet homebrew.

N8,

You spaz. A surfboard is used in the ocean, not on a ski slope. Reminds me of the time I skateboarded down a steephill being pulled by a ten-speed bike. Ooooo, I'm dyyyyin'.

Al Board

N8
09/17/07 12:57 PM  
Re: Time to think about a historical beer swap
Al, you spazzier, it's a longboard skateboard going down a huge hill, paved, such as a street. Perhaps you guys don't have such things over on the other side of the island. Should try it, it's quite fun. Just watch out for the sudden stops...
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