Bass Pale Ale Original?

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Slim M

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Many consider Bass to be the first mass produced pale ale. I’ve read many famous folks of the past were fans like Mark Twain. I enjoy Bass myself but am certain things have changed a lot since the old days. Do we have any indication of what the old style recipe was? I see modern versions with corn included and I do not believe the Brits did that until they saw the Americans do it but maybe I’m wrong.
 

DBhomebrew

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Breweries change their recipes through time. So, it all depends on what you consider 'this time period'.

Generally, during the 19th century you're looking at predominantly 100% pale malt especially for a brewery's upper tier. As you shift into the 20th century, gravities drop and adjuncts become widespread. Most breweries adopting flaked maize (corn). Crystal, you don't find until post-WW2. So, again, it's all up to which time period you're taking about.

1899:

 

Witherby

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Some good info here on Bass:


As for adjuncts in English brewing, this has been common since it was legalized by the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880:

 

EnglishAndy

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Recipes are per imperial gallon.

1.jpg

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If you're looking to emulate the style then you'd probably want to try to source some heritage malt such as Crisp Chevallier.
 

wepeeler

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I thought I liked Bass Ale until I had one recently. Same with Harp. I got a 6 pack of each maybe a year ago after not drinking it regularly in 20 years. Either the beer has changed or my taste buds have. I used to drink Bass Ale fishing for Smallmouth bass in NH. Awesome.
 

GoodTruble

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I thought I liked Bass Ale until I had one recently. Same with Harp. I got a 6 pack of each maybe a year ago after not drinking it regularly in 20 years. Either the beer has changed or my taste buds have. I used to drink Bass Ale fishing for Smallmouth bass in NH. Awesome.

The beers have changed. Almost all of them change over time. The brewery needs a very specific and dedicated system to maintain flavor consistency over time, and most don't even try.
 

wepeeler

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The beers have changed. Almost all of them change over time. The brewery needs a very specific and dedicated system to maintain flavor consistency over time, and most don't even try.
I can believe that. One of my favorite ales growing up was Long Trail ale, and I love to continue to support them, but I've grown away from most of their beer. I still respect the heck out of what they're doing, and visit whenever I'm in VT, but it's not even close to my go to anymore.
 

EnglishAndy

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Yikes is that an Starting gravity of 1.090? Is this ratio of grain per imperial gallon?
No wonder that our ancestors were permanently inebriated! Yes the brew-length of each recipe is 1 imperial gallon. Multiply by 1.2 to get to US gallons.

The recipes were sourced from Old British beers and how to make them. I bought the paperback but there's a cheaper downloadable edition that would work out better shipping-wise if you're in the states.
 

DBhomebrew

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Yikes is that an Starting gravity of 1.090? Is this ratio of grain per imperial gallon?

Like I said above. It all depends on your definition of 'old days'.

At that time and that gravity, it'd be a stock ale. Brewed with the intent of aging it for 6+ months in a vat with brett.

Here's a recipe from Truman, a brewery similar to Bass. This is their bottled No 1 pale ale, similar to Bass No 1. Note the adjunct, the sugar. 1939, before the war would knock the power out of it.

 

lumpher

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Bass has definitely changed. AB InBev owns it now, and they screwed it up royally.
 

Red over White

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I have a real soft spot for Bass from the 90's, my first brew day was Bass ale in 94. Floating a Guinness on top of a Bass with a spoon is a treat for me. Please keep us informed of your recipe progress.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Breweries change their recipes through time. So, it all depends on what you consider 'this time period'.

Generally, during the 19th century you're looking at predominantly 100% pale malt especially for a brewery's upper tier. As you shift into the 20th century, gravities drop and adjuncts become widespread. Most breweries adopting flaked maize (corn). Crystal, you don't find until post-WW2. So, again, it's all up to which time period you're taking about.

1899:


Just a little caveat, crystal did start to find it's way in to London Porters and some stock/KK/KKK by the late 1800's, and you can find pale ales and bitters with a dash of crystal from the early 1900's and interwar periods. However the Bitter as we know it today with Crystal as a standard ingredient became a thing during and after ww2.
If you want a beer resembling a late 1800's/early 1900's AK or Bitter Beer I would guess something like TT's Landlord or St Austell Tribute is closest to a lower gravity pale of the old days.
 

DBhomebrew

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Just a little caveat, crystal did start to find it's way in to London Porters and some stock/KK/KKK by the late 1800's, and you can find pale ales and bitters with a dash of crystal from the early 1900's and interwar periods. However the Bitter as we know it today with Crystal as a standard ingredient became a thing during and after ww2.
If you want a beer resembling a late 1800's/early 1900's AK or Bitter Beer I would guess something like TT's Landlord or St Austell Tribute is closest to a lower gravity pale of the old days.

True. I'm still deciding which of Fuller's XXKs will be my 2023 brett brew, 1887 or 1897. '87 has a couple percentage points of crystal, '97 has a few points of brown. Neither are usually found in classy Burton ales. Where there are rules there are exceptions, eh?
 

Erik the Anglophile

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I guess so, however a dash of amber or brown seem to have been relatively common in the KK and KKK ales.
I plan on soon brewing a KK with lots of sugar and a few % of Amber. Generously hopped with EKG and First Gold. It will be a rarher modern beer but still firmly footed in the old traditional stock ale of yore.
 
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