English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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Nick_G

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I have one of these at home: Shakespeare Hand Pull
It essentially dispenses under CO2 pressure but the hand pull does something clever to dispense it as though it has come from a cask. Beer does not oxidize as it would do in a cask and there is no additional wastage from beer sitting in a hand pull cylinder.
 

cire

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Should that not be varieties of yeast?

Actually no. The word that was wrong was "most", which should have been many.

Graham's books were aimed at homebrewers and he didn't advise specific yeasts. Graham was a canny fellow and his books were written to explain brewing and encourage homebrewing. For several years he accumulated yeasts from breweries with thoughts of marketing, but gave up on the project.

The period of British brewing that has interested me most is from shortly before WWI to late sixties/early seventies. My own research of regional brewers of that period confirmed that grists of pale ales indeed were much the same at any particular time. Pale malt, flaked maize and invert sugar was preferred, but the quantities would change in line with prices and when maize wasn't available, barley or oats would be used as replacement. Currently, torrified wheat seems to be most popular for adding body and head and sugar is no doubt out of fashion through cost. In the early part of that period, hops were largely Kent's and Hereford's, but what those were is still subject to debate. Two nearest local breweries used both, but in the reverse order to each other. As time advanced, hops became named not by the county or farrner, but by variety and beers diversified. Even when the beers looked quite different in colour, the grists were very similar, just some black malt or caramel thrown in to darken a weaker beer, or a bit of crystal added to bottled beers.

When I started drinking, early sixties, beers could be quite different by region, possibly because specific yeasts were common within each region. Yorkshire yeasts were used in Lancashire and other adjacent areas, but that's another story.
 

eshea3

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I’ve looked at these “man cans” that come in various sizes and you can buy a connector for keg fittings. No recommendation of any business or no affiliation, just trying to show the product:


I've used these with some success.

 

Northern_Brewer

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That sounds interesting, @Northern_Brewer, how does inter-strain diversity promote resilience against mutation? Mutation being a random process generally, I'd expect any mutation arising and offering a selective advantage to the mutant to be selected for in a competitive environment like brewery wort. And why multi-strain brewery cultures are unlikely to be stable over very long periods. I'd say it's more likely these multi-strain brewery slurries have changed quit a lot over time.
Talk to people like Graham Stewart if you want the full story, but I'd start with the observation that these English brewery multistrains are pretty stable at a macro level, it is pretty rare for them to "go off" in the way that you might expect from a runaway mutation. Whereas it's a commonplace that the typical single strains from White Labs go off within 6-10 generations. And eg see John Kimmich talking here about how he has taken the original Conan out to 40 generations but it became cyclical producing the "good" flavours, then fading out and then they came back again a few generations later; now he only takes it to 10 generations (and blends batches from different yeast generations).

My understanding from talking to people who use multistrains is that they see far less of that kind of effect at a macro level - partly just through the dilution effect of each strain only being 10% of the total or whatever, but individual strains do come and go a bit within the blend, but stay pretty stable long term. There may be a lot of turnover at the micro-genetic level, but it just isn't that apparent at the macro level. That sounds like most of the "breakout" mutations for a given environment have already happened over the course of tonnes of yeast being propagated over decades. So the mixture is now at a relatively evolutionarily-stable equilibrium which is fairly well stablilised against the ingress of new mutants. On the other hand, moving to a new environment can completely screw things - the Boddies yeast just went to crap anytime they tried to use it away from Strangeways. And eg the Adnams multistrain is no longer stable since they "simplified" it in the 1970s, they have to continuously recreate it from the individual strains.

So we're getting into the world of Hamilton and Maynard Smith, of mixed populations that are stable in the long-term. It's a bit similar to how the two "strains" of humans - with and without Y chromosomes, or "men" and "women" as they are more often known* - manage to keep a pretty stable 1:1 ratio in the population, there may be all sorts of stabilising selection in operation.

* to a first approximation, I know it's more complicated than that once you get onto XXY and the like...
 

duncan_disorderly

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Actually no. The word that was wrong was "most", which should have been many.

Graham's books were aimed at homebrewers and he didn't advise specific yeasts. Graham was a canny fellow and his books were written to explain brewing and encourage homebrewing. For several years he accumulated yeasts from breweries with thoughts of marketing, but gave up on the project.

The period of British brewing that has interested me most is from shortly before WWI to late sixties/early seventies. My own research of regional brewers of that period confirmed that grists of pale ales indeed were much the same at any particular time. Pale malt, flaked maize and invert sugar was preferred, but the quantities would change in line with prices and when maize wasn't available, barley or oats would be used as replacement. Currently, torrified wheat seems to be most popular for adding body and head and sugar is no doubt out of fashion through cost. In the early part of that period, hops were largely Kent's and Hereford's, but what those were is still subject to debate. Two nearest local breweries used both, but in the reverse order to each other. As time advanced, hops became named not by the county or farrner, but by variety and beers diversified. Even when the beers looked quite different in colour, the grists were very similar, just some black malt or caramel thrown in to darken a weaker beer, or a bit of crystal added to bottled beers.

When I started drinking, early sixties, beers could be quite different by region, possibly because specific yeasts were common within each region. Yorkshire yeasts were used in Lancashire and other adjacent areas, but that's another story.
Well that seems a bit odd to me as a lot of the beers have Goldings and or Fuggles, and it's the brewery yeasts that make the most difference. Coupled with the use of different crystal malts and sometimes a bit of chocolate or black malt.
 

McMullan

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Talk to people like Graham Stewart if you want the full story, but I'd start with the observation that these English brewery multistrains are pretty stable at a macro level, it is pretty rare for them to "go off" in the way that you might expect from a runaway mutation. Whereas it's a commonplace that the typical single strains from White Labs go off within 6-10 generations. And eg see John Kimmich talking here about how he has taken the original Conan out to 40 generations but it became cyclical producing the "good" flavours, then fading out and then they came back again a few generations later; now he only takes it to 10 generations (and blends batches from different yeast generations).

My understanding from talking to people who use multistrains is that they see far less of that kind of effect at a macro level - partly just through the dilution effect of each strain only being 10% of the total or whatever, but individual strains do come and go a bit within the blend, but stay pretty stable long term. There may be a lot of turnover at the micro-genetic level, but it just isn't that apparent at the macro level. That sounds like most of the "breakout" mutations for a given environment have already happened over the course of tonnes of yeast being propagated over decades. So the mixture is now at a relatively evolutionarily-stable equilibrium which is fairly well stablilised against the ingress of new mutants. On the other hand, moving to a new environment can completely screw things - the Boddies yeast just went to crap anytime they tried to use it away from Strangeways. And eg the Adnams multistrain is no longer stable since they "simplified" it in the 1970s, they have to continuously recreate it from the individual strains.

So we're getting into the world of Hamilton and Maynard Smith, of mixed populations that are stable in the long-term. It's a bit similar to how the two "strains" of humans - with and without Y chromosomes, or "men" and "women" as they are more often known* - manage to keep a pretty stable 1:1 ratio in the population, there may be all sorts of stabilising selection in operation.

* to a first approximation, I know it's more complicated than that once you get onto XXY and the like...
Are there any data at all that show these multi-strain slurries have remained stable over extended time periods, in what are potentially very competitive microbial systems? Otherwise it's just heresy, interesting abstract theory and head brewers telling romantic stories. I can just see a head brewer grinning whilst telling mesmerised visitors how old and special the brewery’s multi-strain yeast are. I gave up trialing multi-strain pitchings some time ago, when it became apparent it wasn't worth the additional effort. I think it's more to do with the inevitable outcome of cultural practices (including sloppy ones) and resistance against foreign discoveries and practices to manage single strains, i.e., control and consistency. I've been able to maintain pure yeast strains for several years without noting any 'drift'. It's a bit worrying some professional brewers can't. But I'm always happy to be disproved, if data show otherwise.
 

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Before I built a setup with a rocket pump and a propane regulator cask breather so I can condition in and dispense from a keg, I fooled around with one-gallon cubitainers. I would fill them and add priming solution and squeeze out the air and let them "cube condition" at room temp. The problem is that they (unlike a more rigid cask) expand so the the CO2 isn't all going into solution. And the other problem is that they might burst! So for a while I was using a spunding valve to deal with that second problem.

cubitainer venting spunding valve.jpg


After a week or two of conditioning I would then put them in the fridge to get the CO2 into solution, which seemed to work as they would shrink back down to normal size. Serving by gravity is definitely a three handed job as you really want to squeeze the cube as you are dispensing to prevent air from glugging back in.

I was very tempted to try and use a 12L or 20L Speidel as a pressure barrel since I already ferment in a 30L Speidel and have the NorCal "Speidel Gas In with Pressure Relief Valve": Speidel Ball Lock Gas In with Pressure Relief Valve. NorCal Brewing Solutions

I use the gas in for closed transfers to a keg, but I would think this would work well for gravity pours with a propane regulator cask breather.

Here's my current setup, which sits right on top of a keg-conditioned keg:

drip tray.jpg
 

cire

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Well that seems a bit odd to me as a lot of the beers have Goldings and or Fuggles, and it's the brewery yeasts that make the most difference. Coupled with the use of different crystal malts and sometimes a bit of chocolate or black malt.
Indeed, but I was quoting from one of Graham's books when many ingredients available to the homebrewer would be different to those used by the brewer whose recipe he replicated. More so when looking at historical recipes when many breweries malted their own. Graham was generalising and I understood his perspective.

Assuming British hops of that period were Goldings and Fuggles, could be risky, Ron Patinson has touched on this recently. I'm not disagreeing that different yeasts makes beers different, I'm a convert to the point I won't use White Labs or Wyeast and source my yeasts from a business that directly supplies British breweries and understand why Graham wouldn't disturb a hornet's nest for his publications.
 

duncan_disorderly

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Indeed, but I was quoting from one of Graham's books when many ingredients available to the homebrewer would be different to those used by the brewer whose recipe he replicated. More so when looking at historical recipes when many breweries malted their own. Graham was generalising and I understood his perspective.

Assuming British hops of that period were Goldings and Fuggles, could be risky, Ron Patinson has touched on this recently. I'm not disagreeing that different yeasts makes beers different, I'm a convert to the point I won't use White Labs or Wyeast and source my yeasts from a business that directly supplies British breweries and understand why Graham wouldn't disturb a hornet's nest for his publications.
Fair dinkum, though traditional British breweries will generally say their unique yeast is/was what makes/made their beer special and different, from what I've picked up here in the UK. And finding a good yeast match is generally the key to brewing something that resembles a classic British ale. Fuller's, use the yeast. Boddingtons, no chance. Etc.
 

cire

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I have one of these at home: Shakespeare Hand Pull
It essentially dispenses under CO2 pressure but the hand pull does something clever to dispense it as though it has come from a cask. Beer does not oxidize as it would do in a cask and there is no additional wastage from beer sitting in a hand pull cylinder.
I got one too, basically a valve and a damper that makes serving from a keg under gas pressure appear to come from a cask by hand pump.

They do use the same frame as the traditional beer engine and I modified mine with some extra work due to it being an older model. They provided all the parts necessary with advice of what was needed by telephone. It works great and there's a full pin awaiting its attention shortly.
 

cire

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Fair dinkum, though traditional British breweries will generally say their unique yeast is/was what makes/made their beer special and different, from what I've picked up here in the UK. And finding a good yeast match is generally the key to brewing something that resembles a classic British ale. Fuller's, use the yeast. Boddingtons, no chance. Etc.
Have you tried Brewlab with care and asked if they have what you desire?
 

kmarkstevens

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I don't think I would have said that, but "WLP026 might be worth trying in Boddies as about the only POF- Beer2 yeast available from the main US yeast suppliers" would be the sort of thing I say. That or Omega Gulo if you want more attenuation.
Yes, thank you, I believe that would have been a more accurate quote than my poorly remembered short hand. :eek:

I do have the WLP026 in my library from the great purge, which I believe was now 3 years ago.

Would love to get a King Keg or something like that. I have previously looked and they just don't seem to be available in the US. If I ever make it to the UK for a beer tour, I'm gonna save room in luggage to bring one or two back.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Are there any data at all that show these multi-strain slurries have remained stable over extended time periods, in what are potentially very competitive microbial systems?
As yet there may be not much solid data, but I'm not sure you're thinking hard enough about the numbers involved. These may be competitive environments, but the sheer numbers of organisms involved, in a pretty stable environment over decades, suggests that they should be near the local adaptive peak for that environment. Where do mutations come from that haven't already been tried in that environment?

A typical family brewery is producing 100,000hl per year. Say they're pitching 6 x10^9 cells/litre, they're pitching 6 x 10^9 x 100,000 x 100 = 6 x 10^16 cells per year. Assume tetraploid, so 2.4 x 10^17 haploid genomes.

A haploid yeast genome is just over 1.2 x 10^7 base pairs, and Dutta et al estimate the mutation rate in an unstressed, newly-hybridised yeast is 1.8x 10^-10 mutations per base pairs per division (but other papers have suggested that rate goes up considerably in the more stressful environment of alcoholic solutions, gah, I can't find it now but it's like x5 or x10-fold). So on average you will see 1 mutation per division in every 463 haploid genomes in an unstressed environment.

Which if I've got my sums right and if that mutation rate applied, means that the average family brewer's "starters" will see 5 x 10 ^ 14 mutations in one year in their first generation - and that's before you add in additional divisions, extra mutation due to alcohol stress and so on. If they were just single-site mutations that would be 40 million mutations at every base. It's hard to see where new mutations conferring significant extra fitness would come from, they've almost certainly been tried before. Obviously there's many different mutations beyond single points, but it gives you an idea - and patterns of "big" mutations appear to be non-random according to the Dunham lab among others.

I'm not aware of anyone working specifically on UK multistrains, but the drop in sequencing costs means there's a fair bit being done on evolution during fermentation. But they tend to be on bought-in strains, which will have come out of a freezer and then had 50-odd divisions in one environment at the yeast lab before moving to a rather different environment at a brewery, so when you see mutations happening in Chico like Large et al did, one wonders if that's not just the yeast adapting to the new environment. So that's rather different to a British family brewer continually repitching into essentially the same wort year after year.

It's only an undergrad project, but this suggests that if two strains have co-evolved, then it is possible to maintain what starts as a 50:50 blend over 5 repitches in 2-week ferments - but the proportion is quite sensitive to environmental conditions, and a blend of less-well-adapted strains just falls apart within the first fermentation.

I'll agree there's nothing conclusive, but at the same time I don't think you can dismiss it as just "interesting abstract theory".
 

cire

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I recall seeing a limited number of strains available through a homebrew site a while back. Does Brewlab still provide slants to homebrewers?
Yes, Brewlab's most popular slants can be obtained from the Jolly Brewer. I've obtained other specific strains from Brewlab and am still working my way through those. They did go quiet and not reply to emails a while back that I assumed was caused by Covid.
 

McMullan

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As yet there may be not much solid data, but I'm not sure you're thinking hard enough about the numbers involved. These may be competitive environments, but the sheer numbers of organisms involved, in a pretty stable environment over decades, suggests that they should be near the local adaptive peak for that environment. Where do mutations come from that haven't already been tried in that environment?

A typical family brewery is producing 100,000hl per year. Say they're pitching 6 x10^9 cells/litre, they're pitching 6 x 10^9 x 100,000 x 100 = 6 x 10^16 cells per year. Assume tetraploid, so 2.4 x 10^17 haploid genomes.

A haploid yeast genome is just over 1.2 x 10^7 base pairs, and Dutta et al estimate the mutation rate in an unstressed, newly-hybridised yeast is 1.8x 10^-10 mutations per base pairs per division (but other papers have suggested that rate goes up considerably in the more stressful environment of alcoholic solutions, gah, I can't find it now but it's like x5 or x10-fold). So on average you will see 1 mutation per division in every 463 haploid genomes in an unstressed environment.

Which if I've got my sums right and if that mutation rate applied, means that the average family brewer's "starters" will see 5 x 10 ^ 14 mutations in one year in their first generation - and that's before you add in additional divisions, extra mutation due to alcohol stress and so on. If they were just single-site mutations that would be 40 million mutations at every base. It's hard to see where new mutations conferring significant extra fitness would come from, they've almost certainly been tried before. Obviously there's many different mutations beyond single points, but it gives you an idea - and patterns of "big" mutations appear to be non-random according to the Dunham lab among others.

I'm not aware of anyone working specifically on UK multistrains, but the drop in sequencing costs means there's a fair bit being done on evolution during fermentation. But they tend to be on bought-in strains, which will have come out of a freezer and then had 50-odd divisions in one environment at the yeast lab before moving to a rather different environment at a brewery, so when you see mutations happening in Chico like Large et al did, one wonders if that's not just the yeast adapting to the new environment. So that's rather different to a British family brewer continually repitching into essentially the same wort year after year.

It's only an undergrad project, but this suggests that if two strains have co-evolved, then it is possible to maintain what starts as a 50:50 blend over 5 repitches in 2-week ferments - but the proportion is quite sensitive to environmental conditions, and a blend of less-well-adapted strains just falls apart within the first fermentation.

I'll agree there's nothing conclusive, but at the same time I don't think you can dismiss it as just "interesting abstract theory".
So just more theory then. And very controversial, too, in terms of mutation models. I’m not sure I’d want to offer that as any form of supporting evidence for mysterious claims made by breweries and their marketing department’s spiel, which likely has more to do with selling beer than genuinely fortuitous outcomes of unconsciously repitching slurry for decades.

Having slept on it, I can divide my skepticism here. There’s the logic among home brewers (once including myself) that pitching multiple yeast strains is going to add some desirable, unique complexity in the end product. Something demonstrably worth the extra effort. Something 'special'. As I already typed I no longer accept this to be true, based on my experience involving many trials. Biased by my own taste mainly, to be fair. But this isn’t necessarily the same as serially repitching a brewery culture over at least several decades. If the brewery's yeast went bad it was replaced by calling in a favour. No big deal really, the main focus was producing beer and selling it. I think that's the hard reality fogged in mysterious, romantic stories.

For those that have apparently remained good for long periods, how do we know the beers produced haven’t changed due to the yeast population evolving ‘this’ way and ‘that’ over time, becoming a mixed population? I’m not talking about abrupt changes, ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Gradual change. This is a more realistic model, which doesn’t require anything to hide behind. We both know what would likely happen if a pure brewer’s yeast colony were cultured up and serially repitched by the bucket load over years. It would diversify and become a mixed population. Genetic diversity accumulates over time. Not necessarily different strains mind. But that is possible and they’d be closely related and perhaps more compatible than a designed mixture of strains. We hear a lot of talk about multi-strain yeast cultures, but, again, there’s rarely any evidence to support the claims. What I’d like to see is some credible evidence to back up the claims. That’s not too much to ask for, is it? As a proud Brit who enjoys a good English pint, I’m more than happy to defend British brewing heritage, but I refuse to talk shite about it. How difficult can it be to design a project, perhaps for a PhD student at Herriot-Watt or Nottingham, to characterise a rumoured multi-strain brewery culture, described as ‘among the finest in the land’, then ferment with individual strains and various combinations of strains so as to demonstrate the brewery’s marketing department aren’t talking shite? If it's as good as they claim, isn't it worth preserving? The fact such evidence hasn’t been presented so far says something. The methodology (technology) to do so quite easily has been around for decades. I’m afraid it looks to me like they’re talking shite. And I get excellent results using pure yeast strains from traditional English breweries to ferment my home brew. I know they’re pure because I plated them out and isolated them myself. 🤷‍♂️

Edit: Interim summary: the competing hypotheses here are: stable multi-strain brewery yeast vs evolving chancers flogging beer. It seems to make more sense when you ditch the romanticism.
 
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kmarkstevens

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Before I built a setup with a rocket pump and a propane regulator cask breather so I can condition in and dispense from a keg, I fooled around with one-gallon cubitainers. I would fill them and add priming solution and squeeze out the air and let them "cube condition" at room temp. The problem is that they (unlike a more rigid cask) expand so the the CO2 isn't all going into solution. And the other problem is that they might burst! So for a while I was using a spunding valve to deal with that second problem.

View attachment 746379

After a week or two of conditioning I would then put them in the fridge to get the CO2 into solution, which seemed to work as they would shrink back down to normal size. Serving by gravity is definitely a three handed job as you really want to squeeze the cube as you are dispensing to prevent air from glugging back in.

I was very tempted to try and use a 12L or 20L Speidel as a pressure barrel since I already ferment in a 30L Speidel and have the NorCal "Speidel Gas In with Pressure Relief Valve": Speidel Ball Lock Gas In with Pressure Relief Valve. NorCal Brewing Solutions

I use the gas in for closed transfers to a keg, but I would think this would work well for gravity pours with a propane regulator cask breather.

Here's my current setup, which sits right on top of a keg-conditioned keg:

View attachment 746380
@Witherby What is this set up? Looks pretty good whatever. Is it a marine pump type solution?

I really want to do an English style beer engine (or hack) here in the US without spending a bloody fortune to get a real firkin and beer engine.

As I wrote in this or another thread, the NorCal solution and after sales support was really disappointing for me. I thought I'd end up with a pressure barrel type solution and ended up with 2 orders of parts that failed to work. Your mileage may vary.
 

cire

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I'm not sure ask @cire as that was who made the quote you attributed to me in their post 2671.
Well, I've started something here that needs a bit of explaining. I can't find the original quote that I've probably badly paraphrased. There should be no doubt that yeast can make a massive difference to any recipe in many ways, most obvious perhaps being different yeasts differentially favoring hop or malt. Of course, there are many other differences, but the only specification for yeast in Graham's recipes I can remember was for either top fermenting or bottom fermenting, not implying different strains didn't produce different results, more that the specific yeast usually couldn't be obtained.

What I believe Graham meant was that recipes used by British brewers (in particular for pale ales and bitters) were very much alike for the grist, and even with different barley strains, differences weren't necessarily noticeable while hop selection does.

My last 3 brews (pale ales) had more or less the same grist. The first was mostly Goldings, the second mostly First Gold and the third with Northdown early and Bramling Cross late. Yes, there were other similarities, all also with the same yeast and water profile, and while they looked similar, instantly the aroma and impact on taste senses were quite different.

Sorry if I've caused some consternation and perhaps wrongly represented Graham's grand writings, this was not my intention. I will say that fermentation temperature control is frequently used to restrain the better qualities of many ale yeasts. I can understand lager yeasts being held at low temperatures, but ale yeasts so restrained? Below is an extract from a brewery record from 1961 showing fermentation temperatures and gravities against time. What I, not Graham, will suggest is that even using specific yeasts, the outcome is dependent upon how it is controlled and treated.

HBT.JPG
 

McMullan

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Well, I've started something here that needs a bit of explaining. I can't find the original quote that I've probably badly paraphrased. There should be no doubt that yeast can make a massive difference to any recipe in many ways, most obvious perhaps being different yeasts differentially favoring hop or malt. Of course, there are many other differences, but the only specification for yeast in Graham's recipes I can remember was for either top fermenting or bottom fermenting, not implying different strains didn't produce different results, more that the specific yeast usually couldn't be obtained.

What I believe Graham meant was that recipes used by British brewers (in particular for pale ales and bitters) were very much alike for the grist, and even with different barley strains, differences weren't necessarily noticeable while hop selection does.

My last 3 brews (pale ales) had more or less the same grist. The first was mostly Goldings, the second mostly First Gold and the third with Northdown early and Bramling Cross late. Yes, there were other similarities, all also with the same yeast and water profile, and while they looked similar, instantly the aroma and impact on taste senses were quite different.

Sorry if I've caused some consternation and perhaps wrongly represented Graham's grand writings, this was not my intention. I will say that fermentation temperature control is frequently used to restrain the better qualities of many ale yeasts. I can understand lager yeasts being held at low temperatures, but ale yeasts so restrained? Below is an extract from a brewery record from 1961 showing fermentation temperatures and gravities against time. What I, not Graham, will suggest is that even using specific yeasts, the outcome is dependent upon how it is controlled and treated.

View attachment 746532
I'd add that hops of the same variety vary noticeably not just from different years (seasons) but from different farms and regions due to local terroir. Despite being a small island north of the Isle of Wight, and adrift in the north Atlantic, with a fuzzy-haired posh lunatic at the helm, Britain is remarkably diverse in terms of geology and other environmental conditions. I quite like Goldings and I've had batches from a number of different farms and from different seasons from the same farm. The variation is not insignificant and I'd agree comparable recipes with the same hop variety grown in different terroir produces distinguishable ales. Factor in too the different hopping practices at different breweries and the 'same' beer brewed across Britain might vary considerably without considering yeast strain. Fact is, if we gave two brewers the challenge of brewing the same recipe and provided exactly the same ingredients to both, including water and yeast, they'd likely produce different beers. And why attempting to exactly match a specific standardised commercial beer is more likely a hopeless challenge. But it's fun trying.

Edit: I forgot to mention that British hops was once a very big industry, using up much acreage across the land.
 
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Witherby

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@Witherby What is this set up? Looks pretty good whatever. Is it a marine pump type solution?

I really want to do an English style beer engine (or hack) here in the US without spending a bloody fortune to get a real firkin and beer engine.
I wrote about it here:
Feedback on English Dark Mild Recipe?

Actually it was in response to a question from you!! 😂

With the warm fall we are having in New England this year, my cellar isn't cool enough yet to start brewing English styles, but hopefully soon!
 

rmr9

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@Witherby What is this set up? Looks pretty good whatever. Is it a marine pump type solution?

I really want to do an English style beer engine (or hack) here in the US without spending a bloody fortune to get a real firkin and beer engine.

As I wrote in this or another thread, the NorCal solution and after sales support was really disappointing for me. I thought I'd end up with a pressure barrel type solution and ended up with 2 orders of parts that failed to work. Your mileage may vary.
eBay is a solid place to look for second hand beer engines, I managed to pick mine up for maybe $120ish shipped. It was a little ugly but I cleaned it up real nice and got a couple replacement parts from RLBS. I ordered a brand new pin cask from G4 kegs for $100 shipped. It can be done for less than a fortune!
 

kmarkstevens

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and David Heath Homebrew just done a Dark mild recipe on his channel.
I saw that and looks to be a good recipe. nice tip on adding the chocolate malt for only the last 10-15 minutes of the boil to minimize astringincy, and I like his minimal black patent for color. I have it on the "to brew" list.
 

duncan_disorderly

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I saw that and looks to be a good recipe. nice tip on adding the chocolate malt for only the last 10-15 minutes of the boil to minimize astringincy, and I like his minimal black patent for color. I have it on the "to brew" list.
Chocolate malt rather than Carafa surely. I would a different yeast to S04 too, personally.

There's a stack of classic dark mild grain bills here...

 

shoreman

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8 days later in the Cubitainer this mild is still holding carbonation, I do have a weight on top pushing the Cubitainer down without hopefully bursting it. That seems to be helpful.

it’s a 2.5gallon and it is about 1/3 finished.

I just wish it wasn’t so unseasonably warm here in New England, I keep adding some ice packs when I think I’ll be having a couple.

I’m pretty sold on this cheap and effective way to have gravity fed real ale on tap for a couple bucks.

I have another 2.5gallons in a torpedo keg that’s naturally conditioning - will be interesting to see the difference.

EE7C8F95-0712-405F-8557-3E678625D051.jpeg
 

DuncB

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@shoreman
Our local fish and chip shops and fish mongers also hospital pharmacies get stuff delivered in polystyrene boxes with polystyrene lids. Biggest one I have is about 14 inches high and 20 inches long.
If you could get hold of these then a bit of work with a knife and some cool blocks in there might be a nifty solution.
 

cyberbackpacker

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Just an FYI I use one gallon cubitainers from US Plastics. For me I find it helps having the beer stay in optimal condition longer just having a gallon being dispensed at a time. That said, as these are plastic, they will slowly lose condition (compared to a metal keg or cask) so you cannot store them indefinitely.

But again, I find the 1 gallon a nice size. (I typically brew a 2.5g batch hoping to fill 2 one gallon cubitainers with clear beer).
 

shoreman

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Yeah I might order some 1 gallons in the future, the shipping prices suck at US plastics- it’s like a minimum of $12 for a couple $ worth of stuff🤷‍♂️ I have a couple of 2.5 gallons left over from when I had a beer engine hooked up to these. The beer engine seemed to collapse the Cubitainer a bit better maybe from the draw? I had a one way valve on it.

if it lasts 2-3 weeks I’ll be happy. I think it worked out to 14-16 pints.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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I've been tinkering on a recipe for a dark mild:
MO as base
8% Crystal, will likely do my usual mix of 50/50 Crisp C150/240(ebc)
8% Invert #3(probably demerara)
4% Brown malt (Crisp)
2% Chocolate malt

90 min boil
Targeting 1.038 OG 18 IBU and aim for 70-low 70's AA with an English yeast.

Also now that we will have a bigger house and I can finally make a kegerator and place for spare kegs and get to start kegging, I've been thinking about what approach to take.
Since I brew mostly Brittish style ale, I plan to naturally carb to 1.8-2 vol in the keg and then keep and serve at 11c.
I suppose this will get me a cask like feel without spoiling the beer as I don't drink 5 gallons fast enough to not have it go bad in a real beer engine. Am I thinking somewhat right, and does the recipe look decent?
 

Franktalk

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I've been tinkering on a recipe for a dark mild:
MO as base
8% Crystal, will likely do my usual mix of 50/50 Crisp C150/240(ebc)
8% Invert #3(probably demerara)
4% Brown malt (Crisp)
2% Chocolate malt

90 min boil
Targeting 1.038 OG 18 IBU and aim for 70-low 70's AA with an English yeast.

Also now that we will have a bigger house and I can finally make a kegerator and place for spare kegs and get to start kegging, I've been thinking about what approach to take.
Since I brew mostly Brittish style ale, I plan to naturally carb to 1.8-2 vol in the keg and then keep and serve at 11c.
I suppose this will get me a cask like feel without spoiling the beer as I don't drink 5 gallons fast enough to not have it go bad in a real beer engine. Am I thinking somewhat right, and does the recipe look decent?
Have you ever thought about serving your milds/bitters on Nitro? It is a bit of an investment, but, IMHO it is the best way to replicate cask ales.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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It seems the numbers I had was the ones I looked up and used for bottling. After googling a bit and reading a post by @Northern_Brewer I believe something along 1.5-1.7 would be apropriate in the keg to get a little faux cask feel. I will start at 1.6 and see how I like it.
And does anyone have any opinions on the mild recipe? Looking to get something in the vein of Rudgate's ruby mild, but lower abv and a little roasty kick to it.
 

schmurf

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Personally I don't care much for brown malt and too much roast... 2% would be a bit too much for my liking, but that's just me. Maybe cold steeping the chocolate malt?
 

Miraculix

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It seems the numbers I had was the ones I looked up and used for bottling. After googling a bit and reading a post by @Northern_Brewer I believe something along 1.5-1.7 would be apropriate in the keg to get a little faux cask feel. I will start at 1.6 and see how I like it.
And does anyone have any opinions on the mild recipe? Looking to get something in the vein of Rudgate's ruby mild, but lower abv and a little roasty kick to it.
I think I had that ruby mild once from tap in a pub in st. Albans North of London. It was really nice, I get why you want to get into that direction!

If I remember correctly, there was not much roast but I also do not remember having much of a chocolate malt impact.

First of all, your recipe seems to be too light in colour. Only two percent of chocolate won't do it. Also, chocolate malt seems to be more on the brown side. Black Prince, roasted barley or midnight wheat seems to be more on the black or, when used at a lower proportion, ruby or red colour.

I think I would throw out the chocolate and replace it with midnight wheat. That's the smoothest of the three I've mentioned. I would also up the percentage. About ten percent gives a nice stout colour, so I would use probably 5-6% in this Case.

I personally don't like brown malt, so I would throw it out, but that might be a matter of taste. I did not detect any brown malt in the ruby red. I got crystal, possibly invert and something dark without much roast. So I think ten percent medium to dark crystal, ten percent dark invert, plus 5-6% midnight wheat would sound good to me... I'm going to brew a dark mild like this soon.
 
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Shenanigans

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Love the way this thread bounces from one topic to the next.

Now that we are on dark mild recipies maybe it has been linked in one of the previous 67 pages but in case anyone's interested and hasn't seen this one before.
It seems to be very popular.

 
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