Your favourite AK recipe?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

kmarkstevens

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
691
Reaction score
751
AK seems to have died out as a style in the 1930's. These were all partigyled anyway. Any "modern" recipes are new vs being a unbroken pedigree brewed for over a 100 years.
 

patto1ro

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2005
Messages
284
Reaction score
58
AK seems to have died out as a style in the 1930's. These were all partigyled anyway. Any "modern" recipes are new vs being a unbroken pedigree brewed for over a 100 years.
The brewery in my hometown - Holes, later Courage - still had AK as its flagship beer in the 1980s. Many AKs were parti-gyled, but not all of them.
 

kmarkstevens

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
691
Reaction score
751
The brewery in my hometown - Holes, later Courage - still had AK as its flagship beer in the 1980s. Many AKs were parti-gyled, but not all of them.
Fair point, and I had just assumed these were all parti-gyled. Like anything, there are outliers vs the "standard". If nothing else, the Shut Up About Barkley blog makes the point that there are plenty of brewery exceptions to the "standard" for every beer style in the Isles.
 

Northern_Brewer

British - apparently some US company stole my name
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,232
Reaction score
2,569
Location
UK
AK seems to have died out as a style in the 1930's. These were all partigyled anyway. Any "modern" recipes are new vs being a unbroken pedigree brewed for over a 100 years.
McMullen claim to have brewed their AK continuously for 185 years, but it is an exception, it's the coelacanth of the beer world. And obviously there will have been tweaks to the recipe, they wouldn't have been using WGV in the 19th century. Also worth noting its strapline is "The Original Mild"...
 

kevin58

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
633
Fair point, and I had just assumed these were all parti-gyled. Like anything, there are outliers vs the "standard". If nothing else, the Shut Up About Barkley blog makes the point that there are plenty of brewery exceptions to the "standard" for every beer style in the Isles.
And you just replied to Ron Pattinson (patto1ro) who writes that blog.
 

kmarkstevens

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
691
Reaction score
751
And you just replied to Ron Pattinson (patto1ro) who writes that blog.
:eek: D'oh! Color me embarrased!

To be clear, that was a compliment! His Whitbread 1930 AK at 56 IBU blew away my perception of british beers being mildly hopped, and is in my regular rotation. And his birthday recipe for me was a parti-gyled Fuller's AK beauty from 1925 (right day but Ron had to go back in years to deliver on my request for a 3%ish ABV recipe). LOL, that's prolly where it stuck in my head that AK's were all parti-gyled. ;)
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Alrighty, then. Time for me to brew up an AK.

85% Fawcett Optic
5% Flaked Corn
10% DIY Invert
FWH EKG 3.5%AA 2-7/8oz (49IBU calc'd as 60m)
0m EKG 3.5%AA 1oz
Dry Hop EKG 3.5%AA 1/8oz (.25g/l)

Mash 60m @ 152°F
Boil 60m
OG 1.043
FG 1.009
Pub @ 68°F
BU:GU=1.13
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Alrighty, then. Time for me to brew up an AK.

85% Fawcett Optic
5% Flaked Corn
10% DIY Invert
FWH EKG 3.5%AA 2-7/8oz (49IBU calc'd as 60m)
0m EKG 3.5%AA 1oz
Dry Hop EKG 3.5%AA 1/8oz (.25g/l)

Mash 60m @ 152°F
Boil 60m
OG 1.043
FG 1.009
Pub @ 68°F
BU:GU=1.13
Sounds good, let us know how it goes! Maybe pub does not get low enough though...
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Sounds good, let us know how it goes! Maybe pub does not get low enough though...
Sure will do!

Except for that first generation outlier, I've been getting ~76% attenuation with 5% sugar. 80% wouldn't be too extreme with 10%. Although, the Optic and corn are both new to me.

As they say, there's only one way to find out.
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Brew day's in the books. A great day hitting numbers.

This was my first batch using Optic. Really nice stuff. Full grainy aroma, but without the peanutiness that MO can have. Very pleasant.

My fresh bag of EKG is only 3.5%, so a hoppy style like this took a good amount of mass to hit IBUs. I put 2oz into FWH, 7/8 at 60m, then another oz at flameout. Finished wort is definitely bitter, but really smooth and packed full with EKG flavor.

I'm really looking forward to seeing how this turns out.
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Well...5 days into fermentation things are in the cleanup stage and the Pub's a-dropping.

Pulled a sample. Very mild sweet malt, that Optic is really nice. Soft bitterness. Flowery hops. Quite tasty in a summery way. But sweet.

SG's at 1.012, 72% attenuation. Man, predicting FG from beer to beer is really tough. I bumped the temp a couple degrees to give the Pub a hand finishing their plates, but I don't expect much. Oh, well. Go for a touch drier or a few more IBU next time.

I'll let it lie until late in the week then dry hop for a few days. Maybe they'll balance the sweet a bit and all will be perfect! Whatever, it's definitely in the realm of tasty. Quaffable, even.
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Getting ready to bottle tonight, 10 days in the fermenter. Dry hopped Tuesday morning. Sample today tastes great, like it'll be ready to drink as soon as it carbs up. Amazing what the corn does to balance all those IBUs.
 
Last edited:
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Getting ready to bottle tonight, 10 days in the fermenter. Dry hopped Tuesday morning. Sample today tastes great, like it'll be ready to drink as soon as it carbs up. Amazing what the corn does to balance all those IBUs.
Honestly, did nothing to my beer...
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Honestly, did nothing to my beer...
It's not like it screams corn. But whereas my typical MO/C65/invert best bitter is balanced at ~35IBU, this one is at 49IBU and tastes no more bitter. I don't know what else to ascribe the balance to, it's not the first time I've done a bitter with FWH which does attenuate the perceived bitterness as well.
 

BarkingSpider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
75
Reaction score
39
Location
Rancho Cucamonga
Would like to do one of these! Not sure when... but I'll post an update when it comes around. I have some 1099 yeast kicking around (and a pound of flaked corn) so maybe sooner than later?
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
It's not like it screams corn. But whereas my typical MO/C65/invert best bitter is balanced at ~35IBU, this one is at 49IBU and tastes no more bitter. I don't know what else to ascribe the balance to, it's not the first time I've done a bitter with FWH which does attenuate the perceived bitterness as well.
I don't know... my AK was barely drinkable with about 50 IBUs, after two months it was good, but it really needed the time to mellow a bit. The corn did not help, but maybe this is depending on the actual kind of corn that is being used. There might be differences that affect the bitterness in different ways. Naybe different protein compositions in different corn varieties?

As for first wort hops... sry, but I never bought this. For me it runs under confirmation bias. I was never able to detect a difference.
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
maybe this is depending on the actual kind of corn that is being used. There might be differences that affect the bitterness in different ways. Naybe different protein compositions in different corn varieties?
Could very well be. I used good ol' flaked corn from the American Midwest. Nothing fancy.

A far as the FWH, I don't know. I get a softer bitterness and some flavor. Maybe I'm tasting something I'm hoping to find, but I do find myself bumping my recipes up a few calculated IBUs since I started using them. Soft bitterness and flavor aside, I keep with the FWH purely for the anti-boilover properties. Those are not due to confirmation bias.

20210519_130848.jpg
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
I don't know... my AK was barely drinkable with about 50 IBUs, after two months it was good, but it really needed the time to mellow a bit.
This is really interesting. I remember reading your tasting report from your first bottle. That's so very different from my taste today, not even bottled yet. Like you, I don't think the FWH would make up that difference. It must be the corn. And you used 10%?! I used only 5%
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
Just released...

 

BarkingSpider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
75
Reaction score
39
Location
Rancho Cucamonga
I'm gonna shoot for this next weekend if possible, but I need to place an order so I'm at the mercy of others...
This is what I was thinking for a recipe:
OG: 1.043 FG: 1.010 ABV 4.4% IBU's: 35-40 SRM: 5.31
40% Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise
40% Rahr 6-Row
10% Flaked Corn
10% Invert Sugar (12L)
[email protected]
For hops I was thinking Bramling Cross but I have EKG on order as well.
I have a couple options on yeast. I have Wyeast 1099 Whitbread , and Lallemand's Verdant IPA. I'm leaning towards Verdant at this point.
 
Last edited:
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Just released...

Man..... I should really buy his books.
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
I'm gonna shoot for this next weekend if possible, but I need to place an order so I'm at the mercy of others...
This is what I was thinking for a recipe:
OG: 1.043 FG: 1.010 ABV 4.4% IBU's: 35-40 SRM: 5.31
40% Thomas Fawcett Golden Promise
40% Rahr 6-Row
10% Flaked Corn
10% Invert Sugar (12L)
[email protected]
For hops I was thinking Bramling Cross but I have EKG on order as well.
I have a couple options on yeast. I have Wyeast 1099 Whitbread , and Lallemand's Verdant IPA. I'm leaning towards Verdant at this point.
I would use verdant, as it worked for me pretty well, but I never used 1099, so no idea how that one would compare.

The ibus are almost a little bit low. I'd go for 45. It might be a bit tough at the beginning, but after a few weeks is mellows into something nice.


Could very well be. I used good ol' flaked corn from the American Midwest. Nothing fancy.

A far as the FWH, I don't know. I get a softer bitterness and some flavor. Maybe I'm tasting something I'm hoping to find, but I do find myself bumping my recipes up a few calculated IBUs since I started using them. Soft bitterness and flavor aside, I keep with the FWH purely for the anti-boilover properties. Those are not due to confirmation bias.

View attachment 731988
American corn might be completely different than German corn. Maybe that's the reason?

The boil over part is certainly a good reason to keep doing this!
 

Northern_Brewer

British - apparently some US company stole my name
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,232
Reaction score
2,569
Location
UK
I would use verdant, as it worked for me pretty well, but I never used 1099, so no idea how that one would compare.
Verdant's OK, better than other dry options for British styles, but the vanilla thing is not very typical, whereas 1099 is far more "classic" and is the obvious choice of these two.

The ibus are almost a little bit low. I'd go for 45. It might be a bit tough at the beginning, but after a few weeks is mellows into something nice.
No way. As someone who grew up drinking bitter and who likes them on the bitter end - I personally wouldn't go above BU:GU=0.9 just on drinkability grounds, and certainly by going over 1.0 you are wrecking the balance that is key to British styles.

If it needs "mellowing out" then you've brewed it wrong in the first place. The whole reason why AKs became popular with brewers is that after 1880 the tax system changed to one based on the OG of wort, paid at the end of the month in which the wort was produced. This pushed brewers towards Running Bitters that could be turned round quickly as opposed to traditional "IPA"-style Pale Ales which needed aging. This is the beer equivalent of vin de table, quick turnover and knocked back in quantity.

And just look at the BU:GUs of some of Ron's recipes, with the exception of the last two which can perhaps claim war as a justification, they're smack in the usual range for bitter :

0.88 Eldridge Pope 1896
0.83 Russell 1911
0.80 Greene King 1937
0.76 Kidd 1934
0.75 Fullers 1914
0.60 Crowley 1914
0.44(!) Sheps 1946 (12 IBU in 1.027 but hey, times were tough)
0.30(!!) Boddies 1914 (what's their excuse?!)
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Verdant's OK, better than other dry options for British styles, but the vanilla thing is not very typical, whereas 1099 is far more "classic" and is the obvious choice of these two.



No way. As someone who grew up drinking bitter and who likes them on the bitter end - I personally wouldn't go above BU:GU=0.9 just on drinkability grounds, and certainly by going over 1.0 you are wrecking the balance that is key to British styles.

If it needs "mellowing out" then you've brewed it wrong in the first place. The whole reason why AKs became popular with brewers is that after 1880 the tax system changed to one based on the OG of wort, paid at the end of the month in which the wort was produced. This pushed brewers towards Running Bitters that could be turned round quickly as opposed to traditional "IPA"-style Pale Ales which needed aging. This is the beer equivalent of vin de table, quick turnover and knocked back in quantity.

And just look at the BU:GUs of some of Ron's recipes, with the exception of the last two which can perhaps claim war as a justification, they're smack in the usual range for bitter :

0.88 Eldridge Pope 1896
0.83 Russell 1911
0.80 Greene King 1937
0.76 Kidd 1934
0.75 Fullers 1914
0.60 Crowley 1914
0.44(!) Sheps 1946 (12 IBU in 1.027 but hey, times were tough)
0.30(!!) Boddies 1914 (what's their excuse?!)
We're talking about aks here, and not normal bitters! AFAIK, one of the key points of aks is the huge amount of ibus, compared to other "normal" British bitters.

I don't know if I brewed it wrong, could very well be as others seem to have better results with these high ibu aks, but maybe it is also my personal taste that just doesn't like these higher ibus that much. My personal sweetspot was always around 30ibus. I just brewed a barley wine, that one has 50 ibus but also 11% abv :D in this case, I like the 50 ibus, it's quite balanced. But in a 4.5% Beer it's a bit high for my liking.

Btw. I was actually fearing the vanilla a little bit in verdant, but at the end, I did not get it... Our maybe my taste buds were to overwhelmed with the 50 ibus :D
 

Northern_Brewer

British - apparently some US company stole my name
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,232
Reaction score
2,569
Location
UK
AFAIK, one of the key points of aks is the huge amount of ibus, compared to other "normal" British bitters.
Citation needed. I've given you a ton of links above of Ron's AK recipes which suggest exactly the opposite, they mostly look pretty much in line with modern Best recipes - or at least a more adjuncty version, so perhaps 1980s Bests?

So what's your evidence to the contrary?

You've always got to be wary of relative comparisons, so much depends on what you're saying they're "more bitter" than. If you're used to southern bitter, then some northern bitters will seem "a lot more bitter", particularly if not served through a sparkler.

We're talking about aks here, and not normal bitters!
As above. Bear in mind these were not premium beers, similar beers were also known as "Dinner Ales" and "Family Beers". Something to give to one's wife and servants whilst the man of the house might drink a bottled "proper" Pale Ale to relax after a hard day designing the Suez Canal or planning the invasion of Matabeleland. In that context you wouldn't expect them to be particularly extreme, and those recipes bear out that thought.

I don't know if I brewed it wrong, could very well be as others seem to have better results with these high ibu aks, but maybe it is also my personal taste that just doesn't like these higher ibus that much. My personal sweetspot was always around 30ibus. I just brewed a barley wine, that one has 50 ibus but also 11% abv :D in this case, I like the 50 ibus, it's quite balanced. But in a 4.5% Beer it's a bit high for my liking.
BU:GU is your friend in these contexts, bitterness on its own doesn't mean much. Again - these are non-fancy beers for the mass market, they're not going to be hard to drink.

I was actually fearing the vanilla a little bit in verdant, but at the end, I did not get it... Our maybe my taste buds were to overwhelmed with the 50 ibus :D
The latter. I've got a bit of a surplus of yeasts to work through so I'm not going to be getting any Verdant just yet,but one thing I'm interested in is whether the vanilla increases with maize/wheat in the grist, the vanilla pathways are linked to ferulic acid chemistry so potentially if you have a wort that would give lots of clove from a hefe yeast, that should make Verdant go more vanilla-y.
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Citation needed. I've given you a ton of links above of Ron's AK recipes which suggest exactly the opposite, they mostly look pretty much in line with modern Best recipes - or at least a more adjuncty version, so perhaps 1980s Bests?

So what's your evidence to the contrary?

You've always got to be wary of relative comparisons, so much depends on what you're saying they're "more bitter" than. If you're used to southern bitter, then some northern bitters will seem "a lot more bitter", particularly if not served through a sparkler.



As above. Bear in mind these were not premium beers, similar beers were also known as "Dinner Ales" and "Family Beers". Something to give to one's wife and servants whilst the man of the house might drink a bottled "proper" Pale Ale to relax after a hard day designing the Suez Canal or planning the invasion of Matabeleland. In that context you wouldn't expect them to be particularly extreme, and those recipes bear out that thought.



BU:GU is your friend in these contexts, bitterness on its own doesn't mean much. Again - these are non-fancy beers for the mass market, they're not going to be hard to drink.



The latter. I've got a bit of a surplus of yeasts to work through so I'm not going to be getting any Verdant just yet,but one thing I'm interested in is whether the vanilla increases with maize/wheat in the grist, the vanilla pathways are linked to ferulic acid chemistry so potentially if you have a wort that would give lots of clove from a hefe yeast, that should make Verdant go more vanilla-y.
Hahahaha, seems like I got carried away by this one and the following discussion here in this thread:


Now that I had a look, I am finding even 13ibu aks, interesting.


If I brew I've again, I'll go with the usual 30ibus.
 

Northern_Brewer

British - apparently some US company stole my name
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,232
Reaction score
2,569
Location
UK
Hahahaha, seems like I got carried away by this one and the following discussion here in this thread:

The clue is their comment about the "massive amount of hopping" compared to similar beers. Although I'd take that 56 IBU with a big pinch of salt - I'd imagine Whitbread were using hops that were rather cheaper than Goldings and hence lower alpha, and you'd have to look up to see whether there were any harvests that were particularly low in alpha around then. A <1.030 beer only existed because it was so cheap, so no opportunity to cut costs would have been ignored - might even have been using recycled hops or something??

Still it's weird that they introduced it and withdrew it again within 3 months - suggests it's hardly typical.
 

kevin58

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 4, 2017
Messages
1,056
Reaction score
633
Here is one of Ron Pattinson's most recent blog posts explaining what an AK was.

As for that recipe you point to with an IBU of 56... I would consider it an outlier. Especially when compared to all the examples provided by others.

btw, Ron Pattinson also has a brand new book just released a few days ago on nothing but AK's.
 

DBhomebrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2020
Messages
731
Reaction score
1,003
Location
St Louis, MO
FWIW...

It's suggested in some circles to figure a 60m boil's FWH as a 20m addition. If I were to do so for the recipe I just brewed and tasted as very balanced, it would come in at 35IBU.

I guess I don't really know whether the balance I found is due to the corn or the purported softened bitterness of FWH. I'm suffering from playing with too many variables. And I can't ignore my tasting panel's single inexperienced palette.
 

BarkingSpider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
75
Reaction score
39
Location
Rancho Cucamonga
Last edited:

kmarkstevens

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Feb 19, 2017
Messages
691
Reaction score
751
It may be I started with the outliers and then Ron found/shared a lot more AK recipes. Ron found me a 1925 Fuller's AK for the birthday recipe (I requested via my kid a low ABV beer, so instead of the year and date, he went all the way back to 1925 to pull out this AK gem). A 1032 OG, 1007 FG and 43 IBU. I would post but instead make a plug for Ron to pull out a bespoke recipe for your specific day. BTW, not only did I get a nice 1 page write up, as well as the brewing log with partigyled XK and PA, but I also got a nice email back after I thanked Ron for finding a neat recipe. Great value for money. :cool:

That said, the IBU's may be off owing to partigyle assumptions? Most of NB's cited recipes above (except the last two) contain 5-15% flaked maize. I did a couple of side by side experiments, and the flaked maize makes for a balanced beer even at the higher (and possibly outlier) hop rates. The 1930 Whitbread AK recipe above is what got me started on AK's. And the 1930 Whitbread sans flaked maize is definitely inferior with an unbalanced harsher hop taste. And the 1930 Whitbread AK opened my eyes to historic beers, English ales, low ABV beers and that BJCP guidelines are just guidelines with tons of exceptions.

In Ron's Homebrewers Guide to Vintage Beers, he cites the 1920 Fuller's AK as the first AK recipe he ever found. 1045 OG, 1009 FG and 49 IBU with 2-row 37%, 6-row 37%, corn 5% and invert for the rest. I just added the AK book link for my kids when they get around to my Christmas present.
My house AK will always be highly hopped and feature 6-row for graininess plus ~5% corn (even if this is an outlier recipe) :ban:. It's pretty much the 1930 Whitbread and the 1925 AK recipes blended.
 

bwible

I drink, and I know things
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 31, 2017
Messages
771
Reaction score
806
Location
Oxford
Love me some 1099. I use it for psuedo-lagers and also turn around and brew bitters and ESB with it. Quickly becoming one of my favorite yeasts.
 

BarkingSpider

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
75
Reaction score
39
Location
Rancho Cucamonga
If I had some S-04 floating... I'd be inclined to try that! So I have all of my grains together. I'm wondering since this may be construed as a keeping beer (age it a month or two?)... would a touch of oak be appropriate?
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
If I had some S-04 floating... I'd be inclined to try that! So I have all of my grains together. I'm wondering since this may be construed as a keeping beer (age it a month or two?)... would a touch of oak be appropriate?
No. B but you can obviously do what you like!
 

Northern_Brewer

British - apparently some US company stole my name
Joined
Aug 16, 2017
Messages
3,232
Reaction score
2,569
Location
UK
I'm wondering since this may be construed as a keeping beer (age it a month or two?)... would a touch of oak be appropriate?
Not really. Ron Pattinson regards the "Keeping" thing as more of a style identifier, it's a member of the Pale Ale family rather than the Mild family, and not an indication of how long they were actually kept. According to this evidence to a parliamentary committee in 1899, AK was kept 2 to 4 weeks before delivery, compared to 4-10 days for Mild and 4-12 months for Stock Ale.

2-4 weeks is typical of modern bitter, it just needs a bit of time for the malts to knit together properly.
 
OP
Miraculix

Miraculix

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2017
Messages
4,381
Reaction score
2,819
Location
Bremen
Not really. Ron Pattinson regards the "Keeping" thing as more of a style identifier, it's a member of the Pale Ale family rather than the Mild family, and not an indication of how long they were actually kept. According to this evidence to a parliamentary committee in 1899, AK was kept 2 to 4 weeks before delivery, compared to 4-10 days for Mild and 4-12 months for Stock Ale.

2-4 weeks is typical of modern bitter, it just needs a bit of time for the malts to knit together properly.
I really wonder what the deal was with these 4-12 months ales. All my English ales are far beyond their peak after 4 months, except the barley wine. Do you know what might be the difference here between modern bitters and these keeping ales that moved their peak time to past 4 months?
 
Top