Your favourite AK recipe?

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schmurf

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Many of the old Durden Park recipes calls for a maturation time for at least 3 months due to the heavy hopping rate, at least according to one of the authors.
 

Northern_Brewer

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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?
They didn't have much in common with modern bitter - they were double the strength and way more hopped. As usual, you can get a good feel from Ron's recipes and snippets of history, but as an exterme, the 1851 William Younger XXS was 1.125 OG, 1.050 FG for 9.9% ABV (more once the Brett had got to it), with 27g/l (!!!) of hops added in the copper, which Ron translates as 137 IBU.

Who said Scottish beers weren't hoppy?
 
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Miraculix

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They didn't have much in common with modern bitter - they were double the strength and way more hopped. As usual, you can get a good feel from Ron's recipes and snippets of history, but as an exterme, the 1851 William Younger XXS was 1.125 OG, 1.050 FG for 9.9% ABV (more once the Brett had got to it), with 27g/l (!!!) of hops added in the copper, which Ron translates as 137 IBU.

Who said Scottish beers weren't hoppy?
Thanks mate, that is A LOT of hops. Neipa suddenly does not seem to be that new any more....

And 10 abv ales... Ok, I can definitely see why these needed some time to mature.
 

dirty_martini

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It is basically the fore runner to bitter, usually pale though.
question. As a US brewer just getting into brewing UK styles, AK seems very similar to British summer/golden recipes I’ve seen, but with the corn and sugar addition. Not sure if British summer ales are even a real thing, but would you say they are comparable at all? When I’ve had them, I always thought they tasted like a pale bitter
 

DBhomebrew

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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 1.012
Pub @ 68°F
BU:GU=1.13
1st Taste. This has been in the bottle 10 days then 24 hrs in the fridge.

Poured golden with a fluffy white head which settled to maybe 3/16". Hazy, but I'd expect chill haze from only 24hrs in the fridge. Head retention excellent, laced the entire side of the glass.

Mildly sweet fresh malt. Light to medium body. Clean, smooth bitterness. Balance just barely towards bitterness. EKG flavor very present.

Man, I'm loving this beer. Of all the small beers I've made, this is the best with so little time in the bottle.

I've got another brew day coming up, probably Monday. I'm using this same recipe, just swapping the flaked corn with my usual C65. Going to see whether it's the corn or the FWH that's making this 50IBU (calculated as 60m) so damn tasty.
 
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kmarkstevens

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that sounds mighty tasty. Curious to see what you think of the C65 versus corn, and how balanced that may be. I did a side by side, and one with corn and one without (didn't substitute crystal). The one without was very unbalanced and harsh without the corn sweetness to mellow it out.

Also, on a future batch, you might want to try some 6-row for more pronounced "graininess" in the mix. Not sure how Ron Pattinson laid it out in AK, but his kinda 1920-1940's AK era seemed to be a mix of 2-row, 6-row, corn and pretty high hoppiness. This is the AK era and malt bill that I've settled on. YMMV.
 

DBhomebrew

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that sounds mighty tasty. Curious to see what you think of the C65 versus corn, and how balanced that may be. I did a side by side, and one with corn and one without (didn't substitute crystal). The one without was very unbalanced and harsh without the corn sweetness to mellow it out
I'm curious as well. I went into this AK (and the use of corn) not having finished figuring out the taste variables of FWH. There are conflicting reports about FWH regarding their effect on perceived bitterness. Some say calculate as boil length +10%. Some say calculate as a 20m. That's a huge difference!

This AK was kind of my easy entry into trying the 20m calc. I calculated it as a 60m, figuring if that is the best way then I'd hit the recipe's ~50IBU. If on the other hand it came in as equivalent to a 20m, perceived bitterness would end up at 35IBU. Right where I like my bitters. I'm thinking that's where I am.

Now, to test the theory. Swapping the corn for C65 while keeping the hopping where it is pretty much gives me a typical best bitter with the IBUs at a level I had been nervous to try. I am not a hop head. One of the reasons this Yank dived into UK styles.

One caveat to this test is that I'm not going to use any dry hops. I'm harvesting another generation of Pub. So, two changes. C65 for corn and cutting the dry hop. I figure I should still be able to discern whatever change in perceived bitterness.
 
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Hanglow

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question. As a US brewer just getting into brewing UK styles, AK seems very similar to British summer/golden recipes I’ve seen, but with the corn and sugar addition. Not sure if British summer ales are even a real thing, but would you say they are comparable at all? When I’ve had them, I always thought they tasted like a pale bitter
By and large modern golden ales are all malt and hopped with new world and/or modern hops, although the ones that are essentially responsible for the initial rise of golden ales ( exmoor gold and summer lightning) were hopped with traditional English hops . I'd say a well hopped Ak is certainly similar to a modern golden ale. Same ballpark at least
 
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Miraculix

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I do not see where you all got this huge Ibu idea from. There are a few high Ibu AKs in Ron's portfolio, but there are certainly more normal ones within standard bitter territory, even some well below 20 ibus which is basically like a blond mild.
 

kmarkstevens

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Ha, it may be that the very first AK I saw from Ron's blog was this Whitbread 1930 delightful beauty at 56 IBU and 2.4% ABV. That recipe opened my eyes to BJCP were only guidelines, and that British beer was a lot deeper than I had ever imagined.
 

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Brew day so far is going off without a hitch (other than my OG being off by a couple of points...) I've updated my recipe based on my hops AA and my efficiency. Hopefully the link works: SomethingOldeAK | British Golden Ale All Grain Beer Recipe at Brewer's Friend
I'm going to place 2 gallons with 1099 as the yeast, and 1 gallon with Verdant, and see how it goes. Will post a shot or two after all is said and done. :)
 

kmarkstevens

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Barking, I'm sure that will be pretty tasty. Certainly in the spirit if not within the guidelines of how I define AK's (2 row, 6 row, corn, invert and goodly amount of English hops)
 

BarkingSpider

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Thanks Mark! It was a super easy-going brew day and things went pretty smooth. I didn't get to drop yeast until a few hours after the session because our ground water is pretty toasty in California right now and couldn't get things chilled down super quick.

c.jpg
 

DBhomebrew

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Curious to see what you think of the C65 versus corn, and how balanced that may be.
Well, from the post-boil gravity sample I can say that C65 does just as well as corn in sweetening things.

I'm pretty convinced that FWH really do present lower perceived bitterness than the typical top-of-boil addition.

This batch, just like my 'AK', had 2oz FWH, 7/8oz @ 60m. All of it calculated as 60m comes in at about 50IBU. If the FWH portion is calculated as a 20m, total IBUs come in at 35.

This sample tastes just a deliciously balanced as my non-FWH 30-35IBU bitters. Most definitely does not taste like 50!
 
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Miraculix

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I just found a few bottles of my AK in the basement that I started this thread with... I must say, although it is not that old, it did not age well :D

Sometimes I got a problem with this almond like off flavour... and this comes through very heavily now. I think it is oxidation due to prolonged time at elevated temperature (no chill...). My new wort chiller just arrived, next batch will hopefully be different.
 

BarkingSpider

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A very belated update to my brew session. Just wanted to comment on the difference between the beer brewed with Verdant and 1099. I had the GF try them both and then I sampled. The Verdant beer was thinner, a little more of a hoppy note, to me it had a slight metallic (penny) smell & taste. The 1099 had a nice but subtle estery aroma. GF said it was bready and definitely a fuller mouthfeel. I got bready and fruity (stone fruit candy?!?) She likes darker beers for the most part, but she said the 1099 version was REALLY good to her. :)
 

kmarkstevens

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If you like the 1099, then try a mix with S-04. Whitbread was a multi strain and S-04 supposedly was one of the multi strains isolated out to become a dry strain.

Full disclosure, I haven't actually tried 1099 or Verdant. I have tried the WLP017 and S-04 both as stand alone brews, and by far the crowd pleaser was WLP017 + S-04.

I do need to try Verdant, but folks have said it is a derivative or reminiscent of Windsor, which frankly is not one of my keeper yeasts. Your mileage may vary.
 
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Miraculix

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If you like the 1099, then try a mix with S-04. Whitbread was a multi strain and S-04 supposedly was one of the multi strains isolated out to become a dry strain.

Full disclosure, I haven't actually tried 1099 or Verdant. I have tried the WLP017 and S-04 both as stand alone brews, and by far the crowd pleaser was WLP017 + S-04.

I do need to try Verdant, but folks have said it is a derivative or reminiscent of Windsor, which frankly is not one of my keeper yeasts. Your mileage may vary.
I personally see no connection to Windsor taste-wise. Also flocculation is much better and the yeast tend to stick to the bottom of the bottle once fully settled.
 

Northern_Brewer

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I do need to try Verdant, but folks have said it is a derivative or reminiscent of Windsor
Someone's got confused, Verdant themselves are quite open on the subject eg here :
"Like many small breweries we buy in our wet yeast from a yeast bank. It arrives at the brewery and we pitch it into a wort that day. We then use that yeast for six-to-eight generations, cropping off the last batch and pitching into a new one.

We originally used a generic London Ale III yeast from a bigger yeast bank, but after conducting tests we found that it had other strains in the sample that definitely weren’t helpful for the juicy IPAs we tend to make. Our current supplier offered to isolate the London Ale III yeast and propagate it for us, which went extremely well for many batches"

And you can get it direct from the horse's mouth from 47:45 of this video, an extensive interview with James Heffron of Verdant where the exact process of isolation from a 3-strain evolved from "London Ale III" is discussed :

I think someone's just got confused about "London Ale" somehow.
 

BarkingSpider

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I haven't brewed with S-04 in years. I do recall it settling out exceptionally well but having a tart quality to it. Can't say much about the flavor content it brought other than it was subtle. Might not be a bad idea to try 1099 with it, but one thing I would say is that I am less inclined to play much more with Verdant. I'm sure it has it's place, but for what I'm looking for... not so much.
 
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Miraculix

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I think I have my AK dialed in now. This is my best AK so far:

 

dmtaylor

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I think I have my AK dialed in now. This is my best AK so far:

Stealing and will brew sometime soon in the next 6 months. Thanks and cheers.
 
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Miraculix

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Stealing and will brew sometime soon in the next 6 months. Thanks and cheers.
That's what I posted it for :).

Yu can also replace the invert with flaked corn. Different beer, but still great. Wait... I'll quickly add that option to the recipe.
 

dmtaylor

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I'd rather fuss around with making invert sugar which will no doubt add some flavors, than use flaked corn which I'm not sure if I could taste at the end anyway, maybe but maybe not. I'm not a huge fan of adjuncts like corn, rice, etc. if they don't do anything besides watering down the beer basically.
 
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Miraculix

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I'd rather fuss around with making invert sugar which will no doubt add some flavors, than use flaked corn which I'm not sure if I could taste at the end anyway, maybe but maybe not. I'm not a huge fan of adjuncts like corn, rice, etc. if they don't do anything besides watering down the beer basically.
I made an AK once with 20% corn and rest base malt. Wasn't watered down at all, but I also couldn't taste the corn in any specific way. Tasted like base malt to me. Others swear that they get "corn sweetness"from corn. I wonder if the corn variety plays a role, but so far, with European varieties, I was never able to taste it.

It's more of a historical thing for me to use it. Mild beer was also cheap beer, so these adjuncts where mainly in there for price reasons.
 

kmarkstevens

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I'd rather fuss around with making invert sugar which will no doubt add some flavors, than use flaked corn which I'm not sure if I could taste at the end anyway, maybe but maybe not. I'm not a huge fan of adjuncts like corn, rice, etc. if they don't do anything besides watering down the beer basically.
The flaked corn seemed to be in the AK recipes for a couple of decades before WW2. \

In a couple of my brew offs, I found that the flaked corn was essential to balance the hop bittering in this receipe: Shut up about Barclay Perkins: Let's Brew Wednesday - 1930 Whitbread AK

This is prolly still my favorite AK recipe, including the bespoke birthday recipe that Ron Pattinson found for me from 17 June 1925 (right day but just a tad few years before I was born!). Let me say this again, if you like Shut Up About, the least you could do is spring for Ron finding you a bespoke recipe from your birthday according to what you're looking for. My kidlet pinged Ron for a low alcohol beer for me, and he went back a couple of decades to find an AK (similiar to the link above) brewed on my birthday. Good stuff!
 

dmtaylor

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This is prolly still my favorite AK recipe, including the bespoke birthday recipe that Ron Pattinson found for me from 17 June 1925 (right day but just a tad few years before I was born!). Let me say this again, if you like Shut Up About, the least you could do is spring for Ron finding you a bespoke recipe from your birthday according to what you're looking for. My kidlet pinged Ron for a low alcohol beer for me, and he went back a couple of decades to find an AK (similiar to the link above) brewed on my birthday. Good stuff!
Ron is a super gem of a guy. :)
 

ba-brewer

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I am curious how the AK were parti-gyled back when they were produced commercially. What would of been other the beers produced at the same time? Did they combine running or would each sparge be a separate beer?

The grain bill of the AKs has some similarities to a Classic American Pilsner so I was thinking of trying to get an AK and a CAP out of the same brew day. Maybe do a 3 running batch sparge mash and use mostly the first running and third runnings for the CAP and the middle runnings and some of the first runnings to do the AK. It also looks like I could just do a single larger batch and divide up and add water to the wort to get the AK preboil wort.
 
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Miraculix

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I am curious how the AK were parti-gyled back when they were produced commercially. What would of been other the beers produced at the same time? Did they combine running or would each sparge be a separate beer?

The grain bill of the AKs has some similarities to a Classic American Pilsner so I was thinking of trying to get an AK and a CAP out of the same brew day. Maybe do a 3 running batch sparge mash and use mostly the first running and third runnings for the CAP and the middle runnings and some of the first runnings to do the AK. It also looks like I could just do a single larger batch and divide up and add water to the wort to get the AK preboil wort.
I would do the last option, as this sounds like the easiest way to me. Also, you will not loose anything which might be extracted from the grain during the first run off, which the partygile might be lmissing.
 

patto1ro

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I am curious how the AK were parti-gyled back when they were produced commercially. What would of been other the beers produced at the same time? Did they combine running or would each sparge be a separate beer?

The grain bill of the AKs has some similarities to a Classic American Pilsner so I was thinking of trying to get an AK and a CAP out of the same brew day. Maybe do a 3 running batch sparge mash and use mostly the first running and third runnings for the CAP and the middle runnings and some of the first runnings to do the AK. It also looks like I could just do a single larger batch and divide up and add water to the wort to get the AK preboil wort.
Yes, AK was often parti-gyled. At Fullers, with two stronger Bitters. The mash and sparge worts were boiled separately and then blended post boil. All the beers had a mix of the two worts. Pretty sure I've posted some details of the gyling on my blog. Somewhere amongst the 6,000 or so posts.

I'm planning a trip to the South in February. Starting in Atlanta and going anywhere people want to hear my weird English accent. Let me know if you want me to drop some recipes and drop by.
 

ba-brewer

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@patto1ro, Thanks for the comments. I know I had looked at your blog in the past for parti-gyling information but I don't recall seeing this post. That post explains things pretty well, but I think it will take a few more rereads to get all the details presented.

Boiling and combining would be less than ideal for the AK and CAP but I think it could still work. Looking like two brew days after all.
 

patto1ro

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@patto1ro, Thanks for the comments. I know I had looked at your blog in the past for parti-gyling information but I don't recall seeing this post. That post explains things pretty well, but I think it will take a few more rereads to get all the details presented.

Boiling and combining would be less than ideal for the AK and CAP but I think it could still work. Looking like two brew days after all.
Feel free to ask me any questions if anything isn't clear. Always happy to help.
 

ba-brewer

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Feel free to ask me any questions if anything isn't clear. Always happy to help.
Thank you for your offer to answer questions and all of the information you provide in your blog.
I reread the one post and think I get most of it, the most confusing part was the use of lengths for volumes.

After doing more poking around your blog I found a post/recipe that has me thinking combining the CAP and AK was not that crazy after all. The hops used look like more like what I would expect in a lager than a bitter and not too far off from the all cluster hopping I was planning for the CAP.
Let's brew Wednesday - Fullers 1920 PA, AK, XK
 

ba-brewer

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For some time now I have been brewing a best bitter according to @Northern_Brewer recommendation of 90% base malt and 10% some combination of crystal and/or sugar. Hopping pretty much follows most of the Wheeler recipes of a 60min bitter charge and a modest 10min charge. Would this qualify as a AK?

The earlier AK recipes seem to be base malt and maybe sugar without the use of maize, that is why I ask.
 

ba-brewer

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I did end up doing a split batch of beer creating a CAP and a AK. I collected and divided wort before the boil so I could hop both halves differently. I did use a combination of two running from a single mash.

The AK portion was hop according to this recipe,
Let's Brew Wednesday - 1933 Kidd AK

The grain was different but was roughly
40% maris otter
40% US 6row
13% flaked corn
7% homemade invert(light amber color done in pressure cooker)
wlp013 london ale(needed to use up, first and most likely last time using)

It has been in the keg for a few days.
 
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Miraculix

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For some time now I have been brewing a best bitter according to @Northern_Brewer recommendation of 90% base malt and 10% some combination of crystal and/or sugar. Hopping pretty much follows most of the Wheeler recipes of a 60min bitter charge and a modest 10min charge. Would this qualify as a AK?

The earlier AK recipes seem to be base malt and maybe sugar without the use of maize, that is why I ask.
I've never seen crystal in an ak, and the hooping rate is usually lower then the bitter's.

I did end up doing a split batch of beer creating a CAP and a AK. I collected and divided wort before the boil so I could hop both halves differently. I did use a combination of two running from a single mash.

The AK portion was hop according to this recipe,
Let's Brew Wednesday - 1933 Kidd AK

The grain was different but was roughly
40% maris otter
40% US 6row
13% flaked corn
7% homemade invert(light amber color done in pressure cooker)
wlp013 london ale(needed to use up, first and most likely last time using)

It has been in the keg for a few days.
Sounds good to me!
 
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