How that 1912 stout turned out

1912 stout close up

What the critics are saying:

“No brewing faults I could detect… a taste of history.” Ed Wray, brewer and blogger.

“Yeah, it’s… alright. What else have you got?” Bailey’s Dad.

A couple of months ago we brewed a stout using an adaptation of a 1912 St Austell recipe.

With our usual impatience, we cracked the first bottle open barely days after the crown cap had gone on. At this point, it had a little carbonation but not enough and tasted rather like an ashtray — a result of using what our various home brewing manuals would call ‘too much’ black malt.

As the weeks passed, the ashtray thing faded and the carbonation improved, but the body seemed to thin out. For a beer of around 5.7% ABV, it seemed too light-bodied. The huge amount of sugar called for in the recipe can’t have helped on that front, and perhaps the Burton yeast we used was a little too hungry?

Now, though, the body seems to be improving — if anyone can tell us how that can be the case, we’d be very interested to know — and the fag-end effect has entirely gone, replaced by a sweet milk chocolate flavour. The head doesn’t stick about as long as we’d like, but it is a nice brown colour while it lasts.

We’ll definitely brew this again but we’ll make it our own, starting by dropping the amount of caramel in the recipe, but probably keeping all the black malt. We also need to do more with brown malt to get our heads round what it is bringing to the party.

Next on the home brewing agenda: a recreation of the 1972 Selby Brewery strong bitter; something fizzy and bland we’re calling ’1970 Big Six Bitter’ and brewing out of morbid curiosity; and another batch of Saison to a recipe adapted from Pierre van Klomp.

2 thoughts on “How that 1912 stout turned out”

  1. I should have written more about the beer, but I had to dash something off quick as the lovely Lisa had just put an episode of The Killing on and I can’t write emails and read subtitles at the same time!

    The beer it most reminded me of was Fullers Past Masters XX because of the gravity/body discrepancy (if that makes sense!). They don’t make beers like that nowadays except when they’re being historical.

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