Hopefull brewer

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JFC999

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Hi all, I am a beer appreciater and childhood brewer.
let me explain , years ago ,(1960’s) my dad used to brew beer
I was brewers mate ( labourer) ? And loved it , both the job and the results.
I have the recipe in my head but only vaguely , pleasea tell me if this is viable .
quantity 20 litres
4lbs malt extract
3-4 oz hops 3-4lbs sugar
qty bakers (!) yeast
water
may the lord have mercy on my soul gravy browning for colour !,
method was , bring hops to boil and simmer for 45 mins ,add to malt extract already softened with boiling water and sugar , add yeast mixed with qty of wort , top up with cold water , leave in plastic barrel for 7 -10 days, siphon into glass bottles with 1 teaspoon sugar drink when ready ,( week or so )
All ingredients were from Boots chemist who had a brewing section and all quantities are approximate .
Phew I,m knackered now just typing that on the day pubs opened !
opinions please
Jim
 

terrym

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Welcome to the forum.
There must be quite a few recipes still about for homebrewed beers that people concocted in the 1960s and early 1970s. I started brewing then and I certainly made up a few. I only wish I had my old recipe book handy (which I chucked out) to reminisce but would I try one now, not a chance.
Fifty years on, homebrewing, in the UK at least, is several orders of magnitude better than it was then. The choice of ingredients back then was so limited as was equipment, and homebrewers were mostly all on a learning curve. Boots did their best but by today's standards it was pitiful.
So if you are serious about brewing a reasonably decent beer, I suggest you forget a recipe from the past using bakers yeast and gravy browning* and get yourself set up with something from 2020. Even some of the better beer kits out there produce beers as good as beer you get down the pub.
* Yes, I used gravy browning too, but wouldn't even go near it now
 

An Ankoù

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Hello Jim,
Yes, that's a viable recipe, even unto the gravy browning, which is just caramel anyway. That's the least of the issues with such an old recipe. the greatest is the quantity of sugar compared with the malt. It'll leave the beer a bit thin, but so many of the commercial beers were like that anyway (in the 70s. I;m just a youngster) Baker;s yeast will work and it will clear after weeks in the bottle. You'd need to use a low alpha acid hop, ideally Fuggles or Goldings if you're going to use 3 or 4 ounces. I'd go for the full 5 gallons (23 litres). I'd give it a go for old-time's sake. You might be pleasantly surprised.
 

terrym

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You might be pleasantly surprised.
I admire your optimism, based on the recipe as presented in the OP. But 23 litres ashock1
However, there is no doubt if the recipe was tweeked and adjusted and used a modern beer yeast you could produce a decent extract beer. There's plenty to choose from. But that then loses the 1960s/70s homebrew 'authenticity' which I'm sure neither of us misses, well I certainly don't.
 

Edison

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That sounds like an ‘interesting‘ proposition! If you were determined to try it for nostalgia purposes I couldn’t blame you, but I would set your expectations low and scale it down to something you wouldn’t regret having to chuck down the drain if it was undrinkable. If it was, don’t let it put you off, use it as a ‘test run’ and try a good kit beer next and the difference will blow you away I’m sure.

Also, the original recipe looks like you’re adding the yeast to very hot wort, I would hold off on letting the yeast touching anything until after you have added the cold water and brought the temperature down to around 20c.
 

An Ankoù

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I admire your optimism, based on the recipe as presented in the OP. But 23 litres
It's always a cause for concern when "imperial" and metric measurements get mixed in the same recipe. Perhaps the OP is carefully avoiding confusing US and "imperial" gallons, but in the 60s, litres were reserved for laboratories. 5 gallons would have been the standard batch. This recipe is about a decade before my time and what makes it interesting is that we're talking about the point when home brewing became legal in the UK and it would have taken some time for companies to start making ingredients and equipment specially for the home brewing market. Malt extract would be extract made for the baking trade or for medicinal use (with a warning to avoid the one mixed with cod liver oil). Dried bakers yeast would be available since it has been produced since the 1940s. I dread to think what the hops were like or where they came from, but, in my late teens, I used to jump over the wall that separated Northam Rd from the Gasometers in Southampton and pick my hops from a bine growing there. Excellent hops they were and possibly an escapee from a brewery. Much later, when money was in short supply due to mortgage interest rates being around 13% and an infestation of kids, I'd buy a tub of "Brecon Malt Extract" from the health food store as it was considerably cheaper than the dedicated stuff and brew with that. It had a certain charm (twang) which characterised the house bitter of the day, but We'd still come back from the pub and finish on a homebrew before turning in.
In those days we made homebrew; now we try to copy commercial beers. I reckon "homebrew" should be a historic style of its own. Having devoted some time recently to reading up on so called "farmhouse" and Scandinavian/Baltic styles, this last comment is only half tongue-in-cheek.
If I can get hold of some generic malt extract, I'm going to knock up a half batch of the OP's recipe and send terrym a couple of quarts to reinvigorate his jaded taste buds. :laugh8:
Edit: I forgot to mention that I think gravy browning and brewer's caramel are much the same thing and are used in minute quantities to adjust the colour.
 
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terrym

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It's always a cause for concern when "imperial" and metric measurements get mixed in the same recipe. Perhaps the OP is carefully avoiding confusing US and "imperial" gallons, but in the 60s, litres were reserved for laboratories. 5 gallons would have been the standard batch. This recipe is about a decade before my time and what makes it interesting is that we're talking about the point when home brewing became legal in the UK and it would have taken some time for companies to start making ingredients and equipment specially for the home brewing market. Malt extract would be extract made for the baking trade or for medicinal use (with a warning to avoid the one mixed with cod liver oil). Dried bakers yeast would be available since it has been produced since the 1940s. I dread to think what the hops were like or where they came from, but, in my late teens, I used to jump over the wall that separated Northam Rd from the Gasometers in Southampton and pick my hops from a bine growing there. Excellent hops they were and possibly an escapee from a brewery. Much later, when money was in short supply due to mortgage interest rates being around 13% and an infestation of kids, I'd buy a tub of "Brecon Malt Extract" from the health food store as it was considerably cheaper than the dedicated stuff and brew with that. It had a certain charm (twang) which characterised the house bitter of the day, but We'd still come back from the pub and finish on a homebrew before turning in.
In those days we made homebrew; now we try to copy commercial beers. I reckon "homebrew" should be a historic style of its own. Having devoted some time recently to reading up on so called "farmhouse" and Scandinavian/Baltic styles, this last comment is only half tongue-in-cheek.
If I can get hold of some generic malt extract, I'm going to knock up a half batch of the OP's recipe and send terrym a couple of quarts to reinvigorate his jaded taste buds. :laugh8:
Edit: I forgot to mention that I think gravy browning and brewer's caramel are much the same thing and are used in minute quantities to adjust the colour.
It wasn't the volume conversion that made me flinch, it was the suggestion to make a full batch. Far better to make up a half batch, as you mentioned above, and then only have to be half fed up when you debate whether you should be chucking it down the sink or not, if you have made it up using authentic 'heritage' ingredients.
When I started it was Boots to get your gear or very little else, although when I visited Burton later on I found a stall in the market place that sold homebrew gear including Ritchie products from the town who had only just started up. My LME came in big tubs, and I bought 14 lb perhaps 28lb at a time, and used it when I needed it, with no special storage in mind. But whole hops came in a perforated plastic bag probably 4 oz at a time, either Fuggles or Goldings. You had no idea how old they were, and grain was the same. And although one of my Uncles used bread yeast and started brewing before the Maudling budget of 1963, I think my yeast came from Boots apart from when I first started in Sheffield and our group used to get supplied from Tennants brewery. My first FV as I have said before was an orange plastic dustbin which lasted many years, scratches and all.
I was enthusiastic though, I even got offered a job as graduate brewer with Charringtons down the Mile End Road (remember them?), but the money was crap as I was restarting my career, so I declined.
But kits came later and they were appalling even against my stuff, and when I had to resort to kits because life had changed I tried a few and decided I'd had enough of homebrewing. And all the wisdom imparted from Ken Shales, David Lines and CJJ Berry came to nought
Anyway all this goes to demonstrate how brewing your own beer has moved on. Scores of hops to choose from all round the world, online water treatment calculators, multiple grain choices, specialist brewing equipment, premium beer kits, folks making brew fridges etc etc.
So do have a go at the half batch, and lets have some feedback. Failing that get hold of a Geordie 1.5kg bitter kit, a throw back to the 1970s, and make that up with 2kg sugar.
And your mortgage at 13% was a good deal, I remember paying 15% at one time.
Those were the days, or not.
 

Edison

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I reckon "homebrew" should be a historic style of its own.
I would love to see the BJCP style guidelines for that!

8D. English Airing Cupboard Bitter (English Pretend Ale)

Aroma: Hop aroma negligible, plenty of vaguely familiar beery smells but light and fleeting. Nose should evoke a distant memory of pub carpet.

Appearance: Watery yellow to murky brown. Clarity unlikely. Low to moderate to zero head. Some variation in presentation expected due to local sourcing of dubious ingredients.

Mouthfeel: Feels wet. Usually.

History: Brewed mainly from what could be scrabbled together out of limited options from repurposed ingredients. Brewed up in buckets/bathtubs and fermented as hot as possible in whatever vacant, dark cubby hole was available in the house.

Comments: Leave your expectations at the door, this experience will be character building.

Vital Statistics:

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.010 - 1.060+1.040 - 0.9901 - 20+6 - 602.0 - 9.2%
Commercial Examples: Fortunately nope.

(possibly a bit unkind!)
 

An Ankoù

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I would love to see the BJCP style guidelines for that!

8D. English Airing Cupboard Bitter (English Pretend Ale)

Aroma: Hop aroma negligible, plenty of vaguely familiar beery smells but light and fleeting. Nose should evoke a distant memory of pub carpet.

Appearance: Watery yellow to murky brown. Clarity unlikely. Low to moderate to zero head. Some variation in presentation expected due to local sourcing of dubious ingredients.

Mouthfeel: Feels wet. Usually.

History: Brewed mainly from what could be scrabbled together out of limited options from repurposed ingredients. Brewed up in buckets/bathtubs and fermented as hot as possible in whatever vacant, dark cubby hole was available in the house.

Comments: Leave your expectations at the door, this experience will be character building.

Vital Statistics:

OGFGIBUsSRMABV
1.010 - 1.060+1.040 - 0.9901 - 20+6 - 602.0 - 9.2%
Commercial Examples: Fortunately nope.

(possibly a bit unkind!)
That sounds like kit beer. Aroma could be good even from dubiously sourced hops. As terrym mentions, above, kits were not great in the beginning and extract was often better.
Otherwise, a BJCP entry except for "pretend ale"- that's what we used to pay 12p a pint for (or less) at the Saracen's Head.
 

Merkin

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Welcome Jim

I've just started my first brew in 30+ years, so I'm by no means en expert, and can't provide a remotely technical response.

However, I would say give it a go!
There's every chance it will rekindle long lost aromas and happy memories, which are things you can't quantify. It would be interesting to keep a couple of bottles back to compare with a more conventional brew, then you will have your answer.

I'd be interested to know what you put on your Sunday roast!

Happy brewing

Chris
 

Gerryjo

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Hi and welcome to the forum.. Give it a go for old times sake if nothing else it will be drinkable...
 

JFC999

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Welcome Jim

I've just started my first brew in 30+ years, so I'm by no means en expert, and can't provide a remotely technical response.

However, I would say give it a go!
There's every chance it will rekindle long lost aromas and happy memories, which are things you can't quantify. It would be interesting to keep a couple of bottles back to compare with a more conventional brew, then you will have your answer.

I'd be interested to know what you put on your Sunday roast!

Happy brewing

Chris
Thank you so much Chris , I will try it and I will report back !
 

JFC999

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Welcome to the forum.
There must be quite a few recipes still about for homebrewed beers that people concocted in the 1960s and early 1970s. I started brewing then and I certainly made up a few. I only wish I had my old recipe book handy (which I chucked out) to reminisce but would I try one now, not a chance.
Fifty years on, homebrewing, in the UK at least, is several orders of magnitude better than it was then. The choice of ingredients back then was so limited as was equipment, and homebrewers were mostly all on a learning curve. Boots did their best but by today's standards it was pitiful.
So if you are serious about brewing a reasonably decent beer, I suggest you forget a recipe from the past using bakers yeast and gravy browning* and get yourself set up with something from 2020. Even some of the better beer kits out there produce beers as good as beer you get down the pub.
* Yes, I used gravy browning too, but wouldn't even go near it now
Terrym thanks for your reply , my aim is not to brew a easy beer but a reasonable facsimile of the beer me and my dad used to brew, the quants I quote are approximate only I am open to advice
thanks
Jim
 

JFC999

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Welcome Jim

I've just started my first brew in 30+ years, so I'm by no means en expert, and can't provide a remotely technical response.

However, I would say give it a go!
There's every chance it will rekindle long lost aromas and happy memories, which are things you can't quantify. It would be interesting to keep a couple of bottles back to compare with a more conventional brew, then you will have your answer.

I'd be interested to know what you put on your Sunday roast!

Happy brewing

Chris
Merkin , thanks for your reply , you have got the whole essence of my project in a paragraph !
my dad has been dead along time now and “lost aromas and happy memories ” are the aim .
watch this space
thanks
Jim
 

JFC999

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Welcome Jim

I've just started my first brew in 30+ years, so I'm by no means en expert, and can't provide a remotely technical response.

However, I would say give it a go!
There's every chance it will rekindle long lost aromas and happy memories, which are things you can't quantify. It would be interesting to keep a couple of bottles back to compare with a more conventional brew, then you will have your answer.

I'd be interested to know what you put on your Sunday roast!

Happy brewing

Chris
On todays joint it was merlot , brisket v nice
 

GerritT

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1 or 2 kilos of inverted sugar would turn the colour into the right direction, but it's a bit.. much.
Bakers yeast is good for mead, so spend £2 on notty.
I'd drink the results of this brew! :d

But no more than 2 pints a week
😢
 

Merkin

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Merkin , thanks for your reply , you have got the whole essence of my project in a paragraph !
my dad has been dead along time now and “lost aromas and happy memories ” are the aim .
watch this space
thanks
Jim
Jim

It's quite amazing what memories a long forgotten smell can evoke.
I shall never forget the unique smell of the Guinness brewery in Dublin when I visited aged 11, when I should have been far too young to appreciate this brewing business.
Maybe that's what got me started!

Cheers

Chris
 

JFC999

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It wasn't the volume conversion that made me flinch, it was the suggestion to make a full batch. Far better to make up a half batch, as you mentioned above, and then only have to be half fed up when you debate whether you should be chucking it down the sink or not, if you have made it up using authentic 'heritage' ingredients.
When I started it was Boots to get your gear or very little else, although when I visited Burton later on I found a stall in the market place that sold homebrew gear including Ritchie products from the town who had only just started up. My LME came in big tubs, and I bought 14 lb perhaps 28lb at a time, and used it when I needed it, with no special storage in mind. But whole hops came in a perforated plastic bag probably 4 oz at a time, either Fuggles or Goldings. You had no idea how old they were, and grain was the same. And although one of my Uncles used bread yeast and started brewing before the Maudling budget of 1963, I think my yeast came from Boots apart from when I first started in Sheffield and our group used to get supplied from Tennants brewery. My first FV as I have said before was an orange plastic dustbin which lasted many years, scratches and all.
I was enthusiastic though, I even got offered a job as graduate brewer with Charringtons down the Mile End Road (remember them?), but the money was crap as I was restarting my career, so I declined.
But kits came later and they were appalling even against my stuff, and when I had to resort to kits because life had changed I tried a few and decided I'd had enough of homebrewing. And all the wisdom imparted from Ken Shales, David Lines and CJJ Berry came to nought
Anyway all this goes to demonstrate how brewing your own beer has moved on. Scores of hops to choose from all round the world, online water treatment calculators, multiple grain choices, specialist brewing equipment, premium beer kits, folks making brew fridges etc etc.
So do have a go at the half batch, and lets have some feedback. Failing that get hold of a Geordie 1.5kg bitter kit, a throw back to the 1970s, and make that up with 2kg sugar.
And your mortgage at 13% was a good deal, I remember paying 15% at one time.
Those were the days, or not.
Terrym , interesting , as you said in the 60,s it was Boots or nothing, so what variety of hops do you suppose they sold ? I want authenticity to a degree but not too pedantic.
jim
 

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