Old Bill = Dave Line - Brewing beers like those you buy

Discussion in 'General Recipe Discussion' started by timw, Dec 14, 2013.

Help Support The Homebrew Forum UK by donating:

  1. Dec 14, 2013 #1

    timw

    timw

    timw

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    Evening all

    my dad used to brew using the brew-in-a-bag technique whereas I am using a coolbox mashtun.
    I've got all his old recipe books which includes 'Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy' by Dave Line. As I type this, I don't actually have a copy of the book as its back at my parents, which is where I do m brewing on the occasional visit.

    Anyway. It's quite old and tatty but a recipe for a beer called 'Old Bill' - a strong old ale I believe. It's the one he used to have the most success with and which he and a few other family members want me to have a go at next.

    I remember that a lot of the recipes involve using quite a few sugar additions - brown or demerara - is that still practised now or was that something done at as perhaps extraction rates were not so good?

    Anyway - can I simply use the same recipes that are in that book and use them with my equipment, even though I don't BIAB?

    Anyone ever made Old Bill or know what I;m going on about.... I should have waited until I had the book to hand and I can put the recipe stated up on the forum for thoughts.... next time.
     
  2. Dec 14, 2013 #2

    RobWalker

    RobWalker

    RobWalker

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2011
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    brown sugar is fine, but no more than about 500g tops for a dark ale. it imparts a molasses type flavour.

    you should be fine to reuse the recipe! just input it into beersmith/brewmate and adjust to what you want - alpha acids of hops are better understood now, so you should be able to balance it a little.

    good luck! let us know how you get on :)
     
  3. Dec 14, 2013 #3

    cab01942

    cab01942

    cab01942

    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2013
    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    1
    Try not to be influenced too much by others including authors on the topic. Be guided instead, keep an open mind and conduct your own experiments then judge the outcomes yourself. One man's meat is another's poison so the saying rightly goes. Obviously you have been reading articles somewhere in order to be expressing concern about sugar in a recipe. Suffice to say that if you read a little wider you will find all manner of ingredients added to be beer. Much has to do with geographical location; and you won't find many using sweet potatoes in their brews given the price of them here in England, but they are used where they are abundant just as corn and other foodstuffs are elsewhere. Since you are curious my suggestion is that since it is a recipe, follow it as is. Having consumed the result some time later decide what, if anything, you don't like about it and start to make adjustments to the next batch.

    In Dave's Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy I concluded that his supply of hops was incredibly poor or his taste buds were flawed. The recipes came out as expected when the hop rates were halved! As has already been stated, better control can be exercised these days with modern food (brewing) science; and when I started out my local supplier stocked just 4 varieties of hops; Fuggles, Goldings, Saaz and Hallertauer.

    The goal of the individual brewer is of paramount importance and one size does not fit all. For example certain 'experts' feel beer should always be naturally carbonated as it has been for centuries, yet they are happy to have modern cross-bred hop varieties in those same beers; and their alpha acid contents scientifically measured. It appears to be a case of having your cake and eating it in home brewing these days. Follow the recipe and then change it to meet your exact needs would be my tuppence worth. People brew for economy, ease of production, quality of finished product, according to their living space, to get drunk as quickly as possible etcetera. And I am not suggesting that this list is exhaustive nor any of the reasons exclusive.

    For the record I have brewed grain beers with a 25% sugar content without any detriment. The resulting beers ended up close to what I intended them to be like. As long as you are aware of what such additions are likely to do to the finished beer it is a case of anything goes. So let's say you add too much wheat because you don't understand the chemistry very well. You end up with a beer that's a bit murky and doesn't taste the way intended, it's a learning curve. You can get all the expert opinion and authoritative scholarly articles you want about growing potatoes, but until you pick up a spade and dig the soil...

    enjoy your brewing - even when things go awry a little
     
    RichardM likes this.
  4. Dec 15, 2013 #4

    timw

    timw

    timw

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    There's some good advice in there - both practical, and philosophical! :thumb:

    With only 2 AGs under my belt - the first of which was not a success due to some bad flavours, I've finally got all my kit together - including a way of fermenting at a steady temp which I didn't have the first time round - and want to get some successful brews done first, following recipes. Then its time to start to get creative and vary things a littl, building on the experience. I've been keeping notes so I can go back and see what impact my changes are having.

    Thanks
     
  5. Dec 15, 2013 #5

    timw

    timw

    timw

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    3
    From memory, when my dad last brewed it in his potting shed, it was a very dark, sweet and malty brew with bugger all carbonation, just enough to liven it up. He used to condition it in demijohns (frowned upon I know, but I don't think he ever lost one but that was probably because he wasn't priming it heavily), and this meant that it was an eight-pint session every time! There were rare treats when I was allowed to join him and a motley collection of his mates out in the potting shed to enjoy a sly pint whilst my mum was out! :party:
     
    RichardM likes this.
  6. Dec 15, 2013 #6

    joker

    joker

    joker

    Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2013
    Messages:
    48
    Likes Received:
    4
    hook norton, old bill dark ale. as suggested above I'd stick to the original recipe initially and take it from there. also i'd add the sugar towards the end of the boil and skip the saccharin tablets. looks a tasty brew, hope you'll report back on how it goes.
     
  7. Feb 24, 2019 #7

    Crooked Ship

    Crooked Ship

    Crooked Ship

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2019
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ive just brewed two versions of this, the first using Northern Brewer hops, mashed at 66 centigrade and fermented primary for 6 days and kegged after 10 days. 1 month later I can say its wonderful. A very tasy beer. I scaled up to 110 litres but lost about 10 litres due to clogged pump. Came out at 5.2% medium/full body. I use a little carbonation in the keg to push it through to the glass.
    The second version is using Brambling cross as in the origional recipie, I await the outcome. But a great beer, do it!
     
  8. Feb 24, 2019 #8

    DixeySJ

    DixeySJ

    DixeySJ

    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2017
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    NULL
    I've had this book for years - not tried anything yet but only just started with AG brewing. He seems to use a lot of sugar compared to some (comments on this above have been noted!)? and I'm not at all sure I want sweeteners in my beer! I might try his Abbot Ale some time ...
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
  9. Feb 24, 2019 #9

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    296
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    I love this forum just for this. I haven't looked at Dave Line since I was struggling to grow a beard, but must admit I learnt a load from his "Big Book of Brewing". Just dug out my "Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy" to find out what Old Bill was. It seems it's Old Hooky, but a bit stronger. See this: https://www.experienceoxfordshire.org/celebrating-old-new/
    Looked on line for a more up date recipe, there are a few, most based on Graham Wheeler. A sense of disappointment in some of the comments. More research needed- including a bottle or two so that I'd know what it;s supposed to taste like. Certainly not going for brown sugar and saccharine tablets, though.
     
  10. Feb 24, 2019 #10

    jjsh

    jjsh

    jjsh

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,421
    Likes Received:
    532
    Location:
    East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
    Freakishly, I have just taken delivery of Dave Lines Brewing Beers LTYB. My thoughts on the brown sugar were that maybe #3 Brewer's invert would be a good substitute. Popping a recipe into Brewer's Friend also suggests cutting the hops drastically; I suspect the hops available to home brewer's in the 70's were of pretty poor quality.

    With that in mind, I'm going to try a modified version of his Newcastle Brown soon to see if I can recreate one of the beers from my youth!

    Tragic that he died so young.
     
  11. Feb 24, 2019 #11

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    296
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    Amen to that, and Dave Line was a pioneer. But home brewing (and indeed brewing) has moved on since those heady days. It's like science moving on from alchemy and I'm sure he produced some good stuff from indifferent materials.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
  12. Feb 25, 2019 #12

    BridgeBrew

    BridgeBrew

    BridgeBrew

    Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2017
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    NULL
    Got this book from my late dad in about 1988, followed some of the recipe's they were OK ish. Did an extract brew from one of Line, or Berry's book's cant remember now, it was a fullers london pride clone, and from what i can remember it was pretty good.
     
  13. Feb 25, 2019 #13

    terrym

    terrym

    terrym

    Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2015
    Messages:
    4,502
    Likes Received:
    2,261
    Location:
    North Sussex
    You certainly wouldn't want waste your time and effort and materials recreating the Newcastle Brown currently on sale. Awful stuff. I had one recently, and can honestly say its the worst beer I've had in years.
     
  14. Feb 25, 2019 #14

    jjsh

    jjsh

    jjsh

    Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    1,421
    Likes Received:
    532
    Location:
    East Lindsey, Lincolnshire
    Totally agree, had one about a year a go and couldn't believe a) how much it had changed and b) how absolutely terrible it was.
     
  15. Feb 26, 2019 #15

    peebee

    peebee

    peebee

    Out of Control

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2013
    Messages:
    1,315
    Likes Received:
    498
    Location:
    North Wales
    They certainly were! But I remember following the Dave Line recipes and even back then I wasn't making drinkable beer until I learnt to cut the amount of hops by a half or even a quarter.
     
  16. Feb 26, 2019 #16

    entertheflagon

    entertheflagon

    entertheflagon

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2018
    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    40
    Well worth a read is dave Lines' 'The big book of Brewing'
     
    An Ankoù likes this.
  17. Mar 4, 2019 #17

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    An Ankoù

    Landlord.

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2019
    Messages:
    790
    Likes Received:
    296
    Location:
    Brittany, France
    Just had a reply from Mark Graham of Hook Norton Brewery:
    Hi Mike,

    Old Bill was the original name for what is now Old Hooky. Adnams had a beer called Old Bill and objected to us using it so it was changed to Old Hooky
    It's not done to badly since, being one of our core beers and picking up a few awards along the way.
    https://www.hooky.co.uk/product/old-hooky-abv-4-6/

    All the best,

    Mark

    I don't think Old Hooky is as stong as Dave Line describes, though. I do have pleasant if distant memories of the last bottle I had, on the other hand.
     

Share This Page