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

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

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  1. Dec 14, 2013 #1

    timw

    timw

    timw

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    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

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    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

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    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
     
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  4. Dec 15, 2013 #4

    timw

    timw

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    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

    hairybiker

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    You have to remember that back in the 70/80's the hops we had available to us homebrewers were old and yellowed. Not crisp and green like todays. They were kept on shelves in direct sunshine most of the time. :nah:
    It is no wonder that the hops has little AA left in them. I still like DL's book but not brewed OB before.
     
  6. Dec 15, 2013 #6

    timw

    timw

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    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:
     
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  7. Dec 15, 2013 #7

    joker

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    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.
     

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