Victorian Bitter

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peebee

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Spratt

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Much earlier! The date I've got is 1906, so very nearly Victorian! The other biggy from back then was Spratt Archer. Spratt was an Irish landrace, and the hybrid was very different to Plumage Archer apparently. The two Archer hybrids stole Chevallier's place and accounted for 80% of UK barley output in 1940s.

Barley trivia here: http://www.livingfield.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/lf_nm_19-04_brltmln_jd_A1c.pdf
I'm glad some-one brought up Spratt Archer.

My family come from a corn merchant/ farming background and the name Spratt Archer was one I heard my father talk about occasionally. When I was looking through the firm's old records from between the wars, Spratt Archer and Plumage Archer were the most common varieties mentioned. By the time I started on the farm it was all Maris Otter which we stopped growing in the early 1980s.

So when I was casting around for a suitable nom de plume before joining this forum, I though Spratt fitted quite nicely (and I could get a decent picture from Google Images pretty easily!)
 

An Ankoù

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I know it's got got nothing to do with Victorian bitter, but since we've drifted onto heritage malts, has anyone tried Hanà? I ordered 5 kilos and I can't find any info on whether it's fully modified or whether I need to do a decoction mash.
 

Sadfield

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I know it's got got nothing to do with Victorian bitter, but since we've drifted onto heritage malts, has anyone tried Hanà? I ordered 5 kilos and I can't find any info on whether it's fully modified or whether I need to do a decoction mash.
I have some, but haven't used it yet. There's a malt analysis sheet available on Malt Miller that has a Soluble Nitrate Ratio of 37.7%. This puts it in a range that is OK for single infusion mashing.

 

Northern_Brewer

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I wouldn't get too excited by Plumage Archer, by all accounts it's not so different from the likes of Otter. Nice, but not "different" like Chevallier is.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Much earlier! The date I've got is 1906, so very nearly Victorian!
But trials take time - neither it or Spratt Archer entered the commercial world until after WWI, but had become dominant by WWII. So for Edwardian recipes you should be using Chevallier, and even into the 1920s for the more traditional breweries.

I've had a commercial lager made with Hana and it's great. But my feeling would be that if you've gone to the trouble of getting the Hana, then it deserves treating "properly" which means decocting.
 

peebee

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But trials take time - neither it or Spratt Archer entered the commercial world until after WWI, but had become dominant by WWII. So for Edwardian recipes you should be using Chevallier, and even into the 1920s for the more traditional breweries. ...
Aye I knew shortly after posting it I'd committed a "chronological error". But, I thought no-one would notice and tell on me. 😖

I do like that info PDF I posted (livingfield.co.uk). It completely ignores Maris Otter! Although does mention both its parents, but I guess MO didn't grow well in Scotland (livingfield.co.uk is Scottish). It also reckons "landrace" selections were limiting genetic variation, the exact opposite to what I was spouting a few posts back. But they're talking about traits to benefit agriculture, and to hell with beer flavour!

It's a shame you think I might be disappointed in Plumage-Archer. I had rather hoped it would be a revelation as Chevallier was. Spratt-Archer can be had (not found it yet), perhaps that will be "different"?
 

peebee

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... It also reckons "landrace" selections were limiting genetic variation, the exact opposite to what I was spouting a few posts back. ...
Oops, I was spouting on a different forum! But I was moaning how all this hybridisation led to the position we have now: Lots of varieties but only subtle differences between them (as far as beer is concerned). And then we get "Chevallier barley" resurrected and get to see what we've missed out on (and our great-grandparents give or take a generation or two ... scrub that, I mean great-grand-dads, there was no "equality" back then and no "free" women in Pubs).
 

Hanglow

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Most malting barley grown in scotland is for whisky, and whisky distillers insist that it is is non-epiheterodendrin (EPH) producing. Maris otter doesn't fall into this so would never be used for whisky. The only winter malting variety that does that I know of is Pipkin
 

An Ankoù

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I wouldn't get too excited by Plumage Archer, by all accounts it's not so different from the likes of Otter. Nice, but not "different" like Chevallier is.
And Chevallier really is different. I'm not to sure I like it on its own- a bit too Horlicks for my palate, but as I've got a sack of it... Maybe it's better for beers which are kept a long time or maybe it's better mixed with a modern malt. Has anybody any thoughts on that? Oh, and it does strip the bitterness out of the hop charge, which made me doubt my weighing.
On a similar note, I was looking through Wheeler, 2001, this morning and his recipes call for the likes of Pipkin and Halcyon, as well as GP and MO. I haven't seen these two one the malt lists for decades. I wonder what's happened to them.
 

peebee

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And Chevallier really is different. I'm not to sure I like it on its own- a bit too Horlicks for my palate, but as I've got a sack of it... Maybe it's better for beers which are kept a long time or maybe it's better mixed with a modern malt. Has anybody any thoughts on that? ...
I like to think you read my posts? Too much time lolling about in all that French sun no doubt.

Joshua Tetley XK Bitter Beer (1868) That one is 50% Chevallier barley, and it is still clearly Chevallier barley malt (rest is Crisp's MO and some Crisp Vienna/mild/table malt - or whatever they call it today), certainly lets the hops through though. Lots of Edd's recipes (Make Mine A Magee's!) use a mix of malts.

... Oh, and it does strip the bitterness out of the hop charge, which made me doubt my weighing. ...
Not so much "strips the bitterness out" as creates beer that handles bitterness*, very like cream masks lots of rough edges in cooking foodie recipes. I'd really like to try the Beamish "running porter" from Edd's site (Make Mine A Magee's!), but at only 24IBU I'm worried that the Chevallier will just sit heavily on any hoppy bitterness.

<EDIT: * I base that on experience. My first trials with Chevallier barley malt was presented to someone who doesn't care for bitterness with the assurance that despite loads of hops it isn't bitter at all. She left me with no doubt that it was bitter!>
 
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An Ankoù

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I like to think you read my posts? Too much time lolling about in all that French sun no doubt.

Joshua Tetley XK Bitter Beer (1868) That one is 50% Chevallier barley, and it is still clearly Chevallier barley malt (rest is Crisp's MO and some Crisp Vienna/mild/table malt - or whatever they call it today), certainly lets the hops through though. Lots of Edd's recipes (Make Mine A Magee's!) use a mix of malts.


S

Not so much "strips the bitterness out" as creates beer that handles bitterness, very like cream masks lots of rough edges in cooking foodie recipes. I'd really like to try the Beamish "running porter" from Edd's site (Make Mine A Magee's!), but at only 24IBU I'm worried that the Chevallier will just sit heavily on any hoppy bitterness.
I have read that post, @peebee and I'm going to try mixing it with Laureate malt (I think they call it Pop's malt) as I recall reading about such a mixture in a recipe on Edd's site. I wondered at the time, how Edd came to this mixture, but, well, I still wonder. Your second paragraph on bitterness is interesting. Cream tends to coat the palate rendering it somewhat impervious to sensation. The best remedy after a forkful of over-enthusiastic chicken phaal, in fact! I like the idea of being able to load more (traditional) hops into a beer without suffering the consequences of over-bittering.
So yes, I follow your words of wisdom closely.
I just had a pint of a Chevallier / EKG SMaSH I bottled in October and it had mellowed nicely. Still sweet- not the cloying sweetness from crystal malt, but sweet nevertheless. I need to experiment more with this malt.
 

peebee

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... I wondered at the time, how Edd came to this mixture, but, well, I still wonder. ...
I too wondered. In fact Edd added a bit to this thread on the subject. After grubbing through his recipes for excessively long periods of time, I'm beginning to see a pattern, but that's for him to describe; in his book perhaps?

I used to get frustrated with Edd's approach. The recipes are obviously presented in a set format based on rules Edd doesn't share with us (presently). So you start accumulating doubts. But right at the other end of the spectrum you get the Durden Park Beer Circle stuff (e.g. Whitbread’s London Porter – Durden Park Beer Club) which is pared right down to the bone (well, back in the early 70s even finding "pale malt" was an achievement, forget what variety it is). And is that better? Clearly not. Exact instructions based on the original documents would induce cerebral short circuit and be entirely unusable.


Hopefully that won't get another "angry face smiley" off Edd again? 😇
 
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peebee

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... Still sweet- not the cloying sweetness from crystal malt, but sweet nevertheless. I need to experiment more with this malt.
Something many people do with Chevallier barley malt is mash at a low temperature (62-63C) to get a more fermentable wort. It's what I do with these "Hochkurz" style mashes. My last "clone" (Tetley's XK) switched Edd's times for the first two mash steps so the bulk of mashing was at the lower temperature (still retains a sweet flavour - it think that's just the character and not that it is sugar sweet). If I make it again I might just rely on the very slow convergence near the set temperatures to start mashing off at 63C-ish, set it to 66-67 and be confident it wont actually reach 66C for an hour or so (unlike a few homebrewers I don't suffer the illusionment that these step-ups happen quickly).

The problem with tinkering with the mash to get desired results, is you could be getting away from from what historically the beers were actually like. How would we know? But we are really making something we enjoy drinking and to hell with strict historical accuracy, let others worry about that. As long as we're not misleading people into thinking our beer is exactly like the historical stuff, there nothing to worry about.
 

peebee

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Most malting barley grown in scotland is for whisky, and whisky distillers insist that it is is non-epiheterodendrin (EPH) producing. Maris otter doesn't fall into this so would never be used for whisky. The only winter malting variety that does that I know of is Pipkin
Err, "non-epiheterodendrin (EPH) producing". That was a bit of a ride! Something about Hydrogen Cyanide along the way. Okay, no Maris Otter grown in Scotland.
 

Hanglow

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I only learned about that from when someone mentioned that Crafty Maltsters were growing different varieties with input from the International Barley Hub which led me down a barley rabbit hole :laugh8:
 

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