Victorian Porter

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peebee

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... Mild wasn't cheaper than Porter in the Victorian period. The cheapest - X Ale - was the same price, 36 shillings for 36 imperial gallons. XX, XXX and XXXX Ale were more expensive.
I've just noticed this. According to Ron Pattinson (but what would he know, eh ...) "beer" (which would cover "porter") was sold in 36 gallon barrels whereas "ale" was sold in 32 gallon barrels, which makes all ale more expensive! Which is what I said! Err ... I said ... damn!
 

matt76

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Something I'm struggling with picking out an 1821 porter to brew is:

From Ron Pattinson's book "The Homebrewers Guide to Vintage Beer" (Pg.43):


View attachment 45227

And his book "Porter! Mega Book Series" (also his Blog site "barclayperkins.blogspot.com"):

View attachment 45230
View attachment 45231

2.83% and 0.71-0.99% Black Malt. They can't both be right! I'm looking to use the minimum black malt I can get away with, but retain a hint of historical accuracy.
I'm going out on a limb here, but I suppose you could always ask @patto1ro what he thinks? ๐Ÿ˜

I think you're chasing your tail by looking at percentages. Look at the first recipe, it's a nice round 12lb base malt and 0.4lb black malt (=2.8%).

(Gah! Stoopid Imperial measures!๐Ÿ˜ก)

I'll betcha your 0.7%ish black malt is actually a nice round 0.1lb.

I'd say go with something in the 1-2% range that works out a nice round number in g, Oz, lb or whatever you like. You might also look for something that gives you the right colour. I'd have thought 19-20SRM is about right, but I suspect the Victorians weren't big on the SRM scale! ๐Ÿ˜‚

In other news, I'm looking forward to a first tasting of my latest non-Victorian London-ish Porter tomorrow night :beer1: The next batch I do in the not too distant future, I'm gonna bottle half and then age the other half with some b.claussenii - also not Victorian either (bulk aging maybe pre-dates the Victorian era?) but I'm curious and it'll be fun nonetheless ๐Ÿ‘
 

peebee

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I'm going out on a limb here, ...
I think you might be on too something there! It's the book that's the issue, not just the "Vintage Beer" book, but Durden Park Beer Circle's book is equally perplexing (figure not adding up when cross-referenced).

The books designed for homebrew amounts are taking the brewery sized numbers and scaling them down to homebrew sized amounts; which are tiny fractions of the original brew length, probably converting and rounding to metric measurements along the way and then calculating percentages on that. Close enough for the larger ingredients (like pale malt), but somewhat distorted when dealing with minor ingredients (like black malt). Many modern sources have black malt at about 1-2% early in 19th century, so "2.8% black malt" is probably nonsense. It's much worse for the Durden Park Beer Circle's recipes which are described in 1 gallon lengths.

E.g. The ubiquitous "1850 Whitbread London Porter" recipe (Durden Park Beer Circle) has 5.4% black malt. Nowhere in Ron Pattinson's "Porter" book can I find more than 3.3% in an 1850 Whitbread Porter.

So for 1821 Barclay Perkin's TT (porter) I'll stick to the "Porter!" book sizes (the percentages are calculated on full-size batch lengths, so should be good) of 0.71-0.99% Black Malt.

Thanks! athumb..
 

peebee

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... In other news, I'm looking forward to a first tasting of my latest non-Victorian London-ish Porter tomorrow night :beer1: The next batch I do in the not too distant future, I'm gonna bottle half and then age the other half with some b.claussenii - also not Victorian either (bulk aging maybe pre-dates the Victorian era?) but I'm curious and it'll be fun nonetheless ๐Ÿ‘
It wasn't bulk aging that never made it to Victorian times, it was blending in the glass. Or at least that's how I've read it. Bulk aging was still going on until mid-Victorian times, but aged porter was blended with "mild" porter in the barrel at the brewery (seemingly about 1/3 aged, or "stale", with about 2/3 un-aged, or "mild"). In the latter Victorian times it all became "mild" although that might of still meant 4-6 months in barrels? Porter was then competing with "Mild" and unaged ("mild") X-ales*.

*I'm already trying to imprint my version of history by using this distinction! An aged ("stale") X-ale probably wouldn't make it (it goes off) so more likely XXX and XXXX ales appear aged, or "Old Ales". Yeah, and that's me trying to shore up my version of history too!

Hope you enjoy your "London-ish Porter"! My patience would have probably cracked last-night, never mind waiting 'til tonight.
 

peebee

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In the background ... I'm still cracking on with this Victorian Porter. Trying to get a palatable recipe that more closely resembles the historic porters. Easing up on the black malt, eliminating excessive use of "modern" brown malt, and getting the luscious Chevallier barley pale malt in place.

I notice my last post here mentions porter was losing ground to "Mild". Thanks to @patto1ro that's better sorted now simply by figuring there is no such thing as "Mild" (when talking proper like), it's "mild" Ale. A lot of the anomalies disappear when you get the name right! But I'm not getting off subject; here's an interesting Irish recipe for a Victorian era Porter from @Edd The Brew: BEAMISH & CRAWFORD : RUNNING PORTER SEPTEMBER 1851

This recipe is for a beer (porter), but it looks suspiciously like an "Ale" (IBUs of only 24 for a starter). I'll have to find out what's going on there (... Eddddd! Help!).

Meanwhile here's a pretty piccie of how I "emulate" historical brown malt. It's not perfect, but 100x better than using "modern" brown malt as a replacement (I got sucked into that damn fool idea sick... , hence I came up with this):

Brown Malt 2.jpg


I'll explain the construction later. Basically, it's using a "distribution curve with positive skew" to determine the proportions of "modern" malts to use in the emulation. Notice it does use modern brown malt, but less than 20%.

<EDIT: Oh aye, my emulated brown malt is diastatic.>
 
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matt76

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@peebee have I understood correctly from that chart that your emulated brown malt is actually a blend of several malts, in some proportion of other, to mimic the effect and characteristics of historic and diastatic brown malt?

For my own part, my non-historic non-Victorian London-ish Porter is all fermented out in primary and now in secondary with a dose of WLP645 brettanomyces claussenii where it may or may not currently be doing something. Plan is to leave it there for some months and see what happens ๐Ÿ‘
 

peebee

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@peebee have I understood correctly from that chart that your emulated brown malt is actually a blend of several malts, in some proportion of other, to mimic the effect and characteristics of historic and diastatic brown malt?

For my own part, my non-historic non-Victorian London-ish Porter is all fermented out in primary and now in secondary with a dose of WLP645 brettanomyces claussenii where it may or may not currently be doing something. Plan is to leave it there for some months and see what happens ๐Ÿ‘
That's right. The "distribution curve with positive skew" sort of estimates the range and proportions of malt you might get heating a thickness of grain directly with flame. A "modern" rotating cylinder kiln will control the temperature of the grains fairly closely and a similar graph would have a malt appear as a "spike". Note it's all done by conjecture, but as in reality there's no exact science involved, conjecture should be great.

I'm using Munich malt (and crystal) because fairly damp grain is kilned when making Munich, like when making "brown malt", so it seemed a better choice than Amber (Biscuit, etc.). There are more shades to choose from at the lower EBC colours hence I squeeze up the "bins" (width of overlaid "bars" in histogram graph). The area under graph line represent quantity, but no need for value because I'm only extracting relative amounts (percentages).

The "peak" of the graph (A) can be altered back and forth: At the moment it's about 20EBC which is about as dark as it gets to keep most enzymes viable. The "belly" of the graph (B) will adjust the proportions of malt; it is set fairly low presently which gives higher enzyme activity compared to amount of darker malts. Squeeze "B" some more and you end up emulating historic Amber malts. I set 600EBC as the darkest colour in the emulation (emulating Amber malt may set the limit to 150EBC).



What I like from the thinking gone into this "creation" is that it doesn't support the mysticism some believe must exist to make brown malt diastatic. Brown malt is the result of trying to make pale malt on the cheap, not mysticism!

There's room for improvements, such as short steeps and bursts of heat to "pop" the grains ("blown malt"). But first I want to try making the stuff properly to provide a valid goal to aim for. Short bursts of heat also creates fresh toasted flavours, something @Cwrw666 raves about making Amber malt to Durden Park Beer Circle's instructions.
 

peebee

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Another idea I extracted making up this emulated brown malt: Many published brewery records of Porters during the Victorian era (assembled by Ron Pattinson in particular) show dramatic jumps in brown malt quantities. I like to think this is possibly due to messing about with new fangled brown malt (from "modern" rotating cylinder kilns brought in for black malt in 1817). The brewers would surely realise they can get away with using much less "modern" brown malt than "traditional" brown malt for flavour?

But "modern" brown malt would contain none of the "stewed" elements (such as present in modern crystal malts). Crystal malts would be developed during Victorian times, but they wont make it into porter grists for quite a while. Could this also be the reason for the migration of porter drinkers to "mild" Ales? Plus, did everyone get on with the use of black malt to colour porter (I don't! Black malt added to make up for the lack of colour in the more economical pale malt)? I can't have access to the historical records that may prove one or the other, meanwhile I'll believe what I will.
 

peebee

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The "Craft Beer" brigade will be loving me! Here I am trying to emulate boring historic boring Porter, boring, boring, and using groovy Munich Malts ๐Ÿฅณ. And if I said Crisp "Mild Ale" malt is actually their "Vienna Malt" things just get better! Perhaps I should suggest "Special B" in place of the crystal malts I've specified, and hopping with "Citraยฎ" hops?

Don't worry. I've not received an emergency Lobotomy, and I won't be making any such suggestions! I remain truly and declaredly ... boring.
 

matt76

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@peebee I get that your"brown malt" is actually a composite of various different malts.

But could you just recap and outline the complete grist you propose to use? I.e. anything else apart from your brown malt?

Perhaps I should suggest "Special B" in place of the crystal malts I've specified
I actually do use some Special-B in my latest porter! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
 

peebee

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I'm just putting it together, few thing like hops to work out. The recipe will be based on one Ron Pattinson dug out: 31/10/1834 Whitbread Porter: Still thin on black malt (1.75%) but also a bit thin on (assumingly traditionally kilned) brown malt (12.46%). 1834 allows time for Chevallier barley to be more widespread (I intend to use Chevallier which was in use by 1820). That period also has "keeping" porters which would be mixed with "running" porters before they left the brewery; I think it's a "running" porter I'm looking at (hop rates not sky-high) but I'll be maturing it for 3-4 months rather than mixing with "keeping" which I haven't got.

And then I might choose something else! It's all horribly complicated but I feel I need to make some effort to get the authenticity right (ish).

I'm also considering "darkening" the brown malt emulation 'cos the recipe uses so little. Which will be a good demonstration of how my contrived formula can be tweaked, and also a good demonstration of how, try as I might, the final porter will still be a guess compared to the original.

And of course, I might choose something else!

Brown Malt 2b.jpg

(Note darkening the emulated malt this much leaves the only malt known to have spare enzyme activity - mild ale malt - to convert 2.5x its weight of non-diastatic coloured malt. The Munich malts will self-convert, the crystal malts don't need converting. Only an issue if using the emulated malt at 100%).
 

matt76

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@peebee Okay, I think I've got you now...

Basically we're saying (roughly!):
12.5% Peebee's Diastatic Brown Malt
2% Black Malt
85.5% Chevallier Malt

Right?

By coincidence, 12.5% is the amount of modern brown malt I've used in my last couple of batches of porter (along with equal amounts of dark crystal and chocolate rye malts).

In my 10L batches that 12.5% translates to 375g.

Looking at the proportions in your composite brown malt, that means for example 37.5g Mild Ale Malt, about 100g of each Munich and 7.5g chocolate malt.

I think what I'm saying is I like your idea on paper, but I'm just wondering wouldn't some of these smaller quantities get lost in the noise? I wonder if the most significant thing is actually your choice of base malt?

I'm not totally convinced. But that doesn't mean I couldn't be persuaded to try and do something like this myself just to see what happens! ๐Ÿ˜

I will also reiterate - I'm absolutely not knocking what you're doing here, I think the thought you're putting into it is commendable ๐Ÿ‘

Final point on the "Victorian" Porter idea - I couldn't help checking some of the dates of accession of British monarchs ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜
Victoria - 1837
William IV - 1830
George IV - 1820 (ruled as Regent from 1811 after George III went a bit bonkers!)
 

peebee

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Final point on the "Victorian" Porter idea - I couldn't help checking some of the dates of accession of British monarchs ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜œ๐Ÿ˜
Victoria - 1837
William IV - 1830
George IV - 1820 (ruled as Regent from 1811 after George III went a bit bonkers!)
Oh aye, I'm getting a bit carried away with those "black malt" and "Chevallier barley" dates! Okay, recipe will change ...
 

matt76

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Oh aye, I'm getting a bit carried away with those "black malt" and "Chevallier barley" dates! Okay, recipe will change ...
I think it would be far simpler to keep the recipe the same and just say it's a Georgian (III or IV, take your pick) Porter ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘

(Personally I'd be thinking of a Blackadder III inspired name ๐Ÿ˜)
 

Edd The Brew

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" matt76, post: 1038547, member: 21978"]
I think it would be far simpler to keep the recipe the same and just say it's a Georgian (III or IV, take your pick) Porter ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘
(Personally I'd be thinking of a Blackadder III inspired name ๐Ÿ˜)"

Ummmm๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

#ThisOneGoesAllTheWayUpToSix ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿคฃ
 

JeffDragon7

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Well, what did you expect! I've done Victorian Bitter, Victorian Mild, and now ....

This is actually hastily summarised from my ramblings om "Jim's" forum, but I wasn't going to miss the opportunity of possibly being scrutinised by @patto1ro if he's still nosing in on this forum (but I've already made the mistake of thinking he was a one-day fleeting visit). But even without his input, I think there's plenty of folk here that can make useful additions.

Note, this is Victorian Porter and any mention of chocolate, coffee, BJCP "styles" and the like will be quickly flamed. If @patto1ro mentions them, I'll grudgingly listen ... and then I'll flame him!

Porter had just gone through big changes entering the Victorian era. makeups with the traditional 100% "Brown" malt was being replaced with large additions of the more economical (from an extract point-of-view) pale malt. The inevitable dilution of colour was initially countered by various (occasionally poisonous!) colouring compounds, until they were made illegal in 1816. In 1817 a legal colouring compound made from malt ("patent" black malt) was introduced along with the contraption to make it (rotating drum kilns). The rotating drum kilns went on to churn out other malt forms, some of which influenced porter.

The important thing to remember, is rotating drum kilns didn't replace the previous direct fire heated kilns. And the direct fire heated kilns weren't primitive affairs, they'd got quite sophisticated and continued to be in use for another 100 years or so. And I don't like suggestions that traditional brown malt had to be made very carefully to keep it diastatic; it was making pale malt on the cheap (i.e. quick and carelessly) that resulted in it being a bit "brown"!

But this is where easy access history fails me. How long and widespread was traditionally kilned brown malt used for? How was the black malt used - there's suggestions it wasn't even added to the mash, but to the boiler? And what caused the jump in usage of black malt from the 1-2% early in the Victorian era to the 5-10% by 1850?

I started this line of thinking because I'd made the ubiquitous Durden Park Beer Circle 1850 "Worthington London Porter" and was disappointed with it's lack of "lushness" (and slight "charcoal" flavour, which I don't care for) compared to an earlier attempt to make 18th century (1700's) porter (using a contrived recreation of traditional brown malt). I used modern brown malt and black malt in the mash for the "Worthington London Porter" recipe, both of which are possibly mistakes?

Then I came across this which suggested an alternative approach: T & G GREENALL PORTER 1862

I had to look at other sources for earlier recipes: Ron Pattinson's work, in particular his book "The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer". Ron's recipes for Barclay Perkin's TT (Porter) 1804 and 1821 nicely bracketed the period of change from relying on traditional brown malt (and toxic chemicals!) for colour to using patent black malt.

There's a way to make Porter that's not just historically more accurate, but a much better drink too.
Am I right in thinking that originally there was no stout, and that itโ€™s a corruption of stout Porter as Porter came in different grades for the want of a better word. As in light Porter and stout Porter, then later stout Porter was shortened to stout
 

peebee

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I think it would be far simpler to keep the recipe the same and just say it's a Georgian (III or IV, take your pick) Porter ๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ‘

(Personally I'd be thinking of a Blackadder III inspired name ๐Ÿ˜)
Preposterous! This is a "Victorian" thread. We'll have none of those Georgie Porgies or orange Williams (crikey, that sounds like a Donald Trump) around here.

I can still squeeze in a Victorian porter with under 3% black malt (and decent levels of brown malt too). Working on it ...


... I actually do use some Special-B in my latest porter! ๐Ÿคฃ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
... By coincidence, 12.5% is the amount of modern brown malt I've used in my last couple of batches of porter (along with equal amounts of dark crystal and chocolate rye malts).

In my 10L batches that 12.5% translates to 375g. ...
You're actually doing something very similar to me, but without wasting the volumes of brain-power like I'm doing. I bet if you "reverse engineered" your recipe to fit my methodology you'd find an approximate match. A lot more "emulated brown malt" than I'm using, but I'm trying to match specific historical recipes and they did cut back rather severely on the brown malt. I think the important bit is you combine your "modern" brown malt with crystal malt (and if that happens to be "Special B", so be it).

Way back (five years or more) when I first started messing with brown malt emulations and "Porter" there was someone bandying about a historical "brown malt" emulation just using pale malt and "Special B" (20 or 25% of the latter). I never went down that road, but it perhaps kicked off the emulations I did use?
 

matt76

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Am I right in thinking that originally there was no stout, and that itโ€™s a corruption of stout Porter as Porter came in different grades for the want of a better word. As in light Porter and stout Porter, then later stout Porter was shortened to stout
Pretty much, yes.

If you're interested in the history it's worth checking out the ramblings of Martyn Cornell ("Amber, Gold & Black" is with a read) and Ron Pattinson (@patto1ro on here) (this article for example).

Stout simply means strong. So as well as stout porter I believe stout pale ale was also a thing.

Once you get into it you'll see that at some point in history there was "mild" (= young) and "stale" (= old or aged) porter.

Also worth a listen is the "Brew Strong" podcast 10th Feb 2021 where Martyn Cornell take about the history of porter ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป
 

peebee

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Am I right in thinking that originally there was no stout, and that itโ€™s a corruption of stout Porter as Porter came in different grades for the want of a better word. As in light Porter and stout Porter, then later stout Porter was shortened to stout
There was always "stout", as long as there was a beer that could be "stout" (strong). So "yes". The Victorian porter recipes I'm messing with are often accompanied with "stout" recipes. The recipes were very similar (pale, brown and black malts) and I was considering using stout recipes in place of porter: Because, they had larger proportions of brown malt and smaller amounts of black.

But latter was a sham, they were using a lower proportion (percentage) of black malt but in a larger grain bill (for a stronger, or stout, porter) so the amounts were about the same. The black malt was originally just a colourant so if Xlbs of black malt coloured a porter batch, the same Xlbs of black malt coloured the stout (didn't require more).

The extra brown malt no doubt increased the flavour ("stout" not just in strength but flavour too). It appears they loaded in the hops a bit more too. Don't believe the modern day twaddle that stout was in any other way different (different ingredients, etc.). When "roast barley" became available it was used in porter and stout not one or the other as some are suggesting.
 

JeffDragon7

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There was always "stout", as long as there was a beer that could be "stout" (strong). So "yes". The Victorian porter recipes I'm messing with are often accompanied with "stout" recipes. The recipes were very similar (pale, brown and black malts) and I was considering using stout recipes in place of porter: Because, they had larger proportions of brown malt and smaller amounts of black.

But latter was a sham, they were using a lower proportion (percentage) of black malt but in a larger grain bill (for a stronger, or stout, porter) so the amounts were about the same. The black malt was originally just a colourant so if Xlbs of black malt coloured a porter batch, the same Xlbs of black malt coloured the stout (didn't require more).

The extra brown malt no doubt increased the flavour ("stout" not just in strength but flavour too). It appears they loaded in the hops a bit more too. Don't believe the modern day twaddle that stout was in any other way different (different ingredients, etc.). When "roast barley" became available it was used in porter and stout not one or the other as some are suggesting.
Thanks for the info PeeBee, itโ€™s interesting to know the history of beer
 
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