Monday, January 28, 2013

International Homebrew Project Recipe

Ten days ago I posted my annual poll to decide what would be the International Homebrew Project beer for this year. In previous years we have brewed an American Pale Ale, a Milk Stout and a 19th Century Scottish Mild, this year I decided to return to brewing history and brew an iteration of the Burton Ale style.

As I discussed in a couple of posts, heavily informed by Martyn and Ron, Burton was a style that went through many changes between the 1820s and its eventual demise in the 1960s. For some, the apogee of Burton Ale came in the late 19th Century when it was a pale beer with a healthy dose of hops.

In the end, the poll result wasn't even close. The winner was the beer I described as '1870s English, from Burton', which in the real world was a beer by Truman called No. 4. If you know your beer history you will know that Truman was a brewery from the East End of London, they occupied the Black Eagle Brewery near Brick Lane in the Spitalfields area, and were renowned for their porter. In 1873 they purchased the Phillips Brewery in Burton upon Trent, which is where the No. 4 was brewed. At this time, Truman was the largest brewing company in the world, but it was eventually bought by Grand Metropolitan, which was itself bought by Diageo, though the Truman's brand ended up at Scottish and Newcastle. As a footnote to the story, Truman closed down in 1989, but in 2010 the brand was purchased from Scottish and Newcastle and spring of this year will see a new Truman's brewery in the East End of London, I believe their beers are currently brewed at Everards in Leicester.

So, to the recipe itself, which has been provided by Ron Pattison and dates from 1877. The vital statistics are:
  • O.G. - 1.079 (19° Plato)
  • F.G. - 1.024 (6° Plato)
  • ABV - 7.3%
  • SRM - 6 (Gold to Copper)
  • IBU - 125
The recipe is simplicity itself:
  • 100% Pale malt
  • 83 IBU of Cluster for 90 minutes
  • 42 IBU of Kent Goldings for 30 minutes
  • Wyeast 1028 London Ale/White Labs WLP013 London Ale
Basically, use what pale malt you can get hold of on this one. I am planning to use Maris Otter, though I have played with the the idea of Golden Promise. As you can see, this is a big bastard of a 'hoppy' beer. The hop additions should be the same weight for both additions. I did some research and British brewers can get Cluster online at The Home Brew Shop, for those that can't get Cluster, feel free to substitute with Galena, Eroica or Cascade.

With regards to the process, mash at 152°F, sparge at 170°F and then boil for 90 minutes. Talking about the water aspect, if you know the mineral composition of your water, then make the necessary adjustments to match the water of Burton, otherwise I wouldn't worry too much about it, after all one of the interesting things about the International Homebrew Project is the differences between beers brewed in different places.

Probably the most important ingredient for this recipe is the yeast strain, and being a Burton Ale that was actually brewed in Burton, and after consulting with Ron, I would recommend using either Wyeast 1028 London Ale or White Labs WLP013, both of which are reputed to be the Worthington White Shield strain. When I put the recipe into Beer Calculus it was giving me an ABV of 7.9%, so you might want to under pitch the yeast to under attenuate the beer a little to finish out at 7.3%.

The plan is to brew the beer on the last weekend in February, to give people enough time to source ingredients where necessary. I am looking forward to brewing this monster and hopefully it will come out as tasty as last year's 120/- ale!

For those interested in the other recipes, they were:
Picture credit: I got the picture of the Truman's Brewery and Brick Lane from Pub Diaries.


  1. Not that this makes much of a difference, now, but the American 1904 Amsdell (Albany, NY) recipe was actually Quandt Brewery's (Troy, NY) recipe that Amsdell had borrowed—I'm not sure if it was simply copied, re-created or stolen. Out of the two years of existing logs, it's the only Burton recipe that shows up—it was definitely not in regular rotation at Amsdell. I don't know if you've actually seen it, but I'd be happy to send you a pic of the actual log book.

    1. Can I have a pic of the logbook??

    2. How can I get a copy of the Recipe?

    3. I would also like a picture of the log book if you can.

  2. I actually brew with a former Truman brewer!

  3. Is that high IBU normal? BJCP's 19A. Old Ale says it should be max in 60's. Any historical reason why this has been so high?

    1. While the BJCP serves a purpose (defining styles for competition), it doesn't necessarily reflect styles as they were.

      If you want to read a bit about how brewers used to make their beers, check out Ron Pattinson's blog. He answers these things a lot better than I could.

  4. No dry hops? I think a couple ounces of Kent Goldings for the last week before bottling would be a nice addition; maybe I'd split the batch to see the difference in hopping. Thank you for the recipes!

  5. The way you linked to the recipes that were not picked, do you have a link to this recipe that Ron already did?

  6. A great article. I get my stuff from because they are close to where I live, ande they have a great selection. they also post internationally.



I worked out the other day that each day I was in Prague I walked about 7-8km, which is about 4.5-5 miles in old money. The longest walk tho...