Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Guinness Draught - 1883 Edition

A couple months ago I posted a page featuring links to my favorite recipes for all of the 2015 BJCP styles that I’ve brewed. I was surprised by how many I'd brewed, but it also reminded me that even after 12 years of homebrewing there are plenty of classics that I haven’t, like Irish (Dry) Stout. It seemed a shame to own a stout faucet and not use it to serve the style it was invented for!

Rather than brew something akin to modern Guinness Draught I decided to get weird! I brewed a batch of 1883 Guinness Extra Stout based on a recipe from Ron Pattinson’s fascinating Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer, a sort of distillation of his blog Shut up about Barclay Perkins. My goal was to leave most of the batch at the specified gravity, and dilute a few gallons to create an anachronistic imagining of Guinness Draught as it might have existed in 1883.

The recipe, one of the few in the book not based on actual brewing logs, has a few interesting features. It contains pale malt, but not the other two  grains in the standard Irish Stout formulation. It is from just after the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880, well before Guinness took advantage of the end of adjunct prohibition. As a result it calls for black malt instead of unmalted roasted barley (which they changed to around 1930). It also includes amber malt for a richer flavor than flaked barley (added around 1950). Hop additions follow many 19th century recipes, copious amounts of low alpha acid varieties towards the start of the boil. I made two minor tweaks to the recipe as written, increasing the black malt from 5.56% to 6.9% to prevent the diluted version from being too pale and subbing in Wyeast Irish Ale for Whitbread Ale.

I ran off 5.5 gallons of the resulting 1.075 wort into a fermentor (that portion is bottle-conditioning currently). For the draught-strength I ran off 3 gallons of the chilled wort into a separate fermentor, and diluted it to 1.047 with two gallons of distilled water. That is what is now sitting on beer gas. Guinness didn't start using nitrogen until 1959, so Ron wasn’t a fan of my plan:

This was my first batch using a Halo pH Meter sent by the kind folks at Hanna Instruments. The biggest benefit of this “Beer Analysis” version is that the hardy titanium body can take pH readings directly at mash temperature without cooling a sample! You do need to add .2-.35 to the reading to adjust for the influence of the elevated temperature. That’s about what I found with the Halo reading 5.25 at mash temperature and 5.39 on a chilled sample.

The time-savings of  not chilling samples makes up for the added hassle of  pairing the Halo with my phone. The point of co-dependent smart-devices is to leverage the existing hardware, but the Halo costs more than twice as much as my Milwaukee MW102. The app would be more valuable if there was a need to track pH changes during the mash, but I don't have an easy way to mount the meter and once the pH stabilizes there really isn't a need to track small changes.

I’m interested to see how long the probe/electrode lasts with the exposure to high temperature. It includes an extendable cloth junction that can be pulled out to refresh it. However, Hanna does not sell replacement probes so after the expected 12-18 month lifespan it’ll be another $225 rather than $43 for a replacement probe for my MW102. Might be worth expensing it to Sapwood Cellars, but I imagine not an annual purchase for most homebrewers!

My preference is for a slightly higher mash pH on dark beers, to prevent the roasted malts from tasting acrid. That said, my old friends at Modern Times aim for a slightly lower final pH for batches of Black House destined for nitro to replace the acidity otherwise provided by carbonic acid. When the pH reading came in a bit lower than I wanted I dosed the mash with chalk dissolved in carbonated water (using a carb cap) - the same chemical reactions are behind acid rain eating away at limestone. I first read about this technique on Braukaiser. The issue with adding chalk directly to the mash is that it doesn’t dissolve at typical mash pH like other water salts. While it likely helps buffer the boil and final pH, baking soda or slaked/pickling lime are better choices for direct mash tun additions. However, dissolving chalk is a useful technique if you want to add calcium rather than sodium along with carbonate.

Guinness Draught 1883

Smell – The nitro-pour subdues the aromatics, but what comes through is pretty expected: fresh grainy-roast, some fresh yeasty notes, and a hint of earthy hops.

Appearance – Shows off the classic swirling, cascading bubbles that Guinness features so prominently in their advertising. Settles into a velvety, half-inch off-white head. A pure sheet of lacing trails each sip. Will look even pretty after a few more weeks on tap as nitrogen continues to slowly dissolve and the slight haze hopefully drops out.

Taste – The first sip has really firm bitterness from hops and roast. The bready maltiness picks up, more than in the classic Irish Stouts, but not enough to bring English stouts to mind. As my first glass winds down the bitterness has tamed to a crisp finish. Has a lingering “dirtiness” from the Fuggles I presume.

Mouthfeel – The low carbonation certainly helps to provide some fullness that wouldn’t be there with high carbonation. The texture of the head on each sip helps as well.

Drinkability & Notes – A true summertime stout. Light, smooth roast, and refreshing bitterness like an iced coffee. Easy to pour a second glass.

Changes for Next Time – It’s a rare beer that I don’t have much to change for next time. I might go all EKGs, or at least at the 60 minute addition, to clean and brighten it up a bit.


Batch Size: 5.00 gal
SRM: 23.8
IBU: 43.8
OG: 1.047
FG: 1.014
ABV: 4.3%
Final pH: 4.31
Brewhouse Efficiency: 67%
Boil Time: 120 mins

82.8% - 7.5 lbs Crisp Gleneagles/No. 19 Maris Otter
10.3% - .95 lbs Muntons Amber
6.9% - .625 lbs Simpsons Black Malt

Sacch I - 40 min @ 152F
Sacch II - 20 min @ 160F

1.00 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 90 min
1.00 oz Fuggle (Pellets, 3.57 % AA) @ 60 min
1.00 oz East Kent Golding (Pellets, 4.80% AA) @ 30 min
Scaled all three hop additions to account for the higher utilization assumed for a low gravity beer.

1.4 g Chalk @ mash
0.5 Whirlfloc @ 5 min


Wyeast 1084 Irish Ale

Amounts above scaled to be brewed as a 5 gallon undiluted batch. 

5/6/17 4 L 1.034 starter with 6 week out yeast.

Dissolved 17 g of chalk in 30 oz of filtered water. Chilled and carbonated to get it to dissolve.

pH measured 5.19. Added .3 cup of the resulting saturated liquid to the mash. pH measured 5.25 at mash temperature, 5.39 pH when chilled. Both with Halo.

Chilled to 66F.

Diluted 3 gallons with 2 gallons of distilled to 1.047. Pitched with 1.5 L of starter.

Left at 67 F to get started. Got up to 70F overnight, moved to fridge, slowly brought back to ~67F actual temperature to ferment.

5/19/17 Kegged the diluted half.

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Unknown said...

Sounds Delicious.

Unknown said...

How do you think this would do on cask?

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Should work well, considering the nitro tap system was designed as a more consistent version of cask served through a sparkler. I might back off the bitterness a little as I find warmer temperatures accentuates it.

Unknown said...

Sounds good. Perhaps even Ron would approve of it in cask. I'll have to give it a try, I'm after a stout which isn't either all chocolate malt or new fashioned dry Irish

Anonymous said...

How exactly do you nitro your beer? I know the basics, I am wondering if you place directly on mixed gas or if you slightly carb? Also do you set it at 25psi (ish) and let it sit for a few weeks before serving? It seems like I can never get a really nice dense head, but it could be that I am impatient

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

I started out adding a little CO2. Partial pressure law states the pressure of each gas is equivalent to the percentage of the gas in the blend times the total pressure. So if you are going to serve on 75/25 beer gas at 20 PSI, you could pre-carbonate with 5 PSI of pure CO2. In practice I found this to be more effort than was worthwhile, and easy to overshoot and end up pouring foam.

Now I just set it to ~20 PSI and let it sit for a few weeks. If it isn't cascading nicely by then, I'll up the pressure a little and see if that does it.

Starting with the tropical stout I have sitting in a keg I'm going to try the .5 micron carb stone route, more on that when this beer kicks and I get it carbonated!

Unknown said...

The beer gas I get is 70-30. I set my regulator at 35 psi and give it a few days. Perfect every time.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

How long are your lines? Diameter? Any height differential with the taps? Serving temperature? Serving pressure tends to be a more complex equation than just PSI. If I went that high (5 ft of 3/16" line, not much height, 40F) I'd be pouring straight foam.

Unknown said...

Sorry for the late response, I just came back to this.

My lines are 3/16 inch and 5 feet long. Keg fridge is set around 37 degrees. My tap is about 2 feet above the top of my corny keg. To edit my original post, my regulator is actually set at ~33 psi. Not sure if that matters.

Travis said...

I just brewed up this batch only i swapped the Irish yeast for wyeast 1318. I have to say, this beer is just stellar. My og and fg were the same and i must say, the less than ideally dry body really helps makes this beer feel rich and chocolaty and toasty coffee notes. This is officially my standard stout recipe.

The Mad Fermentationist (Mike) said...

Cheers! Glad the recipe (and that yeast) served you well. The full-strength version is still drinking well, I'll have to rebrew it eventually.