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A Few British Recipes


Grandmaster Brewer
Apr 7, 2017
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If you are not familiar with Ron Pattinson he is a beer historian from England now living in Amsterdam who writes daily in his blog, Shut Up About Barclay Perkins. Ron began and still does write about English styles but also explores early American, German, Scottish and Irish beers. He gathers his information from examining old brewery log books... news paper articles and adverts... old technical publications... price guides from the era, etc. The recipes he posts on his blog are not ingredient for ingredient, step by step duplicates of those recipes due to the fact that brewers over 100 years ago either did not bother to write down exact details (often just writing "sugar" but rarely detailing what kind) plus their handwriting is often illegible. So there is some educated guesswork going on in many recipes that he posts. That being said, I trust Ron's educated guesses more than the facts from some other modern "experts".

Here are a few of the recipes I have brewed myself and that turned out to be excellent in my opinion.

The first is the original Russian Imperial Stout brewed before Barclay Perkins and Courage breweries merged. Most people will point to the Courage recipe when talking about RIS but this was the first.

The second is a Porter from Whitbread Brewery taken from the 1880 brew logs. Whitbread and Barclay Perkins were the two largest breweries not only in London but the largest in the world. I was looking for a solid Porter recipe that I could use as a base to build other variations and fell in love immediately. I have since added chocolate, cherries, oats, etc. and they are all great but this base recipe is what makes those possible.

The last one for today is from the Heineken brewery logs and has an interesting history. Heineken wanted to make a seasonal beer similar to Oktoberfest and this was the result. It only appears in their brew logs this one single year. Why? I don't know. One thing about it is that the original gravity would have made it ineligible to be served as an official Oktoberfest. It is still a wonderful beer however.


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That is awesome - I've had Ron on the podcast a number of times and he's always an entertaining and knowledgeable guest!
I absolutely love the simplicity of the historic recipes. They combined basic ingredients in synergy to create such good beers. Homebrewers would use five or six grains in a Porter — they used three in perfection.
I too am a big fan of all of the British styles - from the cask ales to the darker browns, porters and stouts.

I found the Porter interesting - does not look that much different than many of the ones I make. East Kent Goldings is the definitive English hops in my book and the blend of black and brown malt (no chocolate) gives a nice dark finish without some of the harsh notes.