From the HBD Archive
From: hartman@varian.varian.com (John Hartman)
Subject: re: English Bitters--Brewing Beers like Young's they make
Date: 1992-06-23 18:50:53 GMT

This recent discussion prompts to give further details of my trip. I
spoke at length with two of the five brewers at Young's Brewery in
London. They definitely qualify as "lupulophobic". I describe what I
learned about their ales below...

They make a number of cask ales, some bottled ales, and a couple of
lagers. My focus was on their ales and does not apply to their lagers.
In particular I was interested in Young's Special cask-conditioned ale.
As this information was given to me in the tasting room after the tour, my
focus did eventually become blurred and my arm did eventually become
tired. While tasting you see, I was forced to fill my own pints via hand
pump;-) Also I didn't want to pry (I just wanted to know everything:-)).
Consequently, the information I do have is incomplete and not well
organized--sorry. On the other the hand, what I did learn came straight
from the brewers, who were very enthusiastic and forthcoming, so I assume
it's accurate. If I wasn't sure about what I remembered I have noted so
in parentheses...

All of their grists are "approximately the same". They use "only the
finest ingredients they can find". The variety of malt is Maris-Otter. I
have a small sample of crystal that appears to be about 20 or 40
lovibond. Some flaked barley is also used for head retention. A certain
amount of brewing sugar is used. I don't know how much nor in which
beers. Contrary to what is printed in the "The Real Ale Drinker's
Almanac", Young's does not use torrefied wheat in any of their brewing.
In general I was disappointed with the accuracy of the information found
in the almanac. Let the brewer beware that the ingredients they list have
little in common with what in reality Young's uses. Oh well.

Young's Special draught should not be confused with the bottled Special
London Ale sold here in the US. The draught bitter has an OG of ~ 36,
draught special has an OG of ~ 46, and the bottled Special London Ale is ~
66 OG. I don't know what IBU levels are used for the beers, but they do
use a single addition of Fuggles in the kettle at the beginning of the
boil. And now we come to the issue of finish hops. The draught bitter is
(I believe) dry-hopped with (I believe) East Kent Goldings. The bottled
Special London Ale is dry-hopped with East Kent Goldings. The draught
special is dry-hopped with the Target variety in plug form. The box
called them pellets, but they were in fact 1/2 oz. plugs as we know them
here in the states. For each 36 Imperial Gal cask (43 US Gal.) they use a
mere 2 oz. of Target! I was embarassed to tell them how much I use and
for a brief moment considered prevarication (lying, that is). When I
told them that I usaully use about 1 to 2 oz. pe! r 5 US Gal., there was
no uncerta

Young's only started dry-hopping about two years ago. The owner and most
of the brewers were not interested in trying it, but once they had, they
decided to make the change. I suspect the economy of dry-hopping, i.e.,
more aroma at less cost, played a part in that decision.

Their beers ferment in open primaries for seven days. They are then
transferred to secondary for seven more days. Then the beer is placed in
SS casks. It is at this point the beer is dry-hopped and fined with
Isinglass powder. In a few days the draught is drayed (delivered by
horse-drawn cart) to their local tied houses. Finally after a few more
days in the pub cellar it's served to the many patrons who happily slake
their thirst. The beers are never primed or krausened. Their yeast
strain is a slow finisher which allows them to develop a light level of
carbonation in the cask without priming. I have since tried this and it
works quite well. Also it makes brewing that much easier since I don't
have to mess with gyle or corn sugar. They do have a kegging and bottling
operation which (I believe) force-carbonates those products. I asked for
an opinion on our weighty matter of whether to skim the krausen or use a
blow-off tube vs. not skimming. They don't skim per se! , but do employ
some technique wh

I hadn't heard of Target, so I enquired. The Target variety is a
decendant of EKG. It is a 10-12% hi-alpha, hi-aroma version that I do not
believe is available here. I have since called Dave Wills of Freshops to
see if he carries them. He said this year he ordered 100lbs of imported
EKG and sold them quickly even though he didn't advertize their
availability. He plans on ordering more and so I told him to consider the
Target variety. He will, depending on the interest level. If you would
like to use this hop as well perhaps you might call Dave an express you
interest. Freshops' number is 1-503-929-2736. I have no affliation with
Freshops other than buying lots o' hops from them. If you know where one
may obtain Target here, let me know.

As an aside which has nothing to do with how they brew their beers, the
owner related to me that several years ago when Fritz Maytag was reviving
the Anchor Brewery here in SF he visited Young's for two weeks. He took
back with him recipes and knowledge gained at the Young's brewerery. So
maybe I'm on the right track... That is all.

Cheers,
John hartman@varian.varian.com

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