Together, we’ve revived an 1868 William Younger No 1 recipe, which in today’s terms would probably be labelled a barley wine. As we’ve learned from Ron, however, it’s difficult to fit these historical beers into the constraints of our modern beer styles! At the time, this would have been described as a Scotch Ale, an Edinburgh Ale, or simply (and pretty accurately!) as a Strong Ale. Weighing in at a hefty 10.3%, we plan to release some of the beer in steel casks with the remainder being barrel aged for an even more authentic flavour. We will be using a variety of sizes and types of barrel, and testing and comparing the different types throughout the ageing process (with continued input from Ron and Jules) to get the tastiest beer possible.
…And the first of these casks is heading to Sheffield CAMRA’s Steel City Beer Festival this week!
Originally created by Younger’s in the 1850s, their No 1 “King of Ales” continued to be made for a full century, although it underwent many recipe changes throughout this period. We’ve kept ours as close as possible to the 1868 version of the recipe, with a few small amendments due to modern constraints.
The brew day itself was pretty unusual, with different techniques needed to recreate the recipe effectively. Our usual 1 hour 15 minute boil was increased to 2 hours, darkening and strengthening the wort “manually” – usually, we’d add a darker malt and some sugar!
We are planning to launch the barrel aged version of this beer at a special event during Sheffield Beer Week in March 2018, keep your eyes peeled for more details on this nearer the time.
For more on historic Scottish beer styles, we can highly recommend Ron’s new book “Macbeth!”. It was a privilege to spend the day with such a knowledgeable man with so many interesting, thought provoking and often hilarious stories to tell.
We also just wanted to make a quick comment on the news that SIBA Beer X, the trade exhibition and beer festival run by the Society of Independent Brewers (of which we are a member) has moved to a bigger venue in Liverpool after 5 years in Sheffield. Sheffield Beer Week has always been run at the same time as this festival since it’s inception three years ago, so what happens now?
It’s fair to say that Sheffield Beer Week coinciding with Beer X was initially an advantage, as it meant that many brewers and other industry people had already flocked to Sheffield and so were in the area to attend and deliver events. However, we certainly believe here that Beer Week itself now has so much momentum and is such a great thing for our wonderful beery city that it is a huge attraction for the industry and customers alike, in and of itself.
And so whilst it’s a shame that SIBA has made the move, we support their decision in terms of the new improved venue that Liverpool is able to offer, and look forward to Sheffield Beer Week continuing to expand independently.