You may have noticed lately that we've had quite a few historical cask ales on tap. The latest is a DBS [Double Brown Stout] from William Younger brewery dating from 1869! This beer clocks in at 6.8% abv, not unusual for the era, but not what we generally expece from a cask ale. We sat down with Head Brewer, David Chaney, to find out more about the beer.
Q: Why are you focusing on these historical beers?
A: I am trying to get a grasp on what British beer was before the modern interpretation. We have a notion of British beer, but that is based on beers from the 30s and later. These older beers from the 1800's are stronger and more flavorful. I'm trying to bring back some of these old ways of making beer, and styles that have been forgotten or drastically changed.
Q: What is a Double Brown Stout?
A: In the late 1800's there was not a lot of stout brewed in Scotland...stouts were mostly Irish or English. Scots were known for their pale ales and Scottish ales. DBS is a uniquely Scottish way of making a stout. It is smoother, and has a more balanced, roasted character. It was a quality product...they were going for better quality than English or Irish stouts.
Q: Why did you choose to make this particular beer?
A: I was looking for the oldest Scottish stout recipe I could find. The others were mainly from the 1930s or newer, and because of that the ingredients were different. In the 1800's it was illegal to use adjuncts such as corn or rice, so beer could only have barley or sugar.
Q: What was going on in the British beer industry in 1869?
A: Stouts weren't all that popular...pale ale was dominant pretty much everywhere, other than London, which was known for porters.
Historical Happenings in 1869:
In the US:
- Four years after the end of the American Civil War
- Ulysses S. Grant becomes President
- The Cincinatti Red Stockings open the baseball season as the first fully professional baseball team.
- Jesse James commits his first bank robbery
- HJ Heinz Company founded
In the UK:
- Queen Victoria was the monarch
- William Gladstone was Prime Minister
- Caledonian Brewery established in Scotland
- Sainsbury's first store opens
- The Cutty Sark was launched from Scotland
- Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain is born
- Peter Mark Roget, of Roget's Thesaurus, dies