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Messages - mrbowenz

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General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Diacetyl Issues
« on: January 19, 2012, 10:17:57 PM »


diacetyl isn't necessarily a "problem" in English style ales.

Thank you MS !

OP, Really, sounds like your doing everything right, an "all MO" and and some of the British strains like 1968 or 1099 will throw off plenty of diacetyl  unless they are rested or aged for some time, but this statement "
diacetyl isn't necessarily a "problem" in English style ales " is brilliant , because if you drink enough English ales, you start to ignore the diacetyl as a flaw, yet others ( like judges) will catch it every time.

Twenty-six years in a high-alcohol environment is a long time to expect a yeast to survive.  One of the oldest yeasts recovered from beer (that I'm aware of) is almost 200 years old; but the bottle of beer was at the bottom of the English Channel, a very cool place for the yeast to remain dormant. 

If your bottle has been in a similarly very cool location for 26 years, there may be a chance to recover something, and Joe Sr.'s technique is the way to go.  The only thing I would add to his plan would be to flame or sanitize the opening of the bottle/fermenting vessels to reduce the liklihood of contamination.

If you are not successful at capturing the yeast, use a modern alternative.  Thomas Hardy Ales have been a passion for me for the last 20 years or so, and I have worked on making a clone of this beer for just as many years.  As unorthodox as it may sound, my literature search and brewing experience has shown that Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager) yeast works well in a Thomas Hardy clone.  Pitch the wort on the yeast cake from a prior batch of beer, and ferment at ALE temperatures, not lager temperatures.  The esters given off by this strain of yeast at ale temperatures fit very well with the aroma and flavor profiles found in the Eldridge Pope era Thomas Hardys.

Good Luck!


Kevin, are you referring to Flag Porter?, I have successfully cloned that strain from a modern bottle ( a clone of a clone, if you will ) , and your advice is solid as gold, as I have seen this advice somewhere else on the internets..
To the OP, this is an ambitious endeavor as a new brewer, but try it , you may be successful & with the best of luck !

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Tasting a 137 year old beer !
« on: January 17, 2012, 01:30:05 AM »
What an extraordinary story/experience!  Thanks for sharing! 

Out of curiosity, are beers that old typically still due to CO2 escaping through the cap over time? 

Usually so, especially the corked bottles, first the C02 escapes out, then the O2 filters in, unless the wax seal remains solid , they will be oxidized and musty/papery like old sherry.

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: Tasting a 137 year old beer !
« on: January 17, 2012, 01:26:58 AM »
That is simply amazing! I brew alot of barley wines, in fact my current recipe is based on the 1839 barclay perkins recipe from ShutUpAboutBarclayPerkins blog. except I use munich instead of mild malt and I split the hop schedule in half and do half at 120 minutes and the other half at 30 minutes. I have dreamed of sharing this beer with my son when he is old enough (he is just over 1 year now) and your experience reassures me that 16-20 years is not at all too long for one of these amazing brews.

just so it's totally clear I am so jealous of you that I could spit. but I won't cause I am at work. and indoors.

Enjoy your amazing beer collection for many years sir!

You can find me at Ron's site often, he helped me more than once in doing research for my historic brewings and for a film I am working on.
It was often typical for brewers to age special  beers for 21 years ( also called Majority Ales) for the birth of a child. I have 4 bottles of  a beer called "Ratcliff Ale by Bass Ratcliff and Gretton , it was brewed for a Ratcliff child in 1869 ( or at least bottled then, the records are not completely clear). Nonetheless, Martyn Cornell has written an excellent blog and here is a post on the very history of doing such a beer for a child at birth, I believe you should do this for your son ..with confidence it will be great:

General Homebrew Discussion / Tasting a 137 year old beer !
« on: January 16, 2012, 03:10:01 PM »
I thought I would put this here in the General Discussion section since it wasn't really a commercially available beer. :-\

I finally decided that 2012, would be the year I would taste a most remarkable bottle of a beer. A beer so special it was brewed for Sir George Nares( a British naval captain) who in 1875 set off to reach the North Pole.

By the later half of the 19th century, Samuel Allsopp's and Son, had already become one of the largest breweries in England and only second in size to Bass Ale in Burton on Trent. In 1852, on a rescue mission to discover the whereabouts of Sir John Franklin( another British explorer) , who had set off in search of the fabled Northwest Passage, Samuel Allsopp had created a monster of an ale called "Arctic Ale". This ale was brewed to 1.130 OG, and was thought to contain some special "Antiscorbutic" properties( containing vitamin C) to prevent scurvy, which was the fatal downfall of long voyages at sea.

Allsopp's Arctic Ale , was brewed only three times in all of the 19th century, once in 1852, again in 1857 , and finally in 1875. Since special brewings like this are so rare, it would be almost impossible to obtain a sample in the day, yet alone 160 years later. To date, only 3 noted beer writers have even sampled tastings and wrote about this beer, Alfred Barnard in 1889, William Henry Beable in 1926 and CAMRA's Roger Protz 2010 ( for which I arranged a bottle for Roger to drink and write about).
Of the 3 brewings of this extreme 19th century beer, there exists only 2 bottles of the 1852 batch, I own one, and the other was the subject of a great Ebay story, back in 2007. The 1857 batch, I own the only known bottle left, and of the 1875 batch, there are only about a dozen left, I own 2, and the rest are in the National Brewery Centre Museum in England. I found the dozen bottles while in Burton giving a talk to members of CAMRA on the history of Allsopp's brewery.
In 2010, the old Allsopp's brewery was in bad shape and about to become apartment flats, it had been abandoned since the 1980's and workers where throwing many items away. I was lucky enough to take one "last" tour of the building, and it was deep inside the basement, tucked away in a cage, that I found the last remaining bottles of Arctic Ale. The 1875 version was the only ale bottled in a Champagne style bottle the brewery ever produced, there is even an article in the British Archives mentioning the bottles and how many where left in 1886. Further verification came from an old retired brewery archivist, whom confirmed their existence and authenticity.
The basement find:

The Old Allsopp's Brewery 1856 :

In March of 2011, I had been contacted by beer author Roger Protz to accompany him in a tasting of the Arctic Ale, with head brewmaster Steve Wellington ( Worthington Museum Brewery) and some senior members of CAMRA whom I am friends with.

Along side the 1875 version, where a bottle of 1902 Bass& Co. "king's ale" , brewed in conjunction with King Edward the VII, and also a Arctic Global Warmer style Barleywine (15% abv) from the "North Cotswolds" brewery.

Here's some shots from the day:
Steve Wellington and his assistant

Roger Protz, beer author and CAMRA mega star:

Tasting glass from 1902, 1875 and 2006:

1875 Arctic Ale - not my hand BTW

Here are Roger's notes on the ale:

"It was dark amber in color and had an astonishingly complex aroma of dry chocolate, cocoa powder, molasses and vinous fruit. The palate offered creamy malt, sweet fruit and further chocolate and cocoa hints, followed by a bittersweet finish with dark fruit, rich malt and light hops."

I have been a vintage beer collector, brewing re-creator and beer historian for almost 7 years now and have been lucky enough to own some of the rarest beers in the world. I also own a few of the Bass corkers, like Ratcliff Ale 1869, Prince's Ale, Princess Ale, and Bass #1 Barleywine, as well as several 1902 King's Ales.

So, a recently decided to share a bottle of the 1875 brewing with some very good friends on a very cold winter's night, with visions of steering a Victorian ship right up to the North Pole with Arctic Ale in hand !

Of course no good ale goes without a finely prepared meal and we chose a menu fit for the occasion.

Rib Roast !

Yorkshire Pudding !

Roasted Potato's and Asparagus:

Then it was time for desert !

The time to taste had arrived !

As carefully as I could, I tried to remove it in one piece, but then again this is a 137 year old bottle ......

Mush....soft cork !

With a little care ( and a knife !) , I was able to remove a core in the center and the ale started flowing !, oh the smell of old beer !

Amazing aroma's of leather, cedar wood , smokey dark fruit , raisins and slight musk. I took nearly 10 minutes simply smelling and enjoying the various aromas that where set off as I swirled the glass, this was history in a bottle !

A proper cheers and the light of candles made the experience delightful !

1875 Arctic Ale - Samuel Allsopp's and Sons

Type/Style: - English Strong Ale/Barleywine /Burton Ale
Bottle : 750 ML , natural cork, full fill , no label

Leather, cedar wood ( wet) , dark fruit, raisins, musk, Sherry, almost no hop aromas

Appearance :
Clear, but not brilliant, deep Mahogany Brown with ruby highlights and hues on the glasses edge...

Strong malt and sherry flavors, fully and across the whole tongue, finishes smooth without any unpleasantness or sourness. Licorice and maybe even old taffy.

Mouthfeel :
Completely still , no detectable carbonation , not slick or creamy , simply like sherry or brandy , no cloying whatsoever despite it's high residual saccharine content an finishing gravity.

Overall Impression : An amazing experience of drinking a bit of history, this ale was extremely drinkable 137 years after bottling, other than the musty and oxidized nature ( which is typical) of such an old ale, this ranks up there with the best of them. I have had 15 year old ales that where in much worse shape, for this age, it was simply amazing to experience !

Pimp My System / Re: My Brewery and Alehouse-Shed
« on: December 05, 2011, 11:19:23 PM »
Thank you all , it looks like there are some new and exciting brewsheds in the works from other members too !

Pimp My System / Re: My Brewery and Alehouse-Shed
« on: December 04, 2011, 02:06:48 PM »
Pleased to announce that my brewery shed was voted

"International Shed of the Year 2011"

Pimp My System / Re: My Brewery and Alehouse-Shed
« on: September 12, 2011, 12:18:11 PM »
Thanks for the kind words everyone !

Events / Arctic Alchemy- A film about beer on Kickstarter !
« on: June 28, 2011, 01:08:26 AM »
In an effort to bring a movie about beer, brewing and adventure to the silver screen and do it independently, I have registered and been accepted by

There have been so few TV or movies that have been dedicated to beer, most of the ones I have seen have been a bit silly ( Beerfest comes to mind- it has it's place, not being too critical of it ) , Beer Wars is excellent, as well as An American Brew. On television, we all had high hopes that Sam C. would be able to overcome the oh so predictable framework that the Discovery Channel uses on every show they produce., too bad PBS or the Travel Channel didn't get to Sam first.

Producing and directing a full feature film is a daunting task to say the least, but financing is truly the toughest part. If you are not aware of the magic of crowd funding, you may want to get familiar with Kickstarter, it's the new wave of organically produced and entrepreneurial spirited individuals sharing ideas and bringing them to life. The concept is much like the street musician , who plays for the crowd and leaves his guitar case open, hoping that a few will throw a few coins or dollars in to keep the spirit alive and keep the musician playing and eating. This is a way for regular people to do extraordinary things , think you could open a brewery this way ? yes , you can , there are some funding their brewing dreams on Kickstarter right now.

Arctic Alchemy is my story of driving my motorcycle 4000 miles to the Arctic in Canada , while towing a portable brewery, to recreate a mysterious ale from 1852 , support from the AHA about it here : It's also been covered in several newspapers, magazines , television , and radio.

I am not asking for a donation here, I am simply directing you to be aware of it and share the idea with friends and fellow homebrewers, this is a very cool story about beer , brewing, history and motorcycle adventure. check it out !

General Homebrew Discussion / Re: The AHA in the NYT
« on: June 24, 2011, 01:06:49 AM »
I think the focus here, as evidenced by the fact that almost no "machinery " was used in any pictures ( I see no brewing systems or Sabco's in the article, other than a single fermenter)  , was to highlight the ill-guided perception some people still  have with home brewing. I believe that most folks think of the making beer at home involves a "bath tub " and unsanitary conditions to create a hit or miss product , let's face it, we have all met the person who says, "yeah my brother-in-law used to make his own beer back in college" and the bottles sometimes exploded and it was just awful stuff .

Moreover, the article demonstrates the fact that some homebrewers are quite passionate about their craft and pursue a level of silliness that is beyond what most people would ever consider as normal ( I often fall into these articles : ) ). Extremes in any subject makes for  good headlines and articles in publications, it's what sells news, keeps people interested and makes careers for writers. John did a great job with this piece, and very well researched, gathering several experienced brewer's,retailers and writer's from the field.

I see no purpose to an argument amongst us hobbyists who clearly can make world class beers on every thing from a simple cooler and a few hoses to a 2 bbl shinny home mirco-brewery. In fact, most of us who have these types of systems, have hand-built them and know every detail and design aspect, yet have learned and deeply admired the Denny Conn's of the homebrew world without a doubt, some like to keep it cheap and easy  and some ...well not so much, but that's not relevant to making beer it ?  

The small niche market that Sabco sells to , is the "rich guy" with little practical commonsense and more money to burn than hours in the day, this small segment of the population , doesn't compete or really have the passion to be at this hobby for a long time, he is one who is a collector of stuff to be cool, not all, but I suspect most who buy a 6k dollar brewery may also drive a large SUV or fast sports car, Sabco knows their market and so should you.

Overall , it's just another article in a major newspaper about making beer at home ( our passion) , and not about politics ,murder or another financial crisis.

Pimp My System / Re: Ideas for walls?
« on: May 17, 2011, 11:20:36 PM »
weazletoe, since you are so very kind to vote for my sheddie  ;D, and you brew without pants and are a brewing inspiration !

I will share a really cool and inexpensive trick of mine: ,

 Go the the Lowe"s Depot , and get the aluminum roof flashing in the 16" x30' roll , then some Super 77 3M spray adhesive, a good pair of garden scissors and go to town.( over drywall, paneling ,whatever ) The main joints butt nicely together and the ends you can frame with stock flat  aluminum  bar ( like 1/8" x 3/8 ) , the look is completely stainless, easy to keep clean, extremely inexpensive and the finish can't be beat. I did this even in high heat areas and this is simply a bomber solution . Make your own stainless steel diner for around $ 50 bucks for 8'X10' wall ....!

Pimp My System / Re: My Brewery and Alehouse-Shed
« on: May 17, 2011, 01:57:31 AM »
My shed is being featured in the New York Times later this week, and also nominated for "Shed of the Year " in Britain , check out the pictures and vote for the homebrewer if you can spare a minute !

Beer Travel / Re: Another beer project , The Great Baltic Adventure
« on: February 24, 2011, 07:40:00 PM »
The boat is called a clipper on their website, they call it a clipper  ( they simply must not know as much as you )and the captain told me in an email,  it is fitted for racing not comfort, suggesting, and I use his words " it's quite spartan below decks not fitted out like a yacht, where comfort is not an option" including showers !

Now if you could help Pete Brown, a few London brewers and I with beer history, that would really help us.

Beer Travel / Re: Another beer project , The Great Baltic Adventure
« on: February 24, 2011, 06:57:46 PM »
The adventure is in sailing on a fairly small ship, only a 60' clipper , pretty spartan conditions at best, the concept is to take the Imperial Stout to a major beer festival in Russia at the journey's end. I am working the US market and have been in touch with Stone in Escondido and a few other brewer's here in Pennsylvania. Of course US beer will have an even longer trip by (plane first ) to Greenwich/London even before boarding the ship bound for Russia.
Here's the ship,  Thermopylae

Beer Travel / Another beer project , The Great Baltic Adventure
« on: February 24, 2011, 02:20:11 PM »
Just sharing another beer project I am about to embark on here:

The Great Baltic Adventure , is a sailing journey from London up the Thames, across the North Sea, to the Baltic Sea and deliver firkins of Imperial Russian Stout to the historic city of St. Petersburg Russia, following the old nautical charts of when Catherine the Great developed an affinity for Stout in the late 18th and early 19th century.

I will be joining a crew of brewers from London and famous beer writer of the year Pete Brown for this adventure, what's kind of cool is that Pete had taken a keg from Burton on Trent on 07 all the way to India like they did in the 19th century. I of course took brewing equipment to the Canadian arctic this past summer to re-create a 19th century ale that was brewed in Burton as well. We will now join forces and share writing and blogging along the way on this latest beery adventure together.

My blog here:

You can read more about the trip I did to Canada and the independent film I am producing here :

or join me on facebook here, we just tasted a bottle of 136 year old arctic ale yesterday

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