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Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 08:37
by Kyle_T
Good morning all,

I was having a conversation with a fellow brewer about the infamous rise to power of Greene King, he happened to mention that back in the 60's and 70's Abbot Ale was possibly the best cask ale available whilst they were still regional brewers. There was also mention of a fire in the yeast lab that destroyed the house yeast and they had to revert to the yeast bank to start again but the beer was somewhat different, unfortunately I haven't been able to find any documented evidence of that yet.

After a little Googling, it appears that Abbot Ale was indeed held in high regard amongst drinkers and there is a plethora of clone attempt recipes but G.K. have kept the recipe very close to their chests over the years with no one really knowing what was in it but many people wish to make it at home, including people from American and Australian home brew forums.

What I did find out was that there has been a substantial recipe change at some point in time, all credit goes to my local group here as they managed to obtain an original recipe from the brewery ledger for Abbot Ale in the 70's. I don't have the specifics of the water treatment but I can tell you that the difference in recipe is ridiculous!

For example:

Abbot Ale today is stated by G.K. as containing Pale Malt, Amber Malt & Crystal Malt with Challenger, Goldings and First Gold hops. However I was on a tour of the brewery last year and discovered it also contains Pilgrim now.

Abbot Ale in the 1970's contained Pale Malt, Crystal Malt, Flaked Maize, Invert No. 1 & Black Malt with Fuggles and Goldings. Quite a difference!

I also happen to know that they mash at 65°C for 20 minutes before sparging for 3 hours at 75°C.

So with that little piece of history out the way, I give you what will be my first attempt at an Abbot Ale style beer, I feel obliged as Greene King is my home town brewery (sadly):

Greede King Abbot Ale 1970
Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)

Recipe Specs
----------------
Batch Size (L): 23.0
Total Grain (kg): 4.530
Total Hops (g): 68.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.050 (°P): 12.4
Final Gravity (FG): 1.011 (°P): 2.8
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.07 %
Colour (SRM): 12.9 (EBC): 25.3
Bitterness (IBU): 30.8 (Tinseth)
Balance (BU:GU): 0.62
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 80
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
----------------
3.750 kg Pale Malt (82.78%)
0.285 kg Invert Sugar No. 3 (6.29%)
0.285 kg Flaked Maize (6.29%)
0.170 kg Crystal 60 (3.75%)
0.040 kg Chocolate (0.88%)

Hop Bill
----------------
28.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil) (1.2 g/L)
28.0 g Fuggles Leaf (5.6% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil) (1.2 g/L)
12.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5% Alpha) @ 7 Days (Dry Hop) (0.5 g/L)

Misc Bill
----------------
3.0 g Protofloc Tablet @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

Single step Infusion at 65°C for 90 Minutes.
Fermented at 21°C with Wibblers (Ridleys).


Recipe Generated with BrewMate

I have substituted the Black Malt in favour of Chocolate as I no longer have any Black left, I have also opted to use Invert No. 3 instead of Invert No. 1, I have some Flaked Maize to use up so this is the perfect opportunity. This beer will come out slightly darker but that won't be an issue for me.

Just to get a little bit of my own back, I will be fermenting it with a descendant strain of the Ridleys brewery yeast that as most will know from my area, G.K shut down in 2005 despite calls by locals and CAMRA to keep the brewery running.

I hope you enjoy it!

Cheers :drink:

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 09:12
by Joe1002
Let me know when it's ready

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 09:32
by Dennis King
The Abbot of the 1970s early 1980s was the best beer I have ever drank, and I have tried a few over the years. I remember the fire and being told by the landlord of the pub I drank in at the time it resulted in the loss of their yeast that had been used continuously for years. They had it stored in the national yeast bank but had lost the character that comes with continuous use.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 09:37
by Kyle_T
I'm still going to keep looking for anything in relation to the fire just out of interest. They only have another 100 years to go before it becomes any good!

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:58
by Dennis King
From memory I don't think it was a big fire but the damage was around the yeast propagation area. The first clone beer I did was Abbot from the David Line book and it was surprisingly very close to the real thing considering I was using a commercial yeast. One Christmas I had polypins of Abbot and my clone side by side and a tasting panel of a few friends found it hard to tell which was which.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 12:05
by Kyle_T
I don't suppose you'd still have the book Dennis?

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 13:02
by Dennis King
Kyle_T wrote:I don't suppose you'd still have the book Dennis?


I never throw out any books Kyle and this book was my bible for many years until Graham's first book came out. The Abbot recipe,

For 25lts
3800 pale malt
100 crystal
60 roast barley
250 flaked maize
400 soft dark brown sugar

100 goldings
25 northern brewer
15 goldings last 15mins
10 goldings dry hop
I seem to remember in the early days of brewing forums several people saying his recipes were good but cut the hops down by a certain percentage, can't remember what it was. I remember making quite a few from the book and all turning out good.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 13:07
by LeithR
BTW, you can still get Dave Lines book on line, its £4.95, I bought my copy a few years ago probably from Amazon. Both books are a bit out of date but well worth having. He knew what he was doing for his day.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 15:40
by Aleman
Up the malt by 20% and cut the hops by 20%, are good figures to start with

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 17:23
by BarnsleyBrewer
Dennis King wrote:
Kyle_T wrote:I don't suppose you'd still have the book Dennis?


I never throw out any books Kyle and this book was my bible for many years until Graham's first book came out. The Abbot recipe,

For 25lts
3800 pale malt
100 crystal
60 roast barley
250 flaked maize
400 soft dark brown sugar

100 goldings
25 northern brewer
15 goldings last 15mins
10 goldings dry hop
I seem to remember in the early days of brewing forums several people saying his recipes were good but cut the hops down by a certain percentage, can't remember what it was. I remember making quite a few from the book and all turning out good.

Thanks' for this Den, might have a stab at this next time I brew... :drink:

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 17:28
by Kyle_T
Dennis King wrote:
Kyle_T wrote:I don't suppose you'd still have the book Dennis?


I never throw out any books Kyle and this book was my bible for many years until Graham's first book came out. The Abbot recipe,

For 25lts
3800 pale malt
100 crystal
60 roast barley
250 flaked maize
400 soft dark brown sugar

100 goldings
25 northern brewer
15 goldings last 15mins
10 goldings dry hop
I seem to remember in the early days of brewing forums several people saying his recipes were good but cut the hops down by a certain percentage, can't remember what it was. I remember making quite a few from the book and all turning out good.


They are relatively similar except in the amount of hops, I haven't done any number crunching but I assume that would come out with a higher bitterness than 30.

Could you tell me what year the book was published? I also noticed how mine is for 23 Ltrs and Dave's is for 25 Ltrs but they are similar in terms of total grist weight and percentages?

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 18:35
by LeithR
My copy of the book (Argus press) was first published in 1978 and he died in 1980.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 18:47
by Kyle_T
Hmm, they must have been very low AA to warrant 100g at the begining of the boil, I'm assuming they didn't change the recipe during the 70's.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 19:23
by Dennis King
Aleman wrote:Up the malt by 20% and cut the hops by 20%, are good figures to start with


I thought it was something like that.
Kyle_T wrote:They are relatively similar except in the amount of hops, I haven't done any number crunching but I assume that would come out with a higher bitterness than 30.


The book does not quote bitterness and in those days I would buy loose hops from a shop that they weighed out straight from a sack which I guess could have even been a year or so old and stored in a sack so would have had no idea of their strength.

The Les Howarth book states the IBU as 36.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 19:32
by Kyle_T
From your memory does that sound about right?

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 19:45
by Dennis King
Kyle_T wrote:From your memory does that sound about right?


My memory alongside what I know now it is probably about right. The one thing I do remember it had a great hop/malt balance. I'm brewing next weekend and might brew with this grain bill, +20% as Tony says. The Les Howarth book states the hops as challenger, northdown and target. I might hop to 36 using challenger and goldings as I don't have northdown or challenger.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 19:49
by Kyle_T
I can sense a comparison test coming on :lol:

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 20:42
by Dennis King
OK this is what I might try next weekend

23lts
4000 pale malt
250 flaked maize
100 crystal
60 roast barley
400 brown sugar?
should give a gravity of around 1049, not sure about the brown sugar, I do have around that amount of candi sugar so may use that.

20 EK
20 challenger
15 EK for last 15mins

should give an IBU 36

WLP002 yeast

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 21:25
by Kyle_T
Dark brown sugar or muscavado sugar is the closest to an invert sugar as you will get, why not give golden syrup a whirl and I'll do my version then we can compare?

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 21:33
by Dennis King
Kyle_T wrote:Dark brown sugar or muscavado sugar is the closest to an invert sugar as you will get, why not give golden syrup a whirl and I'll do my version then we can compare?


Might add golden syrup to the wife's shopping list :whistle:
Will also bottle a few. :thumb:

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 22:16
by BarnsleyBrewer
Crafty, you making flapjack Den?

BB

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 22:20
by Dennis King
BarnsleyBrewer wrote:Crafty, you making flapjack Den?

BB


Wouldn't know how to John.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 22:27
by BarnsleyBrewer
Here you go pal....

Ingredients
175g/6oz butter
175g/6oz golden syrup
175g/6oz muscovado sugar
350g/12oz porridge oats
½ lemon, finely grated zest
pinch ground ginger

Preparation method
Preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2 and line a 20cm/8in square baking tin with baking paper.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over a low heat. Dip a brush in the butter and brush the baking tin with a little bit of it. Add the golden syrup and sugar to the butter and heat gently. Once the sugar is dissolved and the butter is melted, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the porridge oats, lemon zest and ginger.
Pack the mixture into the baking tin and squash down. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
Once cooked, remove from the oven, leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn out on to a chopping board and cut into squares.
These flapjacks are delicious in a packed lunch or as a grab-and-go breakfast.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 22:40
by Dennis King
Nah don't do cooking.

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

PostPosted: Sun Sep 20, 2015 22:46
by BarnsleyBrewer
Surprise your Queen on a brew day by multi-tasking... Start with a bacon sarnie then "BANG" Flapjack.... Lol :rofl: