Yes, I let just a few hours of filing taxes get in the way, and it’s now a whole week since I wrote this draft. Time to get it posted!
It’s Saturday April 16th my taxes are almost done but it’s also 76 degrees outside. Time for another Beer by the Grill.
We have two beers to try out this time, that have been sent to me for my comment (full disclosure). Both of them are from the Guinness Brewers Project, in which the brewer at St. James Gate try to recreate historic beers from their recipe archives going back, possibly, to 1759.
One is the Dublin Porter which, so a flyer enclosed with my 4-pack has it, was compounded from brewers’ diary entries to the 1770s. It’s an easy 3.8% alcohol by volume, described as being made with Irish barley malts and Goldings hops.
The other is a West Indies Porter it goes back the recipe at least to 1801. The flyer says was made heavier (6.5% abv) to solve the problem of shipping beers for several weeks to hotter latitudes, and is the origin of Guinness Export.
First thing I noticed with the West Indies Porter is that it does have a rather large molasses component, or treacle, as the Brits would call it. A little bit of hoppiness and low carbonation, no doubt to match the lower carbonation level of a cask pour of this beer.
The Dublin Porter, as one might expect, comes across more as a credible ancestor of the Guinness Stout that we all know today. It is a little lighter in the malt roast. Not the same molasses on the tongue as the West Indies Porter, but quite light on the palate and has a nice dry finish. I imagine I’ve caught just a little sting of the sourness that they add to Guinness Stout today.
When I returned to the West Indies Porter, it also offered a bit of that Guinness sour, and it comes across as much more hearty after trying the Dublin Porter.
One can imagine both of these being pretty close to the way they might have been brewed in their time except they would more likely be served nearly still from a cask than carbonated in a bottle. And the intervening centuries or improvements in barely cultivation, malting, and brewing efficiency means we can only guess how close this would come to the beers of the past.
I am told that these are the second pair of beers in the Brewers Project, so I missed the first two, and I’m not sure how many more of them there will be. But it would surely be very interesting to get these all together at some tap take over where they’re all being served on nitro or cask. I hope to see that.