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Not to dilute the current Lager thread, I thought I'd throw in some recipes, too. Next week's is a real treat: one of the earliest commercially-brewed Lagers in Britain. But, as a warm-up, here's a early draught Lager.

I really must revisit the Barclay Perkins Lager records. I've only ever looked at a couple of them. Funny how your ideas changed. When I first saw the catalogue of the Barclay Perkins archive, I never imagined that I'd be so interested in the Lager records. Initially, it was only the Porter logs that interested me. The 19th century ones.

There's something else I hadn't anticipated being so exciting: the 20th century records, especially those from after WW II. If you'd asked me right at the start of my archive trail, I'd have said my interest ended at around 1922. How things have changed since then. I'll be honest, lots of 19th century records are pretty dull. Pale malt, hops, sometimes some sugar.

Barclay Perkins entered the Lager business in 1921, when their shiny new Lager brew house opened. With little domestic competition, they were soon able to establish themselves as one of the country's leading Lager brewers.

The early Lager market was a funny one. There were only 6 Lager brewers and just about all of them operated on the national level. They had to, given the small volume of Lager sales. In 1935 those six Lager brewers (Alloa, Barclay Perkins, Jeffrey, Red Tower, Tennent and Wrexham) only produced 114,000 barrels between them (source: Western Daily Press - Wednesday 10 June 1936, page 12).

Barclay Perkins brewed three Lagers in 1934: Export at 1049.4º, Draught at 1043.2 and Dark at 1057.4º. Most Lager was still bottled at the time and Barclay's led the way in offering a draught version as well. I know from later pricelists that it was delivered in metric-sized casks, 5.5 and 11 gallons (25 and 50 litre). It was served on top pressure, as the pricelists also include CO2 cylinders.

It looks like a pretty authentic Lager. I can't say that I understand the mashing details totally. But it is complicated. And it starts at a very low 130º F, rising to 175º F. It's all malt - something none of their top-fermenting beers was - and uses half German malt and all Czech hops. The wort was pitched at 46º F and rose to a maximum of 52º F. After primary fermentation it was moved to lagering tanks at 39º F.

I hadn't realised before Kristen mentioned it, but this is very like a Czech Výčepní Pivo in terms of gravity.

Time to let Kristen take control . . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: Holy smokes kiddoes, this one is pretty sweet. It very much feels like a Světlé Výčepní…that being a very pale light Czech lager. Very simple grist of pils and pale malt. I really wanted to keep it English so I went with Fawcett lager malt and Fawcett Optic however I did choose to use those delicious Czech Žatec hops. A simple primary fermentation for a week and then a 3 week lager at 36F. Keep it simple. Make it now, drink this bastard for Ofest!