Greene King Abbot Ale

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Kyle_T
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Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Kyle_T » Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:36 am

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 :beer:
My Ridleys' Brewery Blog:
http://www.theessexbrewer.wordpress.com

sbond10
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by sbond10 » Sun Sep 20, 2015 10:19 am

Sounds nice I'm looking for a recipe to brew for my dad this has deffo given me some ideas.

Pegasus
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Pegasus » Tue Sep 22, 2015 2:57 pm

Kyle_T wrote: 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. :beer:
Absolutely right - I even had 3 firkins of it at my wedding in 1978. It all went.
Had a taste of the current incarnation a couple of weeks ago - wouldn't drink it now :cry:

Thanks for this, Kyle. Hope this turns out well as I'd like to give it a go too. Keep us updated.

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Kyle_T
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Kyle_T » Wed Sep 23, 2015 10:40 am

After a number of responses from my other thread, I have collected plenty of information and testimonies and after having a think I have decided to combine elements of both the ledger recipe and Dave Lines along with the information provided by Dennis and other Abbot drinkers. Whether or not it will be similar to the beer of 70's & 80's I cannot say but I'm sure I know some people who will be willing to give a verdict :D

This is what I will brew sometime this week or next:

Greene King Abbot Ale 1970/80
11C. Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)

Recipe Specs
----------------
Batch Size (L): 23.0
Total Grain (kg): 4.930
Total Hops (g): 81.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.054 (°P): 13.3
Final Gravity (FG): 1.012 (°P): 3.1
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 5.54 %
Colour (SRM): 12.8 (EBC): 25.3
Bitterness (IBU): 36.6 (Tinseth)
Balance (BU:GU): 0.68
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 80
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
----------------
4.081 kg Pale Malt (82.78%)
0.310 kg Invert Sugar No. 3 (6.29%)
0.310 kg Flaked Maize (6.29%)
0.185 kg Crystal 30 (3.75%)
0.044 kg Chocolate (0.89%)

Hop Bill
----------------
20.0 g Challenger Leaf (7.3% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil) (0.9 g/L)
36.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil) (1.6 g/L)
15.0 g Fuggles Leaf (5.6% Alpha) @ 15 Minutes (Boil) (0.7 g/L)
10.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5% Alpha) @ 0 Days (Dry Hop) (0.4 g/L)

Misc Bill
----------------
1/2 Protofloc Tablet @ 15 Minutes (Boil)

Four step mash:

Mash In: 60°C
Step 1: 60°C for 5 Minutes
Step 2: 63°C for 40 Minutes
Step 3: 65°C for 50 Minutes
Step 4: 78°C for 40 Minutes

Fermented at 21°C with Wibblers yeast for 4 days.
Lower to 13°C 24 hours after skimming yeast.
Lower to 10°C 24 hours before racking.

Recipe Generated with BrewMate
My Ridleys' Brewery Blog:
http://www.theessexbrewer.wordpress.com

Baldbrewer

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Baldbrewer » Thu Jun 16, 2016 5:18 pm

How did this turn out Kyle?

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Kyle_T
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Kyle_T » Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:44 am

It turned out very well, whether it is even remotely close to Abbot is beyond my years but it certainly made a loverly drink!
My Ridleys' Brewery Blog:
http://www.theessexbrewer.wordpress.com

paulindevon

Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by paulindevon » Sat Jun 18, 2016 6:19 pm

I think I must be in the minority but I really rate the current Abbott. Lovely stuff. Having said that, there's not much that I don't like :D

steambrew
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by steambrew » Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:37 am

Another old timer making a return ? after making a Double Diamond which was great this looks to be my next brew along with a Bass. Greene King Abbot Ale used to be one of our favourite beers as I had a cousin who worked for them GK

Jim2
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Jim2 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:38 pm

Kyle_T wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:36 am

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%)
I was in my local home brew shop today and I showed her the above grain bill recipe, she impudently pointed to several grains that would make this recipe. But I said I wanted it in dry malt extracts only! She had a selection of DME but she said it can not be done, so either she is right or she dose not know how to make it from DME or she dose not have the ingredients in stock

As I don't have the equipment or skills to cook grain, can anyone advice me on this recipe made out of DME please?

Thanks

Jim2
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Jim2 » Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:39 pm

Kyle_T wrote:
Fri Jun 17, 2016 8:44 am
It turned out very well, whether it is even remotely close to Abbot is beyond my years but it certainly made a loverly drink!
But was it better then a pint of todays abbot?

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bitter_dave
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by bitter_dave » Sat Aug 06, 2022 9:39 am

Jim2 wrote:
Fri Aug 05, 2022 11:38 pm
Kyle_T wrote:
Sun Sep 20, 2015 8:36 am

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%)
As I don't have the equipment or skills to cook grain, can anyone advice me on this recipe made out of DME please?

Thanks
It can't I'm afraid. It is possible to use pale DME and steep crystal and chocolate malts (i.e. the grains). However, you can't do that for flaked maize (it has to be mashed with pale malt grains).

clarets7
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by clarets7 » Sat Aug 06, 2022 9:49 am

Not sure if the flaked maize would be a great loss. Jim2, have you got a boiler that can handle 5 gallons? You'll need that for the DME, and if you have you could consider BIAB - basically a big net bag to mash the grains in.

guypettigrew
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by guypettigrew » Sat Aug 06, 2022 12:08 pm

Interesting point raised (sort of) by Jim2, though.

You'd have thought there would be quite a good market for extracts of the various crystal malts, chocolate malt, black malt etc. Liquid or dried.

It would make extract brewing so much quicker and easier. Mix the proportions of malt extracts required by the recipe in water, boil with the hops for however long. Done! Or use hop extracts instead of whole hops. Simples!

Guy

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bitter_dave
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by bitter_dave » Sat Aug 06, 2022 1:32 pm

You can buy DME in different levels of darkness, you could just use different ratios in an attempt to approximate the colour etc. How to Brew has an ESB recipe doing this. I think in the US they also have a wider range of extracts, but then it is a bigger market. You are obviously going to struggle to clone recipes this way, but then cloning recipes is not easy anyway and you are better off just trying to make nice beer and tweaking it as you go along imo

Jim2
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Re: Greene King Abbot Ale

Post by Jim2 » Sat Aug 06, 2022 4:29 pm

If I can't make that recipe out of DME then what about LME?

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