C. Vaux & Sons Stout 1898. Part II.

I thought it would be interesting to find a modern recipe with numbers similar to what I drew, see Part I, for the 1898 C. Vaux & Sons Stout.

Jack Horzempa is a well-known commentator on homebrewing and brewing historical topics in the Beer Advocate discussion forums. In 2014 he described making a robust porter with a low attenuation rate, stating in part:


I recently homebrewed a clone of Hill Farmstead Everett (a Robust Porter). My OG was 1.084 (my personal target for this batch) and a final gravity of 1.033 (I was shooting for around 1.030). This beer is very, very tasty. My apparent attenuation is 59% for this batch.

A last part to my writing on Vaux stout is included in the next post, Pensées. Part VI.

4 thoughts on “C. Vaux & Sons Stout 1898. Part II.”

  1. This series is interesting, especially the old photo of the yard in 1914. When you think about the importance of sanitation in breweries and then see all of the horses, you can understand why the appearance of the early motor vehicle makes sense. Anything to help control all of the pests associated with horses must have been welcome.

    I think it also points out how incomplete some brewery records must be. Was 59% attenuation all that they got in that environment, or was there an unspoken expectation for greater variance? Ron Pattinson has hinted that some of his figures may be off due to post-shipping fermentation from Brett, and you have to wonder if pubs and drinkers accepted a much higher degree of microbial influence, in part to living in a world with so much wood, so much mud, and so many horses.

    • Thanks Clark, and as you note a more unsterile environment could hardly be imagined. What effect this had on the cultures in the brewery, a mixed cocktail surely, is hard to say, but they probably got a certain predictable range from them. As to attenuation, Ron in his posts on 1950s UK stouts shows numerous beers at similar and even lower attenuations. Perhaps the 59 per cent did vary in practice as Vaux seems to have dropped this form of promotion within a year or so of its introduction.

      I am sure the Vermont porter clone mentioned was very good. As you know one of my bugaboos is modern attenuations are too high, across the board. This is an unperceived legacy of the pre-craft industrial brewing environment, imo.

      • I think you make a good point about modern attenuation levels. I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s an impulse among many modern brewers toward overly controlling beer, whereas high end wineries are much more comfortable with differences betwen vintages or even between bottles in the same vintage.

        • Agreed in turn Clark. In brewing there seems a more dominating impulse for microbiological control, from pre-craft right through to 2022 – not just for mass-market production, where one expects it in both (wine + beer), but even at artisan level in brewing.

          Farmhouse and wild brewing are a counter to a degree, but it only goes so far.

          Perhaps this emerged due to the fact on average, alcohol yield in brewing was half the other, with commensurate less protection against spoilage.


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