Latter-day Harp Lager

Recently in two Parts I looked at early Harp Lager brewing at Dundalk, Ireland, concluding it was likely all-malt. This is a kind of supplement, since it pertains to latter-day Harp.

Brewing at Dundalk ceased in 2013, with production relocated to St. James Gate, Dublin. See Anne Campbell’s report in the Irish Independent. Other reports of the period discuss label updating. I think possibly the recipe was adjusted as well at the time.

The Harp I tasted recently, bought at LCBO in Toronto, was 5% abv, imported from St. James Gate Dublin.

This current page at Carlsberg Ukraine states that the ingredients of Harp Lager are water, barley malt, barley, and hops. (Presumably Carlsberg distributes Harp in that market).

Nutritional data is also included, so probably these statements are meant to comply with Ukraine laws.

A note in the listing terms the beer “Irish lager”, 4.9% abv. The place of manufacture is not stated as such but probably, therefore, is Dublin.

The barley could be raw barley, flaked or finely ground, used as an adjunct as in Guinness. The way the ingredients are listed the barley seems not to be malt, in other words.

But maybe it means roast barley, used to deepen colour. Whatever is meant, the beer as we get it has a good natural taste. I did not get an obvious adjunct flavour as so often with mass market lager.

For Dundalk, so prior to 2013, I could not find an official statement of grist used. However while unofficial, published guides to brewing commercial beers can be helpful, especially when putting together a full picture.

CloneBrews: Recipes for 200 Commercial Beers by Tess and Mark Szamatulski (2nd. ed., 2010) contains directions to brew extract and all-grain versions of Dundalk Harp, see at pp. 54-55.

In the all-grain, British lager malt and crystal malt are used, with Hallertau Hersbrucker and Saaz for the hop bill. The authors stipulate Hersbrucker for bittering, Hersbrucker + Saaz for flavour, and the two again for aroma.

This approach, producing a 5% Harp as now exported, is consistent with my all-malt deductions for early Harp at Dundalk. I’m speaking now of grist, not alcohol or final gravities.

While only snippet view was available to me, Les Howarth’s well-known homebrewing series seems in similar vein. See regarding Dundalk Harp his The Home Brewer’s Recipe Database, 3rd ed. at p. 245.

Finally, the Brewer’s Friend offers a Dundalk clone in essentials similar to both, except using German pilsner malt and CaraHell (a caramel malt often used in pale lager).

Taking all with all, it seems likely Dundalk brewed all-malt from 1960 until the brewery closed in 2013.

As to Harp made elsewhere over that period, I do not doubt some employed malt plus corn. Maybe in some cases too, malt plus sugar, meaning here for the fermentables, not just to adjust colour.

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