Still and Lively Beer – Case Solved. Part II.

Once again, I don’t claim one can interpret every account of these ales to make a single, grand, coherent theory. But in contrasting the account of the writer Brown, an English visitor, with the discussions in the New York court case (see in my first post linked in Part I), I think the outlines of one are clear.

There was newly-made beer, still turbid including sometimes from krausen added to ensure high condition. This was cream or lively ale but could be steam beer (lager yeast) and West Coast steam ale.

Next, there was sparkling or brilliant or still beer, sometimes called present-use (but this term was sometimes used for the first category); this was filtered to ensure maximum clarity à la standard, especially pale, lager. It could be krausened or force-carbonated. Its restrained carbonation was more akin to standard lager than category #1.

Finally there was stock ale, of which India Pale was one: long stored, and dispensed relatively flat at least on draft. My discussion here is mainly for draft beer anyway.

Stock ales would be a form, or perhaps extension, of category #2: the longest kept or conditioned, in a modern sense. Filtration or chilling of beer to clarify it was the modern form of the former long-standing to ensure condition.

What the last two shared was being conditioned at the brewery. Category #1 in contrast is closer to modern cask-conditioned ale and some craft keg beer. We think of cask ale today as almost still, but up to 1920 in America still ale was fizzy and sparkling, on the other side of the divide.

The schema I drew from the 1930s brewers’ conclave on ale-brewing, as summarized in my Part I, is clarified by insights gained from the Burkhard vs. Norwich Brewing case, but holds, imo.

2 thoughts on “Still and Lively Beer – Case Solved. Part II.”

  1. What makes things more complicated, and I still don’t really understand, are the ways that stock ale and young beer might be blended. I get the sense that it was all complicated and varied a lot by time and place. But the idea of a tightly compartmentalized beer isn’t always the right to think about what ended up in a glass.

    • Blending did exist in American practice, ale and porter, say, and other mixtures. I’ve seen it more in bottled beer than draft. Jess Kidden’s Google Beer Pages have examples. Apart from adding krausen to long-stored beer though, I don’t think it was a systematic practice of American brewers.


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