A good friend of mine mentioned that he’d love to create a beer for the 10th anniversary of the 1984 Symposium – an event that he’s been running for … 10 years. It’s a picnic and International gathering held at George Orwell’s grave on his birthday. We started discussions on what style of beer would be appropriate and what beer could Orwell have been drinking in the Thirties.
A search led me to a blog post by the beer writer Martyn Cornell and specifically the mention of ‘Wallop‘ and ‘Simpson’s Dark Mild‘ …
“Mild, incidentally, is the drink the old man orders in Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four when Winston Smith quizzes him in the pub about the past”
“You must have seen great changes since you were a young man,” said Winston tentatively. The old man’s pale blue eyes moved from the darts board to the bar, and from the bar to the door of the Gents … “The beer was better,” he said finally. “And cheaper! When I was a young man, mild beer – wallop we used to call it – was fourpence a pint. That was before the war, of course.”
We decided that I’d research and create a modern Mild recipe bringing it up to date with a higher alcohol content than they would of been served in the thirties – and of course, it would be called WALLOP.
Martin and I decided that we would brew this on The Grainfather and I started to design the recipe by adding ingredients onto the BeerSmith iOS app aiming for a 5% ABV Dark Mild Ale. I nipped over to Creative Wine Making (they also sell creative beer making stuff) in Ilkeston to pick up a new 25KG bag of Maris Otter and some specialty malts.
- Maris Otter Pale Malt
- Chocolate Malt
- Crystal Malt
- Black Patent Malt
- Goldings East Kent Hops
- Irish Moss
- SafAle English Ale Yeast
As you may of read from my previous posts, brewing with The Grainfather is a breeze and we loaded the recipe from BeerSmith onto The Grainfather connect Bluetooth control panel with a 60 minute mash and a 60 minute boil.
I was pretty impressed with the colour of the wort, I didn’t want to risk it going too dark like a stout and needed to see a little bit of red tint coming through the glass.
After only 8 days of fermentation in our conical SS Brewtech Brewmaster we bottled it directly from the FV with no secondary transfer. By the time it was opened at the 1984 Symposium it had conditioned in the bottle for 5 weeks.
As an unlicensed non-commercial homebrew product we had to make it clear that it could not be sold, so each bottle was handed out for free at the event (including George Orwell’s son!). Perhaps this added to the great reviews? 😉