The Great Edinburgh Beer Experiment
This year the 30 Days of IPA project (which we’re sure you’ve noticed we’re a part of) is doing something a little different – a scientific experiment to test one of the oldest beer legends out there, that the months-long voyage from Britain to India actually improved the flavour of India Pale Ale.
The original recipe, around a hundred and fifty years old, had a slightly stronger ABV than most IPAs have these days, and with a lot of hops added at the final stages of brewing, two measures that were designed to preserve the beer for longer than was normal for brews of the time.
It wasn’t really to the taste of the time though, which was for sweet, malty ales – some went so far as to call it undrinkable – but by the time the beer had reached India it had mellowed and been transformed into a drink that could fetch high prices and would be served alongside the finest wines.
So to test this three different brewers have produced three different IPAs, two in traditional wooden casks and a third in a modern plastic lined aluminium cask. They have all been brewed to something close to the original recipe, so they should be able to survive our little plan…
One cask of each beer is currently being stored in a modern, climate controlled beer cellar. Three identical casks, meanwhile, are being stored in the hold of a small ship while it sails the Firth of Forth and the surrounding coastal waters for two months, constantly rocking the beer around and replicating some of the conditions it would have experienced in the 19th century.
But the final test is, as they say, in the tasting, which is where you, our (hopefully) ale loving reader come into the equation. We’ll be cracking all six casks open on 25th of April in The Counting House, the very apt 18th Century ballroom and function suite above The Peartree. We’ll then hold a blind tasting of all six beers to see if we can find any major change in the flavour and aroma.
This is a unique chance to sample some very unique beers which haven’t been brewed and conditioned in this manner for nearly two hundred years, and also an opportunity to be involved in a genuinely new piece of public science! Tickets cost £12.50 (£10 for students and CAMRA members), and are available at the bar while stocks last – for your money you get six half pints and a little place in the annals of human knowledge!