Beer legend Prentice brings back a Truman pale ale from Victorian times
Added: Saturday, October 18th 2014
Truman’s has celebrated the first anniversary of its return to brewing in London with a special edition of one of its most illustrious beers – and called on a former Truman brewer, Derek Prentice, to help create it . Ben Truman 1883 Export Pale Ale is based on a recipe from the Victorian era and uses right different hops – from Britain, Bavaria, Bohemia and the U.S. – to create a 6% pale ale with real depth of flavour. It is now available in cask across selected London pubs and in bottle via the Truman’s website and specialist retailers.
James Morgan, Truman’s managing director, says: “We really wanted to mark the first anniversary of Truman’s return to East London brewing with something special – and Ben Truman Export is just that. Everyone has been asking us when we were going to brew ‘Ben’ once again and, as ever, we’ve blended tradition and modernity in one great beer.
“The past 12 months have been fantastic for us. The support we’ve had from both publicans and the public has been overwhelming – we’ve sold more beer to more pubs than we could have ever imagined. We’re getting close to capacity just one year after opening the Eyrie, our new brewery in Hackney Wick. The next 12 months sees a substantial new investment in our equipment, enabling us to meet demand for Truman’s beers in 2015 and beyond.”
Ben Truman 1883 Export Pale Ale – 6.0% ABV
Brewed to celebrate the first anniversary of Truman’s return to London, this is a “re-imagination” of one of Truman’s best-loved beers. Based on a recipe from 1883, eight different hops have been used and finished with a dry-hop.
To make the beer extra special Truman’s invited Derek Prentice, one of Britain’s most respected brewers, to help us brew it. Derek brewed Ben Truman when he worked at the original Truman’s brewery in Brick Lane.“I have this enormously fond memory of when I joined of bringing down what we used to call the PA1. That was the Ben Truman Pale Ale and that was the beer that we would all drink as brewers,” he recalls.
The beer was designed by Derek and Truman’s head brewer Benedikt Ott. Using an old 1880s Truman’s recipe as their source material, the pair designed a 6% pale ale brewed with a mixture of their favourite hops from the four countries specified in the original recipe. The beer has a strong, complex hop presence, balanced out by a malt base of Maris Otter pale ale malt and Munich malt.
Bottle conditioned, with an ABV of 6% and a deep golden colour, it is full of flavours and aromas of orange peel, lemon and biscuit with a balanced streak of bitterness. Highly complex and walking a fine balance between power and refreshment, it’s a celebration of both history and modernity.
Retailing at £2.99 for a 33cl bottle, Ben Truman is available to buy from www.trumansbeer.co.uk or via specialist retailers. Casks and bottles are also available wholesale, please phone 0208 533 3575 for details.
Founded in 1666, Truman’s was once a heavyweight of British brewing. By the late 1800s it was the world’s largest brewer. It fell victim to the merger mania of the 1970s and 80s, after which the pubs were sold and the brewery closed. The company was revived in 2010 with the intention of making Truman’s a great name in brewing once again.
An investment of £1million has seen the company re-establish its roots in Hackney Wick, just a stroll down the Roman Road from the original brewery in Brick Lane. In August 2013, the first beers brewed in London for 24 years were delivered to the capital’s pubs.
The team has also recovered the original yeast strain – “the beer’s soul” - that was used at the Brick Lane brewery in its heyday.
Preserved in liquid nitrogen since 1958 at temperatures of -196c in the National Yeast Collection in Norwich, the yeast will ensure that the beer produced is authentically Truman’s.
Sir Benjamin Truman (1699/1700 – 1780) was the man largely responsible for transforming Truman’s from a small local brewer into a powerhouse of British brewing. The second generation of Truman to work at the brewery, he was knighted by George III in 1760. “Ben Truman” was the name given to the brewery’s strong pale ale from the 1950s until the 1980s and sold under the strapline “There’s more hops in Ben Truman”. Previous to this it had been sold as Export Pale Ale. The “re-imagined” Ben Truman is based on these earlier recipes.
*Derek Prentice is one of the most respected brewers in the country. He started his career at Truman’s in 1968 and continued working at their Black Eagle Brewry until 1989. From there he went on to enjoy a successful career at Young's of Wandsworth before moving to fuller's in Chiswick. He has been a source of knowledge and enthusiasm since Truman's started brewing in London again. You can read an interview with Derek regarding the recreastion of Bren Truman here: http://www.trumansbeer.co.uk/derek-and-ben/
Tasting note by R.P.
Hazy orange/bronze colour. Spicy hops and cinnamon on the nose with tart orange fruit and cracker wheat grain notes. Juicy malt in the mouth is balanced by bitter hop resins, spice and tangy fruit. The finish starts bittersweet but becomes dry, fruity and hoppy, with a continuing note of cinnamon.