Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Remembering Ballantine xxx Ale

As I’d like make an attempt at brewing a batch of the old original (1960 ish) Ballantine xxx Ale, any all help would be appreciated. While I’ve seen a number of so called “clone recipes”, for this beer, I believe them to be bogus in that they list hops which were NOT used in the original formulations. To my knowledge, cluster, buillion, and brewers gold were varieties actually used back then, as well as some sort of hop oil distillation. While the hop oil distillation is beyond me, I’d sure like to get as close as possible with a good partial mash recipe along with a proper hop schedule.
Again, I’m looking to recreate the Ballantine xxx Ale, not I.P.A , nor the Burton Ale.

Come on you old timers, get off your duff and help me; please…

Baddboyii

Here’s a start:

Category American Ale
Subcategory American Pale Ale
Recipe Type All Grain
Batch Size 5 gal.
Volume Boiled 6 gal.
Mash Efficiency 72 %
Total Grain/Extract 9.75 lbs.
Total Hops 3.0 oz.

7 lbs. American 2-row
.75 lbs. British Crystal 55°L
2 lbs. Corn Flaked
1 oz. Brewers Gold (Whole, 7.00 %AA) boiled 60 min.
1 oz. Brewers Gold (Whole, 7.00 %AA) boiled 30 min.
1 oz. East Kent Goldings (Whole, 5.00 %AA) boiled 5 min.
Yeast : WYeast 1056 American Ale

1 Like

BryanH…Thank-youhttp://forum.northernbrewer.com/posting.php?mode=reply&f=4&t=117407#

baddboyii, if you can find a copy, the May/June 2010 issue of BYO had an article by Bill Pierce about Ballantine along with a recipe for their XXX Ale. I have not brewed this recipe, but since it’s from Mr. Pierce I assume it’s a good one. In case you have trouble locating the magazine, here it is:

Ballentine XXX
10-A American Pale Ale
Author: Bill Pierce (BYO May.June 2010)

Size: 5.0 gal @ 68 °F
Efficiency: 65.0%
Attenuation: 78.0%
Calories: 183.35 kcal per 12.0 fl oz

Original Gravity: 1.055 (1.045 - 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.012 (1.010 - 1.015)
Color: 5.92 (5.0 - 14.0)
Alcohol: 5.66% (4.5% - 6.2%)
Bitterness: 36.9 (30.0 - 45.0)

Ingredients:
8 lb (66.7%) Standard 6-Row
1.0 lb (8.3%) Munich Malt 1
2.5 lb (20.8%) Corn Flaked (Maize)
8.0 oz (4.2%) Crystal Malt 20°L
1.0 oz (30.8%) Cluster (7.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 m
0.5 oz (15.4%) Brewers Gold (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 25 m
0.75 oz (23.1%) Brewers Gold (8.0%) - added during boil, boiled 5 m
1.0 oz (30.8%) Cascade (6.3%) - added dry to secondary fermenter
1.0 ea Fermentis US-05 Safale US-05

Notes
OG1.055, FG 1.011, IBU 39, SRM 9, ABV 5.7%
Mash at 150, Ferment @ 68º

Results generated by BeerTools Pro 1.5.24

1 Like

Yeah, I made a batch using the recipe from the BYO article as posted except that instead of using flaked maize I did a ceral mash using grits. I thought the beer came out very well, I’ll do it again one of these days. :smiley:

The BYO recipe referenced looks right from everything I’ve been able to piece together over the many years I’ve been chasing this (although Cascades would certainly never have been used in the original…that came along later, long after the Newark brewery closed). The “Pabst-brewed-by-Miller” version currently being sold under the Ballantine label evidently uses Cascades.

The current Ballantine is of course still miles from where it once was. The few promotional materials and media interviews from Pabst with regard to the brand have included claims that they have stayed true to the original. If only. And they say it with such a straight face. :cry:

Since this is my favorite rant :blah: (sorry), I’m no doubt repeating myself from prior posts…but it still strikes me as so odd that at the beginning of the micro boom in the late '70s/early '80s, despite still being very true to it’s original hoppy character, that the new owners of the brand (most especially when Pabst eventually took over) were continually toning down the beer at a time when the newcomers in the business were busy ramping up the flavors and gaining an audience as a result.

The Ballantine Ale products would have definitely served as ample proof that beer with character existed before the “craft” segment existed. If XXX or BIPA still existed in their original form, I doubt very much I’d be paying much attention at all to the glut of other beers out there these days.

If any beer from the past had the potential for success as a quality legacy brand, It would the Ballantine ales…providing they were done right.
Seems doubtful that it will ever happen, given that current owner Pabst doesn’t seem to care.

[quote=“The Professor”]

Since this is my favorite rant :blah: (sorry), I’m no doubt repeating myself from prior posts…but it still strikes me as so odd that at the beginning of the micro boom in the late '70s/early '80s, despite still being very true to it’s original hoppy character, that the new owners of the brand (most especially when Pabst eventually took over) were continually toning down the beer at a time when the newcomers in the business were busy ramping up the flavors and gaining an audience as a result.

The Ballantine Ale products would have definitely served as ample proof that beer with character existed before the “craft” segment existed. If XXX or BIPA still existed in their original form, I doubt very much I’d be paying much attention at all to the glut of other beers out there these days.

If any beer from the past had the potential for success as a quality legacy brand, It would the Ballantine ales…providing they were done right. [/quote]

Don’t worry about the rant, Professor. I’ve been guilty of it myself many times. :cheers:

I was a regular Newark Ballantine xxx drinker, talked to a few workers from the brewery back then and have read posts elsewhere. Here are some comments that might be helpful

They did use Cluster as a bittering hop, and most of the aroma came from hop oils they distilled from Bullion, added after fermentation. They might have switched to BG late. Yes, Bullion would be an odd late hop addition to a boil these days, but distilling changes the balance of hop oils. Dry hopping was an earlier technique, dropped by the 1960s. By the 1960s XXX had a distinctly floral aroma, a little spice, but no grassy taste

They cold-conditioned XXX.

XXX was often skunky in green bottles, but not the draft. It was at its best by far on tap. Re the above recipe the malts seem right; Ballantine did their own malting, and what they used may have been a lightly kilned and fully converted six-row, along with flaked corn (but not a whole lot). One did taste and smell the malts, but no caramel. Your IBUs may be a tad high.

Senior workers at Ballantine had their own littie taps for XXX and also got a bottle of Burton now and then. A civilized company.

Remembering Ballatines? Yah shure, you betcha.

In 1961 I moved from Wisconsin to NYC to mis-spend my youth. I stopped in @ the Kettle Of Fish on Macdougal Street and, as a Schlitz drinker, I ordered a Schlitz. [1] I must have made a face after the first sip, for the bartender said “You’re from Wisconsin, aren’t you?” I asked how he knew and he said “it’s because you didn’t like the Schlitz. They brew it in Brooklyn.” So I asked what he;d suggest, and he said Miller High Life. Real cheeseheads don’t drink that wimpy stuff, so I asked for an alternative. He said Ballantine’s Ale … and I stuck with it thereafter.

Now that the Brewery Industrial Complex is making it, I think I’ll pass. They’ve managed to screw up Pabst, which once was a half-way decent cheap beer. Not now it isn’t.

[1] In the early 70s I had the misguided notion to enter the Single-handed Transatlantic Race. At the time, Schlitz’s slogan was “You Only Go Around Once”. They made as if they’d become a sponsor … then chickened out. I stopped drinking Schlitz at that point. I still carry the grudge.

1 Like
Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com