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Truman's London Keeper - brewing history in a bottle

Posted 09 October 2013

Beer | History


Truman's London Keeper - 1880 Double Export Stout - 8.0% ABV - GYLE:0001

When we started brewing at the Eyrie, our new home in Hackney Wick, we wanted to mark the occasion properly. The first Truman’s beer brewed in London for 24 years had to be something special. A beer that linked the old brewery to the new and showcased the quality of the ale that the Eyrie  can produce.

After hours spent looking through Truman’s Gyle books at the London Metropolitan Archive, Truman’s London Keeper – based on the recipe for a Double Export Stout from 1880 – was born.  It was brewed in the first week of August 2013.

London Keeper was the name that Truman's has historically given to ales that were designed for slow maturation. the type of beer that you tuck away in the cellar (or cupboard) and go back to when it has had a few years to age, evolve and improve. We are proud to be able to continue that tradition.

Just 2,000 bottles of Truman’s London Keeper 1880 Double Export Stout were produced. Each 75cl bottle has been hand signed and finished in ivory wax.  It will develop in bottle for up to a decade and provide a lasting reminder of the opening of our new brewery and the start of the next great chapter in Truman’s history.

The recipe we used had an unusual difference to the others that we found in the archive.  Head Brewer, Benedikt Ott, explains: “A recipe from 1880 just jumped at me. It was an 8% ABV double export stout – but the intriguing thing was that it was brewed with American hops." Despite their modern popularity, American hops were only used in the 19th century when the UK hop harvest failed. Although it was impossible to find out which hops were actually used at the time, Willamette and Sterling were selected due to their similarity to older hop varieties and suitability for the style.

The beer pours a gorgeous midnight black, with aromas of toasted nuts and dark chocolate. It then delivers an explosion of crunchy, malty flavours with background notes of liquorice and black treacle. The malty sweetness is balanced with a delicious lick of hop bitterness. No tricks, no gimmicks – just a very special beer.

The labels were printed by Baddeley Brothers, east London’s finest and most historic printers, using the age-old letter press technique - they are really something to behold.  The bottles were then hand sealed with ivory wax (and believe us, this is not an easy thing to do!) . Each label has been individually signed by James Morgan, re-founder, and Ben Ott, Head Brewer.

It has been a real labour of love for us. And we are very sad to see the bottles go. We hope those that drink it will enjoy it as much as we have enjoyed producing it.

London Keeper can be ordered directly from Truman's here at £17.99 per bottle. It would surely make the perfect Christmas present for the ale lover in your life.

Trumans London Kepper