[This article was originally posted in 2014]
I thought I’d better add a few words in respect to the background of the latest release of Govinda Chevallier edition our award winning English IPA.
Govinda Chevallier Edition is a very different beer to anything brewed under the IPA badge today and I think it’s taken a few drinkers by surprise in their expectations of what they thought they were buying to drink, hence this background information.
I’ve had a few confused people saying that they are not sure what Govinda Chevallier Edition is trying to be, thinking it’s trying to fit in a craft beer window in comparison to a modern beer. However, Govinda Chevallier Edition is not trying to be anything other than a personal experiment to try and recreate a lost taste of the past, and I hope I have come as close to that goal as possible. [editorial update December 2018 - it certainly did something - Read our blog on the RMI Analytics Heirloom Champion Beer award.]
I think this has evolved into a unique and wonderful beer. It was certainly a pleasure to have it as part of my brewing life for the past 12 months, having obtained the malt in October 2014, Then spending over 5 months researching the history of the malt and brewing methods employed when it was being used on a daily basis to make beer.
Govinda Chevallier Edition is not a beer that’s about in your face hops! Quite the opposite, Govinda was a best effort to replicate an authentic 1830’s Burton upon Trent Pale Ale. Where possible, I have tried to stay true to traditional production methods, in an attempt to replicate an authentic Victorian beer.
Chevallier Barley originated as a land race Variety, discovered growing in the corner of a field in Suffolk, around 1824, by a farm labourer, working for the Reverend Chevallier. The Labourer could see that the barley was a very strong variety, quite different than their usual crop. The Reverend Chevallier then developed one of the first named varieties of this Malt from the seedlings from this plant.
Chevallier was found to be a fantastic variety for malting for beer and soon dominated the market as the go to variety for making beer, mainly due to its superior flavour and aroma.
Chevallier was grown as one of the main varieties of barley for beer up until around 1934, when more agro economical crops took over and production ceased.
Chevallier has been brought back to life by Dr Chris Ridout and his team at The John Innes Institute.
Dr Ridout and his team revived the variety from seed in JIC’s Genetic Resources Unit and started to evaluate its performance. In collaboration with Brewlab and the University of Sunderland, the scientists discovered that Chevallier had valuable disease resistance that can prevent contamination of grain with mycotoxins, which are a concern in the malting industry.
They went on to grow half an acre of the Victorian barley during 2012 at the John Innes Centre, and the grain was then floor-malted by Crisp Malting Group at Great Ryburgh, Norfolk.
“We found that we brought back to life a distinctive malty flavour suited to certain types of beer, such as Porter and India Pale Ale, which were popular in the Victorian period,” said Dr Ridout.
“We are now performing genetic analyses which will help us understand how valuable traits such as disease resistance, malting quality and nitrogen use are inherited.”
Govinda Chevallier The Beer
Chevallier Barley is a very different beast to today’s malt varieties, it is much more aromatic, full bodied and full flavoured than the more modern pale malt varieties available today, announcing its presence from the very first sip!
Govinda “Chevallier” Edition is unlikely to taste anything like any British beer you may have tasted before. It has takes over ten times more the amount of bittering Hops than we would add to a modern beer of this style, yet the beer is not about hops at all, as the beautiful Chevallier Malt jumps in and totally steals the show.
Brewed with only Chevallier Malt, East Kent Golding Hops, Cheshire Water and our House strain of yeast. We do not include any additives or fining’s at all, not even to the copper. Mashed for three hours and boiled with a Burton simmer for three hours, then barrel aged in three oak barrels for six months. Bottled Govinda Chevallier is the marriage of three barrel-aged beers, blended together, giving a very unique and complex beery experience.
Very full bodied, fruity and complex, with peach and apricot jam, pear, vanilla, oak, dried citrus & warmth in abundance. The flavours are complex and abundant and change to open up as the beer warms in the glass. There is plenty of hop bitterness in the mix. However, this is there to balance out the assertive malt profile of the Chevallier.
After enjoying a few beers made with Chevallier Malt, me a group of other enthusiasts have come up with some interesting theories. One being that the common thought that the heritage beers that made the arduous journey to India, were heavily hopped to preserve them, could possibly be a myth. We think the real reason was to balance out the assertive and full flavoured malt varieties used at the time? This theory certainly aligns with our brewing experience using this monster of a Malt.
Expect a rare, unique taste of the past and in a very Ltd Edition of 1000 bottles!