The Kernel // Export Stout London 1890

A taste of 19th century East London. (Can you imagine the pollution?!)

Arguably one of London’s best breweries, The Kernel, based in Bermondsey, South London, brews a variety of styles – from pale ales and IPAs, to porters and stouts, saisons and sours.

With simple packaging and straightforward style-focused names, The Kernel leaves their beer to speak for itself.

And it’s got loads to say.

Their Export Stout tells a tale from decades past – London 1890 – as it’s based on a recipe from the old Truman Brewery archives.

At the end of the 19th century, Truman’s Brewery in East London was one of the largest in the world, primarily driven by the demand for porter, a style first brewed in London.

The Old Truman Brewery
The Old Truman Brewery in East London.

That all changed in the 20th century, however. Truman’s couldn’t keep up with the changing demands of the market and operations were shut down in 1989.*

As breweries close their doors – and there have been many throughout brewing’s storied past (just think of the impact of Prohibition in the States) – their archives become rich treasure troves of recipes for modern day craft brewers.

There’s even a beer historian, Ron Pattinson (not to be confused with Robert Pattinson), to help make sense of the older terminology, technology, ingredients and shorthand.

Breathing new life into old recipes has become particularly popular with brewers and drinkers, as they are able to try a taste of the past.

It’s important to note that while the recipes may be followed quite closely, often the ingredients themselves have changed – certain malt and hop varietals are no longer grown, the original yeast strain used may no longer be propagated – so these beers are mostly modern interpretations, not exact recreations.

In homage to London’s brewing history, The Kernel picked this 1890 Truman’s recipe to revive.

Historically, Export Stouts (also known as Foreign Extra or Foreign Export Stouts) were stronger stouts, typically clocking in between 6.3–8% abv, brewed for the export market.

Dark brown to black in color, this full-bodied style has a smooth, creamy texture, noticeable bitterness, and light burnt notes that complement the coffee and chocolate aromas and flavors from the roasted malt.

If you enjoy this one, also look out for The Kernel Imperial Brown Stout London 1856, based on an old Russian Stout recipe from London’s Barclay Perkins & Co.

Ah, the taste of history. Cheers!

*The Truman’s brand was re-established in 2010, and since 2013, Truman’s beer is again being brewed a new location in East London. Talk about revival!

Image source: Thumbnail, Full size by Natalya Watson