Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Barclay Perkins Burton

It's been too long since I last mentioned Barclay Perkins. I wouldn't want the conceit of this blog to evaporate. What? It was just last week? Still too long ago. Barclay Perkins Burton. That kills two obsessions with one stone.

The table below covers almost a century of Barclay Perkins KK. Sold on draught under the name Burton. In the 19th century, it really was a Strong Ale, weighing in at over 7% ABV. Like all other British styles, its gravity was whittled away by taxation to fund hostilities, starting with the Boer War.

WW I knocked almost 25% off. After a period of stability in the 1920's and 1930's, WW II reduced the gravity by about another 25%. By the 1950's the gravity was little over half what it had been in 1869. A reduction pretty much typical for all British styles over the same period.

You know what I would love to run? An Edwardian pub. I don't mean a pub in an Edwardian building. I mean one with Edwardian-strength beers. So ordinary Bitter and Mild at 1050, Best Bitter at 1060, Burton and Stout at 1075. That's the draught beers. The bottled beers would be stronger. Double Stout at 1082, Triple Stout and KKKK at 1095. Admittedly, not at Edwardian prices. Would I have any customers?


Unknown said...

Yes, you probably would have customers if you opened anywhere other than the places where folks go on and on about sessionability etc. Belgium and the US probably would be a good fit.

Kristen England said...


Just bottled the Whitbread 'Burton' KK/KKK that Ron helped me put together. This beer(s) are very very unique. Basically its two beers made from the same wort just blended and boiled with differing amounts of hops and sugar.

Anyway, it has a very thick character in that it was mashed very high (~167F) but still finished with decent attenuation. Its not sweet but there is a 'sweetness' to it from the dextrins.

This is something that I think people will like very much...even more so comparing the KK and KKK directly beside each other.

This would definitely be a cool on to brew for the mass market. People would assuredly eat it up. Not to mention the brewers who save a ton of time and money by getting two beers out of one wort.

Ron Pattinson said...

Kristen, sounds lovely. It makes me wonder about getting Menno to give them a try.

Anonymous said...

I suspect you'd have folk travelling from far and wide to visit a pub like that!

Anonymous said...

Just no Edwardian-era loos, please.

Ron Pattinson said...

Ethan, you can't have ever been in the bogs of a gin palace-style pub. Beautiful and hygienic. Much nicer than modern ones.

Anonymous said...

Only the Crown in Belfast. Beautiful? Sure. But I'm guessing the sanitation standards are somewhat better nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Do let us know when you finally drink your Burtons, Kristen - my betting, from reading the literature, is that they'll need quite a bit of maturation, but what you'll end up with is something fruity, and nicely balanced between bitterness and sweetness.

Edwardian loos - the gents in the Philharmonic in Liverpool and the Princess Louise in Holborn, London are indeed palaces.

Edwardian opening hours - 4am to past midnight, as I recall (damn that DORA - 80 years of repression, and we're still suffering from the weak beer ...)

Ron Pattinson said...

Zythophile, London pubs opened 19.5 hours a day. They weren't allowed to open until 5 AM. Outside London the hours were shorter.

You probably won't be surprised to learn that I have alle the details in my website:


Curse those killjoys that ended the workman's morning pint.