Monday, 15 December 2008

Whitbread Porter and Stout in WW I

It's red-face time. Slight cock up with some of the numbers yesterday. The ones on brown malt usage were correct. But I got the years muddled up for the output of Porter and Ale. That's what you get for rushing.

My new table has Whitbread's Ale and Porter output for the years 1902 to 1926. Very interesting reading it makes. Not exactly what I had expected.

Starting at about a third of total output in 1902, the percentage of Porter and Stout increased steadily before WW I. By 1914, it was almost 43%. It peaked just shy of 50% in 1917. There was a big change in 1918, when its share almost halved. 1919 was even worse, at just over 20%. Postwar it soon got back to over 30%, about the same level as in 1902.

This is a breakdown of the Porter figures for the specific beers:

Porter output was around 70,000 barrels for most years up until 1918, when it slumped to just 36,000 barrels. Its share of Whitbread's Porter and Stout production fell from 25-30% to under 10%. So although as a whole Porter and Stout recovered to around their pre-war levels, a much higher proportion was in the form of Stout.

So what are my conclusions? Porter and Stout production did decline more than Ale in the last war years. But by the early 1920's was pretty much back to its pre-war level. However postwar the proportion that was Porter was much smaller than it had ever been before. 1918 seems to have been the pivotal year. Whitbread Porter sales never again exceeded 40,000 barrels a year.

Was a shortage of brown and black malt the reason for the drop in Porter and Stout production 1918-1920? I don't think so. The proportion of those malts used remained fairly constant. The fall in Porter brewing coincides with the appearance of brown malt in Mild grists. It seems that because they were brewing less Porter and Stout, there was spare roasted malts available for use in other beers.


Gary Gillman said...

What would XP.S mean, Ron? (Extra pale something, Smyrna maybe?).

Also I wonder what happened in 1927!


Gary Gillman said...

Ron one other thing just hit me. The S.A. malt. For the few years shown in the notebook extract, the quantities are very small, similar to those of amber.

Might this suggest it was a colouring malt? I suggested earlier "special amber". But how then could that be a base malt (for the recipe you asked about)? I don't know and maybe therefore I am wrong. However I was reading over the weekend in the Loftus extract posted on your homepage that amber malts can be made to have a similar diastase capacity to pale malt. This of course would much pre-date diamber which sounds at any rate like a proprietary brand from the mid-1900's. Maybe the "special way" of mashing helped too, I don't know.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, Looking closely at the original, I see it says XP&S. No idea what it means. Given that it's usually the largest amount, it must be pale malt of some kind. Smyrna has its own column.

The earliest entries in the notebook are for 1899, the latest early 1930's. I guess its owner retired at a certain point. It would be nice if some of the stats covered more years, because they're so handy.

SA is definitely a diastatic malt. The quantities are small because the beers it was used in were brewed in modest volumes. Amber is listed as amber. John Keeling passed my question about SA malt on to a former Whitbread head brewer. Maybe he can give a definite answer.

Older amber malts definitely were diastatic, as were older versions of brown malt.

Kristen England said...

Where is this XP.S question coming from? I don't see it anywhere.

I have seen XP&S for export porter and running stout gyle.

Didn't we cover the SA malt before. Sprat Archer no? It was around then as far as I can tell. Replaced around the 50's.