I told you this week was Truman week. It's exciting, isn't it? I'm going to kick off with an overview of Truman's Ales in the middle of the 19th century.
It's funny how beer styles develop over time. Go back 150 years and the relationships between the styles is often quite different. Especially when you look at Mild (a beer where "Alcohol content is traditionally very low"). Odd word, "traditional". Very vague, don't you think? It refers to a practice that was common at some unspecified period in the past.
If "traditional" covers the years 1940 to 1980, then the assessment of Mild being very low in alcohol isn't far from the mark. Go back any further than 1914 and it's utter and complete bollocks. As you'll see from the tables below. The weakest Mild brewed by Truman in the period I cover had a gravity of 1066. I don't think that counts as exceptionally weak in anyone's books. Certainly not mine.
In the 1830's, Truman brewed a wide range of K and X Ales, which varied in strength from strong to bloody strong. The equivalent K and X Ales, for example XX and XXK had similar gravities (though the K version's was usually a touch higher). Their main difference was the hopping rate, which was 50-100% greater in the K Ale.
One other point of interest. Take a look at when the K Ales were brewed. In the table above they were all brewed in March. One of the traditional times for the brewing of Strong Ales.
By 1840, little had changed, except that a new beer had been introduced , 40/- Ale. Now you shouldn't start getting confused by thinking of Scotland. Prior go adopting the use of the X and K system, English breweries had also used the retail price per hogshead as a way of indicating the relative strengths of their different beers.
Table Beer is intriguing, too. Did they really give it to kids? With gravities of 1049 and 1058 neither was exactly watery. They weren't brewing a great deal of Table Beer, squeezing some out of the later runnings of stronger beers every now and again.
You'll note again that all the K Ales but one were brewed in February, March or April. Very traditional.
Don't worry. I've not finished yet. Still more lovely OG charts to come.
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