Monday, 5 October 2009

Whitbread logs - the handwritten years

Old Whitbread logs. What a pain in the arse they are. Two sheets of scribbled numbers. And a couple of words. Three to be precise. The day of the week, "Hops" and "Started". Quite a challenge for the amateur historian.

The logs are surprisingly tatty. Especially considering Whitbread were one of the largest breweries in the world and had been for getting on a century. They're just like a kid's exercise book, with a few pre-printed red lines. Yet tjhey're still full of useful information. If you can read them.

It's taken me a while but I think I've cracked most of it. Yesterday I worked out where the boil details are. "Andrew, guess what I worked out today." "It's not Barclay Perkins again is it Dad?" "No." "Go on then." "I've found the boil times on Whitbread logs." "Daaaaaad." If my family took more interest in brewing records, I wouldn't have to bother with this blog. I need to have someone to tell my discoveries to.

Generous as I am, I'll explain them to you. At least the bits I'm sure of. Let's start with sheet 1:

The top line is easy - gyle number, date, air temperature.

80 Qrs - that's the malt bill, 80 quarters of malt.

Hops 342 Brunwk 68
304 Hayes 70

- the hops, 342 lbs Brunswick, 1868 crop; 304 lbs Hayes 1870 crop

Now it starts to get cryptic. These are the mashing details.

172 ---- the strike heat

2 @ F to 103 &
2 @ 103 to 115 200º

That looks like the water for the mash. They seem to be measuring the water volume by means of a dip. "F" I guess to mean full. But that's just a guess. No idea what 200º means.

9 M M Std
10 1/2 TS

9 means 9 am. M M Std I interpret as Mash Mash Stood.
10 1/2 means 10:30. TS is taps set, i.e. when they started drawing off wort. Which means the mash and standing time was an 90 minutes.

153. 34.2 - 36.4

153 is the temperature of the wort when it began to be drawn off. 34.2 is the gravity of the first wort drawn off, 36.4 the gravity of the last wort.

12 1/4 . 40 . 34.2
1 3/4 . 37 1/2 . 36.2

12 1/4 time of start of boil, 12:15, 40 is the dip at start of the boil, 34.2 (1095) the gravity.
1 3/4 time of start of boil, 13:45, 37 1/2 is the dip at start of the boil, 36.2 (1100) the gravity.

Next are the sparge details.

184 ----

Heat of sparge water.

2 @ F to 78. 7.6

The first part is the water for the sparge. The 7.6 is a gravity reading. Not sure when that would have been taken.

3 20 54. 12.6
5 20 50 . 13.6

These are the details for the second boil, which started at 15:20 and ended at 17:20. The gravity at the start of the boil was 12.6 (1035) at the end 13.6 (1038).

Now on to the next column.




XL is the beer being brewed. 242 is I think the gyle from whose yeast was used for this brew. 257 a gyle where this brews yeast was used.

Now for sheet 2. That's an easy one.

The first column has the gyles.

100 . 37.9 3790
156. 14.6 2277
256. 23.7 6067
100. 4.5 450


The first two lines are the gyles blended to produce the final wort. The first numberis the volume in barrels, the second the gravity and third the number of gravity points. The third line just shows the blend wort. The fourth line is a return wort. 6517 is the total number of gravity points and 81.4 the yield per quarter of malt.

Now on to the second column.


That seems pretty self-explanatory. Must refer to conditioing tanks.

Started 15th
---- 7.8 -----

15th means 15th of March (5 days after it was brewed). This gives the starting gravity. "Starting" a beer meant laying down to mature. So this originally would have meant the gravity at time of vatting. For Milds it's probably close to the racking gravity. 7.8 is 1022.

No 7 . 8 9 . 10

The numbers of the fermenting vessels used.

360 50 60 37.9
--- 78 60 14.6
360 128 60 23.7

These are the details of each finished gyle. The first two lines refer to the gyles being blended, the last toi the combined gyle.

360 = pounds of yeast pitched.
50 = volume in barrels.
60 = temperture of wort
37.9 = gravity of wort (1105)

And that's it. Easy-peasy, isn't it?


First Stater said...

You earn every cent for this research. Amazing stuff and very interesting. However I am a bit confused by the conversion from what I assume are brix/balling to specific gravity. If the readings recorded were brix then I believe your conversions are low.

Ron Pattinson said...

First Stater, the gravities are given in pounds per barrel in the original. Multiply by 2.77 and add 1000 and you get specific gravity.

First Stater said...

Of course, any other way would be too easy. Thanks for the clarification.