Sunday, 3 January 2010

Whitbread Porter 1805 - 1920

Time to focus on Whitbread Porter in even more detail. I'll always be able to find more detail. That's why I'm never going to run out of material.

Today we're taking a look at Whitbread Porter for a little more than a century, from Trafalgar to Versailles. here's the table:

What struck me was the fact that the pale malt content peaked very early on, in 1822. Black malt is the simplest to trace. It started at less tan 2% of the grist  and rose slowly but inexorably to just under 8%. Brown malt show the most variation, between none and 25%.

Up until WW I, there wasn't much variation in gravity. It remained somewhere betweeen 1052 and 1060 for pretty much the whole of the 19th century.


Graham Wheeler said...

Such an abrupt transition from kiln-brown to drum-black in 1819 must have changed the character of their beers enormously. It seems that Whitbread were early adopters of drum-black. According to Corran, Whitbread ledgers first show patent malt in 1817, the year of the patent being issued. Barclay 1820; Truman 1826.

The early and abrupt adoption by Whitbread must have been done for a reason. Hell of a risk making such a sudden change to their product unless the price also dropped abruptly too, but I cannot see why it should have. I wonder when they switched from kiln-brown to drum-brown.

When I visited French and Jupp about twenty years ago, David Jupp told me that the Whitbread group in general were still buying kiln-brown up until they stopped making it in 1956 or thereabouts.

Whitbread were French and Jupp's major customer for patent black from the start. Early excise rules dictated that a maltster was not allowed to roast on premises. His roasting house had to be two miles or more from the maltings. French and Jupp, when their malthouse was in Greenford or thereabouts, built their roasting house in Chiswell Street for obvious reasons.

David Jupp also said that the name "Patent malt" endured, not because of Wheelers patent, but because maltsters had to obtain a "patent" from the excise in order to legally roast. A patent is defined as a licence issued by a monarch or government. The excise-issued roasting licence was titled a patent. I think F&J had a framed example in their entrance lobby cum museum, but it was too long ago for me to be entirely sure.

It is interesting that drum-brown was not called "patent", but Corran gives a clue to that. Apparently, Guinness were using roasted brown in 1815, prior to the Wheeler patent; and they might even have had a patent on roasted brown themselves.

Certainly there are mutterings in some brewing books that the Wheeler patent covered a practice that already existed. Indeed, Wheeler's roasting machine was just a bog-standard coffee roaster of the day. Dury Lane, where Wheeler's burnt sugar factory was, was coffee-roasting territory. By today's rules a patent would not have been granted under the "Prior Art" rule on that fact alone.

Tania said...

What is the point of the amber malt on the spreadsheet?

Ron Pattinson said...

Tania, because the original spreadsheet contains other beersm, such as SSS which did contain amber malt.