Thursday, 16 September 2010

Truman Porter and Stout output 1835-1836

I have some funny fascinations. I won't go into them all now. Just the one: how much of each type of beer did brewers make in the 19th century.

The story, mostly it seems based on a single source, that around the middle of the 19th century Porter began to loosen its grip on the throat of London drinkers. Aged Porter went out of fashion and only Mild Porter remained. Mild Ale was the new rage. How true is this tale? Good question.

London brewers were a meticulous bunch. They kept all sorts of records. The brewing logs are just the tip of the iceberg. Information about how much Running and Keeping Porter were brewed is there. If you can be arsed to dig it out. Which, if I'm being honest, I haven't been so far.

Whitbread kept track of the brews of each type inside the front cover. Combine this with the details of the size of each brew at the back of the log and you can calculate exactly how much Keeping and Running was made. Except it does require a bit of work.

Much simpler are some of the Truman's logs. Where they've done all the addition for you. Which is a very long-winded way of introducing today's table. Truman Porter output by type for the brewing season 1835-1836. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did compiling it:

Truman Porter and Stout 1835-36

Running Stout
Keeping Stout
Double Stout
Imperial Stout
Export Stout
Keeping Beer
Export Keeping

Truman brewing records

Running or Mild Porter was the biggest seller by quite a way. Outselling Keeping Porter by about three to one. Running Stout was the third best seller, with only about half as much Keeping Stout brewed. In case you're wondering, Truman's production of Ale (of all types) in the same period was 49,000 barrels.

What does this tell us? That even in the first half of the 19th century Mild Porter was more popular than Stale by a considerable margin.

When I can be arsed to pull together all the Whitbread numbers, I should be able to draw a neat little graph highlighting the decline of Keeping Porter. But who knows when that will be.


Thomas Barnes said...

What's Runner? I'm assuming it's a synonym for mild porter.

Also, would you care to explain the difference between all those stout variants?

These days, I'd say that the terms Double Stout, Keeping Stout and Export Stout were synonymous. Obviously, the folks in 1835-6 thought differently.

Ron Pattinson said...

Yes, Runner is Mild Porter.

Keeping Stout was just a more heavily-hopped version of Running Stout. Export Stout was a more heavily-hopped Double Stout.

These are the OG's:

Runner 1060
Keeping Beer 1060
Running Stout 1070
Keeping Stout 1070
Double Stout 1080
Export Stout 1080
Imperial 1100