Thursday, 22 September 2011

George Younger beers 1906 - 1939

I'm going a little Alloa crazy. I'm unearthing lots of stuff about Britain's forgotten brewing centre. It seems a shame not to share it.

We've been around the brewery with Barnard. Now it's time to take a look at some of George Younger's beers. And what better place to start than at the beginning. At least the beginning of the analyses I possess. Which is 1906.

It's a funny one, that 1906 analysis. The date could be wrong. The question mark next to it implies it's just a guess. It comes from a piece of paper slipped inside a brewing log. Not a Scottish brewing log, but William J. Younger's personal notebook from his time at Evershed's Burton brewery in the 1890's. This is it:


I've just noticed Knox in there. That's another Alloa brewery. Oddly enough, the only one of which much survives. And the only one still connected to the drinks trade, it being owned by Diageo. But I digress.

On with the beers. They're a funny set. The high proportion of Pale Ales could just be the result of the specific areas of interest of those doing the analyses. The Whitbread Gravity Book is full of Milk Stout analyses, presumably because they were keeping a close eye on beers competing with their Mackeson brand. The overwhelming majority of the beers listed are standard strength Pale Ales, with gravities between 1035º and 1048º.

Barnard commented that George Younger was famous for two styles of beer: Pale Ale and strong Alloa Ale. There are certainly plenty of the former, but surprisingly few of the latter. Which is a a bit odd, as I've plenty from other breweries. Most have gravities of 1065º and 1085º. These are the beers that, while described by the breweries themselves as Strong Ale were sold in England as Scotch Ale. It's hard to read too much into these two samples. The last, from 1939, is very weak at just 1047º for the Strong Ale.

It's harder to find exact English equivalents for Scottish Strong Ales. The closest are the KKK or KKKK brewed in London, or beers like Bass No. 1 Ale from Burton.

I've two analyses of a Mild. They don't tell me much. At 1035º and 6d a pint, the one from 1922 is very much in line with London Milds of the same period. That there is only two analyses speaks volumes about the popularity of Mild in Scotland.

Seeing Table Beer in the 20th century is a surprise. London brewers had given up on it in the middle of the 19th century. It seems to have hung around much longer in Scotland. No idea why.

Malt Wine. I've classified those as Barley Wine, which seems fair enough. The ones listed below certainly have the right sort of strength. Though I wouldn't like to define what the difference is between Malt Wine and Strong Ale in this context. Just what the brewer decided to put on the label, I suspect.

And finally . . . the Stouts. Again, not many samples to work on. The later two look very typical of the way Stout developed in Scotland. Becoming very sweet and, because of the very low degree of attenuation, not very alcoholic. Here's a funny thing. One style that never gets mentioned in people's fantasies about Scottish beer styles is Stout. Yet sweet, underattenuated Stout is one of the most distinctively Scottish of all styles. I suppose it doesn't fit in with romantic notions of kilted Scots drying their malt over peat fires up in the Highlands.

 
George Younger beers 1906 - 1939
Year Beer Style Price size package Acidity FG OG colour ABV App. Attenuation
1906 60/- PA Pale Ale pint draught 1056.2 8
1922 Black Beer Black Beer pint bottled 1004 1011 0.90 63.64%
1922 carbonated ?? pint bottled 1008.5 1027 36 2.39 68.52%
1922 Mild Mild 6d pint draught 1005.9 1034.5 95 3.73 83.04%
1923 Malt Wine Barley Wine pint bottled 1016 1078 8.12 79.49%
1923 carbonated Pale Ale pint bottled 1007.3 1033.8 33 3.44 78.47%
1923 No. 1 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1008.2 1040.9 31 4.26 80.07%
1923 Malt Wine Barley Wine pint bottled 1023.9 1083.4 69 7.76 71.34%
1924 Alloa Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1039.7
1924 Sparkling TB Table Beer pint bottled 1004 1027.5 40 3.05 85.45%
1926 PA Pale Ale pint bottled 1009 1033 30 3.11 72.73%
1928 No. 1 Alloa Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1008 1043.5 no. 9 (standard colour) 4.62 81.61%
1929 XXX Stout Stout pint bottled 1012 1047.5 4.61 74.74%
1929 90/- PA Pale Ale pint bottled 1009 1039 3.90 76.92%
1929 PA Pale Ale pint bottled 1002 1035 4.31 94.29%
1929 PA 60/- Pale Ale pint bottled 1008 1037 3.77 78.38%
1929 Sparkling Pale Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1004 1033.3 Between 7 - 8. Same as our Newcastle Pale. 3.80 87.85%
1929 Sparkling Pale Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1007 1034 Between 7 - 8. Same as our Newcastle Pale. 3.51 79.41%
1929 Sparkling Pale Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1008 1035.5 Between 8 - 9. Shade paler than our standard 3.57 77.46%
1929 Heavy Export Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1013 1049 Between 11 – 12 4.67 73.47%
1929 Strong Ale (carbonated) Strong Ale pint bottled 1018.5 1066.5 Between 13 - 14 6.24 72.18%
1929 Sparkling Pale Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1007.8 1038 Between 7 - 8. 3.93 79.61%
1929 Sparkling Malt Wine (carbonated) Barley Wine pint bottled 1013 1076 No. 14. 8.27 82.89%
1929 No. 1 Alloa Pale Ale (carbonated) Pale Ale pint bottled 1011 1044.8 No. 9. 4.38 75.42%
1930 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1011.5 1040 3.69 71.25%
1930 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1010 1039 50 3.76 74.36%
1931 Milk Stout Stout pint bottled 1020 1044 3.09 54.55%
1932 Heavy Export Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1011 1048 4.81 77.08%
1933 Lemon shandy Shandy pint bottled 1006 1014 1.03 57.14%
1933 Heavy Export Pale Ale pint bottled 1012 1048 4.68 75.00%
1933 Sparkling Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1005.5 1035 3.84 84.29%
1933 Sparkling Table Beer Pale Ale pint bottled 1007.5 1021 1.74 64.29%
1934 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint draught 1012 1038 3.36 68.42%
1935 Pale Ale Pale Ale 8d pint bottled 1009.4 1041 4.10 77.07%
1936 90/- Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1004 1036 7 – 8 4.17 88.89%
1937 Cream Double Stout Stout pint bottled 1025.5 1045.5 2.56 43.96%
1937 Pale Ale Pale Ale 5d pint bottled 1007.3 1032.3 13 – 14 3.24 77.52%
1937 Pale Ale Pale Ale 6d pint bottled 1011 1039 13 – 14 3.63 71.79%
1939 60/- Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1007.8 1037.5 3.87 79.33%
1939 Light Ale Mild 6d pint draught 0.06 1005.8 1033.6 40 + 1 3.61 82.74%
1939 Strong Ale Strong Ale 10d pint draught 0.08 1005.2 1047.4 40 + 16 5.52 89.03%
Sources:
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive
Younger, Wm. & Co Gravity Book document WY/6/1/1/19 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/001 held at the London Metropolitan Archives
Document WY/6/1/1/14 of the William Younger archive held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

4 comments:

Ed said...

I think Sweetheart stout at 2%ABV is still around.

Barm said...

It certainly is, brewed by Tennent's at Wellpark. Ironically Tennent's have now been brewing it longer than Geo Younger did.

But that's not what I came here to post. You are not telling me that William Younger couldn't spell either "McEwan" or "Drybrough"?

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, he's not the only one. All the gravity books have misspellings.

Tennent's - the real survivors of Scottish brewing. There's more to follow on that topic.

Barm said...

I have a couple of Tennent's posts coming up too.