Saturday, 10 September 2011

Thomas Russell beers in 1930

I'm sure I mentioned my visit to Wolverhampton Archives. I went there to look at the brewing records they have for Thomas Russell. Here's my first report on the beers they brewed.

It may also be my last report on their beers. Because, frustratingly, two of the three logs lack much basic information. Little things like the gravity and the quantity brewed. The 1930's log isn't much better, but I can at least work out the gravity from the gyle information.

Then there are the beers themselves. Not the most inspiring. Basically five different strengths of the same one. They're even worse than Whitbread in the 1840's. Russell had a single recipe: pale malt, two types of sugar, couple of types of hops. The recipe could easily date from 50 years previously, it's so simple. There's only one even vaguely interesting thing about them: the use of Saaz hops.

It's odd that. I keep coming across Saaz hops. William Younger seem to have been keen on them, too. But no doubt you'll be hearing more about that soon, when Kristen has worked his magic with their logs.

Styles. I've just guessed that the imaginatively-named, A, AB and C were sold as Milds. I could be wrong, but I doubt it. The Black Country was Mild country  (it still is to some extent). They might not have brewed a Bitter, but they had to be brewing Mild.

Here they are then.

Thomas Russell, Great Western Brewery, Wolverhampton
Date Year Beer Style OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl barrels lbs hops qtrs malt boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp
1st Aug 1930 No. 4 Strong Ale 1063.7 7.11 1.67 4 64 9 2 2 59º
1st Aug 1930 PA Pale Ale 1052.6 7.11 1.38 20 64 9 2 2 59º
1st Aug 1930 A Mild 1045.4 7.11 1.19 25 64 9 2 2 59º
5th Aug 1930 C Mild 1039.7 6.00 0.87 12 48 8 2 2 59º
8th Aug 1930 AB Mild 1034.4 6.00 0.88 3.5 48 8 2 2 59º
Document number DB-10/5 held at the Wolverhampton Archives

One other point. There were two worts. The Strong Ale was 100% the strong wort. As the gravity of this varied a bit between different brews, the strength wasn't constant.

I've used a William Butler's label for a couple of reasons. I can't find any Thomas Russell labels. And it was Butler who bought Russell in 1932.

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