Thursday, 8 March 2012

Quiz solution

I'm quite surprised that no-one really got this. I wasn't after anything complicated.

Take a look again:

What does it tell us? The proportion of Bitter to Mild that Boddington's brewed. To be very specific, the proportion of Bitter to Mild in November 1985. Though there was no way for you to have known the date.

1031º is the Mild. And 1034º the Bitter. All the other entries are, as Barm said, primings. Upon which tax obviously had to be paid. The column on the right gives the quantities in standard hectolitres (a hectolitre of beer at 1055º - that's why the numbers aren't just the number of litres divided by 100, Gary).

I'm slightly surprised at how little Mild they brewed. According to Statistical Handbook of the British Beer & Pub Association 2005, p. 17, 6.4% of beer sold in the UK in 1985 was Mild.So they were above the national average. But that includes the large swathes of the South where Mild was already a rarity. I would have expected more like 20% Mild.

Here are the numbers in tidy table form:

litres barrels %
mild 256,889 1,570 9.04%
bitter 2,586,227 15,803 90.96%
total 2,843,116 17,373 100.00%

Boddingtons brewing records held at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.

The previous page also gives totals for materials used. Which I can use to calculate average hopping rates. So that's what I've done:

barrels brewed 18,694
malt 2,258
hops 13,020
hops lbs/barrel 0.70
hops lbs/qtr 5.77
Boddingtons brewing records held at the Museum of Science and Industry, Manchester.

In case you're wondering, the difference in barrelage is due to losses during the brewing process. The number in the first table is excise barrels, in the second barrels brewed.

Did Boddingtons only brew two beers? In this period, yes. They aren't the most exciting brewing records I've seen.


Matt said...

I began my drinking career in Manchester a couple years after this. I've drunk plenty of Boddies Bitter as well as Holts and Robinsons Bitter and Mild since then (and Wilsons Mild just before it disappeared) but I don't ever remember seeing Boddingtons Mild. I'd guess it was only supplied to a small number of pubs who could shift it. I remember going into a Hydes pub in the late 80's populated by old men in flat caps playing cribbage and all drinking mild, it was like stepping back into the 1950's!

There's a discussion about Boddies Mild here.

Martyn Cornell said...

I have actually drunk Boddies Mild in London, in the former King Lud at the bottom of Ludgate Hill, in the early 1990s (possibly as late as 1995), when that pub was effectively a "Whitbread free house". I would not be surprised if it was actually the caramelled-up bitter, but it certainly had its own, proper pumpclip.

Gary Gillman said...

Very good and I would have gotten it early but for one thing: I couldn't understand why the OG of the larger production was higher, i.e., I would have expected to see the reverse. And I assumed that because of mild's dominance in the older periods you usually study, Ron. 1985 is pretty late for a record on SUABP and a handwritten one to boot! But good stuff to be sure.


Tom said...

Do you know what the ABV of the bitter was? OG of 1034, does that roughly translate to a meagre ABV of 3.4%? If so, no wonder people didn't bother to drink the mild.

Tom said...

Bear in mind that Boddingtons owned the Oldham brewery from 1982 onwards, and I think that they began phasing out their own brand in favour of the Oldham brand.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tom, the Oldham beers turn up a little later in the brewing book. At least they were brewing four beers then. Oldham Mild looks a more interesting beer. It actually has dark malt in it.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tom, based on the racking gravities taken randomly from one page: between 3.51% to 3.77% ABV. Add primings and a bit of a secondary fermentation and by the time it goes over the bar it'll be stronger than that.

Tom said...

It's no wonder they sold out in 1989 to Whitbread. Strangeways by that time was a 500,000 barrel capacity brewery and you have the figure that their brands were doing 20,000? Jeez.

Ron Pattinson said...

Tom, that's the output for one month. They were doing 250,000 or so barrel a year.

Ron Pattinson said...

Matt, I can remember drinking Boddies Mild in both Manchester and Leeds. Especially the colour: only dark compared to their Bitter.

Tom said...

I have used some of your findings to improve the Boddingtons Wikipedia page that I am mostly responsible for in its current state. Cited of course. You'll find some pretty useful information on that page, all referenced. Boddingtons Cask Mild was discontinued in 1999 for instance. I believe the keg version survived a little longer.