Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1948 Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries Pompey Royal

Bit of a long title this time. As you can see from the label, the brewery themselves branded it just United.

First a word of thanks. This recipes isn't based on a record that I excavated with my own bare hands from the archives. Someone else did the mining work this time. David at Quaffer. This is turning out to be an easy day for me, because he's also written about the history of Pompey Royal. I'm feeling all superfluous.

Looking at the label, you'll notice that the brewery described this beer as a Golden Ale. What a modern term. One I'd have associated with just the last 20 years. But, as I've often told you before, there's very little that's genuinely new in the beer world.

Don't expect me to come up with any specific style for this. Strong Ale will do for me. Nice and vague.

The modern version of Pompey Royal doesn't have much in common with this. More a strongish Pale Ale. It's also moved around several breweries of the former Whitbread group over the years.

1948 is an odd date to introduce a strong beer. Average gravity was it its nadir in 1947 and 1948, under 1033º. While it crept back up a little, but got stuck at 1037º in 1951 and stayed there until 1993. The late 1940's were a pretty grim time in Britain. Shortages, rationing, smashed up cities and the camaraderie of the war years fading. I'm glad I didn't grow up then.

I've put the sexiest numbers from the period into a little table for you:

British beer 1946 - 1947
UK 1946 1947 1948 1949 1950
Production (bulk barrels) 32,650,200 29,261,398 30,408,634 26,990,144 26,513,997
Exports (bulk barrels) 187,418 109,680 205,098 254,147 221,210
Exports (standard barrels) 150,099 85,660 179,120 226,215
Imports (bulk barrels) 929,028 860,161 863,855 875,548 1,018,603
Average OG 1034.72 1032.59 1032.66 1033.43 1033.88
Net excise receipts (pounds) 295,305,369 250,350,829 264,112,043 294,678,035 263,088,673
Brewers' Almanack 1955, pages 50 and  57.

In case you're wondering about the beer imports, that's pretty much all Guinness from the Irish Republic. Bugger all from anywhere else.

Like I said, most of my work has been done for me today.  That's me done. I think I can see Kristen just coming around the corner  . . . . . yes, there he is . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: This one has been around since the forties but has changed quite a bit. This version is much higher in everything than the current one brewed by Oakleaf. They used the same pale malt from two different lots so feel free to use a single malt or two. Maris otter and golden promise would work lovely here. You’ll also notice the malt extract. They used a mix of EDME and Fiona diastatic malt extracts they added to the mash tun to help the mash along. For us, we don’t need the enzymes but I would suggest something amber in color. You can completely replace it with more malt if you’d like. Shouldn’t make a difference at the low levels you see. The hops were pretty much all Kentish Goldings, all very fresh, with a butte loade going into the dry hop.


Jeff Renner said...

Looks mighty dark at 25 SRM for a "golden" ale. Looks to be thoroughly dark brown.

A two hour mash at 151ºF with 17% invert sugar would end up with a much higher attenuation for me. I would expect from experience more like 85% apparent. How did they/you do it?

Gary Gillman said...

Gold can be a range of colours from light yellow to a brownish amber. I can't address the rating scale (don't know how it works), but here is an example, contemporary, of a tawny gold in beer:


Kristen England said...


Gotta drop the yeast. As for color, add the caramel or not. that will make it 'golden'.