I twigged what that secret was when I got to about 1951 in my log trawl. It's made me do some rethinking about Scottish beer. Particularly about the nature of 60/-, 70/- and 80/-. But before we get onto such philosophical questions, let's take a look at the beer itself:
|Maclay PA 6d 1939 - 1992|
|Date||Year||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||Pitch temp||max. fermen-tation temp||length of fermen-tation (days)||pale malt||crystal malt||no. 1 sugar||no. 2 sugar||caramel||DCS sugar||oats||flaked maize||flaked rice||wheat malt||flaked barley||malted oats||torrefied wheat||malt extract|
|Maclay brewing records, document numbers M/6/1/1/3, M/6/1/1/4, M/6/1/1/13, M/6/1/1/28, M/6/1/1/35, M/6/1/1/44, M/6/1/1/46, M/6/1/1/49, M/6/1/1/56, M/6/1/1/61, M/6/1/1/64 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.|
The first thing that strikes me is how little this beer changed between 1951 and 1984. The OG was rock solid at 1030, though the FG did decline a point or two. I don't think I've come across a beer whose specs were so stable for so long.
The stability doesn't end there. The hopping rate stayed at around 0.65 lbs per barrel for the whole period. As did the fermentation temperature, with pitching at 61º F, rising to 69º F. Fermentation took 7 or 8 days.
I'm shocked at how little the recipe changed as well. 75-80% pale malt, 5-7% No. 2 invert, 3% DCS sugar, 11% flaked maize, 2% malt extract and a touch of caramel. Between 1956 and 1980 the recipe is basically identical. That's very unusual.
That's quite odd, but not as odd as what comes next.
Matching up brewhouse names with product names can be a nightmare. Especially when you don't have a price list. That's not a problem with Maclay. At least not from the 1970's onwards, because I can remember their beers and they're listed in the Good Beer Guide.
This is the entry for Maclay in the 1982 Good Beer Guide:
I can match these up nae probs with the beers in the brewing records. There's only one thing 60/- could possibly be: PA 6d. Which causes me quite a degree of consternation.
Because I always considered 60/-, and Maclay 60/- in particular, to be Dark Mild. Not only was it called a Pale Ale in the brewery, it was brewed to exactly the same recipe as the 70/- (SPA in the brewhouse) and 80/- (Export). Presumably it was primed with caramel at racking time to get the dark colour.
This in itself isn't that unusual. There were plenty of breweries who made Mild by adding caramel to their Bitter. It still goes on today. What makes me feel weird is this: in way, the BJCP are right in their description of 60/-, 70/- and 80/-. They say that they are different strength versions of the same thing. Which in the case of Maclay is certainly true. Where the BJCP falls down is in not recognising that they are the Scottish versions of Pale Ale rather than mythical "Scottish Ales". And all that bollocks about cool fermentation temperatures, roast barley for colouring, etc.
There's one question unanswered: when did Maclay PA 6d get darker and turn into a pretend Mild?