Thursday, 13 December 2012

Thomas Usher's beers in the 1930's

The decades are flying past. It only seems a few days ago that we were still in the 1920's.

They were a funny decade, the 1930's. Especially for beer. The disastrous tax rise of 1931, its repeal in 1933. The repeal was such a big deal, Whitbread even named their Burton after it: 33. I seem to remember something else not so good happening in 1933.

Traditions are wonderful things. I seem to have established a new one: going through the styles in alphabetical order. It works for me, so why change it?

I've never been able to get my head around what Amber Ale is. OK, I get the 18th century definition: a lightly-hopped malt liquor from 100% amber malt. Unlike Brown Ale, the term Amber Ale does crop up in the 19th century. Sometimes as a type of Mild Ale. presumably one with a bit more colour than the normal pale 19th-century type.

That's mostly in the early decades of the 19th century. In the later decades it pops up more often as a type of bottled beer. A Dinner-Ale type thing. More a low-gravity Pale Ale, presumably with a bit more colour than Pale Ales of the day.

What sort of beer was Usher's Amber Ale? Judging from that 1930 analysis, a good bit paler than most Scottish Pale Ales. Most Pale Ales of the 1930's were between 20 and 28. The more I look at, the more the 1930 one looks like PA 60/-, just not coloured up as much.

Just one Brown Ale this time. One with a pretty decent gravity of 1050. Which puts in the upper half, gravity-wise, for the 1930's. Not more I can think to say. Except the colour, which is pale brown.

Look at those lovely watery IPA's. It this case quite literally, it seems. I was going to say watering down PA could explain how they got a beer with a lower OG than any in the 1928 brewing book. Then I took a closer look at the photos I have of that book. Which go all the way to 1934. I've just never gone through them properly. There's a little job for this evening.

Now the Pale Ales. All the ones hovering around 1040º are PA 60/-. Export Ale is PA 80/-. Hey, isn't that what it's supposed to be? Isn't that odd. The few colours given are very dark for Pale Ale. 40 is about Newcastle Brown colour. Doubtless, true to Scottish tradition, they were coloured up at racking time to a variety of shades.

Old Scotch Ale are the same thing, just named differently. The sort of Scotch Ale Belgians would recognise: dark and strong. My type of beer, now I think about it. I should get someone to brew one up.

That Stout is a bit of a funny beast. Neither the stronger export type nor the weaker sweet type. Perhaps a compromise?

I realise there will need to be a part two to this. Where I look at Usher's beers as they are in the brewing records.

Thomas Usher's beers in the 1930's
Year Beer Style package FG OG colour ABV App. Attenuation
1930 Amber Ale Amber Ale bottled 1010 1040 16 3.89 75.00%
1938 Amber Ale Amber Ale draught 1009 1044.5 4.62 79.78%
1931 Brown Ale Brown Ale bottled 1013 1050 54 4.81 74.00%
1931 IPA IPA bottled 1010 1032 2.85 68.75%
1932 India Ale (watered from PA) IPA bottled 1008 1030.5 2.92 73.77%
1930 PA 60/- Pale Ale bottled 1013.5 1040.5 3.49 66.67%
1930 Pale Ale Pale Ale draught 1010 1040 42 3.89 75.00%
1931 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1008.8 1039.6 4.00 77.78%
1931 PA 60/- Pale Ale bottled 1013.3 1040 3.46 66.88%
1931 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1010 1033 39 2.98 69.70%
1931 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1007.5 1030.5 2.98 75.41%
1931 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1010 1033 40 2.98 69.70%
1931 Export Ale Pale Ale bottled 1011.5 1053.7 5.50 78.58%
1932 PA 60/-  Pale Ale bottled 1012.5 1039.5 3.49 68.35%
1933 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1010.5 1038 3.56 72.37%
1934 Pale Ale Pale Ale draught 1013 1043 3.89 69.77%
1937 60/- Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1008.3 1038.3 3.90 78.43%
1937 60/- Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1008.3 1037.3 3.77 77.85%
1938 60/- Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 1009.8 1041 4.06 76.22%
1933 Old Scotch Ale Scotch Ale bottled 1022 1096 9.72 77.08%
1931 Stout Stout bottled 1019.7 1050.7 4.00 61.14%
1932 Strong Ale Strong Ale bottled 1023 1091 8.90 74.73%
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 held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

1 comment:

Bailey said...

Nowadays, Amber Ale is what trendy breweries call their bitter/best bitter.