You may recall me banging on at every available opportunity about Porter being imported into India in greater quantities than IPA. Here's confirmation than drinking Porter was a regular part of the life of an ordinary soldier in India.
Soldiers were issued with a daily ration of Porter in some units:
Lieut.-Colonel Gall—, The usual beverages are spirits, porter, and arrack. . . . The usual issue is one quart of porter and one dram; the latter may be exchanged. Porter is cheapened to encourage its use in lieu of spirits.A quart was reasonably generous, given the strength of it (between 5.5% and 6% ABV):
"Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire Into the Sanitary State of the Army in India", 1863, page 225.
|India Porter and Stout|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Style||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||Pitch temp||max. fermen-tation temp|
|1853||Whitbread||Expt. India Beer||Porter||1062.3||1018.3||5.83||70.67%||20.23||5.58||1.5||1.5||2||64º|
|1853||Whitbread||Contract India Beer||Porter||1059.6||1018.6||5.42||68.84%||20.31||4.95||1.5||1.5||2||64º|
|1854||Whitbread||Contract India Beer||Porter||1057.9||1015.0||5.68||74.16%||19.62||4.64||1.5||1.5||2||64º|
|1854||Whitbread||Contract India Beer||Porter||1058.4||1014.7||5.79||74.88%||19.58||4.57||1.5||1.5||2||64º|
|1854||Whitbread||Expt. India Beer||Stout||1072.0||1022.2||6.60||69.23%||19.33||6.42||1.75||1.5||2||64º|
|1854||Whitbread||Expt. India Beer||Stout||1071.2||1019.9||6.78||71.98%||18.90||5.93||1.5||1.5||2||64º|
|Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/542.|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/047 and LMA/4453/D/09/048 .|
Note that Whitbread also brewed a Stout for export to India.
Here's more evidence of soldiers receiving Porter as part of their rations:
Finally, something that flies in the face of all received wisdom about India and beer:
Brig.-Gen. Russell—, . . . . Every effort was made to draw men from the canteen, which was kept as far as possible from the place of amusement. The men preferred going thither and getting their porter fresh to having it brought to them at dinner.
"Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire Into the Sanitary State of the Army in India", 1863, page 227.
Dr. Dempster—, . . . . Advises pure water or slightly acidulated drinks only in general, but in some cases pale ale, i.e., for weak persons after several years' residence. . . . . It is difficult to keep ale imported from England. Porter keeps better.
"Report of the Commissioners Appointed to Inquire Into the Sanitary State of the Army in India", 1863, page 229.
Yes, that's right. Dr. Dempster reckoned Porter lasted better in the heat than IPA.