Sunday, 11 August 2013

Whitbread Stock Ales in the 1830's

I almost forgot that I still had the second part to do. That's what happens when you get distracted. As I often am.

Let's begin with a bang on a drum I never get tired of beating. A bit like the kids*. Ale is the style, Mild and Stock just the level of conditioning. I understand constantly repeating this must get annoying for regular readers. It's for the benefit of newcomers. They weren't really seen as different styles, just slightly different versions of basically the same thing.

At this point, the 1830's, London brewer's weren't using multiple K's to designate their Stock Ales, but a number of X's and a single K. Whitbread changed to multiple K's in November 1864. Not sure why I've told you that. Not the most fascinating fact I've ever passed on. Feel free to forget it again immediately.

There's very little difference between the equivalent Stock and Mild Ales. Less than I'd expected, if I'm truthful. The OG's are the same, as ere the FG's. With again the phenomenon of little difference in FG between the stronger and weaker beers of the range. And attenuation averaging about 65%. Though that might be a bit deceptive. For the Stock Ales, I don't have a true racking gravity, just the gravity at the end of primary fermentation. Doubtless it was lower by the end of the storage period.

I'm not sure if Whitbread vatted their Stock Ales or just matured them in trade casks. As a Porter brewer, I'd be inclined to guess that they vatted. However, an image from Bernard's Noted Breweries of great Britain and Ireland from about half a century later clearly shows trade casks marked KK and KKK maturing in a cellar at Watney's. And they'd been a Porter brewer, too. That could just have been a change over time, as Porter brewers had mostly ripped out their vats in the 1870's. This is all a bit vague, isn't it?

Where I didn't find the difference I expected was in the hopping rate. When I've looked at this for other breweries, for example Barclay Perkins, the Stock version usually had about 50% more hops per barrel than the equivalent Mild Ale. Here it's much less, as these tables show. The first is the OG and average hopping rate of the X Ales we looked at last time:

beer OG hops lb/brl
XX 1091 2.53
XXX 1102 2.92
XXXX 1114 3.40

The second of the average hopping rate of the Stock Ales and the percentage difference with the equivalent X Ale:

beer hops lb/brl % more than X equivalent
KXX 2.91 13.07%
KXXX 3.34 12.80%
KXXXX 3.97 14.49%

Just 13-14% more hops in the Stock versions. That seems very low to me. And I have no explanation whatsoever for it.

Almost forgot about the recipes. In my defence, they are pretty dull. 100% pale malt, probably from Hertfordshire. Presumably all English hops, as only the grower is specified. Most likely from Kent.

I'm almost done with Whitbread's Ales in the 1830's. Just one more post to go.

Whitbread Stock Ales in the 1830's
Year 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. fermentation temp length of fermentation (days)
1836 KXX Stock Ale 1089.7 1032.7 7.55 63.58% 6.55 2.72 2 2 3 63º 73º 4 + 4
1837 KXX Stock Ale 1090.0 1032.7 7.59 63.69% 7.60 2.95 2 2 3 59º 77º 5 + 3
1838 KXX Stock Ale 1091.7 1029.6 8.21 67.67% 8.05 3.05 2 2 3 60º 72º 4 + 4
1837 KXXX Stock Ale 1100.3 1033.2 8.87 66.85% 7.65 3.26 2 2 3 59º 76º 7 + 4
1838 KXXX Stock Ale 1099.7 1036.0 8.43 63.89% 7.64 3.33 2 2 3 60º 75º 4 + 4
1839 KXXX Stock Ale 1102.2 1036.8 8.65 63.96% 7.64 3.44 2 2 3 60º 77.5º 5 + 3
1837 KXXXX Stock Ale 1112.7 1036.6 10.08 67.57% 8.07 3.95 2 2 3 59º 75º 6 + 3
1838 KXXXX Stock Ale 1113.8 1034.9 10.44 69.34% 8.13 4.00 2 2 3 60º 76º 5 + 2
1839 KXXXX Stock Ale 1114.4 1041.0 9.71 64.16% 7.80 3.97 2 2 3 59º 79º 5 + 2
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/001, LMA/4453/D/01/002 and LMA/4453/D/01/003 .

* The first thing Andrew said to his Mum when we got back from a short trip to Britain recently was "Dad hit me." I'd accidentally brushed his nose with my hand when we were mucking around. The way he told it, I'd deliberately smashed my fist into his face.

1 comment:

Ed said...

If only there was a book I could read about British strong ales. Something packed full of figures and fascinating facts.