Sunday 16 March 2014

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925

You must have realised what I'm ip to. I really am going to grind through all the beer styles one by one. We may be done by Christmas, if you're lucky.

First some random fun, courtesy of the newspaper archive:

Locomotive That Took the Wrong Turning
Taking the "wrong turning" at the points outside Cannon Street Station, London, yesterday, a 60-ton locomotive and tender ran along a " blind " line, mounted the buffers about fifty yards from the crossing, and crashed into the side of Messrs Barclay Perkins' Brewery at end the track.

The wall of the brewery was smashed in and a girder, with some hundredweights of masonry, was thrown into a huge beer vat, which burst with the impact. More than 200 barrels of beer leaked through to the floor below. The front of the engine remained suspended through top of the wall above the vat.

There was no one the room at the time the crash, and one was hurt."
Dundee Courier - Tuesday 03 August 1926, page 5.

Sounds to me like it crashed into the building marked "Ale Brewery", about half way up on the right:

Barclay Perkins brewery in 1896

 Dangerous places, these breweries. There was always something happening:

An explosion took place at the premises of Messrs Barclay, Perkins, & Co., brewers, Park Street, Southwark, London, in the early morning.

Two men were injured.

The men, H. Nicholls and G. Fenton, arrived at the brewery at 6.30 a.m. They went to store cupboard to get their tools.

They lit a gas jet. Immediately there was an explosion. Both men were blown a distance of ten yards. Nicholls was burned badly about the face.

The men, after first-aid treatment at the brewery, were taken to Guy's Hospital. They were able to go home later.
Evening Telegraph - Thursday 16 February 1928, page 3.
What caused the explosion? A gas leak?

Right, on with the beer. It says PA, but that's not what Barclay Perkins called it. They gave this beer the snappy name of XLK (Trade). Trade meaning draught. There was a weaker bottled version. Their stronger Bitter, actually called PA, had been discontinued during WW I. It returned in 1928 at a gravity of 1053. PA was discontinued a second time during WW II and never returned.

In the Pale Ales we'll be looking at there are basically two subtypes: Best Bitter costing 9d per pint (8d in 1923) and Bitter costing 8d (7d in 1923).

Barclay Perkins XLK was a very simple beer: pale malt, No. 2 invert sugar, flaked maize, Golding and Fuggles. Fairly modest hopping of 1.2 lbs per barrel, 3 oz. of dry hops. The attenuation is quite high so it must have been a pretty dry beer.

Let's see how it gets on with scores.

Barclay Perkins Pale Ale quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Appearance Flavour score Price
1922 PA 1008.2 1044.2 4.69 81.45% grey good 2 8d
1922 PA 1007.6 1046.6 5.09 83.69% bright fair 1 8d
1922 PA 1011 1046.5 4.61 76.34% grey v fair 2 8d
1922 PA 1008.6 1046.1 4.88 81.34% bright good 2 8d
1923 PA 1008.8 1046.3 4.88 80.99% bright v fair 2 8d
1923 PA 1007.8 1046.3 5.02 83.15% fizzy going off -2 8d
1923 PA 1008.4 1045.4 4.82 81.50% not bright v bitter (yeast?) -1 8d
1923 PA 1009.4 1045.9 4.75 79.52% bright going off -2 7d
1923 PA 1009 1045.5 4.75 80.22% going off -2 7d
1923 PA 1007.8 1041.8 4.42 81.34% grey gone off -3 7d
1924 PA 1045.6 brilliant good 2 7d
1925 PA 1009.4 1047.4 4.95 80.17% bright good 2 7d
Average  1008.7 1045.6 4.81 80.88% 0.25
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

You can see what a theme clarity is becoming. Just half of these samples were clear, six from twelve. Flavour does slightly better with seven positive scores. And for the first time they get a positive average score: 0.25. How well will that rank them? We'll see.

There's a brewery making a debut appearance in this series next: Benskins. What a treat.

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