Friday, 14 March 2014

League table of London Burton Ales in the 1920's

Did I remember to tell you how much these Burton Ales cost? 9d a pint falling to 8d in 1923. By comparison, the different strengths of Mild were 7d, 6d and 5d, falling to 6d, 5d and 4d. just thought I'd get that out of the way.

Lots of tables is what you're in for. Tables which will prove . . . . I'm not quite sure. Let's take a look at the numbers and see if anything jumps out as at us.

To start, let's recap the Mild results:

League table of London Milds in the 1920's by score
Brewery Beer No. examples no. bright % bright no. good flavour % good flavour average score
Mann X 15 10 66.67% 11 73.33% 1.33
Watney X 17 16 94.12% 15 88.24% 1.25
Wenlock X 12 8 66.67% 10 83.33% 1.17
Whitbread MA 3 0 0.00% 2 66.67% 0.67
Cannon X 14 9 64.29% 9 64.29% 0.54
Truman X 14 11 78.57% 9 64.29% 0.5
Lion Brewery X 10 5 50.00% 6 60.00% 0.40
Courage X 16 15 93.75% 11 68.75% 0.38
Hoare X 10 7 70.00% 7 70.00% 0.30
Huggins X 10 6 60.00% 7 70.00% 0.20
Meux X 11 6 54.55% 6 54.55% 0
Whitbread X 5 3 60.00% 2 40.00% -0.2
Meux MA 7 4 57.14% 2 28.57% -0.57
Truman MA 8 4 50.00% 2 25.00% -0.63
Barclay Perkins X 14 1 7.14% 5 35.71% -0.64
Charrington X 10 3 30.00% 5 50.00% -0.70
City of London X 12 4 33.33% 3 25.00% -1.25
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

A good showing for Mann, Watney and Wenlock. Disappointing from Charrington, Barclay Perkins and, Truman and Meux. The number of beers with negative score was 6 from 17, or 35%. The average of all scores was just positive, 0.16.

You can see that the scores for Burton were generally higher:

League table of London Burton Ales in the 1920's by score
Brewery FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation score
Whitbread 1010.6 1053.2 5.56 80.26% 1.33
Courage 1012.1 1052.5 5.25 76.95% 1.25
Mann 1011.7 1053.9 5.49 78.31% 1.25
Meux 1009.7 1053.3 5.69 81.69% 1.11
Charrington 1014.6 1054.5 5.19 73.28% 1.00
Wenlock 1011.2 1052.5 5.38 78.69% 1.00
Lion 1012.6 1053.7 5.35 76.47% 0.78
Watney 1013.4 1058.7 5.90 77.11% 0.77
Truman 1013.4 1058.7 5.90 77.11% 0.77
Hoare 1017.2 1054.9 4.89 68.70% 0.67
Huggins 1012.5 1054.2 5.42 76.88% 0.67
City of London 1010.2 1051.3 5.36 80.03% 0.09
Barclay Perkins 1010.8 1052.4 5.42 79.41% -0.18
Cannon 1013.3 1052.8 5.13 74.77% -0.73
Average 1012.4 1054.0 5.42 77.12% 0.70
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Only 2 from 14, or 14%, of the beers had negative scores. And the average of all scores was a reasonable 0.70.

I think we can ignore Whitbread because of the small sample size. Mann and Wenlock both place high again, while there's a big improvement for Meux and Charrington. City of London and Barclay Perkins again do badly. This is really sad. It's starting to look as if Barclay's beers were mostly shit.

I've combined the placings for Mild and Burton to come up with an overall league table:

Brewery Burton Mild Total
Mann 3 1 4
Whitbread 1 4 5
Wenlock 6 3 9
Courage 2 8 10
Watney 8 2 10
Lion 7 7 14
Meux 4 11 15
Truman 9 6 15
Cannon 14 5 19
Hoare 10 9 19
Charrington 5 16 21
Huggins 11 10 21
Barclay Perkins 13 15 28
City of London 12 17 29

Mann is the clear winner, followed by, if we ignore Whitbread, by Wenlock, Courage and Watney. This is odd. Three of the top four later became Big Six breweries. I really don't know what that tells us.

Time for the next table. This includes details of the number of bright and well-flavoured examples:

League table of London Burton Ales in the 1920's by score
Brewery No. examples no. bright % bright no. good flavour % good flavour average score
Whitbread 3 1 33.33% 3 100.00% 1.33
Courage 12 6 50.00% 9 75.00% 1.25
Mann 12 6 50.00% 10 83.33% 1.25
Meux 9 4 44.44% 6 66.67% 1.11
Truman 11 6 54.55% 9 81.82% 1.09
Charrington 9 6 66.67% 7 77.78% 1.00
Wenlock 9 4 44.44% 7 77.78% 1.00
Lion 9 2 22.22% 6 66.67% 0.78
Watney 13 9 69.23% 9 69.23% 0.77
Hoare 9 2 22.22% 5 55.56% 0.67
Huggins 9 4 44.44% 7 77.78% 0.67
City of London 11 3 27.27% 5 45.45% 0.09
Barclay Perkins 11 3 27.27% 6 54.55% -0.18
Cannon 11 5 45.45% 3 27.27% -0.73
total 138 61 44.20% 92 66.67%
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

As I suspected, the level of clarity is rubbish: fewer than 50% of the examples were bright. Flavour is much better, with two-thirds getting positive scores. Six breweries had 75% or more of their samples with good flavour. I think that's not bad going. Probably as good, if not better, than today.

Finally, the same table but ordered by the percentage of beers that were clear:

League table of London Burton Ales in the 1920's by clarity
Brewery No. examples no. bright % bright no. good flavour % good flavour average score
Watney 13 9 69.23% 9 69.23% 0.77
Charrington 9 6 66.67% 7 77.78% 1.00
Truman 11 6 54.55% 9 81.82% 1.09
Courage 12 6 50.00% 9 75.00% 1.25
Mann 12 6 50.00% 10 83.33% 1.25
Cannon 11 5 45.45% 3 27.27% -0.73
Meux 9 4 44.44% 6 66.67% 1.11
Wenlock 9 4 44.44% 7 77.78% 1.00
Huggins 9 4 44.44% 7 77.78% 0.67
Whitbread 3 1 33.33% 3 100.00% 1.33
City of London 11 3 27.27% 5 45.45% 0.09
Barclay Perkins 11 3 27.27% 6 54.55% -0.18
Lion 9 2 22.22% 6 66.67% 0.78
Hoare 9 2 22.22% 5 55.56% 0.67
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

There's some correlation between good scores and clarity, but not a complete one. Standing out is City of London, slightly above half way for clarity, in the bottom three for score.

My conclusions? That draught Burton was mostly in reasonably good nick in 1920's London, if not always perfectly bright. And draught Burton was a safer bet than draught Mild.

1 comment:

Rob said...

Answering one of your questions, did we maybe have a quality leading to profit situation?

The best breweries in quality had the money to buy out the others and become part of the "big 6"?

No idea if that is true, but I like to think that kind of thing actually happens.