Thursday 1 May 2014

Hoare Brown Ale 1927 - 1933

We've now got to Brown Ale in our leisurely wander through Hoare's beers of the interwar years.

Had the brewery closed a couple of decades earlier, they would probably never have brewed a Brown Ale. There's the odd example from before WW I, but it was only in the 1920's that it became a mainstream style and every brewery produced one.

In the early days in particular, Brown Ales were a diverse bunch. It's only after WW II that they mostly became tweaked versions of Dark Mild. Beers like Whitbread Double Brown had no connection at all with Mild. It was brewed single-gyle with a grist unlike any of their other beers. At over 5% ABV, it was also stronger than any interwar Mild. Apart from in the Northeast of England, stronger Brown Ales had pretty much disappeared by 1960.

That's one of the reasons I was so keen to get Pretty Things to brew Double Brown. It looked an interesting beer, unlike any contemporary beer, and I wanted to try it. I wasn't far wrong. It was a lovely beer, especially in cask format.

The first two examples in the table below look like this stronger type of Brown Ale. They certainly have too high an OG to be a slightly modified Mild.

The gravity, unsurprisingly, plummets after 1931 (Snowden's emergency Budget, remember) and by 1933 it looks very much like the classic post-war Brown Ale: a gravity in the low 1030's and an ABV of around 3%.

I'm slightly confused by the draught Brown Ale. For starters, the style was usually exclusively in bottled format. Second, what makes it different from Dark Mild? It has about the same gravity as Hoare's X Ale. Was is really a different beer? As all their brewing records are gone, we will probably never know.

Hoare Brown Ale 1927 - 1933
Year Beer Price size package Acidity FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation
1927 Brown Ale 7d half bottled 1050.6
1929 Brown Ale 8d pint bottled 1012.8 1046 4.31 72.17%
1930 Nut Brown Ale 7d pint bottled 1011.2 1036 3.21 68.89%
1931 Nut Brown Ale pint bottled 1033
1931 Nut Brown Ale 9d pint bottled 1010.4 1030 2.53 65.33%
1931 Toby Brown Ale 9d pint bottled 1009.8 1034.9 3.25 71.92%
1931 Brown Ale 8d pint draught 0.07 1007.9 1037.6 3.86 78.99%
1932 Brown Ale 9d pint bottled 0.05 1010.8 1034 3.00 68.24%
1933 Golden Brown Ale 8d pint bottled 0.05 1007.2 1030 2.96 76.00%
1933 Nut Brown Ale 8d pint bottled 0.05 1009.4 1032 2.93 70.63%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

Next time we'll look at X Ale, that staple of the public bar. And a beer these Brown Ales were probably often mixed with.


Anonymous said...

Were there many stronger brown ales in the North East, apart from Newcastle Brown and Vaux Double Maxim?

MikeS said...

Any clues as to what "Golden Brown Ale" was all about?

Cheers- Mike in the USA

Ron Pattinson said...


not that I can think of. But there were wstonger ones brewed all over the place.

Ron Pattinson said...


no idea, I'm afraid. Unfortunately no colour was given in the analysis.