This time it’s their, er, strong Pale ale. A beer that was sold in bottled format only. Bottled beer was on the rise again in the 1950’s after being beaten down by wartime restrictions. Less popular styles like Stout retreated from draught, but other beers were designed to be bottled only. Things like Brown Ale and Light Ale.
This gives a flavour of the shift in consumer preference from cask to bottled beer:
“A CONTINUOUS and growing demand for bottled was reported by H.W. Lake, MC. the chairman of directors at the Annual General Meeting of Cheltenham and Hereford Breweries, Ltd which was held the Fleece Hotel, Cheltenham. yesterday.
In his remarks amplifying his statement circulated to shareholders, he said "In this part of the world people are changing. They like beer out of a bottle and not out of a cask.
"While this is proceeding here to such an extent, I want to tell you that this Company is prepared for this change.
"Under the direction of the brewers helped by Mr Hopcraft, we have a bottling plant which can cope with all the present demands and it is up to us to thank the management and the brewers that they have able to design improvements in our bottle store, by which we ran cope with this extraordinary demand for bottled beer which increases every year, and looks like increasing."
. . . .
“The outstanding feature this year is that although the output of beer in cask declines, the demand for bottled beer continually increases. We are, however, now able to meet all demands for bottled goods, having concentrated our bottling at Cheltenham with a complete range of modern plant running smoothly and economically.””
Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 16 December 1950, page 2.
Getting back to the beer in question, it has one notable feature: it’s very pale. At 13.5 on the old Lovibond scale, it’s only a tad darker than the 12.5 of their Golden Ale. It’d got me thinking about the colour of Pale Ale. I’ve often wondered just how pale 19th-century versions were. What was a typical colour in the early 1950’s?
So I had a look at other Pale Ales of the same era. I’ve plenty of analyses. And I’ve arranged them nicely in a table:
|Pale Ale colour in 1952|
|1952||Ansell||Pale Ale||10d||half pint||bottled||1038.3||19|
|1952||Cobbs Brewery||Pale Ale||10d||half pint||bottled||1031.5||26|
|1952||Barclay Perkins||Pale Ale||15d||pint||draught||1034.6||19|
|1952||Barclay Perkins||Pale Ale||16d||pint||draught||1033.22||24|
|1952||Barclay Perkins||H & O Pale Ale||16d||pint||draught||1032.78||23|
|1952||Ind Coope||Pale Ale||19d||pint||draught||1044.08||26|
|1952||Ind Coope||Pale Ale||19d||pint||draught||1043.7||23|
|1952||Ind Coope||Coronet Pale Ale||19d||pint||draught||1044.86||23|
|1952||Ind Coope||Pale Ale||11d||half pint||bottled||1035.6||22|
|1952||Mann||Macs No.1 Pale Ale||20d||pint||draught||1044.91||20|
|1952||Taylor Walker||Pale Ale||17d||pint||draught||1037.65||24|
|1952||Tollemache||Resch's Bitter Ale||18d||pint||draught||1035.96||23|
|1952||Tooth & Co||Pale Ale||half||bottled||1043.1||13|
|Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.|
|Lees brewing recods|
The only one that’s paler is from Australia. Only a handful have a colour of less than 20. It’s clear that SPA was unusually pale.
The table also tells us that SPA was up at the top end of the strength scale for Pale Ales. Only two are stronger and one of those is Bass.
The recipe is extremely simple: pale malt, sugar and English hops. Attenuation is relatively low, meaning the finished beer should have plenty of body, probably drinking stronger than it really is. A beer I’d really like to taste.
That’s me done, so over to me for the recipe . . .
|1952 Strong SPA|
|pale malt||6.75 lb||74.34%|
|no. 1 sugar||1.00 lb||11.01%|
|candy sugar||0.25 lb||2.75%|
|malt extract||0.33 lb||3.63%|
|Fuggles 90 min||0.75 oz|
|Goldings 60 min||0.75 oz|
|Goldings 30 min||0.75 oz|
|Goldings dry hops||0.25 oz|
|Mash at||152º F|
|Sparge at||160º F|
|Boil time||90 minutes|
|pitching temp||62º F|
|Yeast||WLP007 Dry English Ale|