Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bottled IPA in 1960

We’re continuing our leisurely amble through the dales of 1960’s beer analyses. This time pausing to look at the noble vista of IPA before us.

The Which? report didn’t have a category of IPA. That’s my interpretation. But there’s no way I’m going to leave two classic IPAs, White Shield and Red Triangle, lumped with the Pale Ales. Greene King’s IPA they classified as a Light Ale. I can see the sense in that, but have still moved it in with the other IPAs. For no real reason, other than to make a slightly bigger table.

One thing really surprised me about the Which? analysis. That there’s such a difference in bitterness levels between White Shield and Red Triangle. You can see that the gravities are very similar.  I know that ten years later, they were exactly the same beer, just differently packaged. If that bitterness number is to be believed that couldn’t have been true in 1960.

It’s a pity the Whitbread Gravity Book has no White Shield entry for 1960. There is one for 1961, and it’s almost identical to the Which? beer.

Not the very high rate of attenuation of the Bass/Worthington beers. So high that they have a lower FG than the far weaker Greene King beer. Except for Blue Triangle. There’s a good reason for that. White Shield and Red Triangle were bottle conditioned while Blue Triangle was brewery conditioned. I assume the bottle conditioned beers had a longer period of maturation. The high attenuation makes Bass Red Triangle the cheapest per in terms of price per 1% ABV. In fact, it’s as cheap as some draught Bitters in those terms.

Courage Alton IPA looks to be along similar lines to the Bass examples, with a decent enough gravity of 1050º. Brickwoods Sunshine IPA is a little weaker, and looks closer to a bottled Pale Ale. The draught IPAs are a good bit weaker, though, unsurprisingly, are better value for money.

Here are the tables in all their glory:

Bottled IPA in 1960
Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Index of Hop Bitter price per % ABV
Worthington White Shield 32 1053.8 1007.2 6.10 86.62% 32 5.25
Bass Bass Red Triangle 32 1054.4 1004.1 6.60 92.46% 55 4.85
Greene King India Pale Ale 20 1033.2 1008.5 3.20 74.40% 24 6.25
28 1047.1 1007 5.30 84.49% 37 5.45
Which Beer Report, 1960, pages 171 - 173.

Bottled IPA in 1960
Brewer Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour price per % ABV
Bass Pale Ale 34 0.04 1054.2 1008.3 6.00 84.69% 21 5.67
Bass Blue Triangle 0.04 1061.1 1012.7 6.32 79.21% 17
Brickwoods Sunshine IPA 28 0.04 1044.7 1011.4 4.16 74.50% 25 6.73
Courage, Barclay Alton IPA 32 0.05 1050 1011.6 4.99 76.80% 21 6.41
Greene King India Pale Ale 20 0.02 1033 1007.7 3.16 76.67% 25 6.32
Average 26.7 0.04 1048.6 1010.3 4.93 78.37% 21.8 6.28
Draught IPA
Mann Crossman IPA 19 0.06 1041.2 1009.9 4.06 75.97% 23 4.68
Simonds IPA 14 0.04 1035.4 1010.2 3.15 71.19% 18 4.44
Average 16.5 0.05 1038.3 1010.1 3.61 73.58% 20.5 4.56
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

It really will be Light Ale next. I promise.


Gary Gillman said...

Impressive ABVs for some of those beers, perhaps a high water mark for traditional pale ale after the war. White Shield is good these days and tasting better than I recall from 20 years ago, but there was more choice in this area back then. Setting aside too any new-generation bottle-conditioned beers which have a genuine English character, but in terms of the grand old names, so little is left... The Bass draft made in Toronto I can drink around the corner is actually pretty good but it is a fixed 5% ABV and has never been, in this market, naturally conditioned. The bottled one made in the U.S. is pretty good too but filtered and pasteurized.


Ed said...

Saccharomyces diastaticus, which can ferment dextrins, was used as the White Shield bottling yeast at one point which helps explain the very low final gravity.