Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1946 Fullers P

I was most surprised when I saw P – the brewhouse name for their Porter – appearing in post-WW II Fullers brewing records. I hadn’t seen any other evidence of London Porter making it past the war. But things weren’t quite what they seemed.

In the early 1930’s, Fullers brewed two black beers: P (Porter) and BS (Brown Stout). Both would have been served on draught, as Stout – and to a lesser extent Porter – were still standard draught beers in London. Porter had an OG of around 1041º and Stout 1056º. Three analyses from 1932 and 1933 in the Truman Gravity Book show that P, when bottled, was being sold as Stout.

Oddly for a London brewer, Fullers seems to have discontinued BS sometime in the 1930’s, leaving just the weaker P. Which seems to have been a mostly, if not exclusively bottled beer. The name it was marketed under, was one of the favourites for lower-gravity, sweet versions: Nourishing Stout.

Turning to the beer itself, the grist is notable for one thing: an absence of brown malt They dropped it sometime between 1921 and 1925. London brewers were remarkably loyal to brown malt, with Whitbread using it at Chiswell Street right up until it closed in the mid-1970’s. The only coloured malt in this grist is black malt.

I’ve made some changes to the sugars employed. A proprietary sugar called PEX I’ve replaced by No. 2 invert. I’ve substituted No. 4 invert for something called Special Dark. Not 100% the same as the original, but about as close as I can get using standard ingredients.

For a dark beer of such modest strength, it’s reasonably heavily hopped, only slightly less so than their Pale Ales. Surprisingly heavily hopped, I should say, given it’s clearly intended to be a sweet beer.

This type of Stout was very popular in the immediate post-war years, but gradually faded from view as its drinkers aged and died. By the time I started drinking in pubs in the early 1970’s, sweet, bottled Stout was only drunk by the granny or grandad in the corner. You’d never see anyone south of 50 drinking it.

How many beers of this type are still brewed? Mackeson and Sweetheart Stout are the only two I can think of. Maybe this could be a new frontier for innovative brewers: weak and sweet. There’s only so far you can innovate by throwing in more hops.

Over to me for the recipe . . . . .

1946 Fullers P
pale malt 4.25 lb 62.96%
black malt 0.75 lb 11.11%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 7.41%
No. 2 invert 0.25 lb 3.70%
No. 3 invert 0.75 lb 11.11%
No. 4 invert 0.25 lb 3.70%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.00 oz
OG 1030.7
FG 1011.1
ABV 2.59
Apparent attenuation 63.84%
IBU 28
SRM 29
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 176º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

1 comment:

Ike said...

Harveys still brew one.

Sweet Sussex Stout is a lush, sweet stout and a fine example of a style now rarely produced but extremely popular during the mid twentieth century. (2.8%)

Tasting notes: It has an aroma of burnt sugar and a soft, rounded, sweet palate offset by a slightly burnt aftertaste.