Friday, 23 October 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1946 Fullers PA

I thought I’d go for a full-on austerity Bitter. And what better beer than Fullers PA. Because it demonstrates nicely the arc of Pale Ales.

Let’s go back in time a little. To 1887. When Fullers PA was still called IPA. Then it was the strongest of Fullers Pale Ales at 1060º. They brewed four Pale Ales is in all, with quite small differences in gravity between them, just 10 points between the strongest and weakest. A bit like some cask breweries today, it looks.

By the 1950’s, PA and X Ale were the only Fullers beers still around that had been brewed in the 19th century. But PA paid a price for its longevity. Its gravity was greatly reduced. As its gravity dropped, it gradually squeezed out all the Pale Ales below it.

But when gravity restrictions were relaxed in the early 1950’s, some breweries grasped the chance to brew a stronger Bitter again. Fullers was one. But instead of restoring some of PA’s strength they introduced a new Bitter, SPA (presumably standing for “Special Pale Ale”). A beer whose name was later changed to something more familiar: London Pride.

PA had been downgraded from top dog to second fiddle. When An even stronger Bitter, ESB, was introduced, poor old PA was down to third in the pecking order.

Here are the 19th-century Pale Ales:

Fullers Pale Ales in 1887 - 1888
Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation hops lb/brl
IPA 1059.6 1018.0 5.50 69.77% 3.28
XK 1057.1 1016.1 5.42 71.84% 2.84
AK 1053.5 1014.7 5.13 72.54% 2.66
AKK 1049.9 1014.7 4.65 70.56% 2.53
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery,

And the 1950’s ones.

Fullers Pale Ales in 1959
Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation hops lb/brl
LP 1043.2 1011.6 4.17 73.06% 1.10
PA 1032.2 1008.9 3.09 72.48% 0.82
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery,

You’ve probably already noticed the simplicity of post-war recipes. This is no exception. Just pale malt, sugar and flaked barley. In normal times the latter would have been replaced by flaked maize. But that was unavailable during the war. And in a wartime attempt to save some of the energy used in malting, brewers had been ordered to use flaked barley. It turns up in pretty much every recipe in this period. Even those of brewers like Whitbread who used no adjuncts pre-war.

That’s about all I have to say. So here’s the recipe:

1946 Fullers PA
pale malt 6.00 lb 77.42%
flaked barley 1.25 lb 16.13%
no. 2 sugar 0.25 lb 3.23%
glucose 0.25 lb 3.23%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1034.6
FG 1010.8
ABV 3.15
Apparent attenuation 68.79%
IBU 32
SRM 12
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale


Martyn Cornell said...

I believe for a short while London Pride was called Chiswick Pride.

Ron Pattinson said...


wheres as modern Chiswick is essentially the old PA.

Gay Gilmore said...

Wow those are some crazy hopping rates compared to today. Were hops just really sucky back then or were those beers crazy bitter? Don't imagine you have found any recordings of alpha acids back from back then?

Ron Pattinson said...


beers were crazy hoppy. The earlist analyses I've found of British hops - the 1920's - show alpha acid levels no different to today.

Andy said...

Safe to say this had a healthy dose of Goldings added as dry hops?

Ron Pattinson said...


probably b ut I can't say for sure as Fullers brewing records don't give details of dry hopping.

Claes Eliasson said...

a wee question, maybe its a dumb one, I blame my lack of english understanding. In the recipe it says " No .2 sugar"
Is that the same as Invert No 2? Im on a quest to brew the perfect/authentic bitter at home.

Ron Pattinson said...

Claes Eliasson,

yes, it's the same as No. 2 invert.

Claes Eliasson said...

Great! Thanks Ron, I think I will brew this soon. What would be the best water treatment for this beer? Burton or London?

Ron Pattinson said...

Claes Eliasson,

London well water plus 9 oz gypsum, 1 oz magnesium sulphate per hl. I had to check a couple of times that it really was hl and not barrrel. Really weird seeing a random metric unit in the log.

Claes Eliasson said...

Thanks! After this I think I will try my hands on one of the Courage imperial recipes.

Claes Eliasson said...

Ive been running the water numbers and 9 0z per hl seems crazy. I might just lower that by a whole lot. Or just go with the London water profiler in beersmith. What do you Think?

Claes Eliasson said...

Or maybe I'll just go with Burtonized water?

Unknown said...

Hey, is it UK or US measure ? lbs/brl

Ron Pattinson said...


UK measures. I'm not going to convert things to US measures.

Unknown said...

Thank you for your reply, I'm in love with the Chiswick bitter, I'm so depressed that Fuller's don't make it anymore so I'm trying to reach the taste by myself with your helpful site ;)