Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1958 Fullers London Pride

This is a beer you may possibly have heard of. I’ve heard it’s quite popular.

It certainly is with Dolores. Pride is her preferred drink, when in London. Though you’ll notice that the brewhouse name wasn’t LP, as in later logs, but SPA. Which presumably stands for Special Pale Ale. I’m not sure exactly when it was introduced, but it seems to have been sometime in the early 1950’s. Something called Best PA appears in the Whitbread Gravity Book in 1951. It looks very similar to Pride in gravity. The first mention of London Pride in the Gravity Book is in 1953.

Many brewers took the opportunity to introduce a stronger Bitter in the 1950’s. Wartime restrictions had killed forced Bitters to drop below 4% ABV. Both Watney and Youngs called theirs Special Bitter, beers of a similar strength to London Pride. They sold for 2d a pint more than Ordinary Bitter. A premium I’d be willing to pay for the extra oomph.

It’s a simple recipe. Which I’ve made even simpler by replacing the glucose and the proprietary sugar PEX with more No.2 invert. The sugar content is quite low. 10% to 15% was more usual. In case wondering, the current version of London Pride has quite a different grist. Fullers now brew all-malt. There’s 5% crystal malt, 0.25% chocolate malt and the rest is pale malt.

The original mashing scheme was an underlet mash. It started at 144º F and stood for half an hour. There was then an underlet that raised the temperature to 152º F and it was stood for 2 hours. Feel free to replicate that if you want to go for full authenticity.

That’s all I can think of so over to me for the recipe . . . . .

1958 Fullers SPA
pale malt 7.75 lb 79.49%
flaked maize 1.50 lb 15.38%
no. 2 sugar 0.50 lb 5.13%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1043.2
FG 1011.4
ABV 4.21
Apparent attenuation 73.61%
IBU 34
SRM 12
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale


Anonymous said...

How much has this recipe has changed over the last fifty years?

Ron Pattinson said...


I say what the current recipe is in the text.

Martyn Cornell said...

I would assume this would also have been fermented using the "dropping" system, which was still in use at Fuller's until at least the 1970s: there's a picture here. Today, of course, they use conicals. What difference that would have made to the taste I wouldn't like to guess …

Ron Pattinson said...


the yeast was different, too. Three strains back then, just one today.

Neville Grundy said...

2d then would be about 21p now. Would the equivalent of an extra couple of quid on a night's drinking be worth the extra oomph? Thinking about it, probably.

Anonymous said...

I have Dave Line's recipe compiled I understand with assistance from Fuller's.
It would relate to around the early 1970s.
For 5 gallons
7 lb pale malt
8 oz crushed crystal malt
8 oz Demerara sugar

1 oz Fuggles and 2 oz Goldings for full boil
1/2 oz Goldings , late addition
1/4 oz Goldings for dry hopping.

I do notice that in all his recipes the hopping schedule is massively higher than the modern recipes. Generally a 4% bitter would have around 4 ounces of Fuggles or Goldings hops ; I regularly brewed to these recipes and the results were certainly not particularly bitter or hoppy. Early on I used hops from homebrew stores, later I got them from a local brewery's cold hop store rhey were obviously better but not massively so.

Ron Pattinson said...


this is the 1968 recipe taken from a brewing record:

pale malt 77.78%
crystal malt 2.08%
flaked maize 14.58%
No. 3 invert 2.31%
Glucose 0.93%
PEX 1.62%
LME 0.69%

and 2.8 oz of hops for a 5 gallon batch.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

The three strains of yeast tickled my interest. Did they deliberately mix three strains of yeast? If so, which ones? And why?

Ron Pattinson said...


few British breweries had a single-strain piching yeast until recently. Adnams still pitches a mix of two strains. It's just the way their yeast strains evolved over the decades.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

That's even more intriguing. Why? I assume their yeast pre-Hansen (so before 1904) would have been multiple strains simply because that's what you get with backslopping, but did they then continue to use multiple strains deliberately? Sounds like there's a story waiting to be told here.

Ron Pattinson said...


I have told the story. It's all to do with secondary conditioning. British brewers experimented with pure yeast strains in the late 19th century, but couldn't get reliable secondary (Brettanomyces) fermentations. At the time, the role of Brettanomyces wasn't public knowledge. These early failures left British brewers sceptical of pure yeast strains.

Lars Marius Garshol said...

My apologies, Ron, but somehow I've missed that. I hope it's in your book, which is in the reading queue.

I knew about the Brett issue, but since that was resolved in 1904, I assumed there had to be some other reason for them to still be using multiple strains over five decades later. Anyway, I'll read the book.

RudeBoyBrewing said...

What I'd give to have a fresh London Pride on cask in Jolly Ole. There is a pub in Delray Beach, FL that has hand-drawn Pride and Porter. But I'd be willing to bet it's just coming from a keg. Its still much better than the pasteurized bottled crap we get in the US.

Current recipe according to a "Can You Brew It" interview with Mr. Keeling himself.

95% Pale malt
5% Simpsons Crystal 70/80 lovibond (150 EBC)

Same grist for Chiswick bitter, London Pride, ESB, and Golden Pride. All parti-gyled.

Target (the hop) for bittering
Mostly Northdown and Challenger, with a touch of Goldings in the whirlpool/hopback.

Shoot for 1.048, 37 IBU using the Rager formula.

USE WLP002 or Wyeast 1968.

Fermentation schedule is whacky. Pitch at 17C, let rise to 20C. After fermentation complete cool to 6C for 24 hours. Maturation at 10C for 2 weeks. Chilled back down to -1C before racking to bright tank.

Allan said...

Please pardon my ignorance, but what is "no. 2 sugar"?

Ron Pattinson said...


No.2 brewer's invert sugar. It's still available commercially:

Sionolann said...

Just bottled this recipe. I made my own type of no. 2 sugar that was pretty dark Amber but it still made little difference in the color. London pride is hard to come by where I live and I have actually never had it. Is it still a pretty light beer? Mine came out about 4 srm/7.8 ebc. Looking forward to drinking this beer.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'm sure that this recipe would have been coloured adjusted by the addition of caramel.