Saturday, 30 January 2016

Coronation Beers (part six)

I was a bit too hasty in saying that I was done with Coronation Beers. I’ve since stumbled on a few more analyses.

I thought I’d found a ridiculously small number of them. It was only when searching my spreadsheet for King’s Ale that I remembered lots didn’t have the word “coronation” in their name, but some other royal-sounding term. So I made a few more searches. Ones dated 1953 were a bit of a giveaway.

I’ve split the table in two because the beers fall into two very obvious categories: Strong Ales and Stout. That the latter existed tells us something about how British beer culture has changed since the 1950’s. I can’t recall any of the more recent royal commemorative brews being Stouts. The style just wasn’t popular enough after the 1950’s.

Beasley’s Coronation Ale is an outlier. Way weaker than any of the other non-Stouts. Though it too was dark brown like the Strong Ale examples. Well, most of them. Rose’s King’s Ale is a dark amber rather than brown.

Remember how Starkey, Knight and Ford offered an off-the-peg Coronation Beer for other brewers? Offering to ship it in bulk, or even bottle it with the customer’s label. I can’t help wondering if any of the beers in the table were brewed by them. Not the Websters one. We’ve already learned about how that was brewed and why it was called Old Brown. The Raggetts and Masseys versions look remarkably similar to each other. Despite one brewery being in Kent and the other in Lancashire.

Then again, most of the beers look pretty similar: dark brown, 6.5-7% ABV. Though there is a quite a degree of variation in the rate of attenuation.

What else can I say? Bugger all, except that, despite the price, drinkers must have been glad to get a beer with a bit of poke again. I would have been.

Table. End.

Coronation Beers 1953
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG colour ABV App. Atten-uation
1953 Beasley Coronation Ale 28 1043.1 1008.6 21 + 40 4.49 80.05%
1953 Raggetts Kings Ale 48 1065.1 1010.4 43 + 40 7.17 84.02%
1953 Masseys Kings Ale 37.5 1065.5 1010.8 23 + 40 7.16 83.51%
1953 Rose Kings Ale 45 1070.3 1014.3 39 7.32 79.66%
1953 Catterall & Swarbrick Royal Ale 48 1070.4 1021.4 1 + 40 6.37 69.60%
1959 Websters Old Brown 46.5 1071.4 1023.1 110 6.27 67.65%
1953 Tollemache Tolly Royal 48 1073.3 1023.6 17 + 40 6.45 67.80%
1953 Taylor Walker Coronation Ale 48 1075.1 1029.5 4 + 40 5.89 60.72%
1953 McMullen Coronation Ale 63 1089.1 1034.7 21 + 40 7.04 61.05%
Average 45.8 1069.3 1019.6 6.46 72.67%
1953 Camerons Sovereign Stout 26 1044.3 1009.6 1R + 17B 4.51 78.33%
1953 John Joule Royal Stout 28 1046.3 1018.2 1 + 16 3.63 60.69%
1953 Camerons Sovereign Stout 28 1047.3 1018.6 1 + 15 3.70 60.68%
Average 27.3 1046.0 1015.5 3.95 66.57%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.


Ed said...

Are you sure about these figures Ron? I thought that before 2007 there was only brown bitter at 4% ABV in Britain.

rick said...

Did brewers issue special beers for events besides corinations? For instance, royal weddings, births, or for that matter things like victory in wars, the 66 World Cup, etc.?

rick said...

Just read part 1 of this series. Looks like there were a number of other special event beers.

Ron Pattinson said...


yes. There were quite a few beers for the Festival of Britain in 1951. Watneys brewed a World Cup beer in 1966.

Ron Pattinson said...


good observation. I'd best go back and check.

Ron Pattinson said...

That should be Festival of Britain in 1952.