You may remember that back in the 18th century, London had ranges of X and K Ales. The K’s, or Keeping Ales, usually went: KK, KKK and KKKK. The last being a mighty beer of over 1100º. After WW I, the stronger varieties mostly disappeared, but KK kept going strong and, called Burton, it was one of the standard draught beers in a London pub.
Barclay Perkins did brew a KKKK between the wars, but only as a winter seasonal. It was still a strong beer, with a gravity of around 1080º. From adverts, it appears this was a draught beer, dispensed from a pin on the bar. That sort of thing still went on in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Marston’s Owd Rodger would appear in a pin when the weather got cold.
Whitbread did a fair bit of messing around with their Burton. Before WW I, they brewed three K Ales: KK at 1071º, 2KKK at 1077º and KKK at 1082º. By the middle of 1917, all three had been dropped. KK reappeared in 1921 at the reduced gravity of 1055º. In 1931, no doubt prompted by the big tax increase that year, it was replaced by a beer called XXX at just 1045º. When the tax dropped again in 1933, they introduced another new beer called 33 at an impressive 1060º. That lasted until 1940, when it was in turn replaced by XXXX at 1053º, falling to 1043º by 1945. Between 1947 and 1958, surprisingly, Whitbread didn’t brew a Burton. Then they introduced KKKK.
There’s an elegant simplicity about Whitbread’s beers of this period. Mostly pale malt, sugar and English hops. Daringly, this recipe includes a little chocolate malt, something they only normally used in their Stouts. There was a proprietary sugar called Hays M, but only a relatively small amount. I’ve just upped the No. 3 quantity.
It doesn’t actually give the hop varieties, just their origin. I’ve assumed the Mid Kents were Fuggles and the East Kents Goldings. It seems a fair enough guess, given that those two varieties made up the vast majority of hops grown in England.
Almost forgot. To get the right colour you’ll need to add caramel.
Over to me for the recipe . . . .
|1958 Whitbread KKKK|
|pale malt||8.50 lb||81.93%|
|chocolate malt||0.13 lb||1.20%|
|no. 3 sugar||1.75 lb||16.87%|
|Fuggles 75 min||2.00 oz|
|Goldings 20 min||1.75 oz|
|Mash at||150º F|
|Sparge at||168º F|
|Boil time||90 minutes|
|pitching temp||62º F|
|Yeast||Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale|