Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1947 Whitbread Stout

Stout, you may recall, originally meant strong. But, let’s be honest, it’s the last thing you could accuse this austerity-era Whitbread Stout of.

Though compared to Whitbread’s Ales of the same period, it has an incredibly complex grist, with five different types of malt. Note the lack of black malt. Whitbread stopped using it in 1926 and went over to chocolate malt instead. So I guess that means for a style Nazi that it’s neither a Porter nor Stout. The handful of malted oats was so they could package some as Oatmeal Stout. The percentage is typical of London versions.

A word on the sugar. There was also something called Duttson in the original. No real idea what that was so I’ve just upped the amount of No. 3 invert. As brewed the colour is way to low and it must have been colour corrected by the addition of caramel.

Just after WW II, when there were enough English hops to go around, foreign hops were a bit of a rarity. About the only ones you ever see are Czech. Presumably the Czech were exporting them to get hold of hard currency. And there would have been some pull, too, as British brewers liked Czech hops. I’ve just been writing some William Younger recipes from the 1860’s and they’re full of Saaz.

WS – Whitbread Stout – was only introduced after WW II. Or rather LS (London Stout) was rebranded as Whitbread Stout after the war. LS itself was only introduced in 1910, a new low-gravity (1055º) Stout to supplement their existing SS (1080º) and SSS (1092º). It was a bit of a con as a Stout, the gravity being only 2 degrees higher than their Porter. When SS and SSS were discontinued, LS became Whitbread’s main Stout, by 1920 with a gravity reduced to 1046º.

Unusually, its gravity was raised back to just about the pre-WW I level, 1054º, in 1922. It remained in the mid-1050’s until the Snowden budget of 1931, when it dropped to 1046º. Inevitably, WW II whittled away at its gravity and it ended the war at 1039º.

I’m pretty sure that at this time WS was available in both draught and bottled form. In London draught Stout remained a fairly common draught beer well into the 1950’s, long after it had disappeared everywhere else in the UK, other than Northern Ireland. After the draught version was dropped, it continued as a bottled beer. WS was eventually dropped sometime between 1967 and 1970.

It was fun trying to find a style in BeerSmith for this, as it doesn’t even vaguely match the specs of any Stout.

On that happy note, I’ll give you the recipe.

1947 Whitbread Stout
mild malt 4.50 lb 61.48%
pale malt 0.75 lb 10.25%
brown malt 0.50 lb 6.83%
chocolate malt 0.50 lb 6.83%
malted oats 0.07 lb 0.96%
no. 3 sugar 1.00 lb 13.66%
Fuggles 60 min 1.50 oz
Saaz 30 min 1.50 oz
OG 1035.3
FG 1010.5
ABV 3.28
Apparent attenuation 70.25%
IBU 37
SRM 65
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale


John Lester said...

I assume this must be the stout that was called 'Whitbread Special Stout' in the early seventies. It was still available until at least 1972-73 or so, and I recall trying it around then. My recollection is that it was less sweet than Mackeson (and Frank Baillie made this point as well in his 'Beer Drinker's Companion'). Even in the early seventies, it was a bit unusual for breweries to offer a choice of stouts: Allied no longer brewed one, and Watney's only had Cream Label Stout. Courage offered Velvet Stout nationally (and I think still supplied Bristol Stout in the south west). Bass Charrington, however, still brewed four different stouts, to my recollection: Jubilee Stout was available nationally, and Tennent's brewed both Sweetheart Stout and Sweet Stout. In the London area, you could still get Anchor Stout (ex-Charrington's)in some pubs (though not many as I recall); I seem to remember that it was less sweet than Jubilee Stout. By the early seventies, both Fuller's and Young's had discontinued their stouts, though there were several others available in the south east: King and Barnes' JK Sweet Stout was particularly luscious.

Ron Pattinson said...

John Lester,

according to the Chiswell Street brewing records, they brewed two Stout rioght up until closure in the 1970's: MS (Mackeson) and ES (Extra Stout). I suspect Whitbread Special Stout was WS.

Alex said...

Good Afternoon All,

It's with this wonderful Let's Brew post that I declare I am back on the beer 'scene' as it were. I had to take a break for the benefit of my hackles. The bullshit of craft was becoming too much! From the twits in bottle shops to the glade plugins being slopped out by so called craft beer bars. Not to mention the insult to beer that is the stuff trudged out by the LBA. That's before I get into the debacle of landlords bartering over a £1 discount for a nine. WTF.

In any case, cheers all


John Lester said...

Interesting. Was the Extra Stout an export product?