Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Boring Drybrough

Not that they’re unique in that. Most Scottish breweries had dull product ranges. Just two recipes, one for Pale Ales and Strong Ale, another for Stout. Drybrough didn’t even brew a Stout.

Back in 1934, they only brewed four beers: three Pale Ales, 54/-, 60/- and 80/-; and Burns Ale, a Strong Ale. Though 85% of what they brewed was 60/-. I don’t think I’ve ever come across a brewery where one beer dominated quite that much.

Though having done a quick newspaper search, I’m wondering whether it was all sold as 60/-. Because I’ve found adverts from the 1950’s for something called Nourishing Stout. But there’s no Stout in the brewing records. So they must have been using some sort of primings to transform one of their Pale Ales into Stout.

Just checked something else. My mega table of beer analyses. And guess what I found? Drybrough Nourishing Stout from the 1930’s. Two examples. One with an OG of 1033, the other 1031. Meaning there’s only one beer they could have been fiddling with: 54/-. All the others had a higher OG.

Their grists are fairly typical of the mid-20th century: pale malt, flaked maize and sugar. With a tiny hint of black malt and enzymic malt. The same recipe for all the Pale Ales, 54/-, 60/- and 80/-. While the sugar is slightly different for Burns. The hops were all English for most beers, though later it was always a mix of Oregon and English.

I wouldn’t like to guess what colour any of these beers were. I know from the monthly ingredients summaries that they used caramel, though it doesn’t appear in any of the logs. Like most Scottish brewers, I suspect they coloured their beers to several different shades.

All the beers listed below were brewed with another Edinburgh brewer, Bernard's, yeast. Using yeast from another brewery was pretty common in Edinburgh. It makes me wonder whether the breweries really had their own proprietary strains, given how often they swapped yeast with each other.

I’m going to leave you with some tables. First, one showing the predominance of 60/-:

Drybrough output January 1934
OG bulk barrels  bulk gallons %
54/- 1029 123.36 4,441 10.93%
60/- 1035 958.56 34,508 84.96%
80/- 1049 25.39 914 2.25%
Burns 1080 4.53 163 0.40%
primings 1140 16.36 589 1.45%
total 1,128.19
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewin Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4

Using that, I was able to calculate the average OG of all they brewed: 1036.4. Which is well below the average for the UK in 1934, which was 1040.99*.

Now the full details of the beers:

Drybrough beers in 1934
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
54/- Pale Ale 1029.0 1012.0 2.25 58.62% 4.91 0.58 2 60º 65º 5
60/- Pale Ale 1035.0 1013.0 2.91 62.86% 5.26 0.75 2 62.5º 67.5º 6
80/- Pale Ale 1049.0 1015.0 4.50 69.39% 5.26 1.06 2 62.5º 68.5º 7
Burns Strong Ale 1084.0 1033.0 6.75 60.71% 5.99 2.49 3.5 57.5º 67º 7
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewin Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4

Drybrough grists in 1934
Beer Style OG pale malt black malt enzymic malt flaked maize Fison Avona Invert Candy sugar malt extract hops
54/- Pale Ale 1029.0 72.02% 0.80% 1.80% 14.40% 2.06% 5.49% 2.74% 0.69% English
60/- Pale Ale 1035.0 72.18% 0.39% 1.91% 15.31% 2.19% 4.37% 2.92% 0.73% English
80/- Pale Ale 1049.0 72.18% 0.39% 1.91% 15.31% 2.19% 4.37% 2.92% 0.73% English
Burns Strong Ale 1084.0 74.55% 1.45% 12.85% 6.86% 3.43% 0.86% Oregon and English 
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewin Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4

* Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 50.


Tandleman said...

There was a few Dryborough outlets in Dumbarton when I was a lad, most notably Dumbarton FC Social Club. It wasn't any more boring than anything else in the early 70's.

Bro-in-law said...

How is Drybrough pronounced? Dry-bo, Dry-bow, Dry-bruff?

Ron Pattinson said...


I meant boring from the beer historians point of view. Maclays - whose beer I loved - were even more dull, historically. Nothing to do with the quality of the beer in your glass.

I loved Tetley for their dedication to just two beers that never changed.

Angus Boag said...


I'd hazard Dry-bruh.

admin said...

Great read. Any idea how there is a David's star on the label? Was it a kosher beer or the owners/founders were jewish?

Ron Pattinson said...


brewer's star. Nothing to do with Judaism.