Thursday, 20 October 2016

Shepherd Neame beers in 1956

Last time we looked at Shepherd Neame’s beers from a very grim time, the late 1940’s. With hardly any beers over 3% ABV. Let’s take a look and see what things were like almost a decade later.

In the late 1940’s Shep’s only brewed six beers (I say brewed because I’m sure they marketed more, Brown Ale for example): four Pale Ales, a Mild and a Stout. By 1956 they’d added several more beers, boosting their range to five Pale Ales, two Brown Ales, two Strong Ales, a Mild and a Stout.

Amongst the new beers were two stronger Pale Ales, PA and SXX. Leaving them with what looks like far too many beers in the style. The five only cover a spread of 10 gravity points, 1029º to 1039º. PA is only a little higher in OG than BA was in 1947. It looks like the gravities of both BA and BB were dropped to create room for PA. SXX was slotted in at the top as a new Best Bitter.

Adding a stronger Bitter was common in the early 1950’s. A brewery’s flagship PA would have been knocked down to the mid-1030’s by WW II. When a little more wiggle room was created for stronger beers, many added a new, stronger Bitter. Shepherd Neame must have added SSX and PA between 1947 and 1950. Because they’re not in the 1947 book but are in the 1950 one.

AA is an interesting one. I was wondering what the hell it stood for until I looked at my Whitbread Gravity Book analyses for Shepherd Neame. There’s a beer of 1044º called Abbey Ale. That must be it. You’ll notice that I’ve called it a Strong Ale. Given its strength and colour (8 EBC) it could be a Pale Ale. But it was parti-gyled with their Brown Ales, not their Pale Ales. So I’ve plumped for Strong Ale as style.

Not sure what ESXA might stand for. But it has a similar OG to Bishop’s Finger. Possibly it’s an early version of that. I’m really not sure.

The biggest surprise was seeing two Brown Ales, both under 1030º. I assume DB stands for “Double Brown”, though “Single Brown” or even “Three-quarters Brown” would be more appropriate. I assume that in 1947 their Brown Ale was simply a bottled version of their Mild. So it’s odd that they introduced two new Brown Ales.

The Stout has managed to get even less Stout. In 1956 it was scarcely over 2% ABV, making it look quite Scottish. Though not quite as sweet as those Stouts from north  of the border. When we look at the grist I’ll explain the weird way this beer was brewed. Again quite Scottish, now I think about it.

Shepherd Neame beers in 1956
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp
9th May Br Brown Ale 1026.3 1008.3 2.38 68.42% 4.38 0.52 1.75 1.5 61.5º F 68º F
9th May DB Brown Ale 1029.4 1010.5 2.49 64.15% 4.38 0.58 1.75 1.5 61.25º F 68º F
19th Oct MB Mild 1030.2 1007.2 3.04 76.15% 4.95 0.60 2 1.5 62.25º F 68º F
9th May LDA Pale Ale 1029.4 1010.0 2.57 66.04% 4.38 0.58 1.75 1.5 62º F 68º F
15th Oct BB Pale Ale 1030.2 1006.4 3.15 78.90% 8.82 0.75 2 1.5 1.5 62º F 68º F
15th Oct BA Pale Ale 1032.4 1006.6 3.41 79.49% 8.82 0.81 2 1.5 1.5 62º F 70º F
15th Oct PA Pale Ale 1035.5 1007.2 3.74 79.69% 8.82 0.88 2 1.5 1.5 62.5º F 70º F
15th Oct SXX Pale Ale 1039.3 1009.4 3.96 76.06% 8.82 0.98 2 1.5 1.5 61.5º F 71º F
4th May SS Stout 1026.3 1009.4 2.24 64.21% 1.68 0.23 2 1.5 62º F 68º F
9th May AA Strong Ale 1044.3 1016.9 3.63 61.87% 4.38 0.87 1.75 1.5 60.25º F 70º F
24th Oct ESXA Strong Ale 1052.6 1017.7 4.62 66.32% 5.55 3.67 1.75 1.5 61.75º F 71º F
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

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