Monday, 12 December 2016

Brewing materials 1945 – 1960

I can’t believe I haven’t already published this stuff as part of my series on brewing in the UK after W II.

After all, what could be more fascinating than a load of numbers about malt and adjunct usage? Well, I find it fascinating. You can bugger off if you disagree.

I’ll start with the numbers. You’ll have to admit, they are an impressive-looking bunch.

Brewing materials 1945 - 1960 (cwt)
year malt unmalted corn rice, maize, etc sugar total malt & adjuncts hops prepar-ations of hops hop substi-tutes bulk barrels
1945 10,435,212 245,751 1,332,032 1,784,064 13,797,059 244,822 714 139 31,990,334
1946 9,976,998 137,750 1,132,748 1,790,021 13,037,517 226,197 1,414 168 31,066,950
1947 9,454,253 92,974 614,335 1,601,186 11,762,748 217,759 1,423 191 30,103,180
1948 9,499,794 69,939 606,881 1,443,558 11,620,172 231,470 630 547 28,813,725
1949 9,087,351 60,709 505,071 1,303,212 10,956,343 233,158 164 74 26,744,457
1950 9,094,097 56,174 454,500 1,285,877 10,890,648 232,979 114 90 25,339,062
1951 9,282,152 57,681 452,581 1,355,152 11,147,566 229,106 178 82 24,870,564
1952 9,312,437 51,992 467,189 1,385,836 11,217,454 228,512 114 177 25,285,589
1953 9,085,688 58,012 426,396 1,405,154 10,975,250 225,569 335 222 24,789,130
1954 8,629,252 52,219 462,005 1,484,605 10,628,081 216,841 286 188 24,153,387
1955 8,635,522 46,556 478,150 1,529,256 10,689,484 217,716 92 27 24,324,623
1956 8,630,145 40,038 486,838 1,544,258 10,701,279 218,820 110 42 24,187,096
1957 8,872,468 13,834 532,214 1,564,673 10,983,189 215,114 91 28 24,839,755
1958 8,642,500 10,717 543,467 1,527,997 10,724,681 208,870 102 24 24,129,462
1959 8,885,364 8,007 590,006 1,569,002 11,052,379 216,037 107 29 25,023,044
1960 9,406,860 8,994 573,252 1,650,843 11,639,949 226,371 111 24 26,313,796
Sources:
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62.
1971 Brewers' Almanack, page 54.

You can see that while the use of unmalted adjuncts declined steeply after the war, the amount of sugar used was more stable. There’s a simple enough explanation. Brewers were forced by the government to use flaked barley during the latter war years. The idea being that flaking consumed less energy than malting. While brewers had a limit on the amount of sugar they could use in wartime, when they would have preferred to use more.

The quantity of hops used was very stable in the 1950’s, despite beer production falling.

It’s hard to make too much sense of those numbers. Far easier if you look at percentages rather than absolute numbers. Which is why I’ve derived this table:

Brewing materials 1945 - 1960 (%)
year malt unmalted corn rice, maize, etc sugar lbs hops per barrel lbs hops per quarter
1945 75.63% 1.78% 9.65% 12.93% 0.86 5.96
1946 76.53% 1.06% 8.69% 13.73% 0.82 5.83
1947 80.37% 0.79% 5.22% 13.61% 0.81 6.22
1948 81.75% 0.60% 5.22% 12.42% 0.90 6.69
1949 82.94% 0.55% 4.61% 11.89% 0.98 7.15
1950 83.50% 0.52% 4.17% 11.81% 1.03 7.19
1951 83.27% 0.52% 4.06% 12.16% 1.03 6.91
1952 83.02% 0.46% 4.16% 12.35% 1.01 6.84
1953 82.78% 0.53% 3.89% 12.80% 1.02 6.91
1954 81.19% 0.49% 4.35% 13.97% 1.01 6.86
1955 80.79% 0.44% 4.47% 14.31% 1.00 6.84
1956 80.65% 0.37% 4.55% 14.43% 1.01 6.87
1957 80.78% 0.13% 4.85% 14.25% 0.97 6.58
1958 80.59% 0.10% 5.07% 14.25% 0.97 6.54
1959 80.39% 0.07% 5.34% 14.20% 0.97 6.57
1960 80.82% 0.08% 4.92% 14.18% 0.96 6.53
Sources:
Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 62.
1971 Brewers' Almanack, page 54.

You can see the trends much more clearly in that form. Malt usage increased from 75% to a peak of 83.5% in 1950, then slowly fell back down to 80%. While unmalted corn all but disappears. Maize and rice usage dropped quickly after the end of the war then plateaued at around 5%.

The fall in the proportion of sugar used in 1949 and 1950 probably wasn’t voluntary, but as a result of government restrictions. Pre-war, it clocked in around 15% and you can see that when brewers were free to use as much as they liked in the later 1950’s, it returned to around that level.

The rise in hopping levels after 1947 is partly because of an increase in average gravity, though not totally, as the hopping rate per quarter of malt tells us. There was an increase of more than 1 lb per quarter between 1945 and 1950, after which it declined but still remained above the 1945 level.

The 1960 numbers – 80% malt, 5% adjuncts, 15% sugar, 1 lb hops per barrel – do look like a typical late 1950’s beer’s ingredients.

5 comments:

Gus said...

What's the difference between "unmalted corn" and maize?

Ron Pattinson said...

Gus,

by unmalted corn I'm pretty sure they mean flaked barley and flaked oats. I.e. grains that might well have been malted. Unlike maize and rice which weren't malted in the UK.

Anonymous said...

Corn was in past most often used to mean wheat.

From Wikipedia:
"Corn" included any grain that requires grinding, especially wheat.

Dan Wells said...

Any idea what the "hop substitutes" were?

Ron Pattinson said...

Dan Wells,

not off the top of my head,