The first British Lagers were mostly brewed in specialist breweries. Either standalone enterprises like the Wrexham Lager Brewery and the Red Tower Lager Brewery. Or a specialist plant within a larger brewery – examples being Tennent in Glasgow and Barclay Perkins in London. There were only a handful of such specialist plants in the first half of the 20th century.
When Lager started to take off in the late 1950’s, just about everyone wanted to get in on the act and market their own brand of Lager. These were usually just brewed on the standard kit and weren’t even necessarily bottom fermented. As the 1960’s and 1970’s progressed, most of these regional Lagers disappeared, replaced by national or international brands. Only weird breweries like Sam Smiths have persisted.
Truman’s London Lager – which is what I assume LL stands for – was such a beer. And true to tradition, it was replaced by an international brand, Tuborg, which Truman’s brewed under licence.
Here’s a selection of the Lagers from regional breweries in the 1950’s and 1960’s:
|British regional Lagers 1954 - 1962|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Price per pint d||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||colour|
|1954||Steel Coulson||Lager Beer||30||1032||1004.3||3.60||86.56%||11|
|1957||McEwan & Younger||"MY" Export Lager||1035.2||1007.3||3.62||79.26%||13|
|1960||Mitchell & Butler||Export Lager||32||1039.7||1010||3.71||74.81%||7.5|
|1961||Hall & Woodhouse||Brock Lager||36||1033.9||1004.1||3.73||87.91%||10|
|1961||Tollemache & Cobbold||Kroner Lager||36||1033.1||1005.7||3.42||82.78%||9.5|
|1961||Eldridge Pope||König Pilsener||36||1038.6||1007.3||3.91||81.09%||8|
|1961||McEwan||MY Export Lager||42||1032.9||1010.1||2.85||69.30%||10|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|
|Lees brewing records held at the brewery.|
Tennent’s Lager is the only one to still exist. M & B and Charrington, which both ended up in Bass Charrington, had their Lagers replaced by Carling Black Label and Tennent’s. Flowers, which ended up in Whitbread, had their Lager replaced by Heineken. Not sure what happened at the smaller regionals, but I’d be very surprised if any still brewed their own Lager.
Back to Truman’s Lager. It’s not a very complicated grist, just lager malt, sugar and flaked barley. Unlike all their other beers of the time, it doesn’t use English hops, but ones described as “Styrian”, which I presume means Styrian Goldings. The level of hopping is extremely low. So more of a Helles than a Pilsner.
I’m not sure about the mashing. It looks like a step mash, with strike heats of 125º F and 170º F. Not sure what that equates to in terms of initial heats. The fermentation, though cooler than for their other beers, still hit a maximum temperature of 60º F, which looks too warm for a true Lager. Though it was crashed down to 41º F just before racking.
Looks like a great example of a pseudo-Lager. Or semi-Lager. Though I’m not sure why exactly you’d want to brew one, other than for academic purposes.
|1969 Truman LL|
|lager malt||6.25 lb||83.33%|
|flaked barley||0.75 lb||10.00%|
|cane sugar||0.50 lb||6.67%|
|Styrian Goldings 90 min||0.25 oz|
|Styrian Goldings 60 min||0.25 oz|
|Styrian Goldings 30 min||0.25 oz|
|Mash at||125º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||120 minutes|
|pitching temp||53º F|
|Yeast||Wyeast 2042 Danish lager|