Friday, 6 January 2017

Whitbread beers in 1960

While I’m describing the brewery I may as well tell you about Whitbread’s beers as well.

I’ve harvested eight different Whitbread beers from 1960. Though I may have missed at least one. I’m pretty sure that at this point they were also brewing Final Selection at Chiswell Street. If they only brewed in occasionally I may have missed it while quickly ruffling through the brewing log pages.

That’s also got wondering about another beer: the Pale Ale brewed for the Belgian market. Which was considerably stronger than either of the Pale Ales in the table. Perhaps it was brewed elsewhere. Or maybe it’s another one I missed. ES – Extra Stout – has the same name and the right strength for the Belgian version.

They aren’t a very strong bunch. Extra Stout is the only one over 5% (though Final Selection was around 9% ABV). I’m pretty sure that was an export beer. Surprisingly, Whitbread still brewed three different Stouts. In addition to ES there was WOS (Whitbread Stout) and MS (Mackeson Stout).

Mackeson is a tricky one because of the way it was brewed. I was at first bemused by the lack of lactose in the ingredients. Then I realised there was a simple reason for that: the lactose was added after fermentation. The entry in the table entitled “Mackeson” is taken from an analysis in the Whitbread Gravity Book. You can see the impact of the lactose addition on the apparent OG and attenuation. It’s weird to think that at the end of primary fermentation, it was a reasonably dry beer.

Best Ale does seem an odd name for a beer under 3% ABV. Whitbread did brew a stronger Mild called XXX in the mid-1950’s, but it only lasted a couple of years. It was parti-gyled with FB (Forest Brown), a beer that sold in considerable quantities in the 1950’s and 1960’s.

The Pale Ales also consist of a draught and a bottled version. PA was Whitbread’s standard Bitter, which, in keg form, was sold as Tankard. While WPA (Whitbread Pale Ale), despite the name, was Whitbread’s Light Ale.

KKKK, Whitbread’s Burton, was probably a seasonal beer by this point, only being sold in the cooler months. It was parti-gyled with Best Ale meaning that it was effectively a strong Mild Ale.

Not a particularly inspiring bunch of beers, but very typical for the period: Light Ale, Brown Ale, Sweet Stout as bottled beers; Mild, Bitter, Burton and, possibly still, Stout on draught.

Whitbread beers in 1960
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp colour
Best Ale Mild 1030.6 1010.0 2.73 67.32% 5.67 0.70 64º 110
ES Stout 1055.9 1015.5 5.34 72.27% 5.96 1.36 64º 300
FB Brown Ale 1033.8 1008.5 3.35 74.85% 5.45 0.73 64º 110
KKKK Strong Ale 1051.8 1016.0 4.74 69.11% 7.50 1.56 62º 135
MS Stout 1041.9 1012.0 3.96 71.36% 5.96 1.03 64º 250
Mackeson Stout 1046.4 1019.2 3.51 58.62% 300
PA Pale Ale 1039.2 1013.0 3.47 66.84% 5.68 0.90 62º 23
WOS Stout 1038.5 1011.5 3.57 70.13% 8.68 1.38 64º 225
WPA Pale Ale 1035.5 1008.0 3.64 77.46% 8.63 1.25 64º 20
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number LMA/4453/D/01/127.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number LMA/4453/D/09/136.


Phil said...

"Strong ale" at 4.7%! Fill your boots, lads!

Barm said...

4.7% was rocket fuel for the time. Mackeson was being advertised as “strong stout” when it was 3.9% – even then it was above the average gravity for the time, which means most beer was less than that.