Saturday, 15 April 2017

Let's Brew - 1943 Whitbread Mackeson Stout

Continuing my Milk Stout series, here’s an enchanting little Mackeson recipe from the middle of WW II.

Whitbread started brewing Mackeson at their Chiswell Street base in the late 1930’s. Presumably because the Mackeson brewery in Hythe was struggling to keep up with demand. Eventually Whitbread brewed it at most of the breweries they controlled. The Whitbread Gravity Book of 1959 contains analyses of Mackeson brewed at four different locations: Chiswell Street, Stockport, Kirkstall and Hythe. It’s an indication of how popular the beer was.

The main grist for Mackeson was exactly the same as for Whitbread’s other two Stouts, London Stout and London Oatmeal Stout. You’ll note the quite proportion of flaked oats. That’s got absolutely nothing to do with the fact that Mackeson shared a grist with Oatmeal Stout. It’s much simpler than that – a bumper crop of oats in 1942 prompted the government to force brewers to use it in all their beers. The Oatmeal Stout element is actually the far smaller amount of malted oats. Before the war, Whitbread’s Oatmeal Stout contained miniscule quantities of oats. It was all a bit of a con, really.

Unusually for Whitbread, the grist has no brown malt. Instead it’s place is taken by amber malt. I can only assume this was because of a supply problem as only a few brews were made this way. Note also the lack of black malt. This was typical for Whitbread post-WW I. They dropped black malt in favour of chocolate malt in 1925 and never went back.

Note that the base in mild malt. It always makes me smile when I see homebrew Stout recipes with Maris Otter as base malt. Total waste with all the roasted malt. It was typical of breweries to use a cheaper malt as base for Porter and Stout because you weren’t really going to be able ro taste it, anyway. The best base malt was reserved for Pale Ales, where it mattered.

The lactose is listed as milk sugar paste in the brewing record. Sounds lovely. There’s also something called Duttson, for which I’ve bumped up the No. 3 invert sugar percentage. As Whitbread only used it in Stout, I’m assuming it’s dark in colour.

The hops, as so often, are rather vague, just recorded as MK and Sussex. I’ve guessed at Fuggles, but any English hops appropriate for the period are a fair enough substitution.

1943 Whitbread Mackeson Stout
mild malt 5.25 lb 56.33%
amber malt 0.50 lb 5.36%
chocolate malt 0.75 lb 8.05%
flaked oats 1.00 lb 10.73%
malted oats 0.07 lb 0.75%
no. 3 sugar 0.75 lb 8.05%
Lactose 1.00 lb 10.73%
Fuggles 60 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1046
FG 1021
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 54.35%
IBU 20
SRM 24
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale


Kevin said...

So what advise do you have for home brewers who cannot get their hands on #3 invert sugar (or any invert sugar for that matter)? What substitutes would be acceptable?

David said...

Is the quantity of malted oats (0.07 lb / 0.75%) correct? It seems like an almost insignificant proportion of the grist, especially since there's 14 times that quantity of flaked oats (which I assume give a similar oaty quality to the beer).

Ron Pattinson said...


I do explain this in the text. Yes, that's right. The flaked oats are only there because or wartime regulations. The pre-war version only contained the 0.75% of malted oats.

Ron Pattinson said...


making your own. That's what everyone else does. Ther eare instructions here: