Thursday 14 September 2017

Barclay Perkins Ales in 1935

Now that I’ve tracked down ACC/2305/01/620 I really should use it for something. So how about taking a look at what it contains.

I’ll warn you that it doesn’t contain every beer they brewed in 1935-36. Because it’s just for their large plant. The Park Street complex contained two further brew houses: a Lager brewery and a small batch one where their more exotic beers were brewed.

Most of the seven beers brewed in the large plant were “trade” beers, i.e. draught. Only XLK and later IPA were bottled beers. IPA seems to have replaced the bottled version of XLK in 1935. Why, I’ve no idea. Maybe they wanted to compete with Whitbread’s bottled IPA. Though that would be a bit odd, as Whitbread’s IPA was much weaker, just 1036º.

I say seven beers, but there were actually more than that. They brewed seven, but by priming and colouring their three Milds they actually had ten beers. So X and XX both came in semi-dark (11 SRM, 20 EBC) and dark versions (20 SRM, 40 EBC). While A was given more primings to create RA (Royal Ale).

Here’s the set in table form:

Barclay Perkins Ales in 1935
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp
A Mild 1030.7 1006.5 3.20 78.82% 5.38 0.68 2.5 2.25 2 62º
X Mild 1034.8 1007 3.68 79.91% 5.38 0.78 2.5 2.25 2 61.5º
XX Mild 1042.7 1013 3.93 69.55% 5.38 0.95 2.5 2.5 2 61º
PA Pale Ale 1052.7 1017 4.73 67.75% 6.98 1.47 2.5 2.25 61º
XLK (bottling) Pale Ale 1039.0 1008.5 4.03 78.19% 6.47 1.02 2.5 2 61.5º
IPA (bottling) IPA 1044.7 1011 4.46 75.39% 6.47 1.17 2.5 2 61º
XLK (trade) Pale Ale 1045.9 1012 4.48 73.85% 6.98 1.27 2.5 2.25 61º
KK T Strong Ale 1056.0 1019 4.89 66.05% 7.19 1.22 2.5 2.25 2 61º
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/620.

There was a much bigger price differential between the weakest and strongest beers than you’d find in a pub today. The strongest Bitter was double the price of the cheapest Mild.

One of the strange outcomes of WW I price controls was a very rigid pricing system in the interwar years. Draught beers retailed at 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d or 8d, depending on their gravity. In general, these stuck very closely to the gravity and price bands of the final set of price controls.

And, certainly in London, brewers kept a very close eye on whet their rivals were doing in terms of the gravity and price of their beers. Both the Whitbread and Truman Gravity Books list not only the gravity, but also the price.

This is what Barclay Perkins beers cost in the public bar:

Beer Price per pint
A 4d
X 5d
XX 6d
XLK (trade) 7d
PA 8d
KK T 8d

Next we’ll be looking at the grists, which changed more often than you might expect.


Phil said...

According to the Bank of England, 1d in 1935 equates to a bit over 27p in today's money - so those beers at 4d, 5d, 6d, 7d and 8d come out at £1.09, £1.36, £1.63, £1.90 and £2.18. Where's my time machine? It's not quite "drunk for a penny, dead drunk for twopence" but it's not far off (Bank of England again: Hogarth's 1d and 2d from 1751 equate to 85p and £1.70 now).

Unknown said...

Hi Ron,
Do you know if any of the London brewers were producing any 9 & 10d ales , as Walker's of Warrington were ??

Ron Pattinson said...


Barclay Perkins brewed a KKKK, a beer that was available on draught in the winter. It had an OG of 1080 so must have retailed for at least 10d per pint.

Unknown said...

Most of the 4d ales had disappeared from the Manchester area by the mid 1920's , source : Bolton & District Brewers Association records in my collection

Unknown said...

Thanks for that Ron , it's just that they are 9d Falstaff, and a 10d in the Walker's Dallam Lane records, cheers