Between 1914 and the end of 1916, beer output had been limited and the beer tax more than trebled, but the beer itself hadn’t changed that much. Until July 1st 1917, when a new regulation came into force stipulating that half the beer a brewery produced had to have a gravity no greater than 1036º.
This new rule had an immediate effect on the gravity of beers, especially the more popular ones. At many breweries a few beers made up a large percentage of sale. For example, in 1917 Whitbread London Stout made up 42% and X Ale 28% of their total output. Though a more typical brewery would have sold mostly Mild Ale and lower-gravity Bitter.
You can see here proof of how little average OG changed before 1917.
|UK beer production and average OG 1913 - 1920|
|Year||bulk barrels||average OG|
|Brewers' Journal 1921, page 246.|
You can see here the effect of the gravity restriction of Kidd’s beers:
|Kidd beers in mid-1917|
|Date||Year||Beer||Style||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||boil time (hours)||Pitch temp|
|13th Jul||1917||GA X||Mild||1033.8||1009.4||3.22||72.13%||9.95||1.43||2.25||2||58º|
|24th Aug||1917||LPA||Pale Ale||1037.1||1010.0||3.59||73.13%||9.53||1.54||2.25||58.5º|
|31st Aug||1917||LPA||Pale Ale||1039.3||1011.1||3.74||71.83%||10.04||1.68||2||2||59º|
|Kidd brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/305/16/013.|
Sure enough, their most popular beer, X Ale, has dropped below 1036º. The its name was changed to GA (Government Ale) after the first brew. At the same time the range of beer produced has been drastically reduced to just three: Porter, Mild and Bitter.
We’ll be taking a look next at how Kidd’s beers evolved as 1917 and 1918 unfolded.