Sunday, 18 February 2018

Brown Ale in the 1950s

It's hard to imagine now, but Brown Ale was a really big deal in the 1950's.

As the Mann's advert below states: "Brown Ale is cbecoming more and more popular with Britain's beer drinkers".

Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 11 September 1952, page 5.
Thouigh I'm sure that "no finer malts" stuff is guff. It implies that the colour came from the malt, whuich it almost certainly didn't.

Mann's weren't the only brewery to use the adjective "rich" to describe their Brown Ale:

Coventry Evening Telegraph - Thursday 24 June 1954, page 31.
This is one of the few Brown Ales that have survived:

Shields Daily News - Wednesday 20 April 1955, page 9.

Interesting the way the advert emphasise that it's good value for money. As you can see in the table below, it was more expensive than most other Brown Ales. Though it was much stronger than the average of about 3% ABV.

I've included this advert, just because it's weird:
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 20 December 1952, page 7.
Here's what 1950's Brown Ale was really like. Actually quite diverse:

Brown Ale 1952 - 1954
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1954 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown Ale 19 1032.6 1010.6 2.85 67.48% 110
1954 Charrington Brown Ale 19 1033.1 1009.1 3.11 72.51% 120
1954 Courage Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.1 1008 3.12 75.08% 110
1953 Duttons Nut Brown Ale 18 1031 1006.1 3.23 80.32% 52
1954 Gibbs Mew Moonraker Brown Ale 16 1034.8 1009.5 3.28 72.70% 135
1954 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 19 1030.7 1009.7 2.72 68.40% 80
1956 Mann Brown Ale 22 1035.5 1013.2 2.88 62.82% 115
1955 Mitchell & Butler Sam Brown 23 1036.9 1011.2 3.33 69.65% 85
1954 Newcastle Breweries Brown Ale 26 1048.9 1010 5.06 79.55% 51
1952 Samuel Smith Taddy Ale 15.5 1034.5 1008.5 3.37 75.36% 90
1952 Shipstone Nut Brown Ale 15 1033.3 1006.7 3.45 79.88% 60
1952 Simonds Berry Brown Ale 19 1032 1005.5 3.44 82.81% 60
1952 St. Anne's Well Brown Ale 19 1034.1 1005.1 3.77 85.04% 100
1952 Steward & Patteson Brown Ale 23 1032.5 1010.3 2.87 68.31% 67
1952 Tamplin No.1 Ale 20 1034.1 1009.7 3.16 71.55% 80
1952 Taylor Walker Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.6 1011.7 2.70 64.11% 80
1952 Tennant Bros. Brown Ale 20 1032.5 1012.2 2.62 62.46% 100
1952 Tetley Family Ale 15 1035.5 1009 3.44 74.65% 53
1954 Tollemache Country Brown Ale 19 1032.5 1011.2 2.75 65.54% 90
1954 Truman Trubrown 19 1034.7 1011.9 2.95 65.71% 110
1952 Ushers Trowbridge Brown Ale 17 1033.6 1007.7 3.36 77.08% 80
1953 Ushers Trowbridge Triple Brown 36 1063.4 1013.6 6.50 78.55% 85
1953 Vale of Neath ???? Brown Ale 30 1070.6 1019.3 6.68 72.66% 34
1952 Vaux Double Maxim Ale 23 1049 1009.8 5.10 80.00% 48
1954 Watney Brown Ale 30 1032.8 1010.2 2.92 68.90% 120
1952 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.5 1012.5 2.58 61.54% 80
1954 Whitbread Forest Brown 21 1034.8 1012.2 2.92 64.94% 95
1953 Young & Son Chestnut Brown Ale 26 1055.1 1016.5 5.01 70.05% 250
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

Let's Brew - 1947 Barclay Perkins Victory Stout

1947 wasn’t a great year for British brewing. Gravities were still falling, despite the war being over.

Which explains why Barclay Perkins had a Stout that was under 3% ABV. How ironic that such a feeble beer was called Victory Stout. Though the primings would have raised the effective OG to 1037º

Though, with all dark malts it probably drank heavier than it really was. The grist is anything but simple, with five different grains. I’m slightly disturbed by the low percentage of base malt, not much more than a third of the grist. In the original, it’s three-quarters SA malt, a quarter mild malt. As I doubt you’ll be able to buy SA malt, I’ve specified all mild malt. It’s probably about the closest equivalent.

The hops were all from Kent, Mid-Kent Fuggles (1946), East Kent Tolhursts (1946), Mid-Kent BG (1946) and Kent Fuggles (1945). All pretty fresh then, leaving quite a bitter beer. All that roast barley would have made it taste even more bitter.

I’m really intrigued as to how this beer would taste. Loads of dark malt, quite heavily hopped, but with quite a lot of residual sugar, too. Weak and bitter. Probably how a lot of Britons were feeling in 1947.

1947 Barclay Perkins Victory Stout
mild malt 2.75 lb 37.52%
brown malt 0.75 lb 10.23%
amber malt 0.50 lb 6.82%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.82%
roast barley 1.00 lb 13.64%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.50 lb 20.46%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.33 lb 4.50%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 min 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.00 oz
OG 1034
FG 1014
ABV 2.65
Apparent attenuation 58.82%
IBU 43
SRM 39
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 16 February 2018

Lager thumb dummy

Boddington CC 1914 - 1921

I've never quite got my head around Boddington's naming convention. What makes CC a Strong Ale?

And does it have connection to the enigmatic "C" Ale, that type of Strong Ale only found in the Manchester area? I've no idea, to be honest.

The biggest surprise is that CC was only briefly dropped during WW I, for about a year between October 1917 and November 1918.  Brewing strong beers became virtually impossible after April 1st 1918, when the average gravity of all the beer a brewery produced couldn't be more than 1030º. Pretty difficult to brew a beer of 1060º and stick to that rule.

Brewers had to be careul. The average was totted up every quarter and brewers who exceeded the permitted average faced fines. Boddington took this so seriously that they kept track of the weekly average in their brewing book:

Like all of Boddington's beers, CC wasn't very heavily hopped in comparison to London beers. A London-brewed Burton Ale was hopped at around 12 lbs per quarter of malt - about treble the rate of CC.

It's surprising how well the OG bounced back after the war. The average drop in gravity between 1914 and the early 1920's when things stabilised again was about 19%. CC's fall was just 4%. Barely even significant. Its gravity did fall a little more between the wars, but in 1939 was still a very respectable 1056º.

Boddington CC 1914 - 1921
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
9th Jul 1914 1062.0 1020.0 5.56 67.74% 3.53 1.18
7th May 1915 1059.0 1019.0 5.29 67.80% 3.75 1.20
27th Oct 1915 1058.0 1018.0 5.29 68.97% 3.64 1.17
18th May 1916 1062.0 1017.0 5.95 72.58% 3.87 1.33
20th Dec 1916 1062.0 1017.0 5.95 72.58% 3.53 1.23
31st Jan 1917 1059.0 1018.0 5.42 69.49% 3.53 1.46
11th Oct 1917 1056.0 1018.0 5.03 67.86% 4.41 1.32
12th Nov 1918 1058.0 1020.0 5.03 65.52% 3.97 1.27
24th Dec 1918 1061.0 1021.0 5.29 65.57% 3.97 1.31
10th Feb 1919 1059.0 1020.0 5.16 66.10% 3.97 1.26
24th Mar 1919 1060.0 1020.0 5.29 66.67% 3.97 1.29
17th Jun 1919 1061.0 1019.0 5.56 68.85% 4.22 1.35
13th Oct 1919 1060.0 1020.0 5.29 66.67% 3.82 1.29
30th Mar 1920 1058.0 1016.0 5.56 72.41% 4.06 1.18
7th Oct 1920 1057.0 1020.0 4.89 64.91% 3.82 1.20
5th Oct 1921 1059.5 1019.0 5.36 68.07% 3.53 1.16
Boddington brewing records held at Manchester Central Library, document numbers M693/405/126 and M693/405/126.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Divided action by Edinburgh retailers

On 1st April, 1917, the amount of beer breweries were allowed to produce was severely limited, with UK production fixed at 11,470,000 standard barrel, around a third of the pre-war level. The tax was also raised from 24s to 25s per standard barrel.

Of sourse, that doesn't mean the number of bulk barrels was limited to that figure. A standard bareel was 36 gallons with an OG of 1055º. So if you brewed beer at just 1027.5º,  you could brew twice as much. Theere was going to be less beer at it was going to be dearer.

Those were different days. It was common for publicans' associations in a town to fix prices. Something that I'm sure would be illegal today. In Edinburgh and neighbouring Leith a different policy of the trade associations led to a disparity in prices.


The public-houses in Edinburgh last evening did a steady business, notwithstanding the snowstorm and the phenomenally high prices fixed to come into operation yesterday — a minimum of 9d. per pint of beer and 9d. per glass of whisky. This experience was common to both the shops in the poorer localities and the bettor known establishments in the city. The accustomed patronage was due, to a considerable extent, to the fact that in the majority of cases the minimum rates recommended by the Trade Association were not adopted by the traders. A charge of 8d. was substituted for the pint of beer, and the same price for a glass of whisky. In some bars where the Association's prices were introduced it was stated that little business was done, and that in one case a number of customers declined to purchase beer at 9d. per pint when they discovered that they could get the same article at a neighbouring shop at 8d. After this experience the shopkeeper came into line with his neighbours who were charging 8d., In some cases even 8d. charges were not made, the licence-holder having decided to charge the old prices and make the change to the new list simultaneously with Leith to-morrow.

It was stated by the manager of one establishment that the effect of the alteration bad been to reduce considerably the consumption of beer, many customers having economised by taking instead small glasses of whisky and such wines as port and sherry. The action of the "trade" in Leith in fixing lower prices than in Edinburgh contributed to the development yesterday, as dealers saw the possibility of custom being lost to a considerable extent by the competition of Leith licence-holders. It is understood that while the 60 per cent. advance by the brewers will necessitate a corresponding advance on the part of the retailers, nevertheless the latter in many cases have had considerable stocks on hand, and are apparently willing to give their customers the advantage of these stocks without charging the full increase in the meantime. On the other hand, it has been recognised that the retail prices for whisky have been in excess of the actual economic necessities of the case, the increased prices having been, to some extent, anticipatory of the supply of potable spirits being exhausted in the near future. There is a belief, possibly well founded, that with the large reduction in the strength of spirits allowed by the Government below the prewar standard  licence-holders might almost have sold whisky at the old prices and still have made a profit, and while the sales have fallen off during the past year in the aggregate, the large increase in the prices which they have charged has more than made up any deficiency in their profits. Another meeting of the Edinburgh Wine, Spirit, and Beer Trade Association is to be hold to-day, when the situation will be further considered  and it is possible that the list of prices decided upon last week will be revised."
The Scotsman - Tuesday 03 April 1917, page 4.

I'm not sure why the price brewers charged for beer was increasing by 60% when the tax increase had only been around 4%. Perhaps it was the brewers compensating for the lesser amount of beer they were allowed to brew.

9d. a pint might not sound much today, but at the start of the war a pint of Mild would have only set you back 2d. To be honest, a minimum price of 9d. per pint seems awfully high. Even in 1918 the average price of a pint was 4.5d. Admittedly, that was for beer probably half the strength it was in 1914.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1946 Barclay Perkins IPA

Bored of watery Milds? Here’s a watery IPA to balance things out.

Not that Barclay’s IPA had ever been that strong. Even in the 1920’s it only had an OG of around 1045º, which, at the time, was only very slightly above average OG.

The effect of the war is clear to see in the grist. Like most UK breweries, Barclays had used flaked maize in their beers after this became legal in 1880. The only times they didn’t, was when it wasn’t possible. Basically, at certain points during the two World Wars.

Maize wasn’t available for most of WW II and breweries were instructed to replace it with flaked barley. In addition to that, there’s pale malt and crystal malt, as you might expect, but also No. 3 invert sugar. That’s usually reserved for dark beers. Things like Mild Ale and Stout. Pale Ales usually contained either No. 1 or No. 2 invert.

There are four different copper hops: Mid-Kent Fuggles (1943, 1944 CS), Mid-Kent Goldings (1945), Mid-Kent Colgates (1944), plus East Kent Goldings (1945) dry hops. Though the Colgates are a guess. It just says “C’s” in the brewing record. One of the things I really like about Barclays brewing records is that they can be bothered to say what the hop variety was, not just where they were grown.

As with Whitbread’s, this IPA was an exclusively bottled beer.

1946 Barclay Perkins IPA
pale malt 5.55 lb 78.72%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.09%
flaked barley 0.25 lb 3.55%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 10.64%
Fuggles 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1031.5
FG 1009
ABV 2.98
Apparent attenuation 71.43%
IBU 31
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

Another reminder

That I published an award-winning book recently, what I'm sure will prove to be the definitive book on Scottish beer 1850 - 1970.

Mostly, because I can't imagine anyone else being arsed to put in the thousands of hours of reasearch entailed. Unless they rip off my work. Which wouldn't surprise me. If a few more of you buy it, I may think it wasn't a total waste of time.

There's loads of cool stuff, Including almost 400 historic recipes. 

I won't say that the money will help me buy Alexei vodka. He's moved on. Gin is his tipple now. Hope he's not turning into a hipster.

Brewery profits in WW I

The decade before WW I had been a difficult one. The Liberal government had used increased licence duties for pubs and breweries to partially finance social programmes, such as an old age pension.

The increased licence fees suppressed pub prices, which left many breweries overcapitalised as the value of their assets shrank dramatically. Several brewery companies revalued their shares at 10% of their original value.

Massively increased licence fees for breweries, who were charged according to the size of their output, decreased margins at a time when it was difficult to raise the price of beer. Few breweries were doing well in 1914. But the war helped turn that around.

Whitbread is a good example. Despite doing relatively well compared to many of their peers, they weren’t exactly raking money in.

Whitbread Brewery profits and dividends 1912 - 1925
Year net profit brought in carried forward dividend Ordinary shares barrels brewed net profit per barrel
1912 £17,491 £15,828 £12,054 0.5% 988,981 £0.02
1913 £125,792 £12,054 £46,653 1% 901,807 £0.14
1914 £51,256 £46,653 £46,419 0.5% 900,636 £0.06
1915 £72,997 £46,420 £53,649 2% 762,438 £0.10
1916 £45,078 £53,649 £79,379 2% 777,127 £0.06
1917 £198,349 £79,379 £92,404 7% 578,502 £0.34
1918 £204,806 £92,404 £123,057 7% 413,112 £0.50
1919 £232,866 £123,057 £165,136 7% 565,624 £0.41
1920 £242,432 £160,138 £213,124 10%
1921 £209,520 £213,125 £257,639 7% 675,647 £0.31
1922 £226,270 £257,639 £289,580 10% 576,118 £0.39
1923 £222,749 £289,580 £319,531 10% 505,097 £0.44
1924 £217,277 £319,532 £342,489 10% 551,616 £0.39
1925 £246,499 £342,489 £394,076 10% 527,977 £0.47
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 05 August 1912, page 10.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 01 August 1913, page 5.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Friday 31 July 1914, page 4.
Dundee Courier - Friday 06 August 1915, page 2.
Birmingham Daily Post - Friday 04 August 1916, page 7.
Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 04 August 1917, page 6.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 06 August 1918, page 7.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 11 August 1919, page 11.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 07 August 1920, page 17.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 06 August 1921, page 15.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 05 August 1922, page 15.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 04 August 1923, page 15.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 07 August 1924, page 13.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 07 August 1925, page 15.

In 1912, Whitbread made a mere £17,491 net profit. Given that they brewed just shy of a million barrels that year, it works out to a feeble 4.5d per barrel. Ironically, when their output shrank considerably in 1917, their profits increased considerably from under £50,000 to around £200,000. The profit per barrel shot up even more, to 82d per barrel. Whitbread brewed only around half of their 1914 output in 1917 and 1918, but made for times as much net profit.

At the same time, the dividend paid out on Ordinary shares increased from 2% to 7%. Clearly Whitbread was doing well. It’s ironic that exactly when restrictions on brewing started to be ever more sever that breweries started making much more money.

The profits brewers were making led to them being denounced as profiteers in some quarters, notably temperance campaigners.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Closing pubs in Carlisle again

It's weird the stuff you can find on the internet. Like the annual report of the Carlisle State Management Scheme.

The manager was dead proud of how many pubs he had closed. Though he still clearly would have preferred to close more:

"When the Board commenced operations there were in Carlisle City 119 licences, and in the remainder of the area as then denned, 82, a total of 201. These were reduced in 1916 to 172—94 in the City and 78 in the remainder of the area.

At the beginning of 1917 is did not seem possible for the moment to close any further houses in the City. The houses were uncomfortably crowded at night, especially on Saturdays, and the result of further-closing would have been to increase congestion. For a time, therefore, the suppression of licences in the City was brought to a standstill. Later in the year, however, the restriction on the output of intoxicating jiquors and the gradual diminution in the numbers of the constructional workers at Gretna made it not only possible, but desirable, to close further houses. The available supplies were not sufficient for the number of houses open, and in consequence of this 18 houses were closed in or about April, 1917. Two further licences were suppressed at a later date, while 3 more were cloesd before the end of the year, making a total of 23 for t he City during 1917."
"Report of the District Manager for the year ending December 31st 1917", Carlisle, 1918, page 2.
I suppose at least he was giving drinkers some consideration with regard to overcrowded pubs. But it sould like he was glad of an excuse to close more.

Pub closures weren't limited urban areas:

"As far as possible all houses have been closed which, from their structure or position, were undesirable. In the older parts of the City many of the public-houses were situated in passages or narrow lanes. In other parts, the licenses were congested, with the result that the requirements of the public were fully met by those which were continued. The accompanying map of Carlisle shows how the licences were formerly distributed, and which premises have now been dislicensed.

In the country district, redundant houses are being closed from time to time according as it is found possible to serve the necessary notices of acquisition. Altogether 23 of such houses have been closed, and, in addition, no application has been made for the renewal of two licences by the owners. The aim of the Board in country districts has been to limit the number of licensed premises to the reasonable requirements of the villages, and of travellers on the main roads. It has usually been found that one house is sufficient for a village, provided it is of a structure suitable for the different classes who are likely to frequent it."
"Report of the District Manager for the year ending December 31st 1917", Carlisle, 1918, page 2.
I love the last bit about one pub being enough if "suitable for the different classes", i'e' there were different rooms so the knobs didn't have to mingle with the plebs.

They manager was inordinately smug about how many pubs he had closed.

"All the houses in that part of the Longtown Division which has been placed under the Board's control have now been dealt with, and are either closed or under direct management. There are still however a number in the Cumberland Ward Division in which the Maryport Brewery, Ltd., had an interest, whether as owners, lessees, or tenants, which have not yet been taken over.   It is expected that they will be dealt with early in the year.

Thus, at the end of 1917, the numbers of licensed premises in Carlisle City, Cumberland Ward Division, and the Southern part of the Longtown Division, were 71, 46, and 9; as against 119, 68, and 14 respectively in July, 1916—a total of 126 as against 201, being a reduction of 37.3%.

Commenting on this result, the - Carlisle Journal," in its issue of the 5th February 1918 says:- "Drinking habits are largely influenced by the facilities offered for indulgence, and if the Control Board had done nothing more than accomplish what the Licensing Justices would probably have taken more than a quarter of a century to do in the wav of closing redundant and undesirable houses, it might fairly lay claim to credit for a valuable contribution to the promotion of temperance."
"Report of the District Manager for the year ending December 31st 1917", Carlisle, 1918, page 2.

That's a bit off, printing a favourable review of yourself. More than a third of pubs closed in two years. And people think pub closure numbers are bad now.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Boddington IP 1914 - 1921

You may have drunk ythis IPA tourself, without knowing it. Because this is the beer that eventually became Boddington's Bitter.

When I first started drinking in the 1970'a, Boddington's Bitter was very highly regarded and noted to be particularly bitter. Then there was a recipe change that supposedly made it much blander.

Yet when I look at the hopping rate in 1914, it's susprisingly low. Whitbread's IPA, which was a little bit weaker, was hopped at about treble the rate per quarter, a massive 12 lbs. And when I run the 1914 Boddington IP recipe through BeerSmith, it calculates just 43 IBUs.

Obviously, the strength of IP fell during the war. but even at its low point in 1918, it was still 1037º. That's actually quite a decent gravity for that period. And it bounced back quite well post-war, at a level only 13% below that of 1914. The average fall in gravity was 19%.

Boddington IP 1914 - 1921
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
10th Jul 1914 1053 1016 4.89 69.81% 4.00 1.35
6th May 1915 1047 1016 4.10 65.96% 4.52 1.18
14th Oct 1915 1050 1016 4.50 68.00% 4.52 1.23
15th May 1916 1053 1015 5.03 71.70% 4.52 1.42
15th May 1917 1044 1015 3.84 65.91% 4.75 1.16
6th Jul 1917 1046 1016 3.97 65.22% 3.78 1.18
9th Oct 1917 1045 1017 3.70 62.22% 4.75 1.15
26th Apr 1918 1038 1012 3.44 68.42% 5.38 1.11
2nd Aug 1918 1038 1014 3.18 63.16% 5.38 1.16
4th Oct 1918 1038 1012 3.44 68.42% 5.38 1.11
20th Dec 1918 1037 1014 3.04 62.16% 5.38 1.08
8th Jan 1919 1039 1015 3.18 61.54% 5.38 1.07
12th Jun 1919 1042 1013 3.84 69.05% 5.00 1.15
14th Oct 1919 1046 1015 4.10 67.39% 4.44 1.21
8th Oct 1920 1046 1015 4.10 67.39% 4.59 1.16
4th Oct 1921 1048 1015 4.37 68.75% 3.93 1.01
Boddington brewing records held at Manchester Central Library, document numbers M693/405/126 and M693/405/126.

Before the war, Boddington brewed two other Pale Ales, AK and PA. Both were dropped in the latter war years.