Thursday, 26 July 2018

Brown Ale after WW II

Nother book excerpt for your delectation. Something I only wrote a few hours ago.

Only revived around 1900, Brown Ale became wildly popular in the middle of the century. It was one of the beers that boosted the popularity of bottled beer, especially in pubs.

Yet it varied immensely in nature. The distinction is often made between Northern and Southern Brown Ales. But it was more complex than that. Really what’s really meant is standard-strength and strong Brown Ales. I’d prefer to classify them and Single Brown Ale and Double Brown Ale. Because there are plenty of examples of weak versions being brewed in the North and strong ones in the South.

Brown Ale doesn’t appear at all in the brewing records of many breweries. For the simple reason that it wasn’t brewed as a distinct beer, but was just a bottled version of Dark Mild. With perhaps some tweaking in the primings.

The stronger type of Brown Ale was brewed as its own beer. Though the most famous – Newcastle Brown Ale – was a blend of two beers. One of the best Southern examples of a stronger Brown Ale, Whitbread Double Brown was sadly discontinued in the mid-1950s.

The importance of Brown Ale in the London market is highlighted by just how many analyses there are of it in the Whitbread Gravity Book.

London Brown Ale under 1038º 1946 - 1952
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1946 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown Ale 13.5 1034.1 1011.3 2.95 66.86% 105
1952 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown Ale 19 1034 1010.5 3.04 69.12% 98
1947 Beasley Brown Ale 12 1030 1007.7 2.89 74.33% 83
1947 Charrington Brown Ale 15 1027.7 1012 2.02 56.68% 91
1952 Charrington Brown Ale 9d 1031.1 1008.5 2.93 72.67% 120
1950 Courage Brown Ale 15 1029.7 1007.6 2.86 74.41% 83
1952 Courage Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.4 1008.2 3.14 74.69% 87
1946 Hammerton Nut Brown Ale 24 1026.5 1003.8 2.95 85.66% 79
1950 Hammerton Nut Brown Ale 17 1029.8 1006.9 2.97 76.85% 83
1950 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 1029 1009.5 2.52 67.24% 75
1952 Ind Coope Nut Brown Ale 19 1030.9 1011.7 2.48 62.14% 83
1946 Mann Crossman Brown Ale 14 1034.4 1008.8 3.32 74.42% 84
1950 Mann Crossman Brown Ale 18 1035.8 1013.3 2.91 62.85% 98
1952 Meux Nut Brown Ale 19 1029.8 1009.1 2.68 69.46% 106
1948 South London Brewer Co. SLB Brown Ale 16 1028 1011.1 2.18 60.36% 83
1946 Taylor Walker Nut Brown Ale 17 1030.1 1007.6 2.92 74.75% 83
1952 Taylor Walker Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.6 1011.7 2.70 64.11% 83
1946 Truman Trubrown 12.5 1033.2 1011.8 2.76 64.46% 105
1951 Truman Trubrown 19 1035.4 1012.8 2.92 63.84% 105
1946 Watney Brown Ale 12 1029.6 1008.5 2.73 71.28% 87
1952 Watney Brown Ale 18 1032 1010.8 2.74 66.25% 105
1950 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 15 1030.7 1012.5 2.35 59.28% 87
1952 Wenlock Nut Brown Ale 19 1032.5 1012.5 2.58 61.54% 83
1947 Whitbread Forest Brown 12 1028.9 1006.5 2.91 77.51% 83
1952 Whitbread Forest Brown 21 1032.6 1012.1 2.65 62.88% 95
Average 16.7 1031.2 1009.9 2.76 68.55% 91.0
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

A combination of low gravity and poor attenuation leaves only a couple over 3% ABV. The strongest is the granddaddy of all Brown Ales, Manns. Though it’s quite a bit weaker than pre-war, when it had an OG in the low 1040ºs and was almost 4% ABV.

There was a slight increase in gravity at the beginning of the 1950s. Where I have two analyses for the same brewery, you can see that the gravity of the later one is a point or two higher.

There seems to be a similar trend as amongst Mild Ales, where the London examples are darker and less well-attenuated than those from elsewhere.

5 comments:

Jeff Renner said...

Image, please.

Mike in NSW said...

Growing up on Tyneside, Newcastle Brown Ale had a huge mythology that revolved around its strength, with rumours that Newcastle General Hospital had a special locked ward that housed victims of the Broon. It was commonly nicknamed "journey into space" after the famous radio SF show of the 1950s.

With its modern ABV of 4.7% it's pretty much an also ran nowadays - do you have any record of what its strength was back in the original S&N days? If it was 4.7% in the old days that really wasn't a lot different to the likes of Clubs Fed Special or Newcastle Exhibition that were, I believe around 4.3%.

Martyn Cornell said...

I'll continue to maintain that Newcastle Brown Ale and its imitators are a completely different beast from Mann's, Forest Brown and the like: Newkie B was much more in the tradition of Burton Ale, fruity and dark amber. Th only similarities with Mann's Brrrrown Ale are the words 'brown' and 'ale'.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike in NSW,

in 1928 Newcastle Brown was 6.23% ABV.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn,

there's a huge variation in Brown Ales. The colours are all over the place. Though, in general, London-brewed versions were darker than those from elsewhere.