Wednesday 21 November 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Whitbread X

At the outbreak of WW II, Whitbread X, their standard Mild Ale, was quite weak by London standards. Especially as, unlike some rivals such as Barclay Perkins, they didn’t have a Best Mild.

From 1921 to 1931, Whitbread X had a typical London Mild gravity of around 1042º. That was reduced – after Snowden’s 1931 emergency budget that significantly increased the tax on beer – to 1033º. However, there was a new XX Mild introduced at the old OG. However, when the extra tax was dropped in 1933, XX was discontinued. With X remaining at the low gravity.

The recipe hadn’t changed a great deal since the early 1920s, consisting of base malt, crystal malt, No. 3 invert sugar and a proprietary sugar. What’s listed as caramel in the recipe below was a proprietary sugar, just recorded in the brewing record as “Hay”. It only appears in dark beers and in order to get the colour right it needs to be at least 1,000 SRM. Something with a high caramel content is all it can be.

The hops are slightly odd. Most are Mid Kent, from the 1938 and 1937 harvests, the latter having been kept in a cold store. But a quarter are Hallertau from 1935. Which is odd because this beer was brewed around three weeks into the war.

1939 Whitbread X
pale malt 5.50 lb 74.58%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 13.56%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 10.17%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.69%
Fuggles 75 mins 0.75 oz
Hallertau 75 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1034
FG 1010
ABV 3.18
Apparent attenuation 70.59%
IBU 25
SRM 18
Mash at 148º F
After underlet 152º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 65º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


qq said...

Haywards were a big brewer/distiller in India (the beer ended up with SABMiller) who also had sugar mills, so "Hay" might be something from them?????????

Ron Pattinson said...


I think Hay was a UK sugar manufacturer.