On the face of it, WW II seems to have had little impact on the character of Scotch Ale. Unlike most styles, it seems to have bounced back to pre-war like gravities soon after the end of hostilities.
The majority of examples retained a gravity of somewhere around 1080º. Which in the immediate post-war years counted as super strong. Why was that, when other styles were emasculated?
Partly, I assume it’s because some were genuine export beers. Scotch Ale was popular in Belgium and they expected it to be full strength. Belgian drinkers wouldn’t have stood for a 5% ABV Scotch Ale. But some was probably just due to Scotch Ale being an expensive treat: if it wasn’t pretty strong, why bother with it?
Though there had been some reductions is strength. Fowler’s Twelve Guinea Ale, for example. Pre-war it had an OG of over 1100º. In the late 1940’s, that was down to just 1080º. Still strong, but not crazily so.
There are a few quite weak examples, beers under 1060º. McEwan Double Scotch Ale is a good example. I suspect that’s really a Double Brown Ale. Especially as it’s eerily similar in gravity to William Younger’s Double Century Ale. The two firms had merged by this point and my guess is that Double Scotch was just a rebadge of the William Younger beer.
The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed one odd brewery in the table: John Smith. Which is very much an English brewery. They brewed a Scotch Ale exclusively for the Belgian market. I doubt they could have got away with selling it in the UK. I think Scottish brewers would have got pretty annoyed had they done so.
|Bottled Scotch Ale after WW II|
|1948||Ballingall||"Angus" Strong Ale||1073.5||1023.5||6.49||68.03%|
|1948||Calder Alloa||Scotch Strong Ale||1065.5||1019||6.04||70.99%|
|1950||Campbell||Royal Scotch Ale||1080.1||1014.2||8.66||82.27%||77|
|1948||Fowler||Twelve Guinea Ale||1080||1021.5||7.63||73.13%|
|1949||Fowler||Twelve Guinea Ale||1077.7||1030.3||6.13||61.00%||100|
|1948||Gordon & Blair||"Unique" Scotch Ale||1043.5||1016.5||3.49||62.07%|
|1948||Jeffrey||Strong Ale No. 1||1067||1025||5.43||62.69%|
|1950||John Smith||Scotch Ale||1080.3||1025.6||7.11||68.12%||65|
|1950||McEwan||Double Scotch Ale||1057.7||1018.4||5.09||68.11%||80|
|1948||Steel Coulson||Strong Ale||1063||1026||4.77||58.73%|
|1947||Usher||Old Scotch Ale||1073.5||1020.5||6.90||72.11%|
|1950||Younger, Geo.||Gordon Xmas Ale||1090.7||1032.3||7.58||64.39%||50|
|1948||Younger, Robert||Strong Ale||1048||1014.5||4.34||69.79%|
|1947||Younger, Wm.||No. 1 Strong Ale||1074||1022||6.76||70.27%|
|1950||Younger, Wm.||No. 1 Scotch Ale||1087.6||1017.5||9.21||80.02%||60|
|Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|