Tuesday 16 April 2019

Adnams beers in 1939

As a relatively small, rural brewery, Adnams served a very different market to large urban breweries. Their range of beers was pretty small – just five in all – and they were considerably weaker than equivalent London beers.

Only their XXXX Old Ale and DS Stout were above average OG, which in 1939 was 1041º.  . As they didn’t brew very large quantities of either, the average OG of what they brewed must have been well below the national average.

It’s a bit of a cheek calling a beer with an OG below 1030º XX. I doubt it fooled anyone, as it must have drunk very light. Mild ales of this strength did exist in London – where they were call 4d Ales – but they were brewed in tiny quantities. Most Mild Ales from the capital were either around 1037º or 1043º.

Adnam’s PA is equally watery for the style. It’s clearly been brewed as a 6d per pint beer, while in London draught Bitter almost always came in the 7d (1048º) or 8d (1043º) classes. I assume this is the result of people being less well off in rural districts.

Similarly DS is about as weak as Stout got before WW II. Whitbread’s and Barclay Perkins’ draught London Stout, for example, both had an OG of about 1046º. I doubt the Adnams beer was ever sold on draught. By this point draught Stout was pretty rare outside London.

The only beer with a decent OG by the standards of the time is XXXX. It’s a typical Southern-style Old Ale, meaning it’s basically just like a pre-WW I Mild. Though in this case it isn’t just a souped-up version of XX Mild. The grists were identical, but XXXX was hopped considerably more heavily and was dry-hopped, unlike XX.

Missing from the table above is Adnams Barley Wine, Tally Ho. It was only brewed very occasionally and I missed it in the 1939 records.

The hopping rates are reasonable, with PA hopped at a similar rate to London Bitters. XX is more lightly hopped than London equivalents, but is fairly normal for provincial Milds.

Adnams beers in 1939
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
22nd May XX Mild Ale 1029 1006.1 3.03 78.99% 4.93 0.58
24th May XXXX Old Ale 1055 1017.7 4.93 67.77% 6.94 1.53
23rd May PA Pale Ale 1039 1010.0 3.84 74.43% 8.00 1.27
8th Jun DS Stout 1042 1013.3 3.80 68.34% 5.78 1.01
Adnams brewing record Book 26 held at the brewery.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Oof! XXXX weighing in at a hefty 4.93% I'll be falling asleep on the bus!