7d Bitters had gravities in the high 1040º’s, and 8d Bitters ones in the mid-1050º’s. These gravities and prices had remained constant since the early 1920s, with the exception of the years 1931 to 1933, when there had been a disastrous tax increase. Brewers’ reaction was to reduce gravities to leave retail prices the same, rather than raise prices by 1d per pint as the government had expected.
You can see that there wasn’t a huge amount of variation in the strength of beers in each class. That isn’t coincidence. Brewers were well aware of the gravities of their rivals’ beers, despite them not being made public. I’m sure that all the larger breweries, just like Whitbread and Truman, had their rivals’ beers analysed. It’s only drinkers who were in the dark as to how strong their beer was.
The rate of attenuation is fairly high, at least 75% in all but two examples. The ABVs are accordingly also quite high, with the Mann’s example even hitting 6% ABV. There would never be a London-brewed Bitter of a similar strength again.
|London draught Pale Ale in 1938|
|Year||Brewer||Beer||Price per pint (d)||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||colour|
|1938||Taylor Walker||Pale Ale||7||1043.1||1015.7||3.54||63.57%|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|
|Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/105.|
|Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.|