Saturday 29 June 2019

Let's Brew 1944 Fullers Dinner Ale

1944 is still much very alve in my head. The sensible one, not the crazy one that keeps saying "kill everyone". But who of us doesn't have a crazy head hiding somewherre inside?

On with another typically flacid wartime recipe.

Light Ale is a tricky beer style to pin down. When did it start and what the hell was it? Watery bottled Bitter, in essence.

If that makes it sound dull, that’s right, It wasn’t the most exciting beer style in the world. Just a low-gravity, easy-drinking beer for the cost-conscious consumer. Who didn’t want to take the gamble of draught Ordinary Bitter, which could be of very variable quality.

There’s nothing much wrong about the grist of this beer. Mostly loads of pale malt, the obligatory flaked barley and a dash of sugar. Plus some caramel to disguise just how watery it was. Though during the war, drinkers became less fussy. They were just glad that there was beer of some kind to drink.

The hops – for those of you who are as obsessive as me – were all English, from the 1943 crop, supplemented with something called hopulon. Which sounds like something a triple jumper would use as performance enhancer.

1944 Fullers Dinner Ale
pale malt 6.00 lb 82.53%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 13.76%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.125 lb 1.72%
glucose 0.125 lb 1.72%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.28%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1031.5
FG 1009.5
ABV 2.91
Apparent attenuation 69.84%
IBU 25
Mash at 148º F
After underlet 151º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale


Chris Pickles said...

seems rather bitter for such a weak beer.

qq said...

This fella reckons hopulon is a 7x concentrated hop extract :

I was surprised to see bottles of Light Ale in a Young's pub recently - but not as surprised to see Ordinary in a wooden cask on the bar (as well as from steel in the cellar).

John Keeling said...

Light and bitter was an effort to revive the condition in cask beer

StuartP said...

I remember drinking a bottle of Courage Light Ale, and being surprised how good it was to drink. My expectations were quite low.
Admittedly, that was in the last century. I'm not sure when I last saw it on sale.
Although low on gravity, it wasn't 'watery' at all. I reckon these old-time commercial brewers knew what they were doing.

Ron Pattinson said...


I've published a recipe for the 1965 version of Courage Light Ale:

qq said...

@Chris Pickles - it's got a BU:GU ratio of 79% which is pretty normal for bitter.

Ron - FYI I've seen various people suggesting Imperial's A09 Pub yeast is a rather more Fuller's-y, orangey and generally more interesting version of WLP002.