Sunday, 18 August 2019

A nip in the air calls for

By the end of 1949 few genuinely strong beers were starteing to escape from breweries. Some were even confident enough of their ability to supply such beers that they advertised them. Like Friary, with their Audit Ale.

Audit Ales were extremely strong beers originally brewed once a year for colleges at Oxford and Cambridge. After they closed down their own brewhouses, the colleges contracted the brewing out to commercial brewers.

I'm not sure that Friary's Audit Ale has any connection with either university and genuine Audit Ales. Other than it being pretty strong.

"A nip in the air calls for FRIARY AUDIT ALE
There's nothing like a nip of Friary Audit Ale for making you forget the weather. Extra strong, and specially brewed to take the sting out of an English Winter, Friary Audit at 15/6d. per dozen nips coats that little extra — but by Jove it’s worth it!
Chichester Observer - Saturday 03 December 1949, page 7.

And exactly how strong was extra strong? Around 8% ABV is the answer. So genuinely pretty strong. Here are the details of it and some other beers of the period, inlcuding several Audit Ales.

Audit Ale and other Strong Ales 1948 - 1958
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1948 Usher Strong Ale 1090.5 1024.5 8.63 72.93%
1949 Flower Extra Strong 1078 1012 8.68 84.62%
1949 Fowler Prestonpans Twelve Guinea Ale 45 1077.7 1030.3 6.13 61.00% 100
1949 Mann Crossman Strong Ale 30 1071.2 128
1951 Barclay Perkins Strong Ale 37 1079 1011 8.96 86.08% 120
1951 Friary Audit Strong Ale 46.5 1084.6 1022.1 8.17 73.88% 52
1953 Friary Holroyd Audit Ale 45 1084 1025.1 7.67 70.12% 52
1955 Dales (Brewed by Wells & Winch) Audit Ale 36 1062.2 1023.5 5.00 62.22% 115
1955 Greene King Audit Ale 36 1083.2 1017.7 8.59 78.73% 100
1955 Wells & Winch Audit Ale 36 1062.2 1023.3 5.03 62.54% 115
1958 Lacons Audit Ale 54 1095 1017.8 9.65 81.26% 90
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.
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.

Not that the Friary beer was quite a bit paler than all the other Audit Ales.


David Harris said...

Found a long PDF on Audit Ale...interesting topic

Anonymous said...

Always been fascinated by tales of Audit Ales. The (reborn) Lacons brew is a lovely one at 8%, and the (reborn) Westerham's Audit Ale is superb, at a still pokey 6%. The new Lacons is a bit weaker than the one in your table, Ron. The original Black Eagle brewery at Westerham's Audit was "a strong beer brewed to an o.g. of 1065, it had extra whole hops added for additional flavour and was matured in oak casks for at least six months before being bottled. Such was the renown of this fine ale that it was regularly delivered to Clarence House for the start of the oyster season" ( Westerham Ales, Moynihan/Goodley) Pretty much the perfect beer, surely? Strong, rich, malty yet full of bite from lots of English hops too. Yum.