Thursday, 19 September 2019

Anyone living in Glasgow?

Who fancies doing me a favour?

There are a couple of brewing records in the Scottish Brewing Archive that I could really do with getting photos of. But I can't really justify the expense of going to Glasgow myaelf.

So, anyone fancy a little light photography? There are a couple of my self-published books in it for you.

Back in the groove

My trip to Japan with the kids really knocked a hole in my work on my current book. What with queuing up posts beforhand, the two weeks-odd of the trip itself and a couple of weeks writing the trip up, I didn't work on the book for over six weeks.

I finally got back into the swing this week. I've written at least 500 words every day and I've done some bits of basic research.

You wouldn't believe how many brewing records I still haven't processed. My guess is between a quarter and a third. This week I've been transcribing William Younger and Boddington records. A lot of work, but very satisfying.


Both the Yonger and Boddington records are in what I call the Scottish format. While English records usually have one brew per page or double page, Scottish records have multiple brews over a two page spread.

In the case of Boddington, there are 20 brews per double page. I have 150 photos of the log I'm currently processing. Which adds up to around 1,500 brews. Even if I only take 5 or 10 minutes per brew, it takes a considerable time to get through the lot.

The dangers of Russian Stout

This is quite a rarity: a newspaper article that mentions a specific brand of beer. Russian Stout, to be specific. A beer unique to Barclay Perkins.

The article tells a sad tale of intoxication due to an unexpectedly strong drink.

"A PARTY ESCAPADE: FINES OF £40
After celebrating a birthday party with Russian stout, Joseph Dennis Whorten of St. James', New Cross, London. took a car that he found in Queen-st. and crashed it into a wall outside Supt. Cotts house In Herne-rd. He was charged at the Magistrates' Court last Wednesday of driving away a motor vehicle without a licence; using an uninsured motor vehicle; and driving while under the influence of drink. The charge of theft was withdrawn on defendant pleading guilty to the remaining charges. Supt. Cott said that when Wharton got out of the car he was staggering and had cuts on the forehead. He was given first aid. He was examined by Dr. Rosenberg at the Police station and found to be under the influence of drink. Wharton admitted that this was so. The Supt. added that Wharton was a man of good character with a good war record In the R.N.V.R. Mr. R. J. Dromgoole, for Wharton, said that since his discharge from the Royal Navy he had applied to the Merchant Navy pool and had been posted to the Dutch Admiralty. Except for an occasional light beer, Wharton had practically given op intoxicating liquor, but on this Saturday at a birthday party he had had Russian stout, a particularly potent form of beer. He bad been asked to leave and saw the car open when he left the premises. He was fined in all £40 and ordered to pay £1 1s. costs. and was disqualified from driving for twelve months."
West Sussex Gazette - Thursday 21 April 1949, page 8.
I was surprised by a couple of things. The first that sprang to mind was this: was Russian Stout really that strong in 1949? During the war its gravity had been greatly reduced, as you can see in the table below.  I don't have any details for 1949, but by 1950 it was back up to full strength.

So it is possible that Mr. Whartom was drinking an exceptionally strong beer. And, at a time when almost no beer was stronger than 4% ABV, something over 10% ABV really was unusually strong.

On the other hand, Wharton had been in the Royal Navy. An organisation whose members aren't exactly renowned for temperance. And when he served sailors still received a daily ration of overproof rum.

Considering he nicked a car whilst pissed, didn't have a driving licence and crashed into a poliecman's house, I think Wharton got off pretty lightly.

Barclay Perkins Russian Stout 1941 - 1950
Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1941 IBS 1055.6 1022.0 4.45 60.45%
1946 IBS (Scot.) 1043.7 1019.0 3.27 56.52%
1947 IBS (Scot.) 1043.5 1021.0 2.98 51.72%
1950 Russian Imperial Stout 1100.1 1021.1 10.41 78.92%
Sources:
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/624 and ACC/2305/01/627.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.


Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1944 Whitbread XX

Two tie-ins with this recipe. For starters, it's an example of the Whitbread wartime Milds I discussed recently. Secondly, it was brewed just about exactly 75 years ago, in September 1944.


Whitbread’s X Ale started the war on the weak side for a standard London Mild. Obviously after a few years of war, it wasn’t going to have got any stronger.

Though the gravity of, what by then, was called XX Ale stabilised from 1942 onwards at just a shade under 1030º. I wish I had more analyses of the finished beer as I suspect that it was primed at racking time. One stray analysis I have from 1945 has an OG that is about 1.5º higher than the gravity shown in a brewing record from the same month.

Whitbread didn’t go in much for complicated recipes and this iteration of XX Ale is no exception. The grist consists of just three elements: mild malt, crystal malt and flaked barley. The latter being a government imposition on all breweries.

In addition there are two types of sugar: No. 3 invert and something simply described as “Hay”. From what I’ve seen in other Whitbread records, I’m guessing that this means Hay’s M, which was a type of proprietary caramel.

There were four types of hops used. Whitbread from the 1944 harvest, Kent from 1943, Worcester from 1943 and Oregon from 1942. Though the quantities of Whitbread and Oregon hops were pretty small: 57 and 86 lbs, respectively, out of a total of 570 lbs.


1944 Whitbread XX
mild malt 4.50 lb 70.64%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.85%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 15.70%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 3.92%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.12 lb 1.88%
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Cluster 60 mins 0.125 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1028.5
FG 1007
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 75.44%
IBU 18
SRM 14
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 65º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

Whitbread Mild 1939 - 1945

Whitbread’s standard strength Mild, X, changed it’s name early in 1940 from X to XX. Odd, as, while you would expect XX to be stronger than X, the name change was also accompanied by a cut in gravity.

At the outbreak of war, Whitbread a weaker Mild called LA, with a gravity of 1028.3º. It was discontinued in 1940, probably because of the small volumes being produced. In 1939, they brewed just 5,747 barrels of LA. To put that into context, 232,453 barrels of X Ale were produced that same year.*

As with Barclay Perkins Mild, the gravity reductions to Whitbread’s Mild mostly occurred in the first half of the war. From 1942 onwards, it remained relatively stable at around 1028º. Which is very similar to where Barclay Perkins X ended up.

Whitbread’s Mild was typical of those brewed in London in being quite heavily hopped. 8 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt is a very reasonable rate and similar to the level of hopping found in may provincial Bitters. The hopping rate was reduced by about 25% in 1941 on government orders. But at around 6lbs per quarter of malt, the degree of hopping was still very respectable.

The base malt was mostly a mix of pale malt and mild malt, though occasionally it was 100% of just one.  The only coloured grain employed was crystal malt, the percentage of which declined steadily throughout the war. By its end, only about half as much was being used as in 1939.

As a brewery which pre-war had brewed from just malt and sugar, wartime government insistence on the use of unmalted grains caused more recipe changes than elsewhere. Adjunct brewers mostly just swapped flaked maize for flaked barley.

Whitbread used a variety of different adjuncts, including some unusual ones like barley meal and flaked rye. By the end of the war, they had settled down on the use of flaked barley. The proportion of unmalted grains increased over the later war years reaching almost 17% by 1945.

The sugar columns are a little misleading. The three where there’s no No. 3 listed almost certainly did contain it. Simply the brewing records for that period didn’t note the type of sugar being used. It was almost certainly No. 3, though. The rest of the “other sugar” is Hay’s M, a type of caramel.

The total amount of sugar used was about halved between 1939 and 1942, but returned to around its pre-war level in 1945.


Whitbread Mild 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp colour
25th Sep 1939 1033.6 1010 3.12 70.24% 8.27 1.1 1.25 1 65º 17 + 40
23rd Apr 1940 1033.6 1009 3.25 73.21% 8.12 1.14 1.25 1.25 65º 16 + 40
31st Jul 1940 1031.5 1008.5 3.04 73.02% 8.42 1.09 1.25 1 65º 16 + 40
20th Nov 1940 1031.1 1010 2.79 67.85% 8.42 1.07 1.17 0.75 66º 16 + 40
31st Jan 1941 1030 1009 2.78 70.00% 8.1 1 2.17 1.5 65º 16 + 40
10th Oct 1941 1031.2 1009 2.94 71.15% 6.38 0.76 1.25 1.25 65º 14 + 40
30th Jan 1942 1029.1 1007.5 2.86 74.23% 5.84 0.75 1 1 65º 18 + 40
30th May 1942 1028.4 1007 2.83 75.35% 6.19 0.75 1 1 65º 16 + 40
5th Apr 1943 1027.8 1008 2.62 71.22% 6.07 0.76 1 1.25 65º 15 + 40
2nd Sep 1943 1028.2 1008 2.67 71.63% 6.07 0.73 1 0.83 65º 14 + 40
7th Apr 1944 1028.3 1007.5 2.75 73.50% 5.79 0.69 1 0.75 65º 14 + 40
11th Dec 1944 1028.4 1008.5 2.63 70.07% 5.91 0.72 1 1 65º 14 + 40
5th Apr 1945 1028.4 1008.5 2.63 70.07% 5.67 0.71 1 0.75 65º 15 + 40
24th Aug 1945 1028.1 1010 2.39 64.41% 5.67 0.71 1 0.75 65º 13 + 40
Source:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/107, LMA/4453/D/01/108, LMA/4453/D/01/109, LMA/4453/D/01/110, LMA/4453/D/01/111, LMA/4453/D/01/112, and LMA/4453/D/01/113.


Whitbread Mild grists 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG pale malt crystal malt mild malt PA malt wheat malt
25th Sep 1939 1033.6 75.73% 13.59%
23rd Apr 1940 1033.6 24.30% 13.08% 54.21% 1.87%
31st Jul 1940 1031.5 77.54% 13.57% 1.94%
20th Nov 1940 1031.1 81.42% 11.63%
31st Jan 1941 1030.0 20.17% 12.10% 58.49% 2.02%
10th Oct 1941 1031.2 65.39% 11.98% 4.99% 4.99% 2.00%
30th Jan 1942 1029.1 12.02% 68.11% 2.00%
30th May 1942 1028.4 46.32% 12.63% 16.84% 2.11%
5th Apr 1943 1027.8 9.28% 10.31% 55.67%
2nd Sep 1943 1028.2 46.39% 10.31% 18.56%
7th Apr 1944 1028.3 10.45% 71.08%
11th Dec 1944 1028.4 7.42% 73.14%
5th Apr 1945 1028.4 7.39% 62.32%
24th Aug 1945 1028.1 36.97% 7.39% 25.35%
Source:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/107, LMA/4453/D/01/108, LMA/4453/D/01/109, LMA/4453/D/01/110, LMA/4453/D/01/111, LMA/4453/D/01/112, and LMA/4453/D/01/113.


Whitbread Mild sugars and adjuncts 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG no. 3 sugar other sugar flaked barley barley meal flaked rye flaked oat
25th Sep 1939 1033.6 9.06% 1.62%
23rd Apr 1940 1033.6 4.98% 1.56%
31st Jul 1940 1031.5 5.17% 1.78%
20th Nov 1940 1031.1 6.95%
31st Jan 1941 1030.0 7.23%
10th Oct 1941 1031.2 5.66% 4.99%
30th Jan 1942 1029.1 4.01% 1.84% 12.02%
30th May 1942 1028.4 5.61% 1.75% 8.42% 1.05% 5.26%
5th Apr 1943 1027.8 5.50% 1.72% 17.53%
2nd Sep 1943 1028.2 5.50% 1.72% 17.53%
7th Apr 1944 1028.3 4.18% 1.74% 12.54%
11th Dec 1944 1028.4 2.83% 1.77% 14.84%
5th Apr 1945 1028.4 9.86% 3.52% 16.90%
24th Aug 1945 1028.1 9.86% 3.52% 16.90%
Source:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/107, LMA/4453/D/01/108, LMA/4453/D/01/109, LMA/4453/D/01/110, LMA/4453/D/01/111, LMA/4453/D/01/112, and LMA/4453/D/01/113.



* Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Monday, 16 September 2019

Adnams Mild Ale grists during WW II

Yeah! Back at work on my next book. Slowly grinding out the words.

The trick is not to look at how much still needs to be done, but to concentrate on one small part at a time. Which at the moment is Mild. A style very dear to my heart.

There weren’t very great changes to the recipe of Adnams XX during the war.  The basic grist of base malt with 5% each of amber and crystal malt barely remained unaltered. The only real change was the addition of some unmalted grains. The use of either flaked oats or flaked barley in the later years wasn’t voluntary, but dictated by the government.

Apologies for the lack of excitement there. Is it going to get any more heart-racing when we contemplate the copper additions?

No. The No.3 content drops after 1941, but then remains remarkably constant. The amount of tintose – obviously some type of caramel – increases a little, presumably to compensate colour-wise for the reduction in No. 3.

The hopping is equally dull. All English, Mostly with a combination of hops from the most recent season and the one before.

It’s an example of how the effects of the war weren’t consistent across the whole country. For the simple reason that there had been considerable regional variation before all the horribleness kicked off.



Adnams Mild Ale grists during WW II
Date Year OG pale malt amber malt crystal malt medium malt flaked barley flaked oat
20th Sep 1939 1029 4.79% 4.79% 76.62%
2nd Sept 1940 1029 4.69% 4.69% 81.34%
13th Mar 1941 1028 16.78% 6.29% 6.29% 75.52%
14th Jan 1942 1027 5.12% 5.12% 76.74% 5.12%
1st Jan 1943 1027 5.12% 5.12% 81.85%
17th Feb 1943 1027 5.12% 5.12% 76.74% 5.12%
9th Apr 1943 1027 5.12% 5.12% 71.62% 10.23%
2nd Feb 1944 1027 5.12% 5.12% 71.62% 10.23%
1st Jan 1945 1027 5.12% 5.12% 76.74% 5.12%
Sources:
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery, Books 26 to 32


Adnams Mild Ale sugars and hops during WW II
Date Year OG no. 3 sugar tintose hops
20th Sep 1939 1029 12.77% 1.03% English
2nd Sept 1940 1029 8.34% 0.93% English (1938, 1939)
13th Mar 1941 1028 11.19% 0.70% English (1939)
14th Jan 1942 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1940, 1941)
1st Jan 1943 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1941)
17th Feb 1943 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1941, 1942)
9th Apr 1943 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1941, 1942)
2nd Feb 1944 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1942, 1943)
1st Jan 1945 1027 6.82% 1.10% English (1943)
Sources:
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery, Books 26 to 32

Sunday, 15 September 2019

Adnams XX Mild Ale during WW II

In country districts, where often the only Mild a brewery produced was in the 4d class pre-war, the conflict had only minimal effect of beer strength.  Adnams is a good example.

Over the whole course of the war, Adnams XX lost a mere two gravity points, falling from 1029º to 1027º. There was a good reason why the gravity didn’t fall below 1027º: the way the tax system worked it made no economic sense. The tax equivalent to a beer of 1027º was the minimum charged, whatever the strength of the beer.

Just as with the gravity, there was very little change in the hopping rate of XX during the war. Despite brewers being ordered by the government early in the war to reduce it. Though Adnams’ hopping rate was a good bit lower than at either Whitbread or Lees. It started around 5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt. While Whitbread’s rate went from over 8 lbs per quarter to around 5.5 lbs. While Lees went from around 7 lbs per quarter to 5.5 lbs.


Adnams Mild Ale during WW II
Date Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
20th Sep 1939 XX 1029.0 1006.1 3.03 78.99% 4.93 0.57
2nd Sept 1940 XX 1029.0 1006.1 3.03 78.99% 4.90 0.57
13th Mar 1941 XX 1028.0 1006.1 2.90 78.24% 5.33 0.57
14th Jan 1942 XX 1027.0 1005.0 2.91 81.53% 4.63 0.50
1st Jan 1943 XX 1027.0 1005.5 2.84 79.48% 4.63 0.51
17th Feb 1943 XX 1027.0 1005.5 2.84 79.48% 4.63 0.51
9th Apr 1943 XX 1027.0 1005.0 2.91 81.53% 4.63 0.50
2nd Feb 1944 XX 1027.0 1006.1 2.77 77.43% 4.63 0.51
1st Jan 1945 XX 1027.0 1006.1 2.77 77.43% 4.63 0.50
Sources:
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery, Books 26 to 32

Saturday, 14 September 2019

Let's Brew - 1939 Boddington CC

Boddington’s Strong Ale, CC, had been around for a while, pre-dating WW I.  Surprisingly, it wasn’t much weaker in 1939 than it had been in 1913, when its gravity was 1062º.

There was quite a tradition of Strong Ales in the Manchester area. A tradition which continued well past WW II. CC itself managed to stick around until at least the 1950s. I suspect that it was a bottled beer, though it may have been sold on fraught occasionally in the winter.

The grist is similar to their XX Mild, based around pale and crystal malt. Though proprietary the sugars are slightly different, I’ve interpreted them again as being No. 3 invert. There’s also rather a lot of caramel, which is responsible for the finished beer’s dark brown colour.

As was typical at Boddington, a large number of different types of hops were employed. In this case five. As this example was brewed before the outbreak of war, it’s no surprise to see some foreign hops in the mix. They were Oregon and Styrian, both from the 1937 harvest and kept in a cold store, plus English from the 1937 and 1938 harvests.


1939 Boddington CC
pale malt 7.25 57.63%
crystal malt 60 L 1.50 lb 11.92%
flaked maize 2.75 lb 21.86%
flaked wheat 0.33 lb 2.62%
malt extract 0.125 lb 0.99%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.500 lb 3.97%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 0.99%
Cluster 220 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1056.5
FG 1015
ABV 5.49
Apparent attenuation 73.45%
IBU 67
SRM 18
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 220 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)