Friday, 20 September 2019

Scottish Mild Ale before WW II

More WW II-related stuff today. And more Mild-related stuff, too. Call that a double win. For me, if not for you.

After WW I, genuine Mild Ales were pretty much dead in Scotland. Most breweries produced nothing but different-strength Pale Ales. The weakest of these filled the slot usually occupied by Mild in England.

The situation was made more complicated by some of the peculiarities of Scottish brewing. Pale Ales brewed north of the border tended to be more lightly hopped, with rates often lower than those for London Mild Ales. Then there was the practice of colouring up beers with caramel at racking time. In combination, these two factors meant that lower-gravity Scottish Pale Ales, could be very similar in colour and character to English Dark Mild.

One exception was William Younger, which continued to brew genuine Mild Ales through WW II and beyond. I’m not sure that they ever sold their Mild in Scotland, though. As Younger had many outlets in England, a Mild would have been an essential part of their range in the 1930s.

All three of the examples in the table were sold at 6d per pint, but are considerably weaker than, for example London Milds which cost the same. A 6d London Mild would weigh in at over 1040º. The Younger’s beer, at just over 1030º, would probably have retailed for 4d, had it been brewed in London.

The explanation: beer was generally more expensive in Scotland. The same phenomenon can be observed with draught Scottish Pale Ales, which were usually 1d per pint more expensive than beers of a similar strength sold in London.

Scottish Mild Ale before WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1939 Murray Light Ale 6 1035.8 1008.7 3.52 75.70% 42
1939 Younger, Geo. Light Ale 6 1033.6 1005.8 3.61 82.74% 44
1939 Younger, Wm. Light Ale 6 1030.6 1004.5 3.39 85.29% 155
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.


StuartP said...

Err, Ron...
You're just back from Japan aren't you?
The Rugby World Cup starts in Japan today - really, how hot is it out there???

Ron Pattinson said...


don't know about now, but it was over 30º C every day we were there.