Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1954 Drybrough Burns Ale

In the 1950’s, Scottish brewers continued to make small amounts of pretty strong beer. Certainly stronger than most of the beer you’d find in England. That’s the weird thing about Scottish brewing. Often its beers were both weaker and stronger than in England.

It’s a recurring theme in Scottish Beer. It was exactly the same in the middle of the 19th century, when brewers were turning out incredibly high-gravity beers as well as pretty weak Table Beers. In London, the beers tended to occupy more the middle ground, say 1050-1080º.

Burns Ale was, of course, just a very strong version of Drybrough’s Pale Ale recipe. The only one they had.

It’s quite odd that Drybrough were still using flaked barley. It was forced on brewers by the government during WW II as a replacement for flaked barley. Most dropped it again as soon as supplies of maize were restored. Maybe Drybrough liked it. On the other hand, they did stop using it in the late 1950s.

1954 Drybrough Burns Ale
pale malt 12.75 lb 77.86%
black malt 0.125 lb 0.76%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 6.11%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 6.11%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.25 lb 7.63%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.53%
Fuggles 90 min 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1073
FG 1024
ABV 6.48
Apparent attenuation 67.12%
IBU 31
SRM 12
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

The above is an extract from the best book ever written on Scottish brewing, my Scotland! vol. 2:

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Prominent Firms Ind, Coope & Co.

You can guess where we are again: advertorial country. Just outside London, to be precise, in Essex.

Once again, a brewery with a large trade in the new-fangled type of non-deposit bottled beer.

The bottled trade, which is the distinctire feature of the brewing industry to-day, has received close attention at the hands of this firm. Bottled ale must present a clear, sparkling apearance, for the public has come to regard “brilliance” as one of most desirable properties. In order produce this appearance brewers have had to instal special plants at considerable expense. Messrs. Ind, Coope, and & Co. possess a cold store room, constructed to hold 500 barrels of this type of beer, and they have four chilling machines constantly at work, dealing with this branch of their business. Among the varieties bottled are the Romford ale, stout, special A.K.K. ale, special stout, and cooper of the finest quality.

Ale for the Army and Navy.
The firm's brewery at Romford is situated on the old Roman road from London to Colchester. In 1799 Mr. Edward Ind purchased a brewery there, and no doubt it was the successor of many earlier beerhouses on the same spot. To go no further back than the reign of Charles I., an inn of some mark stood on what now is almost part of the brewery ground. It was the venue of the sittings of the Parliamentarian Committee appointed to ensure the safety of the eastern counties, and its existence presupposes a source of supply in the near neighbourhood for its cellars. The premises of the present concern cover 37 acres of ground, and the brewery has a capacity of 8000 barrels weekly. Nearly all the men are employed on the piecework system; probably there no other English brewery where this is done. Besides the Romford brewery, Messrs. Ind, Chops, and Co. have a brewery at Burton-on-Trent, whence enormous quantities of ale are despatched to his Majesty's naval and military forces in all parts of the world."
London Evening Standard - Tuesday 20 October 1908, page 9.
Ind Coope was clearly a  substantial brewery. With a capacity of around 400,000 barrels a year, they were very much in the first division on UK brewers. In 1905, just 9 breweries produced more than 500,000 barrels a year and only 40 between 100,000 and 500,000 barrels.* And that 400,000 is just for Romford. There was also their brewery in Burton.

I always Simonds and some Scottish breweries were the main suppoliers of the British military. Obviously a good market to have, sewrvicemen generally being a thirsty bunch.

Here's some more details about Ind Coope's beers, albeit from a slightly earlier date:

Ind Coope's beers in 1890
beer price per barrel price (per gallon) price (per doz) pint
AK Light Bitter 42 14
XXM Mild Ale 42 14
XK Bitter 50 16.67
XXK Strong Ale 64 21.33
P Porter 40 13.33
S Stout 50 16.67
AKK Pale Ale 2s 3d
XXX Strong Ale 4s
S Stout 3s
DS Double Stout 3s 6d
Eyre's Post Office Plymouth & District Directory, 1890

Interesting how much fuss they made of AKK. At 2.25d per pint bottle, it can't have been all that strong. It was probably just a bottled version of AK. My guess would be an OG of 1045-50º for both AK and AKK.

The prices look higher than those of London brewers. I'd expect AK, XXM And Porter to be around 36 shillings per barrel.

* 1928 Brewers' Almanack, page 118.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Scottish brewing 1840 to 1880

Scottish brewing was transformed in the second half of the 19th century. As brewers grasped the opportunities offered by Empire. Scottish brewers had an established trade with England, but after 1840 they turned their eyes further afield.

Shilling Ales, the Scottish equivalent of Mild Ales were still brewed in large quantities. Often to stupidly high gravities.

They were able to boost their output far above what the Scottish market could ever have supported. But not all brewers profited. Only those in the right location: readily available raw materials, good quality water, access to railways or the sea. The industry was increasingly concentrated in a small number of towns in the Central Belt, most notably Edinburgh and Alloa.

At the start of this period, Scotland still boasted an impressive number of breweries, over 500 in total. Though this looks tiny compared to those in England:

Brewers & beer retailers in 1838
England Scotland Ireland
No. No. No.
Brewers of strong beer not exceeding 20 barrels 8,996 62 29
Brewers of strong beer exceeding 20 but not exceeding 50 barrels 8,520 24 1
Brewers of strong beer exceeding 50 but not exceeding 100 barrels 10,445 28 11
Brewers of strong beer exceeding 100 but not exceeding 1000 barrels 18,306 211 55
Brewers of strong beer exceeding 1000 barrels 1,597 114 145
Brewers of table beer 14 90
Retail brewers under 5 Geo. IV. C. 54 18 20
Total brewers 47,896 549 241
"A Cyclopaedia of Commerce, Mercantile Law, Finance, Commercial Geography and Navigation", by William Waterston, 1863, page 79

Even the largest Edinburgh brewers, William Younger and William McEwan, couldn’t compare in scale to the giants of British brewing such as Barclay Perkins, Guinness or Bass. In the early 1840’s just 195,000 barrels were brewed in Edinburgh . 

To put that figure into context, total UK beer production was between 14 and 16.5 million barrels a year in the 1840’s.  While the four largest London breweries made more than 1 million barrels a year in the same period .

By 1880, publican brewers, never as widespread in Scotland as in England, almost totally disappeared. In 1888, there were just 36 remaining . Brewing was dominated by a few dozen brewers, mostly within spitting distance of each other. "The London and Suburban Licensed Victuallers' Directory" of 1874 lists 130 Scottish breweries . This is a breakdown by region:

Scottish breweries by region in 1874
north central west coast south
27 79 17 7

The industry was becoming very concentrated in the central lowlands and Edinburgh, with 26 breweries, was by far the biggest brewing centre . Tiny Alloa boasted six breweries, not that many fewer than the ten of far larger Glasgow. Aberdeenshire, with 14, was the only other region with a decent number of breweries.

The above is an extract from the best book ever written on Scottish brewing, my Scotland! vol. 2:

Sunday, 13 October 2019

Dublin Brewcon 2019

I was really glad to be invited over for the conference. For multiple reasons.

One was to have a holiday with Dolores. I’ve been gadding around the world like a gadding gadfly this year. Except not with Dolores. Lots of US trips on my own, Newark and Asia with the kids, but nothing with Dolores.

She’s one of my favoured travelling companions. Experienced, neither panicky nor moany, well organised. Good company, too. Not forgetting that she stops me going too crazy. After the Red Harvest moment in Hong Kong, I realise the importance of that, if I want to reach 70.

I’m in no rush to rise. Dolores wakes me with a cup of tea. Not thrown over me, you sick bastards. Placed on my bedside table. True sign of love, a cup of tea delivered as you wake. (Unless you have servants, obviously. I mean someone doing it voluntarily, not as part of their job.)

Munching on my breakfast sarnie – cheese and ham, if you’re interested – I fiddle a little on my flip-flop. There’s a message from John just after 10:

“Morning! Brian wanted to check that you're OK for getting to Rascals.”

I reassure him I’m just on my way. Once I’ve finished munching and looking at annoying shit on the internet.

Jumping in a Joe a little later, I notice that the address I have for Rascal’s HQ, where the conference is taking place, is rather vague. No street number, just Tyrconnell Road, Inchicore. The taxi driver hasn’t heard of Rascals.

“It’s a brewery.” I tell him. “Though it hasn’t been in the location long.”

As we’re on our way to Tyrconnell Road the buildings start looking familiar. I know where we are: St James’s Gate. Just over a year ago I was inside the gates. Inside the archive, even. But that’s a story I can’t tell yet.

“It’s close to the Luas station.” I tell my driver, remembering the map I printed but forgot to bring with me. “In an industrial estate.”

We wander off down a side road and along an Industrial estate. No sign of a Rascals sign. My driver decides to ask a young bloke stood outside his house.

“It’s back that way. You go down there to the right.” He says pointing steadfastly left. Luckily my driver gets the idea. It’s left then right. Sure enough, there’s a small sign saying “Rascals” that we drove past without noticing earlier.

I’m barely through the door when Brian comes up. He looks relieved. And gives me a can top that’s my passport to free beer at the bar. Which Is where I head as soon as I’ve dropped off my bag and coat.

I catch the last 20 minutes or so of the talk by Philip Woodnutt of the Wicklow Hop Company. Who, rather confusingly is discussing yeast, not hops. Quite interesting, the bits that I catch.

In the short interval before I’m on, I take the opportunity to grab myself another ping of Black IPA. I wouldn’t want my throat to get dry while I’m talking.

Brian has a timer app on a tablet. He sets it to an hour and it starts counting down. Timing shouldn’t be a problem I’ve given this talk a few times before. 45 minutes of me yapping then 15 minutes of questions. Should be a doddle.

As usual, I break off into unrelated tangents every now and again. But I allow for that in my timing. I do run a little over. It’s 46 minutes in when I pull up the final slide asking for questions.

Work done, it’s time for fun. Which means shovelling down beer and chatting, in this case. I bump into several people, like Oblivious, whom I only know from the internet. Nice to finally meet them.

I head upstairs for Christina Wade’s talk about brewing in medieval Ireland. It’s dead interesting and teaches me a lot. I hadn’t realised how widespread domestic brewing was. I’d only seen information about it in the 19th century when, unlike in England, it had pretty much died out.

I chat with a nice American gentleman as I guzzle down my pizza. It’s more international here than I had expected.

Once all the formal business is completed at 5 PM, I set out the books I’m hoping to flog and wait for some punters. I manage to shift half of them, which isn’t too bad. Just as well I get rid of some, otherwise there wouldn’t be room in my bag for all the roasting joints I intend taking back with me.

I look for Dolores’s burner phone which she brought over so I could give her a call to let her know when I’d be returning to the hotel. After a frantic search though my bag, I realise that I’ve either left in the hotel or lost it. I do hope it isn’t the latter. Dolores would be very cross.

A taxi has me back just after 7 PM.

“Where have you been, Ronald? If I’d had to wait any longer I’d have gone to Wetherspoons by myself. I’m getting thirsty.”

“I’m not that late.”

“You said you’d be back by six.”

“Try to be back by six, I think I said.”

“Right. Always some excuse. Let’s get going then.”

Dolores rushes me straight out. Must be pining for some cask Bitter.

The weather hasn’t been great today. Mostly raining. The only variation being the intensity.

“Who would have expected rain in Dublin?”

“Very funny, Ronald.”

As we walk Wetherspoons-ward, the rain gets heavier. Too heavy to be really comfortable.

“Shall we nip in here for a quick pint, Dolores?” I say outside the Vat House.


“You can get some Guinness. I know you always like to try some while you’re in Ireland.”

We nestle up at the bar. “Two halves of Guinness, please. And a double Powers, no ice.”

Dolores gives me a look. Which I’d sort of been expecting.

“How much did that cost?” Dolores asks, grabbing hold of the receipt. “14 euros! What a waste of money.”

“That’s why I had the bottle of whiskey in the hotel.”

Dolores continues to scowl all the way through our drinks.

“That’s weird measure for spirits.” I observe hoping to distract Dolores from my alcoholism. “On the optics: 35.5 ml. That must be a converted Imperial measure.”

Dolores has a calculator on her phone.

“I’m guessing a quarter gill. Divide 568 by 16.” I’d do it in my head, but I’ve been drinking since 11 AM.

“You’re right - 35.5.”

When we’re almost done, she has a quick look outside. The rain has subsided enough for it to be safe for us to venture further.

The Silver Penny is bustling when we arrive. Luckily some people are just leaving and we quickly grab their table. I don’t bother asking Dolores what she wants. I know already.  A pint of nice Bitter. I get a Jaipur for myself.

“How much was it?” Dolores asks when I return with the beers.

“Almost 7 euros. The robbing bastards.” That’s about the same price as a pint everywhere else.

Two girlies – who look about 14 – at the next table have two pitchers each of something weird looking. Which they’re drinking through a straw. They haven’t even finished their pitchers when a waitress brings over two bottles of Desperados that they must have ordered on the Wetherspoons app. She asks to see their id. Fair enough I suppose, given how young they look. Except the waitress herself only looks about 12.

Dolores fetches the next round. “The barman didn’t understand what I meant when I asked for Jaipur. But he did only look about sixteen. He asked another barman who showed him what it was. Though he only looked around 17.”

When I go for a slash I realise just how huge this place is. It takes me around 10 minutes to get there and back.

We don’t stay out too long. I want to be back in time for Match of the Day. Thankfully, it’s almost completely stopped raining when we leave. Almost.

As I watch the footie, I finish off my whiskey and work my way through the beers I bought yesterday. Dolores puts in earplugs and sleeps. I join her in slumber when the football, beer and whiskey are all done.

Rascals HQ
Goldenbridge Estate,
Tyrconnell Rd,
D08 HF68.

Vat House Bar
2 Anglesea St,
Temple Bar,
Dublin 2.

The Silver Penny - JD Wetherspoon
12a Abbey Street Lower,
North City,
Dublin 1,
D01 AY67.

Saturday, 12 October 2019

Let's Brew - 1951 Boddington Stout

Time to return to that most exciting of decades, the 1950s. With a rather atypical Stout recipe from Manchester.

Here’s proof that not all English Stouts were sweet after WW II. With the level of hopping and rate of attenuation, there’s no way this would have come across as sweet.

The grist is quite interesting, too, with four different malts: pale amber, crystal and black. There’s a surprisingly large amount of amber malt, almost a third of the grist. So much, in fact, that I’m wondering whether it was diastatic or not.  Malt, as with XX, seems to have been added in the copper.

At least Boddington brewed their Stout properly. And didn’t parti-gyle it with Bitter, as some other breweries did.

It’s hopped at a rate of 6.5 lbs per quarter of malt, which is quite high. Higher than their Bitter. That’s reflected in the IBU count.

1951 Boddington Stout
pale malt 4.25 lb 44.00%
crystal malt 80 L 1.25 lb 12.94%
amber malt 3.00 lb 31.06%
black malt 0.50 lb 5.18%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 3.42%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.33 lb 3.42%
Fuggles 95 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 45 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1040
FG 1012
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 70.00%
IBU 27
SRM 38
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 95 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

This is one of the many recipes in my book on brewing after WW II.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Prominent Firms - Courage & Co.

Time for another word from the Brewers' Society sponsors. At least that's how it reads. It's not exactly a critical review of Courage.

Though they had never been in the first division of Porter brewers in the 18th century, Courage had been a specialist in Black Beer production. They were unusual in the early part of the 20th century in only brewing Mild, Porter and Stout in their London headquarters. Even Truman, which owned a brewery in Burton, produced some Pale Ale in London.

When Courage wanted to get into Pale Ale brewing rather than look to Burton, they bought a brewery in the small town of Alton, Hampshire. Why? Because the  water there was similar in composition to that of Burton.

Another house which was once a “black beer” brewery, producing the dark coloured liquor for which London has a long standing reputation, but which now is as well known for its ales as for porter and stout, is that of Messrs. Courage and Co. Their London brewery, near the southern end of the Tower Bridge, occupies a situation to which several advantages are attached. It stands right on the banks of the Thames, and enjoys, in consequence, the fresh air which blows in from the river, as well as the convenience and economy of getting its supplies of malt, coal, etc., brought by water, the barges being able to come alongside Messrs. Courage's brewery, and to judge from an old print, in which this bouse and its gardens are shown as the resort of a large and fashionable company, the liquor of the locality must have enjoyed high repute.

Thorough Methods.
Be that as it may, the productions of the present brewery are admittedly of the finest quality. As illustrating the thorough study which Messrs. Courage make their business, it may be mentioned that a few years ago they took over a country brewery expressly to make pale ale, the water of the vicinity having been found specially suitable for the purpose. This Alton ale is considered equal to the famous Burton brews. Particular attention, too, is paid to the treatment of all the beer in stock; a set of instructions printed on enamelled tin is nailed up in each cellar for the guidance of the cellarmen in regard the temperature end other matters. By such means the proper condition of the various beers, the bulk of which reaches the public through the licensed houses, though a certain quantity is bottled, is ensured, a highly important point. Among the black been, the Imperial stout may be mentioned for its excellence. The sign "Courage and Co.” is, indeed, one of those which stand for wholesome, well-brewed liquor of whatever kind or grade.

An interesting feature the brewery is the well, which is sunk to a great depth, the water being blown up, so to speak, by tne use compressed air pumps. Some structural alterations have been recently carried out; the firm has its own architect, part of whose function is to carry out improvements in the buildings from time to time. But it is not surprising to learn that for the nonce a check has been put on enterprise of this kind. It has been urged that the Licensing Bill, if it becomes law, is bound create a serious amount of unemployment; here is an instance — and it is not solitary one — where it has already had that effect."
London Evening Standard - Tuesday 20 October 1908, page 9.
Interesting that Courage was still principally selling its beer in draught form, while rivals Barclay Perkins and Whitbread were already heavily involved in the bottled beer trade. I wonder why that was? It might have been on account of the type of beers they brewed in London. Other than Imperial Stout, they weren't really the types of beer that were common in bottled form.

Most of what was brewed at Horsleydown was either Mild, standard-strength Porter or Burton Ale. All three of which were mostly draught-only. The range was pretty small, consisting of just five beers:

Courage Horsleydown beers in 1914
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
X Mild 1054.6 1019.4 4.65 64.47% 4.96 1.05
XX Strong Ale 1079.2 1033.2 6.08 58.04% 9.90 3.07
Porter Porter 1051.2 1018.3 4.36 64.32% 7.20 1.51
Double Stout Stout 1078.9 1033.2 6.05 57.89% 7.20 2.33
Imperial Stout 1094.2 1038.8 7.33 58.82% 7.20 2.78
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/247.

The Porter and Stouts were parti-gyled with each other while X and XX were brewed single-gyle.

Thursday, 10 October 2019

Dublin bound

“That’s good, Dolores.”


“The gate is a high D number. You know what that means?”

“Let me guess – does it have some connection with alcohol?”

“I was thinking of the massage machines we’d have to walk past. I know you like a go on one before a flight.”

“Right. I’m not stupid. I know where the Irish pub is.”

“It works out perfectly for both of us. I get a pre-flight pint, you get a pre-flight massage.”

“Pfah.” Dolores makes that noise again. Pretty sure it means “You’re completely right, Ronald.”

As we wander down the seemingly endless corridor of D pier, I say to Dolores: “Remember the time the Irish pub was closed? What a disaster that was.”

“For you, maybe.”

I might have spoken too soon. The entrance to the Irish pub ids boarded off. Bum.

“That’s annoying. Looks like it’s closed again.”

“I hope they haven’t moved the massage machines, too.”

We venture a little further. Yes. There’s a sign pointing to what’s usually the pub’s emergency exit. It is open.

“What do you want to drink, Dolores?”


This is going to be a cheap round. I go for my standard half of Stout, double Jamesons, no ice.

“What’s that?”

“My usual order here.”

“How much did that cost?”

“Not that much. I didn’t go crazy. I only had a half.”

“Pfah. And that whisky. Don’t get any more.”

Dolores heads off for her massage.

This is going well. I get out my Private Eye and sip slowly on my drinks. Given the negative reaction of Dolores, I don’t get a Jameson refill as I’d planned.

Multiple people try to leave by the usual exit, which now only leads to a building site. It’s sort of amusing for a while. Eventually an airport employee comes and seals off the door.

We’re flying with Aer Lingus. As we won’t be getting fed on the plane, we’ve packed sandwiches. I polish off mine while we’re waiting to board. And read some more Private Eye. I’m so far behind in the issues that Johnson isn’t quite PM yet. That will turn out well, I’m sure.

The flight isn’t too annoying, which is about the best you can hope for in a flight. The plane takes off and lands without crashing. And doesn’t explode inbetween. I always hope to arrive alive.

After annoyance with the express bus last year, we’re opting for the number 16 city bus this time. Except it doesn’t seem to stop at terminal 2, where we’ve landed, just terminal 1. Despite looking on the internet, I couldn’t discover exactly where the bus departs from.

We wander out of the terminal towards a bus-stationey looking thing. Which, in addition to long-distance coaches, does appear to house some city buses.

“Zone 15, over there.” A driver replies, when we ask where the 16 stops. That was pretty pain-free.

It doesn’t seem to take this double decker much longer than the supposedly express coach. And it’s half the price.

Where we’re staying is pretty central. Another advantage of the 16 is that it stops about 50 metres away from our hotel.

Bags dumped, we quickly set off to Tesco for some provisions. I spotted the Tesco Express from the bus and know exactly where we need to go.

We get all the essentials – sandwiches, crisps, milk, beer, cider and a half bottle of Powers.

“Why are you getting that, Ronald?”

“So I don’t spend as much money in the pub.”

“Right. As if that’s going to happen.” Dolores is as cynical as the kids.

I fire off a message to John Duffy (aka Beer Nut) to warn him we’re going to be a bit late. We’ve arranged to meet in Underdog at 5 PM.

On the way there I realise something. We were in Underdog last year. And Dolores complained about the smell. I picked it this time because John promised cask beer. Which is what I know Dolores will be looking for.

There are several others besides John. His other half, Dara, Kellie (one of the conference organisers) and Christina Wade, who will also be giving a talk tomorrow. She’s an academic specialising in medieval history. Which is handy, as I know bugger all about the period.

I’m in the stage of learning where I’m becoming acutely aware of how little I really know about beer. Well, not so much beer, as brewing in general. Malt, hops, sugar, water – I’m woefully ignorant on all of those topics. Pretty good on parti-gyling and tax legislation, mind.

The cask beer is from Thornbridge Kirkstall. And only 5 euros a pint, which is considerably cheaper than the keg beers on offer.

“Why is the cask so cheap?”

“The landlord is a fan of cask. And, in Dublin, they just seem to have settled on 5 euros a pint. For no particular reason.” John replies.

I’m not going to complain. Nor is Dolores. But she does about the smell down here. She’s still not keen on that. But cheap cask beer helps.

After Christina has told me lots of interesting stuff about medieval brewing (always happy to be filled in on a subject by someone who knows what the fuck they’re talking about), we head off to JW Sweetman, where we’re meeting up with various people involved in the conference tomorrow: organisers, speakers and the like.

They’re downstairs in a part of the pub not normally used. Just as well as we’re with John, as I would never have thought to look down here.

We eat some food, drink some beer and chat away. That’s what pubs are for. I’m on the Porter. Pretty appropriate in Dublin, I think. Not cask, but not bad.

We don’t stay out too late. I need to be well rested for tomorrow. Though I’m not on until 11:30. I like to be at my best when performing. However crap my current best might be.

Since passing 60, I realise why older relatives were always moaning about aches and pains. I’m sure it will be better once I pass 70. As long as they’re still handing out opioids like geriatric smarties.

Dublin’s streets are full of life and noise as we wander our way back. More of the former than I still have and rather more of the latter than I now care for. Dull it isn’t.

There’s still time for a small nightcap of Powers back in our room. Dolores gives me a look as pour it.

“It’s just to help me off to sleep.”



75 Dame St,

JW Sweetman
1-2 Burgh Quay,
Dublin 2.

Wednesday, 9 October 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 William Younger No. 1

Strongest of Younger’s range was No. 1 Strong Ale. It’s origins lay back in the middle of the 19th century when they introduced a set of numbered Strong Ales (Nos. 1 to 4), presumably in emulation of Strong Burton Ales.

Younger had links with Burton. At least one of the family served an apprenticeship at Evershed, a brewery based in Burton. And also one which produced numbered Burton Ales after the fashion of Bass. It was all a bit odd as Younger continued to brew a set of strong Shilling Ales. No. 1 had the same OG as 140/-, while No. 2 and No. 3 were the same as 120/- and 100/-, respectively.

Initially, No. 1 had an OG of around 1100º. WW I changed that, knocking it back to the mid-1080ºs. Which was still a pretty respectable gravity.

The recipe will come as a shock to anyone who has soaked up the widespread misinformation about Scottish beers, especially Strong Ales. There’s no roast barley and certainly no peated malt. But it does contain grits and lactose.

As with all Younger’s dark beers, No. 1 included the mysterious “M” and “C”. Pretty sure the C stands for crystal. I’ve combined the two as a dark crystal malt.

I’ve adjusted the FG down from 1035º, as that was the cleansing gravity, not the true FG. 1027º comes from an analysis of 1936 in the Whitbread Gravity Book of the beer as sold.

1939 William Younger No. 1
pale malt 13.25 lb 68.83%
crystal malt 120L 1.50 lb 7.79%
grits 3.75 lb 19.48%
lactose 0.75 lb 3.90%
Fuggles 150 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1084
FG 1027
ABV 7.54
Apparent attenuation 67.86%
IBU 30
SRM 16
Mash at 156º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 57.5º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Tuesday, 8 October 2019

The “Doctor” Brand

 Yet more from the Brewers' Socirty advertorial in the London Evening Standard. Which also happens to be a Barclay Perkins advertisement. How could I not publish it?

Barclay Perkins were quite early in assigning all their bottled beers a single brand.It was a pretty succcessful move in giving them a common identity. But, ultimately, it didn't do the brewery that much good. Barclay Perkins output declined after WW I. As you can see from this table:

Barclay Perkins output 1908 - 1929
Year output (barrels)
1908 527,716
1909 525,854
1910 500,205
1911 549,841
1912 589,543
1913 587,547
1914 582,263
1915 511,870
1916 438,242
1917 426,170
1918 247,089
1919 325,965
1920 464,033
1921 393,045
1922 348,576
1923 293,728
1924 303,676
1925 329,464
1926 317,628
1927 306,682
1928 306,300
1929 300,569
The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980 T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.
Barclay Perkins brewer's notebook held in the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/711/1.

To put those numbers into context, in 1929 Barclay Perkins brewed less beer than in 1821, when their output was 326,398 barrels.*

It's fascinating to see which beers Barclay Perkins was bottling , as reveled at the end of this advertisement.
"Look for this Trade Mark on your bottled beer. Look for this Trade Mark on your bottled beer.

The “Doctor” Brand means good beer, and beer that is good to drink.

The label showing the head of Dr. Johnson, who was so intimately connected with Barclay, Perkins, and Co.’s Brewery, is affixed to all the bottles containing ale and stout prodaced by this firm.

The “Doctor” Brand means good beer, and beer that is good to drink.

Brewed from the Finest Materials Procurable, and Bottled on the premises under skilled management the Stouts of BARCLAY, PERKINS, and CO., Limited, are always sound, the Ales brilliant, and free from sediment.

The “Doctor” Brand means good beer, and beer that is good to drink.
We believe these malt liquors are thoroughly genuine, and they are evidently brewed with care, judging from their excellent condition and flavour."—The Lancet.

The "Doctor” Brand means good beer, and beer that is good to drink.
The following are some of the beers sold in bottle:
PALE ALE 2/6 per dozen 
STOUT 2/6  "     "
BEST STOUT 3/6  "     "
IMPERIAL STOUT 4/6  "     "
BREWERS, Park Street, Southwark, S.E.
Established 1781."
London Evening Standard - Monday 19 October 1908, page 12.
They bottled four varieties of Stout and one of Pale Ale. Though I know that isn't the beer that was actually called Pale Ale within the brewery. That, at 1060º, was way too strong to retail ata mere 2.5d per pint in bottled form.** That price implies something that sold for 2d per pint on draught. I'm sure that it was really XLK, their Ordinary Bitter. That had an OG of 1050º. ***

Unfortunately, not all the Barclay Perkins records from this period have survived. Best Stout I'm pretty sure was BS in the records. Which had an OG of 1074º. **** Imperial Stout has me stumped. Based on the price, it must have had a gravity of around 1090º. I can't see anything in the records of that strength.

I am pretty certain what the beer simply called "Stout" was. It has to be the bottled form of TT, Barclay Perkins Porter. Anything called Stout in the brewing records is too strong to seel for a mere 2.5d per pint. This seems to follow a trend of not using the name Porter for bottled Porter. Some other brewers, such as Whitbread, called it Cooper.

* Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/014.

** Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/602.

*** Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/601.

**** Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/602.

Monday, 7 October 2019

Prominent firms - Mann, Crossman, and Paulin

Here's another of those Brewers' Society puff pieces. This time about another London brewer, Mann, Crossman, and Paulin.

Mann was one of the big success stories of the later 19th century. Rising from relative obscurity to become once of the capital's leading brewers. Unlike the established large breweries, Mann built their success on Ale, not Porter. Along with Watney and Charrington, they were one of a new breed of big London brewers.

Messrs. Mann, Crossman, and Paulin have one of the moat extensive bottle trade connections in London. It was the privilege of the writer to go over this brewery, which has a great reputation for ale. Needless to say it is governed by the only principlee on which such reputation can rest. Every ingredient is systematically tested for purity and quality by the brewery analyst, and hygienic conditions are regarded as a part the art of brewing. Over and above this, all the beers produced at this brewery are made from that cereal which has always been considered the foundation of good beer — to wit, barley — and nothing but the best materials enter into their composition.

For Varying Tastes.
As has been said, prominent feature of the firm’s business is the bottle trade. No fewer than a dozen different kinds of ale and stout are made for varying tastes. Those who like beer very light, and those who prefer it fuller in body, are equally catered for. The most popular kinds are the family ale and brown stout. Of ales, there are in all seven kinds, including bitter ale, light and tonic, the K.K.K., a strong ale, and barley wine, which, as its name indicates, is a delectable brew, particularly adapted for winter use. The stouts include the brown stout, a fine, light dinner beverage, double stout, and oatmeal stout. The variety of bottled beers produced by the firm testifies to the efforts which the modern brewer makes to meet every taste. They are bottled under the most approved system, are free from sediment, and are carbonated by the pure gas which is collected from the firm’s own fermenting vats. The ales are brilliant, and great pains are taken to ensure the stout being always in perfect condition. Owing to their complete distributing arrangements, Messrs. Mann, Crossman, and Paulin’s specialities can be obtained in any part of London at the grocers’ or wine and beer stores."
London Evening Standard - Monday 19 October 1908, page 12.
I'm shocked to see that Mann's most famous product, Brown Ale, isn't mentioned. I find that really odd, as it had been around for something like a decade at that point. One the other hand, it's one of the few references in print, other than advertisements, I've seen for KKK. And an early reference to Barley Wine as a specific kind of beer. Oatmeal Stout, which hadn't been around for very long already seemd to have become an established part of London brewers' repertoire.

Here's proof of the rapid groth of Mann towards the end of the 19th century:

Output of large London brewers 1847 - 1908
Brewer 1847 1850 1860 1870 1880 1890 1900 1908
Barclay Perkins 417,998 397,360 421,286 410,710 522,645 589,201 527,716
Whitbread 187,852 177,555 242,848 225,600 249,744 357,878 693,706 808,237
Truman 383,993 388,475 457,796 509,447 456,393 453,336 505,341 355,110
Reid 233,795 213,345 288,597 264,753 274,146
Mann 41,470 97,802 128,179 217,575 231,942 293,845 500,029 625,130
The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980 T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.

You can see that, with the exception of Whitbread, the output of the older breweries was either stagnant or in decline. 

Sunday, 6 October 2019

Prominent firms - Barclay Perkins

More from the Brewers' Society infomercial in the London Evening Standard in 1908.

There's a section called "Prominent Firms" the breweries in which - I'm sure totally coincidentally - seem to coincide with those who had taken out advertisements on the page. Interestingly, the longest of these puff pieces is devoted to my favourite, Barclay Perkins.

The whole page has an awful lot about bottled beer and the pieces on individual breweries also concentrate on their bottled products. And specifically their artificially carbonated varieties. Which might explain why one of the most prominent firms is excluded. I'm talking about Whitbread, who resisted the move away from naturally carbonated bottled beers until the 1920s.

The “black beers” London were much more generally drunk than ale. They were, in fact, a fashionable beverage, which cannot be to so much the case to-day, however much one may regret the lesser popularity of the most nutritive kind of beer. Whatever the reason may be, comparatively few people — particularly among the well to classes - drink stout; and yet there is such stout made in London today as was never excelled at any time. One of the great black beer breweries of London was that of Messrs. Barclay. Perkins, and Co., a name very familiar to the public, not alone on account of the quality of the liquor associated therewith, but also on account Dr. Johnson’s connection with the brewery. The world will never forget that saying of his on the occasion of his disposing of the concern to David Barclay: "We are not here to sell a parcel of boilers and vats, but the potentiality of wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.”

English Stout in Russia.
Though Messrs. Barclay now produce great deal more ale than black beer they retain, nevertheless, the secret of making excellent stout. Five different kinds are bottled, the ordinary half-crown stout, the Best, the Imperial stout, Oatmeal stout, and Imperial Russian stout. It is a curious circumstance that it is not the British public which is the best customer for the excellent brew called Russian stout. Made from the finest materials it is possible to get, money cannot buy a better beverage of the kind; yet its chief market is in Russia, where it fetches the price of good Burgundy. In London, on the other hand, this special brew can had for 7s. the dozen pints, which is not an out of the way price for an article of superlative quality, not inferior to champagne as an  exhilarating drink, and one that can be laid down for an indefinite period. Frequently those who have made acquaintance for the first time have written to the firm declaring that they never imagined such a beverage was to be had.

Medical Appreciation of Malt Liquors.
Of ales Messrs. Barclay manufacture a good variety, including, of course, India Pale Ale, Mild Ale, and that known popularly as XLK. Both stout and ale are bottled under the now familiar “doctor” brand, in which is represented the head of Dr. Johnson a striking trademark, which identifies a wholeeome liquor, of whatorer colour or price. On this point may be quoted the teatimony of the "Lancet": "We believe these malt liquors are thoroughly genuine, and they are evidently brewed with care, judging from their excellent condition and flavour."

Messrs. Barclay obtain much of the barley they use from Norfolk, a county noted for this cereal; thay possess a malting of their own at Ditchingham, and another at Bury Bt. Edmunds. The brewery is a huge concern, covering 15 acres of ground and sending out considerably mote than 500,000 barrels year. It is conducted on lines which ensure the purity and wholesomeness of the beers, all the materials being systematically tested by the firm’s analyst."
London Evening Standard - Tuesday 20 October 1908, page 9.
Note the use of the term "black beer" to refer to both Porter and Stout. A century earlier Porter would have been used in this sense. It's only later in the 19th century, when people were starting to forget that Stout was a form of Porter, that black beer started to be used as the generic word for both.

I've studied Barclay Perkins quite closely and it seems to be only towards the end of the 19th century that they started making a big deal of the connection with Dr. Johnson. Once they had, they didn't let go and branded their bottled beer with his image right until the bitter end.

I'd always assumed that Russian Stout exports to Russia had fizzled out in the 19th century. I'm surprised to discover that it was still the destination of most of Barclay's IBSt as late as 1908. That export trade wasn't going to continue for much longer, that's for sure. We're lucky that that wasn't the end of the beer.

Even more shocking is the reference to IPA. The first time a beer with that name appears in the brewing records is 1928. I'm guessing that the bottled form of their Ordinary Bitter, XLK, was marketed as IPA.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Let's Brew - 1938 William Younger P

What I'm sure you've all been waiting for - a dead watery Scottish Bitter from just before WW II.

Over at Younger’s other Edinburgh plant, the Holyrood Brewery, there were yet more Pale Ales being brewed. Mostly XXP and the ones weaker than that.

Weediest of the bunch was plain old P, which, at just a shade over 1030º, was about as weak as Pale Ale got between the wars. Even in Scotland, where there were some pretty watery examples.

I’ve taken the FG from a 1937 analysis in the Whitbread Gravity Book. In the brewing record, it’s listed as 1012º, but that was the cleansing gravity, not the real final gravity.  It seems like a much more realistic degree of attenuation this way.

The grist is the same as the majority of Younger’s other beers: pale malt and grits. They didn’t vary their recipes much, especially when it came to Pale Ales.

The hops were mostly Kent from the 1936 harvest topped with a few Oregon from 1938. The hopping level is the lowest of all Younger’s Pale Ales: just 3 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt. Which is only a little higher than the truly weedy 2.5 lbs per quarter that their Mild Ales contained.

1938 William Younger P
pale malt 5.00 lb 64.52%
grits 2.75 lb 35.48%
Cluster 105 min 0.25 oz
Fuggles 90 min 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1033.5
FG 1008
ABV 3.37
Apparent attenuation 76.12%
IBU 12
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale