Wednesday 30 October 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1940 Whitbread Porter

There’s something very poignant about this recipe. Because it’s the very last brew of Whitbread’s Porter, after an uninterrupted two centuries.

Why did Whitbread drop their Porter at this exact point? There’s a not in the brewing record which gives a clue: “Air Raid Warnings: 5:15 pm to 6:25 pm And 8:40 pm to 5:45 am.” The date was September 1940, when the London blitz was just starting in earnest. The war was taking a bad turn and Britain was effectively under siege. No wonder Whitbread decided to rationalise their beer range.

Their Porter had been in terminal decline for some time. And by late summer 1940 the quantities being brewed were minute. This batch was 16 barrels, from a total of over 600 barrels for the whole parti-gyle. There must have only been a handful of Whitbread pubs still selling Porter by the time it was dropped.

The grist is a fairly classic combination, save for chocolate malt taking the place of black malt. Which was an idiosyncrasy of Whitbread. The minute quantity of oats are there so some of the Stout in the parti-gyle could legally be sold as Oatmeal Stout. Feel free to omit it as I’m sure it had absolutely no impact on the finished beer’s flavour.

The brewing record gives the OG as 1029º. But I know from comparing analyses of Whitbread Porter with the brewing records that there was a big discrepancy in the gravities. My guess is that the Porter was heavily primed at racking time. Or it could have been blended with Stout at racking.

1940 Whitbread Porter
pale malt 5.25 lb 69.54%
brown malt 0.50 lb 6.62%
chocolate malt 0.50 lb 6.62%
flaked oats 0.05 lb 0.66%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 13.25%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.25 lb 3.31%
Fuggles 75 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1035
FG 1007.5
ABV 3.64
Apparent attenuation 78.57%
IBU 18
SRM 31
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 65º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

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