Tuesday, 19 November 2019

Next year's travel

I'm starting to look at where I might travel next year. For beer travel, I mean. I already have some non-beer-related trips arranged.

A top priority is crossing off a few more US states. So if you're based in one of the following states and would like me to come along and give a talk or brew a collaboration beer, get in touch.

Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Florida, Tennessee, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Kansas, Mississippi, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Montana, Alaska.

It's a fully diverse set, you'll note.

Inside a 1920s bar (part two)

Yeah. We've got to the heast of a pub:its beer engines.

Part seems so have a weird aversion to to certain types of handpulls.

"The beer pulls, which should be of wood, and not the familiar ivory or composition, which is ugly, should not be hidden—because customers think they are being cheated if anything is done out of their view, and sometimes they are right. The sink, in the engine, should be sectioned off, with separate waste pipes to each section to carry off the waste beer, which should not all be put into the mild, porter, or stout, but carefully through a filter into the same cask to which it belongs.

The beer engine should be of the best, with patent drip taps, and, if necessary, a locking bar.

Under the bar-counter will be ranged wash-up bowls, and sinks, and wide shelves for bottled beers.

If the beer sale is large, it is better to have the engine in two groups of four pulls each, than a larger number of pulls together, to avoid congestion.

One set of pulls should be towards the centre of the counter.

If the conditions allow of it, draw beer direct from the wood, but this is seldom possible, owing to the difficulty of securing the right temperature in a bar. Beer, and particularly the beers of Burton, is far better so drawn.

At the back of the bar, shelves, some nine inches deep, are required, ranged at intervals, and these are best made of thick plate glass.

I do not recommend the use of urns for any class of trade, unless very large, but inverted bottles, with Irwin or Optic measures, which are automatically filled, and knave and fool-proof, as regards accurate measure."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 209.

This section is so important.  Hard evidence that slops were retutrned to barrels. Stuff like this is rare.

Interesting that the recommendation is not to return all slops to the Mild, Porter or Stout. A sure indication that this is what many publicans did. It's making me think that my crazy theory about Mild going dark because of the lack of cheap dark draught beers when Porter disappeared, is perhaps not so crazy.

I wonder why Burton beer was better served by gravity? No idea, myself.

Monday, 18 November 2019

Inside a 1920s bar (part one)

I'm still banging on about "The Art and Practice of Innkeeping". Except we've moved above ground to the bar.

This section is slightly frustrating.

"The following are the usual compartments of the Bars: American, Hotel, Saloon, Public, Jug and Bottle, and Off License.

A Private Bar is becoming a thing of the past.

The main difference between them is in regard to price and company. The leading features common to some are the lack of comfort, space and ventilation; it is unnecessary to describe each Bar in detail."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 208.

It is actually necessary to describe all the bars. Almost 100 years later, what they were is no longer common knowledge.

The list of bar types seems very London-orientated. I can't imagine there were many American bars in Bolton or Bradford. There are also many types of bar missing, including such common ones as Lounge, Smoke Room or Vault.

And what's the difference between a Jug and Bottle and an Off Licence? Surely they're both for off sales?

Here are some more details about exactly what a bar should look like:

"The equipment of a Bar will vary with the class of house very considerably, and also in town and country.

We shall assume that the bar is to be, partly, a buffet and that it will have a long counter.

This counter should be about 2 ft. 6 in. wide to allow of plates and sandwich and other dishes being placed upon it. The panels of the front, sloping inwards, should be as plain as possible, and dull polished. At its foot should be a rail, not of brass, which requires too much manual labour. The counter should be rather high, on the customer's side say 3 ft. 6 in. to 3 ft. 9 in., to avoid the breakage of glass, and there is nothing better for the top than a thick, highly polished, bright, plain linoleum, finished off with beading, to protect the edges.

Who has not, when consumed by hunger or thirst, gazed with veneration upon a Barmaid as "she moves a goddess and as she looks a Queen" upon the invisible Olympian heights she occupies?

The back, or serving side of the counter, should have a raised platform, running its full length, and should have at least two lift-up flaps, and a contrivance to hold them back on occasion. Nothing should be allowed to obstruct the flap.

If the bar is to serve one class of customer only, and this is highly desirable, it should be, mainly, divided into two sections, one to be used for food and one for liquor."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, pages 208 - 209.
That's a bit mean not having a brass foot rail. I'm glad that recommendation has been widely ignored. A linoleum bar top seems a bit cheap, too. What's wrong with good old-fashioned wood?

Does anyone still have a raised platform at the serving side of the bar? I seem to remember seeing this years ago in a crowded Dublin pub.

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Cellarmanship in the 1920s (part eight)

Still giving this dead animal a protracted beating. As you do. I need to fill up each day with something.

Here are some handy hints on how to keep your beer engine in good order.

"The beer engine (we refer to it here because it is so closely connected with the cellar) should be thoroughly cleaned, with all taps and pipes, at least once a week. To clean :— Disconnect the pipe from the cask, and drain off the beer (this beer should afterwards be used for rinsing the pipes).

Dissolve half a pound of soda in a bucket of hot water, and draw this liquor through the pipes, and leave them full all night. In the morning, draw off and thoroughly wash out, by pulling a bucketful of cold water through each pipe, then pull through the beer first drawn out, so that the pipes are rinsed with beer.

Great care should be taken that the pipes are properly connected up, and that all washers are in good condition, for, if the engine is allowed to suck in air, the beer will probably become cloudy."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 202.
I find it interesting that the beer drained from the pipes was used to rinse them out later. I suppose it makes sense and is quite economical. My guess is that far from all publicans followed such a vigourous weekly cleaning regime. This look at London Porter quality in the period shows just how lacks many publicans were.

These lists of equipment for a pub cellar remind me of the deliberately random lists of shit I'd specify for my Christmas Drinkalongathon.

"The Brewers will, almost always, supply corks, spiles, porous spiles, and scotches, and a supply must always be kept.

The following are among the other implements necessary for a well-equipped cellar :

Beer Dip.
Jar Dip.
Spirit Rod.
Spiral Dip.
Double Slide Rule, and book of instructions for use.
Sike's Hydrometer and Table Book.
Tape measure.
Stave gauging for gauging the thickness of wood.
Plumb Line.
Sample Dipper.
Small Sample Dipper.

All the above are necessary for stock-taking.

The above-mentioned articles are not indispensable in a small house, but the following articles should be in every house:

A Tool-case or Chest.
A Saw.
Beer Taps, various.
Porous Spile.
Hard Spile.
Flannel filter.
Automatic Barrel Tilts.
Lead Piping and Rubber Tubing, several lengths of each. (The latter should be kept off the floor, unless the latter is perfectly dry and smooth.)
A range of Copper Measures, undented, to hold 5 gallons, 4, 3, 2, 1, and 0.5 gallon respectively.
Funnel for Beer.
Funnel for Spirits.
Cellar Candlestick, with long handle.
Strips of Paper for beer taps.
Filter Papers, Finings."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 203.

Some of the items are revealing, as they look like what you'd need for returning slops to a cask. I'm looking at funnel and filter. What else would you be using those for in a cellar? Other. like the lead piping, sound more like potential murder weapons.

Saturday, 16 November 2019

Let's Brew - 1941 Whitbread London Stout

By this point London Stout was being brewed single-gyle. Unless you count London Oatmeal Stout a separate beer. It was the first time that it hadn’t been part of a parti-gyle since WW I.

The reason was simple. Porter was discontinued the previous year. As was Extra Stout, a beer brewed for the Belgian market. When they decided to brew Mackeson single-gyle, there was nothing left for London Stout to be parti-gyled with.

Other than a 0.5º drop in gravity, there’s no real difference from the previous year’s version. The ingredients in the grist, and their proportions, are near as dammit identical.

The hops are slightly different: Whitbread Mid-Kent from the 1940 and 1941 harvests, plus some rather old New Zealand from 1938.

1941 Whitbread London Stout
pale malt 7.25 lb 75.05%
brown malt 0.75 lb 7.76%
chocolate malt 0.75 lb 7.76%
flaked oats 0.08 lb 0.83%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 5.18%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.33 lb 3.42%
Fuggles 75 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1042
FG 1011.5
ABV 4.03
Apparent attenuation 72.62%
IBU 21
SRM 38
Mash at 149º F
After underlet 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 15 November 2019

Cellarmanship in the 1920s (part seven)

Back again with 1920s cellarmanship. A topic which I find weirdly fascinating.

First, we commence with how to handle casks. A very important topic. Though probably more so for the brewer - whose casks it was that were likely to be ruined - than the publican.

"If it is found necessary to stand casks, either full or empty, in the open, they must always be stood with the tap cork downwards, so as to prevent any water getting into the cask.

This is most important, as carelessness may spoil the cask.

Waste beer must not be left in a cask, or it will be rendered unfit for use, and the proprietor will be charged for it.

Waste is the unconsumable contents left at the bottom of the cask.

Brewers seldom make any allowance for waste nowadays, and when they do, never at the full rate. When claiming for ullages, always measure the quantity in the cask before it is returned.

Always take out the hard peg before drawing any beer, in order to help the engine and prevent the beer clouding. At the end of the day, the hard peg should be tightly replaced.

Another cask of the same quality of beer should always be ready tapped a day before it is required.

Every cask should be pegged and corked as soon as it is empty."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, pages 201 - 202.
I find it surprising that brewers seldom made any allowance for waste. I know that in the 1950s there were some breweries whose beer was total crap because of their insistence on reusing ullage. Were they really not paying publicans anything for it? Because not onlt did brewers reuse ullage, they also got a refund of the duty that they had paid on it.

I assume the spiling advice is correct. Though it makes sense that you wouldn't want the sak sealed when you were drawing beer from it.

Now a little about ordering practices:

"You must look ahead in your orders for beer from the Brewery, and if the Brewery is some distance away, in the country, or the beer has to come by rail, you must allow plenty of time for delay on the railway, and some for ullaged casks, in hot, especially thundery, weather. Most Brewers have specified days for delivering beer in each district, and it is necessary to allow for this. All bottled beer should be put in the cellar immediately on delivery, not left on the stairs, or placed in the yard, and sufficient should be brought up each day for the next day's requirements. Pale ale in bottle requires a few days rest in the cellar before it can be served in ideal condition."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 202.

It sounds quite quaint to mdern ears having beer delivered by rail. I wonder when that last happened?

Thursday, 14 November 2019

Southern Mild Ales 1949 - 1954

The next table covers a large area of southern England. Pretty much everywhere in the Southeast, except for London.

If you removed the Ind Coope beers the averages would look very different. A couple of examples from them are unusually strong, one even over 1040º. An exceptionally high gravity for a Mild in the post-war years.

Most of the other examples are either just above or below 1030º. Very high degrees of attenuation, however, leave almost all above 3% ABV. With the exception of London, very high attenuation seems to have been a feature of most Mild Ales after the war. 

The very low FGs of these beers are even more significant when you consider that many, if not all, would have been primed with a sugar solution at racking time. Based on the practice at Barclay Perkins, which recording primings in its brewing records, the primings would have raised the gravity by 2-3º. That many of the beers have FG2 below 1005º tells me that there must have been a considerable amount of secondary fermentation in the cask.

The colours are all over the place, ranging from 20.5 (the shade of a pale Bitter) to 120 (very dark brown). Several of the breweries – Fremlin, Ind Coope and Shepherd Neame – all produced both pale and dark versions of Mild. That said, the overwhelming majority of examples are dark.

Southern Mild Ales 1949 - 1954
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1953 Benskins X 13 1031.5 84
1949 Brickwoods Mild Ale 13 1033.2 1004.8 3.70 85.54% 20.5
1951 Cobb & Co. X 12 1028.4 88
1951 Daniells Mild Ale 14 1029.9 1003.9 3.38 86.96% 110
1951 Flowers Mild Ale 15 1030.7 1003.9 3.49 87.30% 120
1951 Fremlin XXL 12 1029.4 22
1951 Fremlin XX 12 1030.6 60
1950 Gardner X 12 1030.0 96
1950 Ind Coope MA 12 1027.9 1008.9 2.46 68.10% 67
1950 Ind Coope Mild Ale 15 1039.2 1009.6 3.84 75.51% 75
1951 Ind Coope Ale 12 1029.4 1008 2.77 72.79% 52
1951 Ind Coope X 13 1030.9 26
1952 Ind Coope X 13 1036.7 102
1953 Ind Coope X 14 1033.4 100
1954 Ind Coope Strong Mild Ale 19 1043.5 1010.7 4.26 75.40% 110
1951 JJ Young Mild Ale 14 1030.6 1004.8 3.35 84.31% 65
1951 Morrell Mild Ale 14 1029.7 1003.7 3.38 87.54% 80
1949 Portsmouth United Mild Ale 13 1029.3 1003.1 3.41 89.42% 19
1951 Portsmouth United Mild Ale 14 1029.3 1005.1 3.14 82.59% 75
1950 Shepherd Neame X 1030.1 63
1951 Shepherd Neame X 12 1031.4 24
1951 Simonds Mild Dark Sweet 14 1031.5 1005.7 3.35 81.90% 80
1951 Tamplin Mild Ale 14 1029.9 1005.2 3.21 82.61% 70
1951 Tomson & Wotton X 12 1029.2 80
1951 Wells Mild Ale 14 1028.6 1005 3.07 82.52% 75
1951 Wells & Winch Mild Ale 14 1029.3 1008.6 2.68 70.65% 80
Average 13.4 1031.3 1006.1 3.30 80.88% 70.9
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1941 Whitbread XXXX

Whitbread’s Burton Ale wasn’t immune to the effects of the war. As a relatively strong beer, it was always likely to suffer heavy cuts in its gravity. This version is 7º weaker than the one from a year earlier.

Though it still clocked in at almost 4.5% ABV, making it the strongest beer in Whitbread’s range. Mackeson did have a higher OG, but a lower degree of attenuation left the ABV lower.

The grist was made up of exactly the same four elements, but the proportions had changed somewhat. The percentage of chocolate malt was halved, while that of No.3 invert was reduced by 25%. This was offset, at least in colour terms, by an increase in the amount of caramel.

The rate of hopping had also dropped, by around a third. Which accounts for the fall in the (calculated) IBUs from 36.5 to just 27. The hops themselves were a combination of Whitbread Mid-Kent from the 1940 and 1941 harvests, plus Worcester from 1940.

1941 Whitbread XXXX
pale malt 9.00 lb 89.20%
chocolate malt 0.25 lb 2.48%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 7.43%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.09 lb 0.89%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.00 oz
OG 1046
FG 1012.5
ABV 4.43
Apparent attenuation 72.83%
IBU 27
SRM 18
Mash at 150º F
After underlet 155º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

The Situation in England

I couldnn't resist posting this as it gives me cahance to call temperance twats, er, twats, again.

This is really typical of the shit they got up to in the late 19th century, the miserable bastards,

"The Situation in England.
LONDON, july 6th, 1897.
The festivities connected with the jubilee of the Queen have entirely dwarfed and overshadowed everything else, and accordingly my budget of news this month is reduced to rather slender proportions. Although this great national event is somewhat outside my province, there is one feature of it, and that not an over-pleasant one, which may be suitably mentioned in your columns. On such big occasions charity is seldom absent, and everybody rejoiced to hear some weeks ago that a movement was on foot to give the poor of London a substantial jubilee feast. Money literally poured in for this deserving object, and one noted trader prevented the necessity of further contributions by putting down a check for the handsome sum of £25,000. Thus far everything went well, and the poverty-stricken denizens of the London slums looked forward to a sumptuous repast, where good English beef and honest English beer would play a leading part. But when the feast came off, it was noticed that the beef was there, but the beer was not. For some reason or other those narrow-minded "spoilsports," the teetotallers, were allowed to have the predominant voice, and the result was that no intoxicating liquor was allowed to be served at the feast which, had been wholly subscribed by public charity. This wretched bigotry has caused a good deal of irritation and disgust, and these feelings were intensified when it became known that several eminent firms of brewers had offered to send a supply of beer free. I have detailed this incident to show that the narrow-minded, sour visaged American prohibitionists have their counterparts on this side of the water."
American Brewers Review Volume 11, Issue 1, 1897, page 8.

Something similar often happened when the more compassionate workhouse guardians wanted to give the poor a pint of beer with their Christmas dinner. A killjoy temperance twat would veto the idea. They'd begrudge the unfortunate inmates even a single pint.

I've no problem with someone being teeetotal. That's a personal choice. But it really pisses me off when one tries to stop everyone else drinking. The utter, utter twats.

Monday, 11 November 2019

Obadiah Poundage launch

All around me on the plane are Ajax fans. They’re off to watch them play away in the Champions League at Chelsea. Let’s hope they don’t notice the Chelsea hat in my pocket.

There’s a long story to that. Why I have a Chelsea hat. I don’t even vaguely support them. In fact, I hate them on principle. As I do all London teams. Everyone from the Midlands and North does. It’s not just me. When younger, Alexei was once vaguely drawn to Chelsea. I think because, at the time, they had a player called Alexei. He’s no longer fussed and I needed a winter hat. No point wasting money on a new one.

I’ve flown into Heathrow. Which means a long tube journey. No time to hang around as I’m scheduled to meet Mike Siegel of Goose Island at 2 PM. It’s 12:40 when the train trundles out of terminal 4. And I need to get all the way across town to Aldgate East.

To my great surprise, I’ve still five minutes when I emerge, blinking and mole-like, from the tube station. So I quickly nip into Tesco for a few bits and bobs. It’s just about exactly two when I start checking in. No sign of Mike, though.

I trail up to my room and power up my laptop. There’s a mail from Mike: he’s running a little late. Can we meet at 2:30? No problem. Gives me a chance to catch my breath.

We head off up Commercial Street to the Goose Island brewpub. It’s not that far and the weather is dry. Oddly enough, I can’t ever remember walking down this way before. Though I have spent quite a lot of time in the East of London.

I tell Mike of a particularly scary pub crawl down the Whitechapel Road. Including a visit to the Blind Beggar, former Mann’s brewery tap.

“Lovely pub. It’s where one of the Krays blew a rival gangster’s head off.”

The brewpub is pretty empty. Just a couple of staff and a brewer. Mike is just checking everything is set up for tonight. While we’re hanging around, I give Wimbledon XK Mild a try. Very nice it is, too. As I’d expected. So I try their Copper Leaf, too. It’s also rather good.

Emma Inch arrives. She’ll be compering for us tonight. We run through approximately how things will go. We’ve never met properly before and it’s nice to have the chance of a chat.

A whole stack of people I know turn up. I won’t go through the whole list. As I’ll probably forget several. Derek Prentice, who was also involved in the project takes us for a quick tout around the old Truman site, which is just over the road. Who better for the job?

Emma does an excellent job of keeping the conversation going between me and Mike at the launch itself. She asks relevant questions and I try not to wander off the track too much in my replies. I’m easily distracted.

The beer is very well received. Which is pleasing. With its heavy Brettanomyces character, it’s not what modern drinkers expect from a Porter.

Talking done, a whole load of us tip over to the Golden Heart, former Truman brewery tap, for multiple pints and lots of conversation.

We finish off in Pride of Spitalfields for some final beers. Well, we don’t totally finish there. Remembering that we haven’t eaten since midday, Mike and I go for the only available option at midnight: a kebab. Been a while since I had one of those.

Sleep needs no coaxing when my head hits the pillow.

Goose Island Brewpub London
222 Shoreditch High St,
London E1 6PJ.

Golden Heart
110 Commercial St,
London E1 6LZ
Tel: +44 20 7247 2158

The Pride of Spitalfields
3 Heneage St,
London E1 5LJ.
Tel: +44 20 7247 8933

Sunday, 10 November 2019

East Anglian Mild Ales 1949 - 1953

Moving south and east, next we’ll look at Mild Ales brewed in East Anglia. In the immediate post-war period there was still a considerable brewing industry in the region. Norwich, for examples, though a modestly-sized city, was still home to three decent-sized regional breweries.

It’s clear that most of the examples are on the weak side. Around a third have gravities below 1030º and only two are much over 1030º. This is what I would have expected. As a mostly rural area, the beers tended to be weaker than in urban centres.

As in the other regions, however, the rate of attenuation is very high, averaging over 80%. Contrast this with London, where the average was only 71%. There must have been a considerable difference in character between this Milds and London-brewed ones. The high attenuation means that all the examples were reasonably alcoholic, with only one below 3% ABV.

In terms of colour, this set is closer to London Milds. All the examples are reasonably dark, the palest being 50, compared to 20 to 30 for Bitter, on this scale.

East Anglian Mild Ales 1949 - 1953
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Grays Brewery X 11 1029.1 56
1950 Lacons X 12 1032.7 100
1951 Lacons Mild Ale 14 1031.4 1006.9 3.18 78.03% 65
1951 Lacons X 13 1034.4 88
1952 Lacons X 14 1031.9 92
1949 Morgans Mild Ale 11 1027.7 1002.8 3.24 89.89% 50
1951 Morgans Mild Ale 14 1032.4 1007.2 3.27 77.78% 65
1951 Ridley Mild Ale 13 1030.3 1004.9 3.30 83.83% 70
1949 Steward & Patteson Mild Ale 11 1027.7 1004.5 3.01 83.75% 50
1949 Tollemache Mild Ale 11 1027.7 1005.4 2.89 80.51% 75
1951 Tollemache Mild Ale 14 1028.7 1005.6 3.00 80.49% 60
1953 Tollemache X 16 1037.7 144
1951 Young Crawshay Mild Ale 14 1031.2 1003.7 3.58 88.14% 70
Average 12.92 1031.0 1005.1 3.18 82.80% 75.8
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

Saturday, 9 November 2019

Let's Brew - 1939 William Younger Export

Big brother of all Younger’s Pale Ales was Export. A beer in the strongest class of interwar Pale Ales, which in London sold for 9d per pint in a public bar. But, being Scottish, this Export retailed for 10d per pint.

Export had its roots in the 19th century and had been brewed since at least the 1840s, making it Younger’s longest brewed beer.  Amazingly, the OG in 1939 was the same as it had been in 1914. That’s true of extremely few beers, mostly very strong ones like Russian Stout. Not sure why it should have retained its strength so well. The same wasn’t true of Younger’s other Pale Ales.

I’ve adjusted the FG, as the brewing record only lists the cleansing gravity. An analysis in the Thomas Usher Gravity Book from 1938 gives the FG as 1012 . As it was of the finished beer, I’ve used that figure in my recipe.

The hopping, at 5.5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, is the heaviest of any of Younger’s Pale Ales. (Though that’s half the rate of hopping Export had in 1914.) Otherwise, it’s much the same: pale malt, grits and Kent hops.

1939 William Younger Ext
pale malt 10.25 lb 82.00%
grits 2.25 lb 18.00%
Fuggles 105 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1054
FG 1012
ABV 5.56
Apparent attenuation 77.78%
IBU 22
SRM 4.3
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday, 8 November 2019

Cellarmanship in the 1920s (part six)

Today's installment is mostly concerned with cellar temperature.

Now I always thought that the point of a cellar is that the temperature inside it was pretty constant, no matter what the weather outside. Evidently, this isn't the case. As we learned earlier, 55º F was the perfect temperatue for cask beer.  There's a little moe explanation as to why this was the case.

"A thermometer should be kept in every section of the cellar, and if one side is likely to get warmer than another, then more than one.

In the beer cellar it is useless to hang it anywhere but on the level of the barrels.

Beer which is kept at a higher temperature than 60°, or a little over, goes "off" and comes up warm.

Beer kept at a lower temperature than 50° goes "sick," and is very unpleasant.

Therefore, if you are ever making any alterations to your house that affect hot-water or heating services, have a care that neither affects your cellars, and look carefully at the design with this end in view.

The cellar should be well ventilated and without draughts.

During cold weather, a stove or gas-burner should be used, and, in addition, hop sacking or bags should be used to cover the casks.

During hot weather, sprinkle the floor with cold water, and cover the casks with bags, soaked continually in cold water.

All the instructions regarding the treatment of beer are most important, as upon them depends the condition of what may be the staple commodity you sell.

Your customers will be severely critical of your beer, and are fine judges.

They judge not only by flavour, but by condition, brilliancy, and temperature."
"The Art and Practice of Innkeeping" by Alexander Francis Part, published by Heinemann London, 1922, page 201.
 Of course, nowadays there are less messy ways of keeping a cellar cool than sprinkling cold water all over the cellar.

The 55º F temperature is clearly connected to the need for the beer to ferment in the cask and condition the beer. Presumably, below 50º F was too cool for a proper secondary fermentation to take plce. While above 60º F there is too high a risk of the beer becoming infected. As well as the rather obvious problem of the beer being too warm in the glass.

Although the condition of the beer was central to a pub's success, I know from the comments in the Whitbread Gravity Book that there was a lot of poor-quality draught beer around in London. Clearly plenty of pubs managed to get away with dodgy draught. Is that a sign that customers weren't always quite as discerning as Part makes out?

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Plaisted's Barley Wine

I was poking around the British Newspaper Archive, looking to see what the earliest reference to Bass Barley Wine, when I turned up this advertisement.

Kentish Independent - Saturday 07 November 1868, page 1.
Which isn't for Bass Barley Wine, but for another beer I've never heard of: Plaisted's Barley Wine. Judging by the price - 10d per pot compared to 6d per pot for Bass Pale Ale - it must have been something pretty strong. It looks very much as if it's a beer brewed by someone else and given a gouse name.

This is a very early date for something referred to as Barley Wine. At least for a specific beer to be so called. I'm now wondering what the hell it was like and whho brewed it.

Plaisted's Wine House seems to have still been operating fairly recently, given the amoung of signage that remains on the building.

Odd theat the advery should specifically state that they didn't sell tea, sugar of Spanish port. What on earth did they have against Spanish port?

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Whitbread 33

In the interwar period, Whitbread messed around with their draught Burton quite a bit. Changing its name, and strength, a couple of times.

Before and immediately after WW I, it had the usual brewhouse name for the style: KK. With an OG of around 1055º, it was a typical of a 8d per pint Burton. All that changed in 1931 after the disastrous Snowden emergency budget. The name was changed to XXX and 10º lopped off the gravity.

In 1933, to celebrate the rolling back of Snowden’s tax increase, Whitbread came out with a new Burton called 33. At 1060º, it was even stronger than KK had been. It was unusually strong for a standard draught beer, even a Burton. Though it still retailed at the expected 8d per pint.

The grist was quite similar in its elements to their Mild Ale, X, though the proportions were somewhat different. With 33 containing around double the amount of No. 3 invert sugar, but considerably less crystal malt.

The hops were the same as in PA, IPA and Double Brown: Worcester from the 1938 harvest, Mid-Kent from 1937, East Kent from 1937 and Sussex from 1936.

1939 Whitbread 33
pale malt 9.50 lb 76.61%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 2.66%
No. 3 invert sugar 2.50 lb 20.16%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.07 lb 0.56%
Fuggles 75 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1061
FG 1020
ABV 5.42
Apparent attenuation 67.21%
IBU 42
SRM 19
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale