Sunday 12 January 2020

Drybrough’s beers in 1936

On the eve of WW II, Drybrough had a pretty limited range of beers: four Pale Ales and a Strong Ale. Which was fairly typical of most Scottish breweries. After WW I, they mostly gave up on styles like Mild Ale and Stout.

Though the reality was slightly more complicated. Because I know from other sources that Drybrough did market beers in other styles. For example, I’ve a couple of analyses for a beer called Nourishing Stout. Based on its gravity, I’d guess it was really 54/- with some special primings added at racking time.

It’s worth remembering that average OG was 1041º in 1936.  The vast majority of beer Drybrough produced was well below that level. Because at least 80% of their output was in the form of 60/-. Which was around the strength of an Ordinary Mild in England. And 60/- seems to have filled the same slot as Mild did in England. Something which was also the case after WW II.

Notable is what’s missing: a beer of classic Ordinary Bitter strength, which in the 1930’s would have been around 1045º. A beer which South of the border would have been one of a brewery’s biggest sellers. While Pale Ales of gravities as low as 54/- weren’t very common in England, except in country districts where beer tended to be weaker.

The hopping rate for the Pale Ales, at a little under 5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, is very low. In England 7 to 9 lbs was usual. But it’s typical of Scottish brewers. From the final decades of the 19th century onwards, Scottish hopping rates diverged from those of England, falling to significantly lower levels.

I wouldn’t pay too much attention to the FGs and rates of attenuation. The gravities given in Drybrough’s brewing logs is the racking gravity. I know from analyses of Drybrough’s beers as sold that the actual degree of attenuation was 75-80%.

Drybrough's beers in 1936
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
P 54/- Pale Ale 1031 1011.5 2.58 62.90% 4.86 0.61 59º
Bottling Pale Ale 1033 1012 2.78 63.64% 4.86 0.64 61º
P 60/- Pale Ale 1037 1013.5 3.11 63.51% 4.93 0.74 60º
P 80/- Pale Ale 1050 1015 4.63 70.00% 4.93 1.00 59º
Burns Strong Ale 1084 1030 7.14 64.29% 6.30 2.48 59.5º
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4.


Mike in NSW said...

Any thoughts on why no 70/- "heavy" or was that a post War thing? I remember their Guard's Keg Heavy from the 1970s with a ridiculous font featuring a guard in uniform inside a sort of Carling Black Label giant resin cube.

Ron Pattinson said...

Mike in NSW,

70/- seems to have been mostly a post-WW II thing. But it varied from brewery to brewery. Usher, for example, brewed a PA, PA 60/-, PA 70/- and PA 80/- between the wars. While Maclay went for PA 5d, PA 6d and PA 7d.

Bribie G said...

God I'm getting old. I naturally read those as fivepunce, sixpunce and sevenpunce.

As opposed to 60 slash dash, 80 slash dash that apparently the young tykes call shilling variants nowadays.