Saturday, 22 February 2020

Let's Brew - 1941 Truman P1

Yet another Truman beer from WW II. Bit of a giveaway to what I'm working on at the moment.

Happy days if you were lucky enough to find Truman’s Best Burton Bitter. However unlikely that might be.

This batch was just 70 barrels. Sort of. 211 barrels were fermented, but 141 barrels were blended with an understrength P2 wort to get that up to strength. Truman did some weird shit. As they were parti-gyling P1 and P2 anyway, I don’t know why they didn’t just blend the worts up to the strengths they wanted pre-fermentation.

Like all Truman’s other beers, there’s been a big drop in the rate of hopping. Leaving a Pale Ale which, despite its Burton origin, punches like a sickly three-year old when it comes to bitterness. On the other hand, it wasn’t far short of 6% ABV. I think I’d forgive the lack of hops in return for a decent intoxication potential.

Most other brewers dropped their top-level draught Pale Ales during the war. Truman persisted. Perhaps because that’s what their Burton brewery was really for. Producing top-class Pale Ales.

The hops, as in all the other beers were two types of cold-stored English hops from the 1939 crop.


1941 Truman P1
pale malt 9.50 lb 79.76%
high dried malt 1.75 lb 14.69%
malt extract 0.33 lb 2.77%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.33 lb 2.77%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1051.5
FG 1007
ABV 5.89
Apparent attenuation 86.41%
IBU 15
SRM 6
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 59.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 21 February 2020

Truman (Burton) hops in 1939

This finishes off my look at Truman's Burton beers at the start of WW II. I hope you've enjoyed it. Because I'll be going through the same exercise for their beers at the end of the war next.

Truman was unusual in using 100% English hops in all its beers. This was possibly influenced by the fact that the brewery had its own hop gardens. More standard was to employ a percentage of foreign hops. In most cases, that would have meant hops from the Pacific coast of the US. Or, in rare cases, Belgian, Czech or even German hops.

Not that, once again, the Stock Ales were different to all the others. Though it is worth bearing in mind that they were brewed in 1940, while all the others were brewed in 1939. It does mean, however, that the Stock Ales, which were brewed early in the year, had all hops from the most recent season. While the others had some from the last harvest, but also from the one before.

Unfortunately, the brewing records give no clue to either where the hops were grown in England nor their variety. Though it’s fair to assume that most would have been either Fuggles, Goldings or something similar.

Truman (Burton) hops in 1939
Beer Style OG hop 1 hop 2
X Mild 1030.2 English 1937 English 1938
X "Dark" Mild 1028.5 English 1937 English 1938
X "Light" Mild 1030.2 English 1937 English 1938
XX Mild 1035.5 English 1937 English 1938
XX "Dark" Mild 1033.8 English 1937 English 1938
XX "Light" Mild 1035.5 English 1937 English 1938
No. 7 Mild 1041.3 English 1937 English 1938
Pale1 Pale Ale 1053.5 English 1937 English 1938
Pale1 B Pale Ale 1053.5 English 1937 English 1938
Pale2 Pale Ale 1047.4 English 1937 English 1938
XXX Strong Ale 1048.2 English 1937 English 1938
B3 Ale 1056 English 1937 English 1938
R4 Ale 1052.9 English 1937 English 1938
Stock 1 Stock Ale 1105.3 English 1939
Stock 2 Stock Ale 1088.6 English 1939
Source:
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

Truman (Burton) adjuncts and sugars in 1939

Truman’s malt percentage was a good bit higher than the average. In 1939 that was was 78.35% malt, 5.9% unmalted grains and 15.75% sugar.  As a consequence of the high amount of malt, that of other fermentable materials was inevitably lower.

Though it was slightly more complicated. The percentage of unmalted adjuncts was higher than the average, but that of sugar considerably lower. To be honest, I was surprised that the average for adjuncts was as low as 5.9%. Closer to 10% is what I’ve mostly seen in brewing records.

But there is an explanation for this. While pretty much every brewer used sugar, not everyone used adjuncts. Yes, they were common, but there were some large breweries – such as Whitbread – which used none. During the war all brewers were forced to adopt adjuncts and as a consequence for the final years of the war adjunct usage increased to around 10%. While at the same time sugar usage fell to around 10%.

While it wasn’t uncommon for brewers to employ three of four types of sugar, Truman only used one. Plus caramel occasionally.  It’s a bit tricky knowing exactly where the caramel was used.  I can see from materials totals in the logs that they used more than is listed. I assume this was caramel added at racking time for colour adjustment.

It’s hard to tell if all their beers included the same type of invert, as the description of it is pretty vague. In the recipes which follow I’ve guessed at different numbered inverts. Who knows if my guesses are correct or not.

It’s interesting that the two strong Stock Ales contain no adjunct and a smaller percentage of sugar than most of the others.


Truman (Burton) adjuncts and sugars in 1939
Beer Style OG flaked maize invert sugar caramel total sugar
X Mild 1030.2 7.38% 9.02% 9.02%
X "Dark" Mild 1028.5 5.26% 8.19% 2.34% 10.53%
X "Light" Mild 1030.2 8.26% 9.17% 9.17%
XX Mild 1035.5 7.38% 9.02% 9.02%
XX "Dark" Mild 1033.8 5.26% 8.19% 2.34% 10.53%
XX "Light" Mild 1035.5 8.26% 9.17% 9.17%
No. 7 Mild 1041.3 7.26% 8.06% 8.06%
Pale1 Pale Ale 1053.5 7.96% 4.42% 4.42%
Pale1 B Pale Ale 1053.5 7.96% 4.42% 4.42%
Pale2 Pale Ale 1047.4 9.18% 5.10% 5.10%
XXX Strong Ale 1048.2 7.38% 9.02% 9.02%
B3 Ale 1056 9.18% 5.10% 5.10%
R4 Ale 1052.9 9.18% 5.10% 5.10%
Stock 1 Stock Ale 1105.3 4.65% 4.65%
Stock 2 Stock Ale 1088.6 4.65% 4.65%
Source:
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.

Wednesday, 19 February 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1942 Barclay Perkins X

Half way through the war, things weren’t looking great for X. The gravity is down 4.5º on the previous year.

Lots has also been happening with the recipe. It’s a great example of the effect of wartime shortages on beer grists. There’s a bit of everything: pale malt, lager malt, light amber malt, torrefied barley, flaked barley, crystal malt and sugar.

Obviously, a recipe as weird and complicated as this wasn’t deliberately developed. They were using whatever fermentable material they could get their hands on. The overall result, however, leaves the adjunct percentage around the same as in 1940. There’s considerably more sugar than in 1941 – about double the amount.

The primings – which added about 2º to the effective OG – would also have darkened the colour. As sold, X was 20 – 25 SRM. The paler version, which was around the colour as brewed, i.e. as indicated in the recipe below, had been discontinued the previous year.

Three types of Mid-Kent hops from the 1940 and 1941 seasons were used, the former having been kept in a cold store.


1942 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 3.25 lb 51.59%
lager malt 0.75 lb 11.90%
crystal malt 60 L 0.25 lb 3.97%
amber malt 0.50 lb 7.94%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 7.94%
torrefied barley 0.25 lb 3.97%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 11.90%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.05 lb 0.79%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1029.5
FG 1006
ABV 3.11
Apparent attenuation 79.66%
IBU 18
SRM 12
Mash at 144º F
After underlet 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Dextrinous Beer.

Towards the end of the 19th century, UK brewers became a little obsessed with Lager. And the ways in which it differed from UK-brewed beer.

Some could see the advantages of a Lager-like beverage, but few were keen to put their money where their mouth was and build a proper bottom-fermenting brewery. Though, having seen what happened to most of those earlier pioneers who did invest in a Lager brewery, I can understand their reluctance. Ther ewere some spectacular bankruptcies.

"Dextrinous Beer.
ONE of the principal differences between English and Continental or lager beers, is the much smaller percentage of dextrine in the former. Independently of the system of rapid fermentation at comparatively high temperatures which is adopted in this country, and which produces a highly-attenuated and therefore strongly alcoholic beer, our systems of malting and mashing tend towards the production of highly saccharine and therefore readily fermentable worts, and the resulting beers possess a comparative thinness of flavour when the amount of malt that has been used in their production is taken into consideration. Lager beer brewers use malt which has been germinated to only a moderate extent, and by their methods of mashing they check and partially destroy the action of the diastase, so that the percentage of dextrine to maltose in their completed beers is, on the average, as three to one, whilst in English-brewed beers this ratio is, on the average, only from 1 to 1.5 to 1. As dextrine undoubtedly gives fullness of flavour to beer, lager beer is very much "fuller" and "rounder" to the palate than our English-brewed beer of the same original gravity. The "high" and "low" systems of fermentation have something to do with this, but in the main it is due to the lager beer brewer producing a very dextrinous wort. Our English system of mashing tends to convert much of the dextrine into maltose, and thus an easily attenuated wort is produced."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Sunday 01 July 1883, page 12.
I doubt anyone today would call late 19th-century English beer thin. One of the reasons Lagers tasted fuller is that the rate of attenuation back then was shit. Few Lager managed better than 65% apparent attenuation.  Considerably worse than most English beers.

Weird that they should be worried by the fact that UK malt and UK mashing techniques were in reality so much better than on the Continent.

It seems that the Free Mash Tun Act gave brewers a chance to recreate something Lager-like, without the need for all that fiddly decoction mashing.
"When malt was the only material allowed to be used in the mash-tun, it was very difficult for the English brewer to produce a highly dextrinous wort:- Malt in itself is so rich in diastase, that nearly all its starch is rapidly converted into maltose when it is mashed with water, under the conditions which usually obtain in an English brewery; but now that the use of raw grain is permitted, there is no reason why brewers should not increase tha dextrine ratio. By using mixed grists, carefully compounded, so as to contain only sufficient diastase to convert a portion of the starch into maltose, and using some unmalted grain which has been submitted to a process by which its starch is largely converted into dextrine, it seems possible and not very difficult for English brewers, even when still following their well-established system of brewing, to produce a highly dextrinous beer. Such a beer would commend itself to the palate of many beer drinkers en account of its excessive "fulness," and besides would possess the advantage of retaining a frothy head when poured out, no slight recommendation, for a beer drinker's eye has to be pleased as his palate. A moderately alcoholic beer, prepared and fermented according to the systems usually adopted in this country, but containing about equal proportions of maltose and dextrine, and of low original gravity, would probably meet the requirements of the modified taste of English beer drinkers, and would check the rapidly increasing demand for foreign-brewed lager beer."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Sunday 01 July 1883, page 12.
Leaving just enough enzymes to partially convert the starch in the mash seems dead risky to me. You'd need to be very cofident of knowing the precise diastatic power of your malt. If you overestimated it, the result would be a shit wort. Underestimate it, and you'd just get a standard English wort.

It's worth pointing out that beer imports were minimal at the time.

17,850 barrels of beer were imported into the UK. Out of a total consumption of 30,341,199 barrels.* That's just 0.06%. So imports were scarcely on the point of driving UK brewers out of business. Though we can be pretty certain that almost all of those imports were Lager of some description. There was no point in importing top-fermenting beer.



* Brewers' Almanack 1928, pages 109 and 115.

Monday, 17 February 2020

Truman (Burton) malts in 1939

There wasn’t a great deal of variation in Truman’s recipes. The only real difference being that the Mild Ales contained some crystal malt.

The percentage of malt was pretty high in all the beers, ranging from 85% to 95% of the grist. Unsurprisingly, it was the two strongest and most expensive beers, Stock 1 and Stock 2, which contained the highest percentage.

The pale malt, as was standard. Consisted of several different types. Usually two English and one Californian, with the latter around 25% of the pale malt.

Less usual is the presence of two further types of base malt: high-dried malt and I.M Co. I believe the latter was some sort of enzymic malt. High-dried is a tricky one. Evidently Simpson’s Imperial malt is the closest modern equivalent.

The Mild Ales and the Burton Ale, all contained 5-7% crystal malt. Which is pretty much what you would expect. The Pale and Stock Ales included none at all. I keep banging on about this, but crystal malt in Pale Ales only really became common after WW II.

Truman (Burton) malts in 1939
Beer Style OG pale malt crystal malt high dried malt I.M. Co. total malt
X Mild 1030.2 54.10% 4.92% 22.13% 2.46% 83.61%
X "Dark" Mild 1028.5 52.63% 7.02% 21.05% 3.51% 84.21%
X "Light" Mild 1030.2 52.29% 5.50% 22.02% 2.75% 82.57%
XX Mild 1035.5 54.10% 4.92% 22.13% 2.46% 83.61%
XX "Dark" Mild 1033.8 52.63% 7.02% 21.05% 3.51% 84.21%
XX "Light" Mild 1035.5 52.29% 5.50% 22.02% 2.75% 82.57%
No. 7 Mild 1041.3 55.65% 4.84% 21.77% 2.42% 84.68%
Pale1 Pale Ale 1053.5 71.68% 13.27% 2.65% 87.61%
Pale1 B Pale Ale 1053.5 71.68% 13.27% 2.65% 87.61%
Pale2 Pale Ale 1047.4 67.35% 15.31% 3.06% 85.71%
XXX Strong Ale 1048.2 54.10% 4.92% 22.13% 2.46% 83.61%
B3 Ale 1056 67.35% 15.31% 3.06% 85.71%
R4 Ale 1052.9 67.35% 15.31% 3.06% 85.71%
Stock 1 Stock Ale 1105.3 72.09% 23.26% 95.35%
Stock 2 Stock Ale 1088.6 72.09% 23.26% 95.35%
Source:
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Truman (Burton) beers in 1939

Considering they didn’t even brew the full gamut of styles – all the Stouts were brewed in London – Truman’s Burton brewery made a crazy selection of beers.

Surprisingly, given that they were the reason Truman acquired the brewery in the first place, most weren’t Pale Ales. They fell into three groups: Pale Ales, Mild Ales and Strong Burton Ales.

Starting with the Mild Ales, I’m not sure that there’s a difference between X and X “Light” and XX and XX “Light”. I’ve included both, just in case. But I suspect they were the same beers.

The three strengths of Mild, X, XX and No. 7, fell nicely into the 4d, 5d and 6d per pint classes. Nothing odd about that. Except that none of the three was Truman’s main Mild. That was the X Ale brewed in Brick Lane. I suspect that this set was only sold in Truman’s pubs in the Midlands.

A pretty high degree of attenuation leaves them all rather more alcoholic than you would expect. With the strongest, No. 7, falling not far short of 5% ABV.

At 6 to 7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping rate is pretty decent. Around the same level as London Mild Ales, which were on the hoppy side.

Pale 1 and Pale 2 were definitely sold throughout all of Truman’s estate, where they were known as Burton Bitter and Burton Best Bitter. They fall neatly into the 7d and 8d per pint slots. P2 was about as strong as draught Bitter got between the wars, being a similar strength to other Burton Pale Ales, such as Bass.

Interestingly, the hopping rate for the Pale Ales is no higher than that that of the Mild Ales at around 7lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt.

The attenuation, on the other hand, is a good bit lower than in the Mild Ales. Not sure why that might be.

Truman (Burton) beers in 1939
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
X Mild 1030.2 1003.3 3.55 88.99% 5.76 0.67
X "Dark" Mild 1028.5 1004.4 3.19 84.47% 6.83 0.74
X "Light" Mild 1030.2 1004.2 3.44 86.24% 6.97 0.80
XX Mild 1035.5 1003.9 4.18 89.06% 5.76 0.78
XX "Dark" Mild 1033.8 1005.0 3.81 85.25% 6.83 0.88
XX "Light" Mild 1035.5 1004.4 4.10 87.50% 6.97 0.93
No. 7 Mild 1041.3 1004.7 4.84 88.59% 5.76 0.92
Pale1 Pale Ale 1053.5 1013.3 5.31 75.13% 6.75 1.37
Pale1 B Pale Ale 1053.5 1013.6 5.28 74.61% 6.75 1.37
Pale2 Pale Ale 1047.4 1009.4 5.02 80.12% 6.75 1.23
XXX Strong Ale 1048.2 1010.2 5.02 78.74% 5.76 1.06
B3 Ale 1056 1013.9 5.57 75.25% 6.75 1.45
R4 Ale 1052.9 1013.9 5.17 73.82% 6.75 1.33
Stock 1 Stock Ale 1105.3 1034.9 9.31 66.84% 12.73 5.83
Stock 2 Stock Ale 1088.6 1027.7 8.06 68.75% 12.73 4.91
Source:
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.

XXX had me fooled for a long time. I originally classed it as a Mild, mostly because it was usually part-gyled with Milds. But it always seemed just too strong to be an interwar Mild. Especially considering the quantities in which it was brewed.

Then I compared it with some analyses of Truman’s draught Burton Ale. And realised that the OG was the same. I was confused because London Burton Ales were usually 8d per pint beers with gravities 1053-1055º. But, unusually, Truman’s Burton was a 7d beer and consequently a bit weaker.

The Stock 1 and Stock 2 in the table really date from early 1940 as I don’t have records from 1929. Stock 1 was the beer which, after a year or more of ageing, was blended with a Running version to create Bass No.1 Burton Barley Wine. A beer in the same class as Bass No. 1.

I’m really not sure about what happened with Stock 2. I assume it was also aged, given its name, and probably blended. But with what, I’ve no idea, as I’ve never seen a Running 2. Perhaps it was blended with R4. I’m surprised to see it, as I’d though Truman’s No. 2 was discontinued before WW II.

Both Stock Beers are very heavily hopped, as you would expect from beers which were going to be extensively aged. As a result of this ageing the FG would have been much lower than indicated.

Finally, the two beers I’ve simply described as Ales. I’d guess that B4 was some sort of bottled Old Ale. As to R4, I’m clueless. Perhaps used to blend with something else. But I’ve really no idea.

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Let's Brew - 1941 Truman XX

More results from my latest archive visit.

I'm finally back to writing my new book. Travelling to London, photographing at the archive then extracting the information took about two weeks out of my schedule. Research is a very labour-intensive activity.

Next up in strength amongst the Mild Ales remains XX. Though it hasn’t been as lucky as X, losing 2º since 1940.

Though that has partially been offset by an even higher degree of attenuation, leaving the ABV a respectable 3.77%. So at least it retained a reasonable amount of poke.

I’m pretty sure that this is really the pale version of XX. I’m not totally sure why they maintained the differentiation in the Brewhouse between the pale and dark versions of X and XX. Mostly they look exactly the same. The difference I assume, coming at racking time with different primings or simply an addition of caramel.

There’s been a massive reduction in the hopping rate, from 7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) to 3.5 lbs. Unsurprisingly, the result has been a halving of the (calculated) IBUs.

For further recipe notes, see the X above, with which this was parti-gyled.


1941 Truman XX
pale malt 4.50 lb 59.68%
high dried malt 2.00 lb 26.53%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.63%
black malt 0.04 lb 0.53%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.50 lb 6.63%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.33 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.33 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1032.5
FG 1004
ABV 3.77
Apparent attenuation 87.69%
IBU 12
SRM 10
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday, 14 February 2020

Pricey Bass in Holland

Moaning about the price of beer. It's something old CAMRA twats like me are particularly fond of. But it's a practice far older than CAMRA.

As this article demonstrates:

""Bass" in Holland.
There was a time when the now omnipresent "Bass" was not omnipresent. Most middle-age people can remember that, when they wanteed a glass of beer brewed by the famous Burton firm, they had to ask for "India Pale Ale". The particular brew was meant for consumption in India, and was adapted for the double journey across the equator. Gradually it became a beverage acceptable to home consumption, and, now, under the name of "bitter ale," the "India Pale Ale" of a generation ago, is drunk in every country of the earth. There are places and countries, however, which seem to have an objection to the introduction of the popular drink within their borders. They do nnot positively prevent its importation; but, by putting a prohibitory price on it, they tax its patrons. Why, for instance, should a small bottle of bitter ale cost a guilder at Rotterdam? Is it that the Dutch are anxious that an Englishman on his travels should confine himself to Schiedam? Thakeray, in one of his "Roundabout Papers," expressed his chagrin at the price he had to pay on the Boompjes. "I have paid less" he said, "in Jerusalem. It is as easy and cheap to send a barrel of beer from Burton to Rotterdam as to Tenby, or Torquay, yet at Rotterdam they charge more than four times the price they do at these places. Why this should be has never yet been explained. Mr. de Kuyper's 'Schiedam' can be obtained here better, and equally as cheap, as it can in the town on the Maas in which it is manufactured. Why, then, we ask again, should not an Englishman on his travels in Holland be able to procure a bottle of Bass which costs less than a guilder?"
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Saturday 01 October 1881 , page 16.
Nice little history of IPA to start.

I'm not sure why Bass should be so much more expensive in Holland. It could have been connected with either import duties or tax. It's a bit disingenuous of the author not to realise that there's a big difference between shipping somewhere in your own country and to a foreign one. No matter how close it might be. Though there seem to be plenty around in the UK today who believe something similar.

The reference to Schiedam threw me at first. Was Bass cheaper there than it Rotterdam. Then I realised that he meant jenever.

And here are some examples of what that expensive Bass might have been like:

Bass Pale Ale 1880 - 1892
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation Acidity
1880 Bass Pale Ale 1055.2 1017.4 4.90 68.48%
1887 Bass Pale Ale 1064.2 1009.3 7.08 84.75% 0.117
1887 Bass Pale Ale 1063.5 1009.5 7.08 85.04% 0.12
1888 Bass Pale Ale 1069.6 1010.6 7.58 83.82% 0.189
1888 Bass Pale Ale 1069 1011.2 7.58 83.77% 0.19
1892 Bass Extra Pale Ale 1059.2 1009.1 6.55 84.62%
1896 Bass Pale Ale 1060.8 1006.9 6.98 87.97% 0.234
Sources:
"Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel" by Joseph König, 1889, page 836
Wisconsin Dairy and Food Commission
Wahl & Henius, pages 823-830

Note the very high degree of attenuation.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

The Beer Trade of Belgium

More fun from Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette about Belgian brewing in the late 19th century.

First a little something about Belgian beer imports. I was surprised to see what the source of the majority of those imports was.

"The Beer Trade of Belgium
From statistics recently published concerning the commerce of Belgium it appears that the importation of beer into that country continues notably to increase. During the first half of the present year, that is to say, from January 1 to June 30, the total amount of beer imported from Germany was 35,983 hect., as against 29,651 hect. in the corresponding period of 1880, and 24,162 hect. in the corresponding period of 1879. The importation in 1880 for the whole year was 71,890 hect.; in 1879, 47,457 hect.; and in 1878, 52,082 hect. The largest quantity of beer imported into Belgium is drawn from Prussia, the imports of such beer having latterly largely increased. Whilst the importation of English beer remains almost stationary, beers of German origin continue to increase in popularity, and their consumption is very large. At the same time it must be mentioned, that in spite of this constant augmentation the importation of foreign beers into Belgium compared with the general consumption of the country, is insignificant, and does not represent anything like a formidable total."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7.

Surprising to see Prussia listed for two reasons. First, because it wasn't a big beer exporter. But more importantly, because Prussia no longer existed as a country.What they probably mean is that the imports came from the Brausteuergebied - basically the North of Germany. I wonder when this trade dried up? Before WW I or as a result of it?


Belgian brewing in 1880
Output (hl) 9,239,000
imports (hl) 71,890
% imports 0.78%
Sources:
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7.
European Statistics 1750-1970 by B. R. Mitchell, 1978, page 283.


I assume that these imports were principally, if not exclusevely, bottom-fermenting beer. While imports of UK beer were definitely 100% top fermenting. The UK's export trade with Belgium was more extensive in the 20th century, espewcially after WW II, peaking at 215,874 barrels in 1965.* Which amounted to over 50% of all UK beer exports.

Next we move on to hops and barley.

"With regard to the importation of hops, statistics show that during the present year a decreased quantity of hops has been imported into Belgium In the first half of 1881, 349,673 kilogs. of hops were imported into that country, while in the corresponding period of 1880 the total was 525,785 kilogs., and in the same period of 1879, 503,675 kilogs. According to official statistics Prussia sends by far the largest quantity of hops into that country although the total this year is, so far, much less than that in the two previous years. The imports of hops from England into Belgium also show a notable falling off this year as compared with the first half of last year. With reference to the exportation of hops from Belgium the figures do not denote any remarkable fluctuations. This exportation in the first half of 1881 amounted to 588,485 kilogs., as against 675,04O in the same period of 1880, and 633,171 kilogs. in the same period of 1879. France receives the largest quantity of hops from Belgium and a considerable quantity are also sent to this country. The imports of barley into Belgium in the first half of this year amounted to 50,317,263 kilogs., as compared with 60,977,203 in the same period of 1880, and 73,270,864 in the same period of 1879, It will thus be noted that for the first half of this year these figures show a diminution. The exports of barley from Belgium have also decreased in the half-year ending June last, the total being 8,437,158 kilogs., as against 18,096,090 in the corresponding period of 1880."
Holmes' Brewing Trade Gazette - Tuesday 01 November 1881, page 7

Belgian hops were popular in the UK. Not because anyone thought they were any good, but because they were dirt cheap. Overall, Belgium was a small next exporter of hops, by about 100,000 kg.

On the other hand, Belgium was a big net importer of barley, bringing 41 million kg more than it sent out.



* “1971 Brewers' Almanack”, pages 53-54.