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
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.

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