Monday 24 February 2020

Truman (Burton) beers in 1946

The war years did, at least, male Truman’s range of beers less baffling. With the funny R, B and S beers gone, it all looked pretty normal. Just Mild Ales, Pale Ales and a Strong Ale.

There are far fewer beers in their range – about half the number that they brewed in 1939. Which isn’t a surprise. The number of beers they brewed at the start of the war was ridiculous.

The obvious striking feature which they all share is the very high degree of attenuation. Over 85% in every case. Which means that even the puny X manages to stumble just over 3% ABV. And the bottling version of the strong Pale Ale isn’t far short of 6% ABV. Heady stuff for the austerity years just after WW II.

Why they brewed continued to brew three Milds of not hugely dissimilar strengths throughout the war is a mystery to me. I would have put money on X being dropped, especially when its OG dropped below 1027º.

P1 and P2, which sold as Burton Bitter and Burton Best Bitter, both fared pretty well over the war years. Though P1 wasn’t brewed in huge quantities. Most batches were just 60-70 barrels, while P1 was brewed 300-400 barrels at a time.

The hopping rates are much lower than at the start of the war: 4 to 4.5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt as opposed to 6 to 7 lbs per quarter before the war. It’s around 33% on average – far more than the 20% cut imposed by the government in June 1941. Also a good deal less than the UK average of 5.8 lbs per quarter.  The only exception being their flagship Pale Ale, P1 Bott.

Truman (Burton) beers in 1946
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
X Mild 1025.8 1002.8 3.04 89.25% 4.03 0.40
XX Mild 1028.8 1003.3 3.37 88.46% 4.02 0.44
No. 7 Mild 1033 1003.9 3.85 88.24% 3.96 0.51
P2 Pale Ale 1040.7 1006.1 4.58 85.03% 4.48 0.71
P1 Pale Ale 1047.6 1006.1 5.50 87.21% 4.48 0.83
P1 Bott Pale Ale 1050.7 1007.2 5.75 85.79% 6.96 1.37
XXX Strong Ale 1039.6 1005.5 4.51 86.01% 4.49 0.69
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/354.

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