Monday, 9 March 2020

Tetley's beers in 1946

To say that Tetley’s beer range was totally transformed during WW II is no overstatement. None of the standard beers of 1946 had existed in 1939.

Though one word of caution. I have a limited number of Tetley’s brewing records. So I suspect that there are a couple of low-volume beers missing. In particular, from labels I’ve seen I’m pretty sure that there were some other bottled beers.

It looks like they were brewing Ordinary and Best Mild, plus Ordinary and Best Bitter. Though it’s possible that LM and LB were bottled beers. I which case they would have been Brown Ale and Light Ale.

In 1939, at between 3.75 lbs and 4.75 per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, Tetley’s hopping rate had been extremely low. It was never going to increase during the war. And it didn’t, falling to under 3 lbs. Interestingly, the rate is basically identical for all the beers, both Bitter and Mild.

That rate is way below the average for all UK breweries in 1946 of 5.83 lbs per quarter.  I wish I had records from more West Yorkshire breweries top see if this was typical for the region or if Tetley was an outlier.

On the other hand, there’s been a big increase in the rate of attenuation. Not one of their beers was over 80% in 1939 and several were below 70%. In 1946, 80% was the lowest and the highest wasn’t far short of 90%. I’ve seen this happen at other breweries during the war. The most obvious conclusion is that the brewer was trying to compensate for the fall in gravity and keep their beers at least reasonably alcoholic.

The pitching temperatures had been increased and standardised. The maximum temperature of fermentation also increased by a degree or two. A possibility could be that they were trying to speed up the fermentation. But as the length of fermentation remained constant at 7 or 8 days, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Tetley's beers in 1946
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
LM Mild  1030.5 1006.1 3.22 80.00% 2.80 0.35 64º
M Mild  1033.8 1005.0 3.81 85.25% 2.80 0.38 64º
LB Pale Ale 1029.9 1005.0 3.30 83.33% 2.84 0.33 64º
B Pale Ale 1042.1 1004.7 4.95 88.82% 2.84 0.46 64º
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archive Services, document number WYL756/ACC3349/565.

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