Saturday, 16 May 2020

Let's Brew - 1945 Lees Bitter

I'm a bit late with this one. A very special version of Lees Bitter – one brewed on VE Day. It won’t have been drunk for a week or two, by which time the euphoria of German surrender was probably starting to wear off. So this was probably slaking thirts in Manchester exactly 75 years ago.

It remains a very reasonable strength, just about hitting 4% ABV. Compared to the Bitters of many other breweries – Fullers, for example, which was down to 1034.5º  – this is doing pretty well. Though Whitbread PA remained an impressive 1039.5º

Nothing has happened to the grist in the last year. It remains, not essentially, but exactly, the same.

The hops were English from the 1943 and 1944 harvests. Reductions in the hopping rate since the start of the war have had an effect. 24 (calculated) IBU isn’t much higher than the level their Mild had back in 1939.

1945 Lees Bitter
pale malt 6.75 lb 78.90%
black malt 0.01 lb 0.12%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 11.69%
glucose 0.125 lb 1.46%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.67 lb 7.83%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1038
FG 1008
ABV 3.97
Apparent attenuation 78.95%
IBU 24
Mash at 150º F
After underlet 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)


Edd The Brew said...

Hi Ron ,
Nice recipie ; Magee Marshall` IPA =BitterBeer was at 1.043 = / - 0.5 from Brew No 301
24/06/1942 until September 1946 @ 1.040.5 , Dropping to 1.038.5 by Brew No 33 04/11/1947,
And a rise in OG to 1.039.75 by Brew No 359 11/04/1950 ( Last data )

Ron Pattinson said...


that's still not a bad strength for late WW II.

Anonymous said...

This one was spot on, the best bitter I have brewed in a long time. The invert really makes a difference in these session beers. I skipped the glucose and just added more Pale malt. Hit an OG of 1.040 and it finished out at 1.010 for a thirst quenching 3.9% ABV. Used CARAFA-1 instead of black malt, as it is all I had available. Let it sit in the keg 3 weeks before tapping....absolutely fantastic!