Sunday, 3 May 2020

Young's beers between the wars

It was recently pointed out to me that there was a strange omission in my book London! No reference to Youngs.

It came as a bit of a surprise to me. So I had a quick search through the book. True enough, there was no mention of Youngs. Other than a single analysis from 1953 of their Mild Ale. Which prompted some more digging.Unearthing a few more analyses. But not a huge amount.

I can see what the problem was. Whitbread didn't seem to have much interest in Youngs, despite then being a London rival. Meaning the Whitbread Gravity Book lists few of their beer. From before WW II, there's just a single analysis. It makes me realise just how dependent I am on the Whitbread Gravity Book.

Strange, though, that I'd written nothing from personal experience about the brewery. When I lived in South London back in the 1980s I was a frequent drinker of Youngs beers. A housemate was a big fan of theirs and used to drive me to lots of different Youngs pubs. Though one, the Railway Telegraph in Thornton Heath, was just a short walk away.

However, I have a confession: I always preferred Fullers over Youngs. Just liked the beers more. London Pride being my drink of choice. Or Hock, on the rare occasions I could track it down.

One reason I haven't used this set before, is the sketchiness of the data. For most, I only have and OG and a price. The exception being the one which came from the Whitbread Gravity Book.

Most of the analyses are for the weakest Mild, a 4d Ale. (Or 5d Ale as it was between 1931 and 1933 when the tax was higher.) There's also one for a stronger Mild, which looks like a 5d per pint beer.

Double Brown Stout and Burton Ale look like classic London examples of the styles. With gravities in the mid to high 1050ºs.

PA would, after hefty gravity cuts during WW II, become Ordinary Bitter. While Special, a beer around the same strength as pre-war PA, was a new beer introduced in the 1950s.

Young's beers between the wars
Year Beer Style Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1919 X Ale Mild 4d 1027
1919 PA Pale Ale 7d 1046
1919 Porter Porter 6d 1039
1919 Double Brown Stout Stout 8d 1054
1927 Ale Mild 4d 1029.6
1930 Stout (bottled) Stout 8d 1042.0
1931 Ale Mild 4d 1036.0
1931 Ale Mild 5d 1028.9
1932 Ale Mild 5d 1030.1
1932 Ale Mild 5d 1032.8
1933 XXX Mild 1038
1933 PA Pale Ale 1049
1933 Double Brown Stout Stout 1053
1934 Burton Ale Burton 8d 1058 1015 5.59 74.14%
“Britain's Oldest Brewery” by Helen Osborn page 62
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

1 comment:

Martyn Cornell said...

"Burton Ale", of course, survives today as Winter Warmer - it's 5% abv today, but I suspect probably not that different now it's brewed in Bedford from the way it was brewed in Wandsworth, still using a proprietorial mix of brewing sugars.