Wednesday 3 June 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1940 Whitbread Export Lager

Wartime can make brewers do odd things. Like brewing styles they never had before. Such as this totally unexpected brew of Lager from Whitbread.

It’s important to understand the context of this apparently random batch of Lager. This beer was brewed at the end of July, after the fall of France. Whitbread sold four types of bottled Lager before WW II: Grahams, Carlsberg, Tuborg and Artois.  Sourced from, respectively, Scotland, Denmark, Denmark and Belgium. The last three of those sources were now under German control.

Not having a fancy Lager brewery like Barclay Perkins, Whitbread didn’t go in for any of that decoction rubbish, using an infusion mash as for all their other beers. It wasn’t fermented cold, which probably made sense as they used their standard yeast. In this case harvested from an earlier batch of IPA.

There’s not much to the recipe: two types of pale malt and sugar. The latter being described as “PS”. Which could possibly stand for “Pale Syrup”. I’ve opted for No. 1 invert. This being a Lager, I can’t imagine it being any darker than that.

About the only really Lager-like feature is the use of Saaz hops. Obviously from before the war. The 1938 harvest, to be precise, kept in a cold store. As were the remainder of the hops, which were East Kent. Also from the 1938 crop.

As far as I can tell, Whitbread only brewed this beer once. Perhaps they found a replacement source of Lager.

1940 Whitbread Export Lager
pale malt 7.00 lb 80.00%
No. invert 1 sugar 1.75 lb 20.00%
Goldings 90 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 60 mins 0.50 oz
Saaz 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1043
FG 1008
ABV 4.63
Apparent attenuation 81.40%
IBU 17
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Thom Farrell said...

I wonder if they only brewed it once because they were dissatisfied with the results?

Ron Pattinson said...

Thom Farrell,

possibly. Or they might have had a specific order for it. Or maybe it was just an experiment.