Saturday, 24 October 2020

Let's Brew - 1946 Whitbread XXXX

I originally planned to publish my WW II book before May this year. Then I changed my target date to August. Until I got totally consumed by writing a stupid number of recipes. Of which this is one.

There hadn’t been much of a change in XXXX since the war ended. Which must have been reassuring to drinkers in search of something with some punch.

I assume that this was an exclusively draught beer. Certainly its predecessor, 33, had been. It was popular enough to be economical to brew single-gyle. This batch was of 790 barrels, which is a lot of beer by any reckoning.

Making it all the more surprising that this seems to be the last year it was brewed. At least, I have no later photographs of XXXX brewing records. If I were to guess, I’d say that they dropped it in 1947, when UK beer strengths hit a nadir, and just never bothered bringing it back. Odd, as in the 1950s Burton was a standard draught beer in London, where Whitbread was based.

The grist is unchanged, with the classic combination pale and chocolate malt, flaked barley, No. 3 invert and caramel.

The hops were Mid-Kent Whitbread from the 1945 harvest, Mid-Kent from 1945 and East Kent, also from 1945, plus some Hopulon.

1946 Whitbread XXXX
pale malt 6.00 lb 65.50%
chocolate malt 0.33 lb 3.60%
flaked barley 1.25 lb 13.65%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.50 lb 16.38%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.08 lb 0.87%
Fuggles 60 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1043.5
FG 1010
ABV 4.43
Apparent attenuation 77.01%
IBU 28
SRM 22
Mash at 149º F
After underlet 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


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