Saturday, 16 January 2021

Let's Brew - 1922 Barclay Perkins BS

The domestic version of BS – I’m not sure if at this point it still stood for Brown Stout or if it had become Best Stout – was, at 1055º, more the gravity that you’d expect from a 1920s London draught Stout.

Most London breweries – especially the ones that had made their name brewing Porter – had similar beers. The gravity obviously being set by the last set of price controls. 1055º puts it at the minimum OG for a beer in the 9d per pint class.

Surprisingly, as Barclay Perkins were enthusiastic users of both, there’s neither adjuncts nor sugar in the grist. Well, apart from roast barley. Oh, hang on a minute. On the brewing record it says in red ink “Special all malt brew for yeast”. That explains it, then. I wonder if drinkers noticed anything special about this batch?

The hops were a little on the old side, but had all been kept in a cold store: Mid Kent from 1919 and 1920, Pacific  from 1920.

1922 Barclay Perkins BS
mild malt 9.00 lb 69.23%
brown malt 1.00 lb 7.69%
amber malt 1.00 lb 7.69%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 7.69%
roast barley 1.00 lb 7.69%
Cluster 120 mins 1.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.75 oz
OG 1055
FG 1017
ABV 5.03
Apparent attenuation 69.09%
IBU 74
SRM 27
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

 

The above is an excerpt from Armistice,  my wonderful book on brewing in WW I.






 

Friday, 15 January 2021

George, your glass is empty

Just in time for the holiday season, here are some Christmas drink tips. From 1949.

First is mulled beer.

"GEORGE, YOUR GLASS IS EMPTY"
WHEN the word goes round that the level is low in the glass of your guests, here are a few ideas for refilling them.

HOT MULLED ALE.— This is about the best "one for the road" for a cold Christmas night. We give you two ways in which to make it. One pretty strong, one not so strong. 

One measure of rum (or sherry for the weak version) to six of strong ale (or stout or mild ale for the weak version) but not bitter. 

Heat gently till it steams (a saucepan on the gas ring will do) and add a good pinch of nutmeg and powdered ginger. Cloves are a good idea. too. 

If you have an orange, stick it full of cloves and let the orange float in the liquid. You must keep mulled ale hot; place it in an outer saucepan of boiling water and serve with a ladle.
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 25 December 1949, page 7.

I love the phrase  "If you have an orange". It reveals so much about the times. There was still rationing and not everyone had access to oranges.


Pretty sure I'd go for the strong version.

Now for a cold drink:

COLD CIDER CUP.— This would be a good refresher just before lunch on Boxing Day. 

If you can get it, use still cider for this one, although it is stronger, and it might be a good idea to dilute it with a splash of soda water. If you can only get bubbly cider, stick to the recipe below: 

To each quart of cider, add one wineglass of gin and one of sherry. If you have it, add some sliced fruit — apples, pears, halved grapes, quartered oranges. Better still, soak this fruit in the cider the night before and add the gin and sherry on the following day. Serve as cold as possible.
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 25 December 1949, page 7. 

Gain, it's not assumed that you can get hold of fruit. At least there doesn't seem to have been trouble sourcing the booze. That would have made life more bearable.

Finally, two cocktails.

SHORT DRINK.—This is how to make a real 100 per cent dry martini—the way they do it in America: The important thing is to use French vermouth which is much drier than Italian. Ice is essential for this drink If you have no refrigerator try to get some from your "local" and keep it wrapped in sacking or felt in a draught. Wash the ice before you use it. 

You don't mix a dry martini in a cocktail shaker. Crack plenty of ice and place it in a jug. Pour in the gin and French in the following proportions - the proportions are important — one part of French to five of gin. Stir gently with a fork or hold the jug by the handle and rotate the whole thing gently for about a minute. Place a screw of lemon peel in each glass before serving. 

LONG DRlNK.— Although this is said to be a trick used by crafty bartenders to fool customers into thinking they are drinking champagne it's a perfectly good drink on its own. 

One glass of sherry topped up with one large bottle of tonic water (or one-and-a-half small bottles). Ice the tonic water first if possible.
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 25 December 1949, page 7. 

I don't think many people had a fridge in 1940. So off to the local with a sack it was. Usefully, most homes were so poorly insulated there would be no problem finding a draught.

Pretty sure I wouldn't be fooled into thinking a mix of sherry and tonic water was champagne. Not unless I was well pissed.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Unintended consequemces

I had to send off a couple of copies of my excellent Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer today (You can get your own signed copy by clicking the appropriate button in the left margin.) But where could I post them?

A few years back, all the post offices in Holland were closed. Replaced by something resembling a sub-post office. Except lower key. Really a shop of some kind with a sideline in a few postal services. A large percentage were tobacconists.

For me, quite handy. As there are a few such tobacconists that are closer to my house than the post office was. I normally use the fag shop on a nearby square. Just a couple of minutes walk away. The came corona.

The current restrictions allow only "essential" shops to open. Chemists, supermarkets, bike shops. And ones offering postal services. Including tobacconists. However, they weren't allowed to sell fags or newspapers. Only supply postal services. While supermarkets can sell tobacco products.

As a result, most tobacconists have temporarily closed. The postal stuff only being a small fraction of their business. In consequence, you have to search around if you want to post a parcel.

Luckily I could find a place that was still open. Didn't look like they were doing much trade, mind. I wonder how much longer they'll stick it out?

All because the government rushed through the new rules and didn't think them through. I'm sure they hadn't intended postal services to become so difficuult to find. But it is a direct result of the actions they took.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1960 Robert Younger Strong Ale

Robert Younger was one of many breweries which fell to Scottish Brewers around 1960. In this case, in 1961. Followed by immediate closure.

This batch of Strong Ale was brewed 7 months before the brewery stopped for good. They brewed a typical range for a Scottish brewer. Mostly Pale Ales:

Beer Style OG
54/- Pale Ale 1028
60/- Pale Ale 1030
70/- Pale Ale 1035
80/- Pale Ale 1043
SS BA Stout 1030



Most of the recipe us as you’d expect: base malt, maize and sugar. There’s a weird one thrown in, though: liquorice. I’ve seen it in Stout recipes before, but never a Scotch Ale.

The colour, as usual in Scotland, mostly came from caramel. There’s no coloured malt of any description. The pale malt seems to have all been English. The hops were also all English, from the 1958 and 1959 seasons.

1960 Robert Younger Strong Ale
pale malt 11.00 lb 72.13%
flaked maize 2.75 lb 18.03%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.25 lb 8.20%
malt extract 0.125 lb 0.82%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 0.82%
liquorice 0.07 oz
Fuggles 120 min 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1070
FG 1018
ABV 6.88
Apparent attenuation 74.29%
IBU 26
SRM 21
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

 

This recipe features in my two new books, Strong! vols. 1 & 2 and Strong! vol.2.




 

 

Tuesday, 12 January 2021

Pre-WW II London Stout adjuncts and sugars

Flaked oats appear in the Whitbread and Truman examples to enable some to be sold as Oatmeal Stout. I wonder if any drinkers noticed that Oatmeal Stout and plain old Stout were identical? Not much to report, other than that. Some flaked maize at Barclay Perkins, along with roast barley. Truman also used roast barley in place of black malt.

Much more complications with the sugars, with seven different ones across the four breweries.

There’s No. 3 in a couple, which is what you would expect. Black sugar I’m guessing is something along the lines of No. 4 invert. Duttson and CDM are types of caramel. While cane sugar is just raw cane sugar. Something easily supplied by Britain’s tropical colonies in the Caribbean and the Far East.


Pre-WW II London Stout adjuncts
Year Brewer Beer oats flaked maize roast barley
1937 Courage Stout      
1936 Barclay Perkins BS   4.35% 10.87%
1937 Whitbread LS 0.78%    
1931 Truman BS 1.45%   5.06%
1931 Truman St 1.45%   5.06%
Sources:
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/263.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/621.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Truman gyle book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/114.


Pre-WW II London Stout sugars
Year Brewer Beer malt extract no. 3 sugar caramel Duttson CDM black sugar  cane sugar
1937 Courage Stout 2.00%       2.67%   5.33%
1936 Barclay Perkins BS   11.59% 1.45%        
1937 Whitbread LS   8.37%   3.79%      
1931 Truman BS           4.34% 3.13%
1931 Truman St           4.34% 3.13%
Sources:
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/263.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/621.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Truman gyle book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/114.



Monday, 11 January 2021

Another pub fight


More trouble in a WW II pub. At least it's not more endless bloody tables.

 Good old-fashioned violence, this time.

"POLE'S WILD CONDUCT
Three Assaults In Public House

Victor Pawlak (34), a Polish subject, described as a training centre manager, 13 Hope Street, Motherwell, appeared before Bailie Archibald at Motherwell Police Court on Monday on a charge of assaulting three men in the Royal Hotel, Brandon Street, on Monday, December 11. 

An agent tendered a plea of guilty. 

The charge was that the public bar of the Royal Hotel, Pawlak assaulted Almo Tedeschi, restauranter, striking him on the face with his clenched fists and kicking him on the body with his booted feet, all to his hurt and injury, and at the same time and place, he assaulted Carlo Zambonini, fish restaurant, 6 South Bridge Street, Airdrie, striking him on the face with his clenched fists and also assaulted James Swan, process worker, 78 Oakfield Road, by striking him severe blow on the face with his clenched fist, to the effusion of blood. 

The agent remarked that it was unfortunate this affair took place in public house, as that was not the proper place to argue matters out. The accused had an excellent record of service the Polish Army, and had latterly been discharged. He had been taunted in the public house about some matter and, being unable to explain himself in English, he was at a disadvantage and expressed himself by other means. A bit of a scuffle started and blows were struck. Accused now regretted very much what he had done. 

Continuing, the agent said he explained to accused that he must be careful to obey the laws of this country and to live in peace. Accused had already tried make amends to the people he had wronged. He had repaid the damage of glass broken and paid for the repair of a coat belonging to one of the complainers.

Bailie Archibald imposed fine of £3 or ten days."
Motherwell Times - Friday 22 December 1944, page 3. 

Interesting that two of the three men Pawlak smacked had Italian names. Presumably second- or third-generation immigrants. I was surprised to discover how many Germans moved to Glasgow in the lat 19th century. 

I'd love to know how the three men were taking the piss. Could it have been about his English language skills? No problem with his thumping skills.

If a pub wasn't the place to "argue matters out", that implies there was a right place. Perhaps, out on the street.

The Royal Hotel no longer appears to exist.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

Pre-WW II London Stout malts

There’s a big variation in the types of malt used by the four breweries, with only one omnipresent: brown malt. Not such a surprise that, given London brewers’ unflinchingly loyalty to this ingredient.

Most chose pale malt as base, Barclay Perkins being the exception in using mild malt. Though Whitbread did have some mild malt in the base mix. Barclay Perkins also stood out in throwing in some amber malt. An ingredient which was common in classier Stouts in the 19th century, but which had generally been dropped in the 20th.

Crystal malt was pretty popular. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, as Black Beers, along with Mild Ales, were the types of beers the malt had been designed for.

With regard to the principal colouring grain, there’s quite a bit of diversity. Only courage employed black malt, while Whitbread went for chocolate malt and Barclay Perkins and Truman both plumped for roast barley.

The malted oats in Courage Stout were presumably there because some was sold as Oatmeal Stout.

Pre-WW II London Stout malts
Year Brewer Beer pale malt brown malt black malt amber malt choc. Malt crystal malt mild malt malted oats
1937 Courage Stout 58.00% 18.00% 10.00%         4.00%
1936 Barclay Perkins BS   5.43%   10.87%   6.52% 48.91%  
1937 Whitbread LS 53.33% 7.84%     7.84%   18.04%  
1931 Truman BS 76.63% 4.70%       4.70%    
1931 Truman St 76.63% 4.70%       4.70%    
Sources:
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/263.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/621.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Truman gyle book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/114.



 

Saturday, 9 January 2021

Let's Brew - 1945 Fullers Porter

Another beer essentially unchanged from the previous year was P. Porter, Nourishing Stout, whatever you want to call it. It's hard to pin down when Fullers stopped selling draught Porter and changed P into a bottled beer masquerading as a Stout.

The small amount of fiddling with the grist is barely noticeable in my recipe. My apologies for all this being a little dull.

I know. I’ll tell about the water treatment. There was none, as it was brewed from “All Company’s Liquor” with no additions. At this point “Company’s Liquor” would be water from their own well.

That’s intriguing because Barclay Perkins, who also had their own well, producing water with presumably a similar profile, did treat their water for Porter and Stout. Per barrel, 2 ozs of salt and 1 oz of gypsum.

An equal split of two types of English hops, both from the 1944 harvest complete the recipe.

1945 Fullers Porter
pale malt 4.00 lb 59.26%
black malt 0.67 lb 9.93%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 7.41%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.25 lb 18.52%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.33 lb 4.89%
Fuggles 105 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
OG 1030.5
FG 1010
ABV 2.71
Apparent attenuation 67.21%
IBU 20
SRM 47
Mash at 150º F
After underlet 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

 

Friday, 8 January 2021

Pre-WW II London Stout

Yet more on Stout in WW II. I'd been dreading writing this section of my new book, "Blitzkrieg!".

Not because I haven't collected enough material. Quite the opposite. I've too much. Pruning it down is taking a lot of work. Plus there are all the nice tables I have to assemble.

Let’s compare the Stouts of four major London brewers. Where we have three 8d per pint beers and two 7d per pint ones.

There’s quite a bit of difference in the hopping rate across the different breweries. Ranging for 6 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt at Courage to 7.5 lbs at Truman. Enough, I’m sure, to have made Truman’s beers noticeably more hoppy.

A relatively poor rate of attenuation is a feature of all the Stouts for which I have the FG. Though, as these beers were cask-conditioned, the FG when served would have been a little lower.

If you're wondering why there's no Fuller's Stout, it's because they discontinued it in 1931.

Pre-WW II London Stout
Year Brewer Beer OG OG after primings FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1937 Courage Stout 1047.6 1052 1015.8 4.21 66.86% 5.92 1.15
1936 Barclay Perkins BS 1051.1   1017.0 4.51 66.72% 6.37 1.48
1937 Whitbread LS 1044.6   1013.0 4.18 70.85% 6.94 1.26
1931 Truman BS 1055.7 1060.5       7.5 1.53
1931 Truman St 1046.8 1050.4       7.5 1.29
Sources:
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/263.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/621.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Truman gyle book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/114.

 

Thursday, 7 January 2021

Whitbread London Stout adjuncts 1939 - 1945

Let's move onto Whitbread’s wartime adjuncts.

Not much to report in the first couple of years, when the only adjunct used was flaked oats. And that in tiny quantities. Only in 1942 did Whitbread fall in line with most other brewers and employ adjuncts to replace malt.

Most unusual of the adjuncts is chocolate barley, something I’ve never seen before or since. I suppose it was the chocolate equivalent of roast barley.

Even when they were using adjuncts, the quantity was quite small, mostly under 10% of the total. The one exception being in 1943, the year of oats. When brewers had to substitute pats for 10% of their malt. Ironically enough, it was the only time London Oatmeal Stout contained a significant quantity of oats. Later in the war, malted oats were used in place of flaked oats.

Whitbread finished off the war employing flaked barley, just like everyone else.

Whitbread London Stout adjuncts 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG choc. Barley flaked barley barley meal flaked oat malted oats total
8th Aug 1939 1046.9       0.79%   0.79%
9th Sep 1940 1043.4       0.82%   0.82%
22nd Sep 1941 1042.0       0.79%   0.79%
4th Aug 1942 1038.7   6.47% 0.81%   0.81% 8.09%
31st May 1943 1039.6       12.44% 0.78% 13.21%
22nd Sep 1944 1039.8 2.48% 6.62%     0.41% 9.52%
19th Sep 1945 1039.2   6.18%     0.77% 6.96%
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/126, LMA/4453/D/09/127, LMA/4453/D/09/128 and LMA/4453/D/09/129.

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1917 Drybrough PI

WW I was a weird time for brewing. In the first 3 years, other than output being limited and some imported ingredients becoming scarce, nothing much happened.

Gravities had fallen a point or two, but not a great deal. Drybrough PI, for example, 1044º in 1914, had an OG of 1041º in January 1917.

The real turmoil began in July 1917, when the first restrictions on beer gravity were introduced. Half of the beer a brewery produced had to have an OG under 1036º. So it’s no surprise that when this beer was brewed on August 14th 1917, it’s gravity had been cut to 1035º. PI was one Drybrough’s biggest sellers. It would have been very difficult for them to leave it over 1036º.

In terms of the grist, the only changes from 1914 were a reduction in the percentage of flaked maize and the introduction of caramel. The former change was almost certainly caused by the wartime situation. Not sure of the reason behind the second.


1917 Drybrough PI
pale malt 6.50 lb 85.02%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 6.54%
no. 1 sugar 0.125 lb 1.64%
no. 2 sugar 0.50 lb 6.54%
caramel 0.02 lb 0.26%
Strisselspalt 120 min 0.25 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hop 0.50 oz
OG 1035
FG 1010
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 71.43%
IBU 14
SRM 5
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale


The above is an excerpt from my excellent book on Scottish brewing:



Which is also available in Kindle form:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q8XHBL2



Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Whitbread London Stout malts 1939 - 1945

At any one time there were at least three, sometimes four, malts in the mix.

Brown and chocolate malt were omnipresent, while the base malt varied. When the war kicked off, pale malt was preferred, but in 1943 it was changed to mild malt. Which was of slightly lower quality and hence cheaper. At various times, a small quantity of PA malt, the poshest type of pale malt, was used. Probably because they had some going spare, you wouldn’t usually waste that sort of classy malt in a dark, roasty beer.

Speaking of roast, the proportion of brown malt was almost halved in 1943. No coincidence that it coincided with the beer becoming paler. Especially as the quantity of chocolate malt was also reduced. Whitbread was unusual in using chocolate malt rather than the usual black malt. They swapped in late 1922 and never went back.

The total malt content fell from around 90% to around 75% across the course of the war. There was a simple reason for that: adjuncts. Pre-war, Whitbread beers had been malt and sugar only. During the war they were compelled to use unmalted grains, just like everyone else.

Whitbread London Stout malts 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG pale malt PA malt mild malt brown malt choc. Malt total
8th Aug 1939 1046.9 71.47%     7.85% 7.85% 87.17%
9th Sep 1940 1043.4 74.79%     8.22% 8.22% 91.23%
22nd Sep 1941 1042.0 61.90% 13.49%   7.94% 7.94% 91.27%
4th Aug 1942 1038.7     67.92% 8.09% 6.47% 82.48%
31st May 1943 1039.6     61.40% 4.66% 7.77% 73.83%
22nd Sep 1944 1039.8     72.44% 4.97% 2.48% 79.89%
19th Sep 1945 1039.2   10.82% 54.89% 4.64% 6.18% 76.53%
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/126, LMA/4453/D/09/127, LMA/4453/D/09/128 and LMA/4453/D/09/129.