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%
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.

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