Thursday, 8 July 2021

IPA consumed in the UK in the 1840s

To complete the 1840s IPA set, we've got a selection of domestic versions. This is so much fun.

Again, there are  some surprisingly weak examples. The lowest OG is just under 1045º. To put that into context, William Younger's Table Beer from around the same period wasn't much weaker at 1036º. And Whitbread's X Ale, their weakest Mild, was 1074º in 1844, considerably stronger than any of the IPAs in the table. Though, due to a lower degree of attenuation, it was only around 6% ABV.

Speaking of attenuation, as with the export IPAs, it's extremely high, averaging not far short of 90%. That's extremely high for the first half of the 19th century. Only one example is under 80%, and only just. Somewhat surprisingly, the the draught versi0ons aren't significantly less well attenuated than the bottled ones.

The average OG, on the other hand, is considerably lower than in the export versions. Which was1059.8º for the India-bound versions and 1064.6º for exports to other destinations.

IPA consumed in the UK in the 1840s
Year package Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1844 bottled 60/- IPA Home 1044.7 1005.0 5.04 88.81%
1844 bottled 60/- IPA Home 1047.2 1006.0 5.23 87.28%
1844 bottled 60/- IPA Home 1049.9 1004.3 5.8 91.49%
1844 draught 81/- IPA Home 1059.3 1012.0 6 79.75%
1845 draught 81/- IPA Home 1053.8 1006.5 6 87.91%
1845 bottled 81/- IPA Home 1054.8 1006.0 6.2 89.06%
1845 bottled 81/- IPA Home 1058.6 1005.0 6.8 91.46%
1845 bottled 81/- IPA Home 1058.8 1005.3 6.8 91.07%
1845 bottled 81/- IPA Home 1060.1 1005.0 7 91.68%
1846 draught 90/- IPA Home 1055.3 1006.5 6.2 88.25%
    Average 1054.2 1006.2 6.11 88.68%
“Scottish Ale Brewer”, by W.H. Roberts, Edinburgh, 1847,  pages 171 and 173




Anonymous said...

Ron, how did the brewers attain such a high degree of attenuation? I think you alluded to a secondary Brettanomyces fermentation (though of course they wouldn't have called it that), is that the explanation? Or were the brewers also adjusting their mash schedules to increase the fermentability of the wort? I believe it would have technically been legal to use sugar at this time but if I recall correctly this was uncommon due to adverse tax consequences, so I'd imagine that's not the explanation.

Ron Pattinson said...


the simple answer is: a Brettanomyces secondary fermentation. Sugar wasn't legal until 1847.