Thursday 11 November 2021

London Stock Pale Ale 1880 - 1899

The oldest type of these Pale Ales (I’m not including the lightly-hopped beers of the same name brewed in the 18th century), they were universally Stock Ales. That is, Ales which were aged for up to 12 months or more. With gravities similar to those of Burton Pale Ales.

As you can see in the table, that gravity was around 1060º. Which wasn’t particularly strong by the standards of the day. Averaging over 13 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping is very robust. As you would expect of a beer which would need to survive a long period of ageing.

Talking of ageing, that would have included a secondary Brettanomyces fermentation. Which would have greatly increased the degree of attenuation to 85% or more. Boosting the ABV to more like 7%.

These were expensive beers, using top-quality ingredients and taking a long time to produce. Hence, they sold in very modest quantities. For example, in 1881, Whitbread brewed a mere 9,088 barrels of PA, out of a total of 465,423 barrels.

London Stock Pale Ale 1880 - 1899
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1886 Barclay Perkins PA 1058.0 1013.0 5.95 77.55% 12.00 2.95
1892 Barclay Perkins PA 1063.0 1021.1 5.55 66.58% 12.46 3.03
1887 Fullers IPA 1060.9 1016.6 5.86 72.73% 12.38 3.45
1897 Fullers IPA 1057.6 1015.2 5.61 73.56% 13.43 3.20
1882 Whitbread PA 1062.6 1015.8 6.19 74.78% 15.34 4.59
1885 Whitbread PA 1060.4 1015.0 6.01 75.23% 15.02 4.44
1890 Whitbread PA 1060.1 1013.0 6.23 78.37% 11.69 3.25
1895 Whitbread PA 1059.3 1015.0 5.86 74.70% 12.00 3.15
  Average   1060.2 1015.6 5.91 74.19% 13.04 3.51
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/584 and ACC/2305/1/588.
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/047, LMA/4453/D/01/051, LMA/4453/D/01/056, LMA/4453/D/01/061.


Anonymous said...

So if I'm understanding the last two posts right, for Whitbread the big difference between their 1880s Pale Ale and mild was in the aging, not the color or hopping. There may have been a difference in the malt, but I assume between the Brett and the hops that wouldn't have stood out to someone comparing the taste of the two.

Does this sound right?

Ron Pattinson said...


there was a big difference in the hopping, too.