Monday 7 November 2022

Tetley sugars in 1904

By 1904, Tetley was using way more sugar than in 1888. Both in terms of quantity and types. Every beer contained at least one type and many contained two.

Excluding Porter and Stout, which only had a little caramel, the average sugar content was just over 16%. Not particularly excessive. Except in the case of X and X1, which also contained 30% grits. Leaving the malt content just under 50%.

The most common type, Boake, appears in every beer, except the two Pale Ales. Which makes a whole load of sense, as, from the quantities used, it was clearly a type of caramel.

There are a few examples of numbered inverts. No. 1 and No. 2 where you would expect them, in the two Pale Ales. With No. 3 in the strongest Milds. Again, fairly typical usage.

Brazilian, which I assume was some sort of cane sugar, is in two of the low-level Milds. Given that it was only used in cheap beers, it can’t have been a particularly expensive type.

The final type, RC (3), is tricky to pin down. At first glance, I thought it might be just No. 3 invert. Except that doesn’t really tally with the types of beer it’s in, mostly the pale Milds. I’ve no idea.  Maybe some sort of proprietary sugar. 

Tetley sugars in 1904
Date Year no. 1 sugar no. 2 sugar no. 3 sugar RC 3 Brazilian Boake total sugar
X Mild          19.25% 0.76% 20.01%
X Pale Mild        16.53%   0.17% 16.69%
X1 Mild          17.11% 0.76% 17.87%
X1 Pale Mild        25.19%   0.15% 25.33%
X2 Mild        12.13%   0.57% 12.70%
X2 Pale Mild        16.53%   0.17% 16.69%
X3 Mild      13.54%     0.92% 14.46%
XX Mild      13.54%     0.92% 14.46%
K Pale Ale   12.71%         12.71%
PA Pale Ale 12.36%           12.36%
P Porter           0.66% 0.66%
S Stout           0.66% 0.66%
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/51/ACC1903.


Rob Sterowski said...

I wonder if it’s possible to make an invert sugar that behaves a lot like no. 3 but is paler? Then you could have Reduced Colour no. 3 = RC3.

Michael Foster said...

Whenever I've brewed beer with more than 5% sugar the final product is awful--to be fair, the brewers at Tetley in 1904 were exponentially better than me, but I find it hard to imagine this high sugar content wasn't noticeable by drinkers. I'd love to know if anyone was complaining about taste changes (or praising said changes?) during this period.

InSearchOfKnowledge said...

Whenever I've brewed beer with more than 5% sugar the final product is awful

What do you mean by awful? Which beers do you try to brew?

I regularly use sugar in my brews (many Belgian styles), in different colorings and types, varying from white castor sugar to unpurified cane sugar, and self-made invert syrups. Nobody ever complains, most people ask for more.

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

was your experience with plain old sucrose? Or other sugars?

Michael Foster said...

Sucrose and creating my own inverted sugar--on the latter point I may have botched up the recipe or process resulting in it adding the same boozy taste I get from straight sucrose.

Michael Foster said...

Insearch: I get off flavors, mostly a boozy aftertaste. Should note I only make English styles and have yet to have a Belgian beer I like, precisely because of the added sugar and its impacts on flavor.