Friday, 21 April 2023

"Watered" beers in 1954

Some tables to go with yesterday's text heavy post.

Mr. Shaw, notably an official of the Brewers' Society claimed that: "average strength of beer was three degrees higher than three years ago and was only 10 per cent, below pre-war strength."

Was Mr. Shaw correct about average strength? Let's take a look:

UK Average gravity
Year OG
1938 1041.02
1939 1040.93
1940 1040.62
1941 1038.51
1942 1035.53
1943 1034.34
1944 1034.63
1945 1034.54
1946 1034.72
1947 1032.59
1948 1032.66
1949 1033.43
1950 1033.88
1951 1036.99
1952 1037.07
Brewers' Almanack 1955, p. 50

Yes: average gravity had increased by 3º in the previous three years and it was 9.6% lower than in 1938. I'll forgive him for rounding the latter figure up to 10%.

Thanks to the Whitbread Gravity Book, I think I have details of the five beers purchased by Mr. Bing.

They all look like Light Ales to me. A bit over 3% ABV is what you would expect for such beers. Charrington's beer is rather an outlier, with a gravity a good bit higher than the other beers. Though it sold for the same price as the Barclay Perkins and Taylor Walker examples, while selling for the same price. Making it far bettwe value for money.

Of course, brewers paid excise duty based on the gravity of their beers. So, while they would be paying less tax on a beer below the average gravity, this was in no way cheating the revenue out of money. 

"Watered" beers in 1954
Brewer Beer Style Price size OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
Barclay Perkins IPA IPA 9.5d half pint 1031.2 1007.5 3.07 75.96% 19
Charrington Pale Ale Pale Ale 9.5d half pint 1038.2 1008.5 3.86 77.75% 21
Meux PA Pale Ale 1/5d pint 1033.7 1007.3 3.43 78.34% 24
Taylor Walker Pale Ale Pale Ale 9.5d half pint 1031.2 1007.3 3.10 76.60% 21
Watney Pale Ale Pale Ale 10d nip 1033.7 1010.2 3.04 69.73% 26
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Session IPA is not that young of an idea