Sunday 1 October 2023

Boddington beers in 1971

I'm hard at work on the recipe section of "Keg!". Which includes a little more than just recipes. I like to have a little introduction about each brewery featured. What follows is part of the introduction for Boddington.

At the start of the 1970s, Boddington was still brewing a fairly decent range of beers. Two Milds, a Light Ale, a Bitter, a Strong Ale and a Stout.

The rate of attenuation for most of the beers is very high. Leaving the draught beers much stronger than you would expect for their gravity. All must have tasted pretty dry. And quite bitter, despite the relatively modest hopping rate.

I know that Boddington also had a Brown Ale. I assume that it was a tweaked version of one of the Milds. Probably XX.

Light Ale, Strong Ale. And Stout were usually exclusively bottled beers. Though Strong Ale was occasionally available in cask form. IP (Bitter) was also sold in bottles as Pale Ale.

Talking of the Stout, marvel at its wateriness. And, because, unlike at the other beers, the rate of attenuation was crap, it fails to reach the 3% ABV barrier. My limit for something being worth fucking drinking.

The rates of attenuation are crazily high. Over 90% for the draught beers. Leaving Mild, Best Mild and Bitter surprisingly strong for their gravity. Almost 4% ABV was very strong for a Mild back then.

Boddington beers in 1971
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl colour
XX Mild 1030.5 1003 3.64 90.16% 5.67 0.76 75
BM Mild 1032.5 1003 3.90 90.77% 5.11 0.67 41
Light Ale Pale Ale 1032.5 1003 3.90 90.77% 5.71 0.45 13
IP IPA 1035.5 1003 4.30 91.55% 5.39 0.81 13
SA Strong Ale 1063.5 1011 6.95 82.68% 5.14 1.56 103
WSS Stout 1030.5 1009 2.84 70.49% 5.75 0.74 300
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/134.



Matt said...

I'm guessing that the big reduction in the Boddingtons range happened some time in the eighties. By the end of that decade, when I started drinking in Manchester pubs, it was just the draught bitter, mostly cask but occasionally keg, especially in social clubs and the like. I drank the cask version now and then until Hydes, who contract brewed it after the Strangeways site shut, moved from Moss Side to Salford in 2012 and stopped producing it. There was a stronger bottled beer in the mid nineties called Boddingtons Export, but I never saw that in a pub, only in supermarkets and off licences.

Anonymous said...

That is interesting. Oscar

Anonymous said...

Any Higsons beers going to feature in the paean to the 70's Ron?

Bribie G said...

I first became aware of Boddingtons in the early 70s when I visited my cousin who had moved to Manchester. The first impression (It would have been IP) was that it was indeed dry and almost mouth puckeringly bitter, as interpreted by my Brain's SA glands - I had lived in Cardiff for about 12 years. It was also "lager-coloured" as with Theakston's Bitter and Stones at the time, obviously a Northern thing.

Nowadays in Australia you can still get Boddington's in cans but it's a travesty compared to the old brew. However now and again, a stronger version is available called "Boddington's Pub Ale".

Matt: I've never been able to get my hands on any, I believe it mostly goes to the USA. It's 4.6% ABV and golden coloured and brewed specifically for export. Maybe it's derived from the "export" you refer to?

Review here:

Ron Pattinson said...


I don't have any of their brewing records, unfortunately.

Chris Pickles said...

Ron, here's a story from 1980 that you might be interested in. I had just moved to live in Manchester and was walking along Deansgate when I was approached by an attractive lady who asked if I would like to have a free drink of beer. Well not being one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I acquiesced and was taken into a sort of largish hall, the sort of place where I might have expected, a few years earlier, to have sat my A-Level exams.

Anyway I was ushered to a table and given two glasses of beer, one to my left and one to my right. Now this was the time when Whitbread were reintroducing beers to be sold under the 'Chesters' brand in the Manchester area, so I suspected, in fact I was quite certain, that it was Whitbread who were behind this tasting - though they refused to tell me on whose behalf they were working. Anyway, one beer was very pale, lager coloured, I'll call that the Chesters. The other was more in the amber to pale brown spectrum so lets call that Whitbread Trophy.

Anyway, free beer was free beer, so I was grateful enough, even though at that time I was a card carrying CAMRA member. And
in those days Trophy was never actually a bad beer, even when it was keg. If you ever found it on cask it could be excellent, but you needed to get well away from Yorkshire or Lancashire for that. But of course I was gung ho for what I had presumed was the cask beer.

The problem was... well I was asked a series of questions. Which had the best colour, which had the best head, which had the fullest body etc etc. And on each criterion the Trophy won, and being honest, I had to say so. Then came the final question, which did I prefer overall? I did prefer the Chesters, if that was what it was. The other beer (Trophy) was better in almost every regard but it did have that lingering burnt tang of pasteurisation which I did not like. Not as bad as some other beers but it was there. So my conscience was clear.

But it was an interesting experience. I always hoped that lightning would strike twice, but it never did.