Wednesday 22 November 2023

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1985 Tetley Falstaff

I never drank this beer. Despite it being brewed in the town where I lived.

Tetley also produced a Light Mild in their Hunslet brewery. Not that I can ever remember it being sold in Leeds. Maybe it was for the bits of West Yorkshire where they liked their Mild pale.*

I seem to remember it being a keg-only beer. It only appears in the Good Beer Guide from the early 1980s. I suppose that’s when they started selling some in cask form.

The recipe isn’t hugely different from Mild. It’s 0.5º higher in gravity. And the sugar is different – ERC 4ths. No idea what that was. As this is a beer meant to be pale, I’ve substituted No. 1 invert.

There are a few more hops, as the bitterness level was higher. About halfway between Mild and Bitter. Which has me thinking. This is a bit like mixed – Mild and Bitter in equal quantities. Just a little paler than that combination.

There was less “sterilised beer” than in the Mild added after fermentation, just 7.5% maximum.

For a change, this isn't an excerpt from a recently-published book. It's from the one I'm currently working on, "Keg!". A laugh a minute look at UK beer in the 1970s. Which will be available when I finish it. 


* Let me know if I'm talking out of my arse here.

1985 Tetley Falstaff
pale malt 5.25 lb 77.55%
torrefied barley 0.50 lb 7.39%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.00 lb 14.77%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.30%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
Northdown dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1032.5
FG 1006.5
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 80.00%
IBU 27
SRM 7.5
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale



Thom Farrell said...

I believe Falstaff was a brand that Tetley acquired with the acquisition of Ramsdens of Halifax. Pennine light mild was exemplified by Webster's Green Label, and Timothy Taylor continue to brew one.

qq said...

Just as an FYI for Tetley fans, AEB are now producing a dried "Yorkshire" yeast with 87% apparent attenuation and "good" flocculation that they claim comes from Tetley. At the moment it seems to be only available in 500g packs from Geterbrewed (no affiliation) so I guess USians etc either have to get it from there or hassle AEB (and their local white-labellers) to start importing it.

qq said...

PS ERC can stand for Estimated recoverable crystal content, a percentage estimate of how much usable sugar can be extracted from a particular sugar cane at a particular factory.

So that might indicate maybe a fairly crude extract of a "4th grade" of sugar? Would that make sense? Or is it 4% not 4th? These days ERC might be in the 9-15% range, but may have been rather lower back then?

Chris Pickles said...

No arse talking!

Pale milds were a feature on both sides of the South Pennines. Taylors at Keighley. Websters, Ramsden's at Halifax. I suspect that Falstaff was a continuation of Ramsden's light mild, Ramsdens having been taken over by Tetley's circa 1965. Ramsdens traded under the brand name "Stone Trough Ales"

My dad used to send me out to the offie to get a bottle of 'Shire Light' from Whitakers, also from Halifax. "Cock o' the North" was their slogan. I would have been about ten - those were the days!

Also in Lancs. Robinsons, Lees, Hydes, Burtonwood all had a light mild. Burtonwood's was delicious.

Even Bass Yorkshire had 'Extra Light' aka blue, which had a modest OG of 1031 or thereabouts but a cellar man of genius could conjure up something wonderful from it.

Anonymous said...

Pretty sure "RC" in ERC stands for raw cane. "E" might possibly stand for evaporated? Evaporated cane sugar is the crystallized remains of sap extracted from sugar cane, e.g. Turbinado sugar and the like.

Chris Pickles said...

More thoughts on Falstaff...

Some time in the mid 80's in Newcastle (I was living in Durham at the time) I saw an ad on the side of a bus for "Tetley's Falstaff Scotch Ale". Tetley's weren't big in Newcastle at the time but they had a few pubs and I suppose they were making an effort to be noticed. I'd have thought that Falstaff was a bit pale for a Scotch Ale, Tetley's regular mild would have been perhaps a bit closer. But there it was.

It got me onto a bit of a quest to find the most southern Scotch Ale. I came across one from Leicester. Unfortunately I can't remember whether it was Everards or Hoskin and Oldfield. Leicester anyway. I wonder if anyone has ever come across an even more southerly example.

Anonymous said...

There are quite a few New Zealand breweries making scotch ales :-)

Ron Pattinson said...


I'm sure they're quite a different type of Scotch Ale. from the ones in the Northeast of England.

Thom Farrell said...

I wonder what the history of North East England Best Scotch is?

Anonymous said...

Chris Tatton Brewery brew a pale mild called Pennine mild with the branding being a picture of a sheep looking into the camera.

Ron Pattinson said...

Thom Farrell,

based on the Vaux version, I'd say it was rebranded 70/-.

Gazza Prescott said...

That's my Pennine mild recipe! I based it on TT golden best originally in 2015 but it's changed a fair bit since... It uses maltodextrin for body, and has Belgian biscuit malt too. I'm quite proud of it!