Saturday 3 February 2024

Let's Brew - 1917 Barclay Perkins XLK (crate)

In April 1917 Barclay Perkins dropped their bottling version of XLK and replaced it with “crate”.

At first I wondered what the hell they meant with crate. Surely all bottled beer was delivered in crates? Then I remembered some old adverts. Where they show a four-quart crate.  It’s always cheap and cheerful beer being marketed that way. It looks to me like a transitional thing, when having a cask was going out of fashion, but people still wanted to buy in relative bulk.

Which explains a fairly low OG. Weirdly, the type of quart screw-topped bottles they used for crate beer were still around when I lived in Leeds in the later 1970s. I can remember buying Whitbread beer in bottles like that from Mr. Fisher, the bloke who ran the open all hours grocery and offie opposite 97 Brudenell Road. A house I lived in several times.

A forerunner of Light Ale is how I’d describe this. Light Ale being the low-gravity bottled Pale Ale that was all the rage between 1930 and 1970. 

1917 Barclay Perkins XLK (crate)
pale malt 7.25 lb 91.66%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.33 lb 4.17%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 4.17%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1036
FG 1008
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 77.78%
IBU 25
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

The above is one of almost 300 recipes in this wonderful book.

There's also a Kindle version.


Matt said...

In some of the series from the seventies on Talking Pictures TV (Public Eye, Rumpole of the Bailey), characters are occasionally seen drinking bottles of Light Ale (was it more of a Southern thing?). There's also an episode of On the Buses from around the same time in which the driver Stan is at home drinking a bottle of stout with a screw top.

I think I've only ever drunk beer from anything like a quart bottle once, about twenty years ago when the brother of one of my mates came home on a visit from Australia and brought some with him.

Anonymous said...

From Google Streetview it looks like there's still a convenience store opposite 97 Brudenell Road but surprisingly no blue plaque yet on the house itself.

Anonymous said...

We really need quart beer glasses in pubs.

Anonymous said...

I still have a dozen or so quart beer bottles with screw tops. I used them in my home brewing days but finding the rubber seals was getting diffficult.

Anonymous said...

Do you have any idea if this was bottle conditioned or forced? Based on this post, it sounds like both were an option in the early 20th Century for bottles, but I don't know if bottle conditioning starts running into complications when the bottles get so big.

Rob Sterowski said...

Natural conditioning is the same process whether it’s done in a small bottle, a large bottle or a cask, so no reason it can’t be done in quart bottles. I think 1917 is a bit early for force carbonation but I’m just guessing.

Anonymous said...

When I've home brewed and naturally conditioned my beer, the conditioning always seemed better (smoother, better mouthfeel) in bigger bottles - 22oz American bombers seemed to condition much better than 12oz bottles. Is that a thing?