Wednesday, 19 December 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Barclay Perkins XLK (trade)

Filling the Ordinary Bitter slot in Barclay’s pubs was the exotically-named XLK (trade). If you’re wondering about the name, LK stands for London Keeping, i.e. London Bitter, and X to indicate the strength.

Truman brewed a similar beer which was called simply LK. It was the only Pale Ale brewed at Brick Lane. All the others were brewed in Burton.

XLK had been around somewhat longer than IPA: since at least 1886, when it had an OG of 1053º. It was split into versions, trade (draught) and bottling, at 1050º and 1045º, respectively, just a few months before the outbreak of WW I. A third weaker version, crate, was introduced in 1917, but dropped in the early 1920s. Crate indicated a beer that was sold in crate holding four quart bottles.

The recipe, unsurprisingly enough, is almost identical to IPA. With the one exception that XLK was dry hopped. And had an OG 1 degree higher.

1939 Barclay Perkins XLK (trade)
pale malt 7.25 lb 74.28%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 10.25%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.50 lb 15.37%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.01 lb 0.10%
Fuggles 150 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1046
FG 1014.5
ABV 4.17
Apparent attenuation 68.48%
IBU 29
SRM 11.5
Mash at 150º F
After underlet 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 150º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Bottled Scotch Ale after WW II

You must be sick of Scotch Ale by now. You're not the only one. But I feel obliged to continue my death march until I lie by the roadside like a crumpled heap of rags.

On the face of it, WW II seems to have had little impact on the character of Scotch Ale. Unlike most styles, it seems to have bounced back to pre-war like gravities soon after the end of hostilities.

The majority of examples retained a gravity of somewhere around 1080º. Which in the immediate post-war years counted as super strong. Why was that, when other styles were emasculated?

Partly, I assume it’s because some were genuine export beers. Scotch Ale was popular in Belgium and they expected it to be full strength. Belgian drinkers wouldn’t have stood for a 5% ABV Scotch Ale. But some was probably just due to Scotch Ale being an expensive treat: if it wasn’t pretty strong, why bother with it?

Though there had been some reductions is strength. Fowler’s Twelve Guinea Ale, for example. Pre-war it had an OG of over 1100º. In the late 1940’s, that was down to just 1080º. Still strong, but not crazily so.

There are a few quite weak examples, beers under 1060º. McEwan Double Scotch Ale is a good example. I suspect that’s really a Double Brown Ale. Especially as it’s eerily similar in gravity to William Younger’s Double Century Ale. The two firms had merged by this point and my guess is that Double Scotch was just a rebadge of the William Younger beer.

The eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed one odd brewery in the table: John Smith. Which is very much an English brewery. They brewed a Scotch Ale exclusively for the Belgian market. I doubt they could have got away with selling it in the UK. I think Scottish brewers would have got pretty annoyed had they done so.

Bottled Scotch Ale after WW II
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Aitchison Scotch Ale 1080 1020.8 7.73 74.00% 55
1948 Aitken Strong Ale 1067.5 1021 6.04 68.89%
1948 Ballingall "Angus" Strong Ale 1073.5 1023.5 6.49 68.03%
1948 Calder Alloa Scotch Strong Ale 1065.5 1019 6.04 70.99%
1950 Campbell Royal Scotch Ale 1080.1 1014.2 8.66 82.27% 77
1948 Dryborough Strong Ale 1060 1019.5 5.25 67.50%
1947 Fowler Heavy Ale 1081.4 1025.5 7.27 68.67%
1948 Fowler Twelve Guinea Ale 1080 1021.5 7.63 73.13%
1949 Fowler Twelve Guinea Ale 1077.7 1030.3 6.13 61.00% 100
1948 Gordon & Blair "Unique" Scotch Ale 1043.5 1016.5 3.49 62.07%
1948 Jeffrey Strong Ale No. 1 1067 1025 5.43 62.69%
1950 John Smith Scotch Ale 1080.3 1025.6 7.11 68.12% 65
1948 Maclachlan Strong Ale 1070.5 1024.5 5.96 65.25%
1948 McEwan Strong Ale 1078 1022.5 7.23 71.15%
1950 McEwan Double Scotch Ale 1057.7 1018.4 5.09 68.11% 80
1950 McEwan Scotch Ale 1088 1022.6 8.56 74.32% 65
1947 Murray Heavy Ale 1066.3 1017.25 6.38 73.96%
1948 Steel Coulson Strong Ale 1063 1026 4.77 58.73%
1947 Usher Old Scotch Ale 1073.5 1020.5 6.90 72.11%
1948 Usher Strong Ale 1090.5 1024.5 8.63 72.93%
1950 Younger, Geo. Gordon Xmas Ale 1090.7 1032.3 7.58 64.39% 50
1948 Younger, Robert Strong Ale 1048 1014.5 4.34 69.79%
1947 Younger, Wm. No. 1 Strong Ale 1074 1022 6.76 70.27%
1950 Younger, Wm. No. 1 Scotch Ale 1087.6 1017.5 9.21 80.02% 60
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Monday, 17 December 2018

Where next?

It's time to start planning next year's US travel. As usual, I aim to visit at least one new state,

Fancy hearing me talk or, if you have a brewery, brewing a beer? Then get in touch and I'll see whether I can fit you in.

The Backdoor Method

More about beer shortages, pub oipening times and beer rationing.It was clearly a hot topic in 1941, given the number of articles I've found dedicated to it.

One response to the shortage of beer was for pubs not to open. You can the the landlord's point. If yuou didn't have any beer to sell, why would you bother opening? Beer made up the bulk of a pub's trade, especially in wartime when the supply of wine and spirits was even more limited than that of beer.

Sometimes it was the publicans themsleves who decided not to open. But in some areas it was the licensing authorities that tried to restrict pub opening hours. The reasoning was simple: if pubs are open for fewee hours, the limited supply of beer would last longer.

Brewers and publicans often weren't happy with this latter approach. They alreadt resented the limited hours they were allowed to open. And probably worried that, as in WW I, supposedly temporary reduced opening hours would eventually became fixed by law.
The efforts of Leamington Licensing Justices to remedy conditions resulting from the beer shortage have broken down. On Monday. Mr. C. K. Langley, on behalf of the Birmingham and Midland Counties Wholesale Brewers' Association, informed the magistrates that his clients were unable to accept the recommendation that licensed premises in the borough should be open from 12 noon to 2 p.m,. and from 8 to 10 p.m.

Mr. Langley said that his Association represented 73 out of a total of 104 licensed houses in the town — in effect practically all the brewer owners. The statement made by the Chairman of the Leamington Justices on the previous Monday had been regarded as of such importance that a special meeting of his Association was held on Thursday.

Explaining why the Association could not accept the recommendation. Mr. Langley said: "My Association feel very strongly the licensed houses must be ready to serve the needs of the public, and it is the needs of the public which should be the first and only consideration. Further, they hold that the question of an alteration in the permitted hours is a national and not a local matter.

"They feel that any local arrangement is impracticable. In the first place, it would lead to border difficulties, and quite possibly a rush of customers to and from neighbouring licensing divisions. It could not be made legally binding on any individual licensee, nor on any club, and incidentally, it must be remembered that Excise licences granted under the Licensing Act (i.e.. bottle shops) are not licensed premises within the meaning of that Act.

"They are not, therefore, subject to the Justices' supervision, and are not subject to the right of police entry. I think there are some establishments of this nature In the town, but even if not. there are at any rate a number in other parts of the county.

"To fix hours arbitrarily, therefore, might work unfairly as between one licensee and another, and as between one brewer and another, and would not, we think, lead to what believe to be the desire of the Justices. It seems, therefore. to those whom I represent, that the abnormal position with regard to supply and demand which undoubtedly exists at the present time, is a matter for Internal arrangement amongst the Trade itself, and it is for the Trade so to allocate their supplies to serve the public in the best possible manner.

"Differing conditions apply to every house, and the carrying out of the business of a particular house must be a matter for each individual licence-holder having regard to his particular problems.

"Put quite shortly, as servants of the public, those whom I represent cannot concur in anything which might take away from the public the rights which Parliament has given to them, and cannot therefore agree to curtailment of hours. They know that the public are at present suffering from a shortage of beer.

"They are of opinion that its proper supply is a matter of great importance to the public. Finally, they desire to give assurance through me to this Court, and through this Court to the public, that they are sparing, and have spared, no efforts to give the best service that their brewing capacity allows.”

The Justices' Clerk (Mr. S. Simmonds) remarked that during the last war the Liquor Control Board made a similar order, and it worked satisfactorily. On behalf of the Licensed Victuallers' Association. Mr. W. A. Coleman said they felt there was a great deal of force in Mr. Langley’s statement. At the same time members of the Association had always done their best to fall In with the Justices' wishes as far as they reasonably could. The licensed victuallers had certain contractual obligations, which must be fulfilled.

It was impossible for the Association's committee to lay down any general or specified rule, but far as was consistent with the wishes of the Justices his clients would advise their members to comply as far as possible.

The Chief Constable (Mr. A. E. Young) said he appreciated the difficulty under which the brewers and publicans were suffering, and he would do all he could to assist them. To get a true perspective one had to recall the position as it was before the Justices' recommendation was made. Individual licensees were effecting their own forms of curtailment of hours. They were frequently shutting their premises, and were introducing their own rationing system which resulted in a "backdoor method.”

Regular customers were served at backdoor. He deprecated this most strongly, because it did not allow of fair distribution, and, what was more important, police supervision was almost entirely counteracted. The Chief Constable wished it to known that he strongly objected to this, and that he hoped it would not recur in whatever system was adopted. Did he understand that the licensees would

undertake to keep open during permitted hours in future, and not close when stocks ran out?

The Chairman (Mr A. H Swadling): Or when they please.

Mr. Langley said his clients deprecated the backdoor method, and would give an indication of their wishes to individual licensees. Mr. Coleman remarked that the licensees would advised that this method must cease. The Chairman said that the Justices' recommendation was intended to secure a fair distribution among the public. On Sunday. June 29. personally inspected 18 licensed houses, and 15 were

closed. The three which remained open were packed to the doors. The licensee had no supervision of any description, and, further, drinks were being handed out to people on the footpath.

There was much unseemly conduct, and he was sure that the Police were not in a position to carry out proper supervision of the licensed premises in such circumstances. Next day he made a similar tour, and found that some houses which he had found closed on Sunday were now open. Regular customers were being served, such as members of sick and dividend societies. etc., but there was no beer for the general public.

In such conditions, the Justices felt it essential to make a recommendation in an attempt to improve matters. There was not the slightest doubt that when publicans obtained their supplies they would find that it spreading them over seven days there would not be sufficient to warrant opening for 8.5 hours day. The Justices felt it should have been possible to effect some rationing by opening for four hours a day only.

They had no power, however, to enforce their recommendation, and must therefore leave it to the licensees to carry on as best they could. It must be made clear that a repetition of recent unseemly scenes would not be tolerated.

Mr. Langley: We are only too anxious that the licensed houses should be conducted in the best way. and that the best possible service should be available to the public. In our considered view the suggestions you made would not lead to that "best service.”

In a statement made on Tuesday, the Chief Constable said he desired to remove misconceptions as to the attitude of the Police regarding the Justices' abortive attempt to remedy conditions arising from the beer shortage in the borough by recommending a curtailment of opening hours.

Mr. Young said appreciated the difficulty under which the brewers and publicans were operating, and intended to do all in the power of the police to assist them. In order to get a true perspective. however, one had to recall conditions as they were before the Justices made their recommendations.

Individual licensees were effecting their own form of curtailment of hours and were frequently shutting their premises. In many cases they acted commendably in attempting to ease the position by some form of rationing.

"However." Mr. Young continued. " I deprecate most strongly a particular form of rationing known as the "backdoor method." In carrying out this method, front doors of premises were closed, and favoured customers allowed to go to private entrances where they were supplied with beer.

Not only does this prevent the exercise of proper police supervision, but it adds to the problems of an already difficult situation. I wish to repeat that the police are anxious to help the brewers and publicans in effecting a fair distribution of beer, but it is necessary that some of the undesirable features which manifested themselves in recent experiences in Leamington should eliminated."
Warwick and Warwickshire Advertiser - Friday 11 July 1941, page 1.
It's not strange that landlords would give preferential treatment to their regulars. That's where they earned their living, selling to repeat customers. Were they entering by the back door and drinking on the premises, or were they taking the beer away? It's not totally clear from the article.

A severe beer shortage doesn't seem to have been a problem for all the war. Articles about it are mostly from 1941 and 1942 and then after the war ended, in 1946 and 1947. When, once again, some pubs didn't bother opening when they had no beer.

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Draught beer prices 1939 - 1948

As with every conflict since the English Civil War in the 17th century, WW II saw a big increase in the tax on beer. It’s the traditional war for British governments to pay for warfare.

WW I must have been a big shock for beer drinkers. Beer prices, which had been constant for four or five decades, increased dramatically. A pint of Mild, which had been 2d in 1914 was 6d in 1920. And for a beer of much lower gravity.

In 1939, gravities and prices were pretty much as they had been in 1921. The war soon changed that, with the first tax increase hitting brewers just a few months in. But it wasn’t quite the shock it had been during WW I. Further tax increases followed, even past the end of the war.

As in WW I, the effect of the war was an approximate trebling of draught beer prices. Though, once again, a pint was considerably weaker in 1948 than in 1939.

If you’re wondering why Best Bitter became cheaper in the later war years, it’s because there was a big reduction in gravity. Larger than that Burton and Stout endured. Though I had trouble finding numbers because some of the breweries I was using a yardstick, for example, Barclay Perkins, stopped brewing Best Bitter early on in the war.

Still, I’ve lived through just a bad beer price inflation. In the mid-1970s beer increased in price several times a year when inflation was running at 25-30% annually.

Draught beer prices per pint (d) 1939 - 1948
Month Year Ale Mild Best Mild Ordinary Bitter Best Bitter Burton Stout
Sept 1939 4 5 6 7 8 8 8
April 1940 5 6 7 8 9 9 9
April 1941 7 8 9 10 12 12 12
April 1942 9 10 11 12 15 15 15
April 1943 10 11 12 13 17 17 17
April 1944 11 13 15 17 17
April 1945 11 13 15 17 17
April 1946 11 12 13 16 17 17
April 1947 11 12 13 16 17 17
April 1948 12 13 14 19 19 19
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Barclay Perkins Circular Letters held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/521/1.

Saturday, 15 December 2018

Let's Brew - 1936 Barclay Perkins BS

Between the wars, Barclay Perkins brewed a confusing range of Stouts. LS, BS, OMS, IBS, RNS and BBS Export, plus their Porter, TT. That’s far more than most breweries, even traditional London Porter breweries.

In the 19th century, “BS” stood for Brown Stout, but at some point around the time of WW I it seems to have changed to meaning Best Stout. It was Barclay’s draught Stout, retailing at 8d per pint, the same as their Burton Ale. Making it their level most expensive regular draught beer. Only the seasonal KKKK was stronger.

You can’t accuse their Stout recipe of being overly simple. BS has no fewer than four malts and three adjuncts. Which is one of the reasons the percentage of base malt is so low – a little under 50%.

On the other hand, the sugars are quite simple, just two. One isn’t specified, but based on other Stout brewing records from around the same time, it’s probably something called BS. I’ve substituted No. 4 invert. The No. 2 invert is there to take account of the two gallons per barrel of primings added at racking time. They raised the effective OG by 5.5 points.

The hops were all pretty local: Kent Fuggles (1935), Mid-Kent Goldings (1935), all kept in a cold store.

1936 Barclay Perkins BS
mild malt 6.00 lb 47.06%
brown malt 0.50 lb 3.92%
amber malt 1.25 lb 9.80%
crystal malt 60 L 0.75 lb 5.88%
roast barley 1.25 lb 9.80%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 3.92%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.00 lb 7.84%
oats 0.125 lb 0.98%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.25 lb 9.80%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 0.98%
Fuggles 150 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1057
FG 1017.5
ABV 5.23
Apparent attenuation 69.30%
IBU 35
SRM 46
Mash at 147º F
After underlet 153º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Friday, 14 December 2018

Drybrough 60/- grists 1938 - 1947 (part two)

Not quite finished with Drybrough's wartime 60/- recipes. Though they're really Drybrough's recipes for all their beers. Like many Scottish brewers, they made their whole beer range from a single recipe.

There wasn’t a huge change in the sugars used in Drybrough 60/- throughout the war. It consisted almost always of four elements: malt extract (DCL), Fison, Avona and invert sugar. Sadly, the records aren’t specific about which kind of invert, only specifying the producer – either Manbré or Martineau.

The proportion of sugar didn’t vary much, either, remaining between 9% and 10% all through the war. Unlike in WW I, the type of sugars available to brewers weren’t limited. Meaning brewers could continue to employ much the same types, in particular proprietary sugars like Fison and Avona.

Once the war kicked off, foreign hops disappeared from Drybrough’s recipes and they went over to 100% English hops. If you look back to the first table, you’ll see that the quantity of hops used fell as the war progressed, dropping from 5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt to about 3.5 lbs. This wasn’t exactly voluntary, as, the government restricted the quantity of hops available. For example, in June 1941 the quantity of hops available for brewers was reduced by 20%.

The hops Drybrough used were mostly quite new. Again, this wasn’t an accident. The reserve supplies of older hops were mostly used up in the war years.

Drybrough 60/- grists 1938 - 1947 sugar and hops
Date Year OG malt extract Fison Avona invert hops
14th Oct 1938 1038 0.88% 1.76% 3.51% 3.51% Oregon (1936), English (1936, 1937)
19th Oct 1939 1038 0.88% 1.76% 3.53% 3.53% English (1938)
3rd Jan 1940 1036 0.94% 1.88% 3.75% 3.75% English (1938)
3rd Feb 1941 1037 0.97% 2.59% 3.89% 3.89% English (1939, 1940)
11th Jul 1941 1034 1.00% 2.40% 2.40% 2.40% English (1939)
2nd Feb 1942 1032 1.04% 2.77% 2.77% 2.77% English (1940)
3rd Feb 1943 1032 0.96% 2.56% 2.56% 2.56% English (1941)
14th Oct 1943 1032 1.28% 2.56% 2.56% 2.56% English (1942)
17th Jan 1944 1032 1.46% 3.34% 4.17% English (1942)
13th Jul 1944 1032 0.99% 2.65% 2.65% 2.65% English (1942)
8th Feb 1945 1032 1.59% 2.12% 2.12% 2.12% English (1943)
8th Oct 1946 1029 1.44% 0.82% 3.29% 2.47% English (1945)
23rd Oct 1947 1029 0.70% 1.41% 2.81% 4.22% English (1945, 1946)
Drybrough brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers D/6/1/1/4 and D/6/1/1/5.

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Scotch Ale during During WW II

Surprisingly, given their high strength, Strong Scotch Ales were brewed throughout the war years, at least at some breweries. Though the quantities produced were pretty small.

Drybrough, for example, which had brewed their Scotch Ale in batches of 60-odd barrels in 1939, had halved the brew length by 1945.  Given the cap placed on the number of standard barrels a brewery could produce, brewing one barrel of Scotch Ale was the equivalent of 2.5 barrels of 60/-.  When beer was in short supply, it must have been hard to justify brewing much

The examples from Drybrough, Maclay and William Younger all look quite similar in character. An OG in the 1080º’s, approximately 7% ABV and hopping at around 5lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt.

All of these beers were dark in colour, despite none containing any dark malts, other than a few pounds of chocolate malt in Drybrough’s version. The colour came almost exclusively from caramel adding at racking time.

Ironically, brewers which had continued to brew this type of beer, such as Drybrough, discontinued it in 1945. The result of even tighter restrictions on brewing in the immediate aftermath of the war.

Strong Scotch Ale during WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
3rd May 1939 Maclay SA 1089 1030 7.81 66.29% 5.00 1.90
29th Aug 1939 Maclay SA 1082 1022 7.94 73.17% 6.00 2.12
14th Nov 1939 Maclay SA 1079 1026 7.01 67.09% 5.00 1.70
12th Jan 1940 Drybrough Burns 1083 1026 7.54 68.67% 5.53 1.91
8th Nov 1940 Drybrough Burns 1083 1028 7.28 66.27% 5.53 1.86
6th Feb 1941 Drybrough Burns 1081 1028 7.01 65.43% 4.35 2.01
9th Oct 1941 Drybrough Burns 1081 1022 7.81 72.84% 4.90 3.08
29th Oct 1942 Drybrough Burns 1076 1029.5 6.15 61.18% 4.74 1.47
5th Feb 1943 Drybrough Burns 1076 1028.5 6.28 62.50% 4.89 1.55
22nd Jul 1943 Drybrough Burns 1076 1027 6.48 64.47% 4.86 1.59
13th Jul 1944 Drybrough Burns 1076 1025 6.75 67.11% 4.43 1.49
12th Oct 1944 Drybrough Burns 1076 1032 5.82 57.89% 4.20 1.37
23rd Feb 1945 Drybrough Burns 1076 1031.5 5.89 58.55% 4.02 1.26
15th Nov 1939 Younger, Wm. 1 1084 1033.5 6.68 60.12% 4.74 1.58
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers M/6/1/1/3 and M/6/1/1/4.
Drybrough brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number D/6/1/1/4.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/76.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Fullers PA

PA, Fullers strongest Pale Ale, had been around for a while – at least 50 years. Though there had been a name change in the early 1900s, when the India was stripped off the front. The beer itself remained the same, however.

With a gravity over 1050º, PA was a typical 8d Bitter, a style reasonably common in London. This was a about as strong as standard draught beer got between the wars. Surprisingly, PA seems to have been Fullers biggest selling Pale Ale, edging out XK, their Ordinary Bitter.

The grist is pretty standard for an interwar Bitter: pale malt, flaked maize and sugar. Why make things too complicated? Though the percentage of sugar is pretty tiny, not quite 3% of the total.

The hops in the recipe are a guess. All I know for certain is that they were English and from the 1938 harvest. Fuggles and Goldings seem a reasonable enough guess.

Fullers PA didn’t fare too badly in WW I, with its OG in the 1920s being the same as in 1910. The second war wouldn’t be so kind to it, as you’ll see in a while.

1939 Fullers PA
pale malt 9.50 lb 82.47%
flaked maize 1.75 lb 15.19%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.125 lb 1.09%
glucose 0.125 lb 1.09%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.17%
Fuggles 90 min 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1051
FG 1012.5
ABV 5.09
Apparent attenuation 75.49%
IBU 43
Mash at 146º F
After underlet 149º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale