Monday, 6 February 2023

Whitbread Stout colour and bitterness 1816 - 1880

Now I've started with the charts I just can't stop, Time to bother you with another one.

One word of warning: I calculated the SRM and IBU values by slotting the recipes into brewing software. They are just a general indication rather than observed values.

With the colour, the trend is obvious. There's a slow and steady darkening of of the beer. Which tallies with drinkers' observations that their lovely brown beer had been transformed into black muck.

It's harder to pick trends in the bitterness, but there's a reason for that. From 1860 on, it's the Export Stout because Whitbread stopped brewing standard Single Stout. Which is why the bitterness suddenly jumps up.  After that, the trend is clear: downwards.

Sunday, 5 February 2023

Whitbread Export Stout grists 1860 - 1880

The last set of charts went down so well, I've decided to do some more. Let's face it: they fill up the space nicely and remove the need to write so many words.

I’m using Whitbread as an example to show the trends in grists during this period. 

Whitbread Export Stout grists 1860 - 1880
year OG IBU SRM pale malt brown malt black malt sugar
1860 1072.9 163 32 67.35% 26.53% 6.12%  
1865 1069.5 145 34 74.47% 21.28% 4.26%  
1870 1074.2 124 33 70.56% 15.05% 4.52% 9.88%
1875 1067.9 123 32 61.55% 17.84% 4.28% 16.33%
1880 1078.7 105 38 67.72% 16.05% 6.02% 10.21%
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/054, LMA/4453/D/09/059, LMA/4453/D/09/064, LMA/4453/D/09/070 and LMA/4453/D/09/074.

Not sure I can pick much out of that. The bitterness and colour numbers are from brewing software calculations and should not be taken as gospel. There does, however, seem to be a trend of declining bitterness. And also, to a lesser degree, of the brown malt content.

And, of course, there’s the arrival of sugar in 1870. No idea what type of sugar it might have been. But it was there.

Note that none of Whitbread’s grists matches any of those suggested by Loftus. A demonstration of how varied and dynamic recipes were. 

Here's that data in chart form:

Combining the data with the last set, I've a chart that spans a large chunk of the 19th century.

Not totally sure what that tells us. But it is a pretty chart. I suppose it does show the slow rise of black malt. And the ups and downs of brown malt.

It does show how dynamic grists were, even at Whitbread. Where the grists were pretty standardised.

Saturday, 4 February 2023

Let's Brew - 1900 Cairnes Double Stout

As dictated by my Twitter Polls earlier this week, today's recipe is an Irish Stout.

Though it’s a few degrees weaker in gravity, this is obviously a beer aiming for the same market as Guinness Extra Stout. But, unlike at Guinness where Extra Stout was their biggest seller, Cairnes brewed far less Double Stout than Single Stout.

I’ll start with the bits I’m not totally sure about. The sugar is just described as “saccharum”. Usually, in such circumstances, I’d plump for No. 2 invert. That, however, leaves the colour far too pale. So, this time, I’ve gone with No. 4 invert. Which gets the colour just about dark enough. The same reasoning is behind my choice of 2000 SRM caramel

Otherwise, it’s a typical Irish grist of just pale and black malt. Not really much more I can say about that.

Twi types of English hops were employed, of which two thirds were from the 1899 harvest.

My guess would be that it was aged for a few months before sale. 

1900 Cairnes Double Stout
pale malt 14.75 lb 93.18%
black malt 0.50 lb 3.16%
No. 4 invert sugar 0.56 lb 3.54%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.02 lb 0.12%
Fuggles 120 mins 1.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.75 oz
OG 1069
FG 1025
ABV 5.82
Apparent attenuation 63.77%
IBU 57
SRM 28
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Friday, 3 February 2023

Fullers Brown Stout 1910 - 1920

Here's a preview of my book "Stout!". Though this section isn't totally complete so may change. 227 pages, in case you're wondering. And 108 recipes. The Fullers ones are all done. But I'm only up to 1870 for Whitbread. Still 100 years to go.

There was a lot happening during the war years. With restrictions both on the strength of beer and the ingredients used in producing it. A bit of a nightmare for brewers, who might have to tweak their recipes every few weeks. The final two years of the war were particularly chaotic.

At Fullers, in 1917 their Brown Stout disappeared for two years. Reappearing in the summer of 1919 with an OG almost 15º lower than in 1914. They did continue to brew Porter without interruption.

While the hopping rate per quarter (336 lbs) during the war fell a little during the war, it more than bounced back once peace rolled around.

With its OG in the mid-1050ºs the post-war version was clearly intended as an 8d per pint beer. Not that it stuck around all that long, being dropped in the early 1930s. 

Fullers Brown Stout 1910 - 1920
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
10th Aug 1910 1069.5 1019.9 6.56 71.30% 6.64 1.84
18th Nov 1914 1066.4 1020.8 6.03 68.70% 6.74 2.01
17th Feb 1915 1064.3 1018.8 6.01 70.69% 6.33 1.96
9th Jun 1916 1065.5 1024.7 5.41 62.37% 5.99 2.01
17th Jan 1917 1061.1 1019.9 5.44 67.33% 6.13 1.90
26th Aug 1919 1055.0 1022.7 4.27 58.67% 7.04 1.80
10th Feb 1920 1054.8 1019.4 4.68 64.59% 7.02 1.80
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.

Thursday, 2 February 2023

Drunken decisions deciding the fate of empires

I've been researching on the internet this week. Using the search term "brown stout". It's thrown an eclectic set of results.

This is one of the odder ones. It's from a long essay critiquing the 1831 Reform Bill. Which eventually became the 1832 Reform Act. Which was the start of  restructuring parliament and making the size of and voting entitlement in constituencies more consistent. It extended the franchise to more of the middle classes. And that's where some saw a problem.

In every town about one house in seventeen is an alehouse; and as the nature of their business requires that they should be of the better class, it is probable that their occupiers will all be electors. The elective franchise in all large towns will thus in reality be placed in the hands of publicans. The attornies and apothecaries, though forming nearly half the remaining votes, will be powerless against this influential body, whose drunken decisions will henceforth decide the fate of empires. The other electors, too few in number to be considered, however important may be their interests, however qualified they may be for their functions, must content themselves with looking on. The new privileged orders will save them the trouble of deliberating on their choice. Henceforth the first qualification of a Member will be the strength not of his head but of his stomach. The man who in his own person best patronises the trade of the Blue Anchor, will be the fittest representative for such constituents. The great struggle of the Scots against the union with England was to preserve the purity of twopenny; and henceforth the most important duty of the Member for a great town, will be to watch over the integrity of butt beer. Whigs and Tories will disappear from history; the strife will be no more between the court and country parties, but between the advocates of brown stout and country ale. The balance of power will give way to the weight of malt; no free trade will be thought of but that in beer and gin.
"The Reform Bill Considered", London, 1831, pages 35 - 36.

Now, personally, I'd prefer pub landlords to be running the show rather than some other groups of the middle classes. 

I'm imagining a bunch of drunken landlords slurping down Brown Stout and saying: "Yes! Let's invade Russia!" Then regretting launching the invasion when they sober up the next morning.

Did pub landlords dominate politics in the UK? Not by any means. In fact, politicians spent much of the rest of the century making life difficult for them. Limiting their opening hours and other such nonsense.

If only the Tories had disappeared from history.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1845 Reid Keeping Double Stout

OK, you went for 1830 to 1860. So here you go. A beer from smack in the middle of that period.

This and the previous beer are a great example of the difference between Running and Stock versions.

In most respects, the beers are identical. The grists are identical: 112 quarters of pale malt, 18.375 quarters of brown malt and 5.625 quarters of black malt. The only tiny difference is that the pale malt quarters were 340 lbs rather than 344 lbs.

This similarity extended even to the mashing scheme. The quantities of water and strike heats for the two mashed were identical. The only differences are the tap temperatures, which are lower in this case. That could be because the ambient temperature was 7º F cooler when the Keeper was brewed.

Mash number barrels strike heat tap heat
1 296 165º F 144º F
2 282 178º F 158º F

The one area where there were significant differences between the two Double Stouts was in the hopping. As you’d expect, the Keeper received more copper hops. 28% more to be precise. Exactly the same types of hops as in the Runner: English from the 1843 and 1844 harvests. 

1845 Reid Keeping Double Stout
pale malt 17.75 lb 85.87%
brown malt 2.25 lb 10.89%
black malt 0.670 lb 3.24%
Goldings 180 min 3.75 oz
Goldings 60 min 3.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 3.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1087
FG 1024
ABV 8.33
Apparent attenuation 72.41%
IBU 124
SRM 29
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 180 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 31 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part twelve: Scottish format page 2 dry hops, cleansings and remarks

We're going to finish off page 2 today. Starting with dry hops.

2313 running annual total.
75 lbs dry hops in this brew.

Quality and Proportion

This is for the type of hops. It hasn't been filled in.

I don't know why it's called that as it shows racking details.

Not filled in

Butts: 0.

Hogsheads: 40.

Barrels: 64.

1/2 barrels
Half barrels: 10.

1/2 Hhds

half Hogsheads: 0.

1/4 Hhds
quarter Hogsheads: 0.

Beer type: XXP.

What you can also glean from these columns is whether a beer was mostly bottled or draught. Beer for bottling mostly went into hogsheads and half hogsheads. Draught beer into barrels and half barrels.


1st column
standard gallons
Running total: 140,856 gallons
This brew: 4,568 gallons

A standard gallon is a gallon of beer with an OG of 1055º. The tax was based on this number.

2nd column
Barrels racked
Running total: 38,285 barrels
This brew: 119 barrels 

Right. There's that done. Anyone still up for more?

Monday, 30 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part eleven: Scottish format page 2 pitching and attenuation

You must be getting so excited at the prospect of a second page of William Younger's brewing records. Well, I won't delay the fun any longer.

Pitching details first.

Heat of Tun Room
Pretty explanatory: 58º F.

Pitching Heat and Gravity
57º F and 1059º.

Now the really enthralling stuff - attenuations.

This is the fermentation record, with six columns, one for each day. And each day has in its turn columns for the morning and evening.

The two columns under morning and evening have the temperature of the wort, followed by the gravity. So:

1st day morning

59º F, 1056º.

!st day evening
61.5º F, 1051º.

On the evening of the second day, the worts in the two fermenters were combined into something called "9 Set".  I'm pretty sure they're being transferred to a union set. I know Holyrood had unions and the beer in question was an IPA/Pale Ale.

The fermentation is quite typical in that the temperature rises initially until around the middle of the fermentation and then is reduced, using attemperators. At the end of fermentation, the temperature is close to the pitching heat. The racking gravity was 1014º.

I'm not totally sure what the notes at the end mean. "off 10th" is I think when the beer was removed from the unions.

"Brill" I think just means bright.

"1 quart Condy" is, I think is Condy's Liquid. Something that sounds very much like a con. I need to investigate more.

"Bi" probably Bisulphate of lime.

"Good at cflow" good at counterflow, I think.

Not far to go now. Thankfully.

Sunday, 29 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part ten: Scottish format page 2 overview

And here we are at page 2 of William Younger's brewing records. Where all the magic happens. Because this is mostly taken up with a record of the fermentation. Lots of handy information for me. Especially if you want to prove that Scottish beer wasn't fermented at near Lager temperatures.

Here's the full page:

It's divided into five sections: pitching, attenuation, dry hops, cleansings and remarks. Though the last contains proper information rather than just remarks.

As well as the fermentation record, there are also details of the containers into which it was racked. A piece of information which is way more useful than you might think. But we'll get to that in a while.

Saturday, 28 January 2023

Let's Brew - 1904 Tetley X3

The people have spoken. Mild it is. And, as one person suggested Tetley's Mild, taht's what I've gone with.

Tetley brewed a lot of Milds. Which is why I love them so much. Parti-gyled with XX, X3 was Tetley’s second-strongest Mild. Why they brewed quite so many. I’m not sure.  Most breweries by this point only brewed two or three at most. Including the differently-coloured versions, Tetley had seven in their portfolio.

It's not a complicated recipe. Just base malt and sugar. Though there were two types of base malt. That makes the recipe a bit more exciting.

Oddly, as Mild generally got darker as the 20th century rolled along, the Tetley's Mild I loved was quite a bit paler. I now know exactly how much paler, as I've seen the brewery specifications. It was only around 13 SRM.

1904 Tetley X3
mild malt 5.50 lb 42.31%
pale malt 5.50 lb 42.31%
No. 3 invert sugar 2.00 lb 15.38%
Fuggles 90 mins 2.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 2.25 oz
OG 1062.9
FG 1014.7
ABV 6.38
Apparent attenuation 76.63%
IBU 51
SRM 14
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale Timothy Taylor


Friday, 27 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part nine: Scottish format wort and yeast

We get to finish page 1 today. Hasn't this been fun? Probably not. I get the impression everyone got bored halfway through my explanation of the Barclay Perkins record.

Wort and yeast. Not the most exciting, but still important.

 Pretty simple.

The fermenting vessels the wort was transferred to: tuns 19 and 20.

Volume of the combined worts: 177 barrels.

Gravity of the combined worts:1059º.

Now the yeast.

Quantity of yeast: 110 lbs.

Where from.
The brews the yeast was harvested from: XXXX, XXP and XP. Not sure what the number is. I'd expect it to be a gyle number, but 3426 and 3438 are far too high.

Anyone interested in page 2? Anyone still reading?


Thursday, 26 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part nine: Scottish format boiling

This cool. Or rather hot, as it refers to the boiling process. It's great because I'm totally confident about all the entries. For once.

Number of the copper. In this case, coppers 1 and 2.

Hours Charging
Time it took to fill the coppers: 2.75 hours.

Volome of the worts: 85 and 92 barrels.

Gravity of the worts pre-boil: 1069º and 1025º.

Hops in lbs.
I think that's pretty explanatory.

Per Qr.
Pounds of hops per quarter of malt: 7.5 lbs.

The next columns list the different types of hops. The first row is the totals carried forward.

Amer. '94
American hops from the 1894 harvest. Zero used in this brew.

EK '93
East Kent hops from the 1893 harvest. 100 lbs this brew.

Pac. '93
Pacific, i.e. West Coast USA, hops from the 1893 harvest. 100 lbs this brew.

Amer. '93
American hops from the 1893 harvest. 110 lbs this brew.

Total amount of hops in this brew: 310 lbs.

Hours Boiled
Boiling time of the two worts: 2.75 hours and 3.25 hours.

Barrels Cast
Number of barrels post-boil: 70 barrels and 74 barrels.

Gravity of the worts post-boil: 1085º and 1031º.

That was all pretty simple, wasn't it? 

We're almost done with page 1. Just a couple of columns to go.

Wednesday, 25 January 2023

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1941 Barclay Perkins KK

Just for a bit of variation, today's recipe isn't a Stout. And not from the book I'm working on. Well, not working on currently, as it's just about finished. Maybe I'll get around to publishing it soon.

Not much seems to have changed since 1940. At least not in terms of strength. That could be because this was brewed fairly early in the year, in April. While the 1940 recipe above is from September.

The grist has seen one big change: the dropping of adjuncts. Leaving it malt and sugar only. Barclay Perkins hadn’t brewed like that since the 1880s. The percentage of mild malt has increased slightly at the expense of pale malt. And this time, it really was all mild malt in the original. The SA malt has been dropped.

There’s also been a change in process, with the boil time of the first wort being reduced by 15 minutes. Presumably to save fuel.

The hopping rate has remained around the same, though the quantity of dry hops was reduced from 3 oz. to 2 oz. per barrel. The hops themselves were Kent Goldings and Kent Fuggles both from the 1938 harvest and kept in a cold store. While the dry hops were Goldings from 1939.

1941 Barclay Perkins KK
pale malt 0.75 lb 6.45%
mild malt 9.25 lb 79.57%
crystal malt 60 L 0.75 lb 6.45%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 6.45%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.08%
Fuggles 105 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1052.5
FG 1015
ABV 4.96
Apparent attenuation 71.43%
IBU 41
SRM 23
Mash at 146º F
After underlet 149º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Tuesday, 24 January 2023

Where to in 2023?

For the first time in almost ten years, I enter a new year with no trips to the USA scheduled. That needs fixing.

In my vague plan to get around all the states, I like to cross  off at least one new one every year. Top of the list of states I'd like to visit is Alaska, Which has the advantage of being somewhere I'd dare visit in the summer. 

Other states I'd quite like to visit are Tennessee, New Hampshire and Maine. The last two would complete the East Coast for me. Arizona and New Mexico. Wouldn't mind getting to those, too.

If you'd like to make a collaborative brew or have me come and give a talk, get in touch. My rates are very reasonable.

How to interpret brewing records - part eight: Scottish format mashing

Today we're looking at the meat of the process, mashing.

Scottish mashing schemes were way simpler than those in London. With just a single infusion and a sparge. Or maybe two sparges.

Let's go through column by column.

Mashing Heat
"63" Strike heat: 163º F
"52" Initial heat: 152º F
".4" don't know what this is.

Hours stood

"2" Time mash left to rest: 2 hours
"19" Not sure what this is. Could be a vessel number.

Inches in Tun
An inch measurement is the distance from the brim of a vessel to the surface of the liquid in it. I think these are tap temperatures for the mash. So 157.6º F, 146º F, 144º F and 135º F.

Sparge heats
Pretty self explanatory: 163º F and 160º F.

Falling heats
Tap temperatures for the sparge: 149.1º F, 153º F, 155º F and 157º F.

"94" Gravity of the first wort: 1094º.
"2" Gravity of the last wort: 1002º. 

We'll be looking at what happened in the copper next.

Monday, 23 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part seven: Scottish format general and malt

Here we are looking at a lovely Scottish brewing record. You've no idea how much time I've spent staring at William Younger records. I've still not managed to work everything out.

This particular record is from the Holyrood Brewery, which mostly brewed Pale Ales. While at the Abbey Brewery they produced Scotch Ales, Mild Ales, Stout and the odd Pale Ale.

Here we go with the general crap:

Date and Brewing
Friday 5th October, gyle number 66

dull, occasional showers.

XXP - Younger's IPA.

923 quarters carried over from previous page.
33 quarters this brew.
8100 and 7688 lbs sugar carried over. (DM, sacc., candy.)

Gross: Gravity points this brew
P Qr.
Extract per quarter (not filled in)

I've a better image for the malts themselves.

These are all types of pale malt. Let's go through them in order:

"C. Smy" not sure what the C means, but this is malt from Smyrna, i.e. Turkish.

"M.P. Cali" Californian barley.

"A Moldn." I think Moldovan barley.

"Kirky Chev" Cheviot, i.e. Scottish barley.

"H Hung" Hungarian barley.

"H. Ushak" Turksih barley again.

"H. Marmora" more Turkish barley.

"H. new Ushak" yet more Turkish barley.

See how only one of the eight malts was made from British barley. All the rest were imported, but malted in the UK. It's typical of Scottish beers of this period to use almost all imported ingredients. Often only the water and yeast were Scottish.

That's why Scottish brewers used so little malt. Because it all had to be imported from abroad. Unlike hops, which they could get from England. But was that really the case? We'll see in a later post.

Sunday, 22 January 2023

How to interpret brewing records - part six: Scottish format page 1 overview

After the overwhelmingly tepid response to my series looking at a Barclay Perkins record, I've decided to plough ahead with another style of brewing record. What I call Scottish format because, well, it\s the type of record used by most Scottish brewers. And a few English ones, too. Such as Boddington, for example.

Really I just need a few posts I can bash out without interrupting my work on "Stout!" too much. I need to set my priorities. And number one at the moment is getting that book finished. I'm eighty recipes in and haven't got past the 1850s.

Getting back to the topic, Scottish format records gave their pros and cons. Biggest pro is that you get more beers per photo. This period of Younger's records have eight beers per double-page spread. Which means you get four beers per photo. Biggest con is that everything is rather cramped and often in tiny handwriting.

I'll kick off by going through the first page. Which looks like this:

You'll need to click on the image to be able to read anything.

Working from left to right, first is some general information:

I think that's pretty easy to understand.

Next we come to information about the malts:

Here's one of the first challenges: reading the tiny handwriting describing each type of malt. We'll be getting back to this in a later post.

The mashing details follow, logically enough.

Quite a large section follows with everything connected to the copper.

Just two short sections left. First the wort.

And finally, the yeast.

Next time we'll start looking at these sections in detail.

Saturday, 21 January 2023

Let's Brew - 1835 Truman Imperial Stout

Oh, look! Truman have come out with a new Stout. The grandaddy of them all – Imperial Stout.

Though Barclay Perkins were best known for their Imperial Stout, they weren’t the only London brewer to produce one. And not just in London. Imperial Stout was a well-known name throughout the UK. Bass and Worthington, for example, both produced an Imperial Stout.

A very similar grist was employed as in Double Stout. Except there’s a tiny bit more brown malt. Nothing really to write home about.

Just two mashes, both at some squiggle temperature.

Lots of hops. A crazy amount of hops. Just one type though: English from the 1835 harvest. They leave the beer with an insane (calculated) 230 IBU. 

1835 Truman Imperial Stout
pale malt 16.50 lb 69.33%
brown malt 6.75 lb 28.36%
black malt 0.55 lb 2.31%
Goldings 120 min 8.00 oz
Goldings 60 min 8.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 8.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1099
FG 1021
ABV 10.32
Apparent attenuation 78.79%
IBU 230
SRM 37
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 20 January 2023

The nearly men

When I used to regularly visit the London metropolitan Archives, as well as brewing records, I used to order up other brewery documents. Often without really knowing what their contents were. Some have turned out to be dead handy.

Like Truman document B/THB/C/256A. Which contains the output of a long list of London brewers. It kicks off with 1758 and 1760, then jumps to 1802. It's the 1758 list that really caught my eye. Dating as it does from the beginnings of the Porter boom.

The names you would expect are there: Whitbread, the two Calverts, Truman and, of course, Thrale (later to become Barclay Perkins). Sixteen brewers were knocking out more than 20,000 barrels annually. I was shocked to see that Thrale was only halfway down the list.

Even more surprising was the number of breweries in the list I'd never heard of. Including a couple - Hucks and Hope - who brewed more than Thrale. What happened to these breweries? Why did Whitbread, Truman, Barclay Perkins, Reid and Combe prosper and others sink without trace?

Largest London brewers in 1758
Brewer barrels
Whitbread 64,588.75
Calvert & Seward 61,830.75
Truman 55,506.50
Sir Wm. Calvert 55,008
Hope 50,140.50
Gyfford 41,371.50
Hucks 35,672.50
Thrale 32,622.25
Parsons 31,698
Harman 30,776
Dickinson 28,433.50
Collinson 23,867.50
Harwood 21,235.50
Chase 20,323
Godfrey 20,174.50
Hare 20,170.50
Truman document held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/256A.