Wednesday, 12 May 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1964 Eldridge Pope BAK

Just for a change, here's an AK recipe. Just what you've been waiting for, I'm sure.

At the bottom of the Pale Ale pile ay Eldridge Pope was BAK, which presumably stands for Bottling AK. Effectively, it was their Light Ale and was marketed as Crystal Ale.

Light certainly describes BAK well. It’s not quite 3% ABV and under 20 (calculated) IBUs.

There's nothing very exciting about the grist. It's fairly typical of post-war Light Bitter recipes, with pale malt, crystal malt and invert sugar doing most of the heavy lifting.Backed up by a little wheat flour and some malt extract.

Four types of hops were used: Kent (1962), Worcester (1962), Sussex (1962) and Styrian hops (1962). This beer was brewed in January 1964, meaning all the hops were a little more than one season old. 

1964 Eldridge Pope BAK
pale malt 4.75 lb 73.08%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 7.69%
wheat flour 0.33 lb 5.08%
malt extract 0.25 lb 3.85%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.67 lb 10.31%
Styrian Goldings 90 mins 0.13 oz
Fuggles 90 min 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.50 oz
OG 1030
FG 1008
ABV 2.91
Apparent attenuation 73.33%
IBU 16
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP099 Super High Gravity Thomas Hardy

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

Water in WW II

One ingredient of which there was an abundant local supply was water. Just as well, as importing would have been enormously impractical.

Lloyd Hind classified six types of brewing waters, five hard and one soft:

Types of brewing water
  Saline composition Special use Typical locality
(1) Hard Waters
(A) Very hard gypseous waters. High proportion of Ca and S04, moderate quantity of Mg, comparatively small proportion of Na and C03. Pale ale. Burton-on-Trent.
(B) Gypseous waters. Generally not so hard as (A) with greater proportion of C03 and Cl usually higher. Pale lager and ales. Dortmund.
(C) Sulphate waters. With still greater proportions of CO 3 and increasing quantities of Na and Cl. Frequently characterised by the presence of sodium and magnesium sulphates in place of calcium sulphate. Full-flavoured pale ales. Edinburgh.
(D) Carbonate waters. Many city supplies fall in this group, Ca and C03 predominant, with lower proportion of S04, moderate Na and Cl. Require treatment for pale ales after removal of carbonates. Mild ales and stouts. London (Metropolitan Water Board).
(E) Carbonate ;waters. Very small quantities of ions other than Ca, Mg and C03. Treatment for pale ales as (D). Dark lager, stouts, mild ales. Munich, Dublin.
(2) Soft Waters
(F) Containing up to about 10 parts per 100,000 of total solids, with the individual ions in varying proportions corresponding with those found in hard waters. Very readily treated for ales. Pale lager. Pilsen.
Brewing: Science and Practice 1: by Herbert Lloyd Hind, Chapman & Hall, London, 1940, page 437.

Different water profiles suited different types of beers Something brewers learned through experience. Though, initially, they weren’t fully aware of which specific minerals were important.

Once the importance of water chemistry had been twigged in the middle of the 19th century, brewers stated to fiddle with their water if it didn’t fit the profile for the type of beer they wanted to brew.

Initially, treatment was all about mimicking Burton water. There was huge incentive to recreate Burton water. The alternative being to build, or buy, a brewery where that water profile was naturally available.

With the essential elements of what made Burton water so suited for Pale Ales identified, brewers began to “Burtonise”. Which, essentially, entailed dumping a load of gypsum into it.

It didn’t stop there. The more sophisticated breweries began treating the water for all their beers, leaving some with no beer brewed from liquor which hadn’t been tweaked.

A good example is Barclay Perkins. Who treated the brewing water for all of their beers, whatever, the style, except for Lager.

Barclay Perkins water treatment in 1941
Mild Ale Company's liquor, treated cold. 2/3 oz. salt and 7/12 oz gypsum per barrel in hot liquor back. Heated to 170º F, allow to drop to mashing heat. Half hour before mashing add 1/8 pint per barrel bi-sulphate of lime. Salt in copper: 3 ozs per barrel.
Burton Ales Company's liquor, treated cold. 3 ozs. salt and 3 ozs. gypsum per barrel in hot liquor back. Boil overnight. Half hour before mashing add 1/8 pint per barrel bi-sulphate of lime. Salt in copper: 1 oz per barrel.
Bitters and DB Company's liquor, treated cold. 1.5 oz3. salt and 4 ozs gypsum per barrel in hot liquor back. Heated to 170º F, allow to drop to mashing heat. Salt in copper: 2 ozs per barrel. DB nil
Porter and Stout Company's liquor boiled for 30 minutes, allow to drop to mashing heat. 2 ozs. Salt and 1 oz gypsum per barrel of liquor used over the goods added to grist. Salt in copper: 3 ozs per barrel.
PA Ex Company's liquor, treated cold. Boiled 5 minutes, allow to drop to mashing heat. 5 ozs CaS04 and 1 oz MgS04 per barrel in liquor backs.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/624.

You’ll note that each class of beer had its own, distinctive, treatment. Not all breweries were quite as pernickety, but pretty well everyone, outside Burton, treated the water for their Pale Ales.

Monday, 10 May 2021

Malt rationing in WW II

It turned out that the 1946 Brewers' Almanack did contain one of the bits of information I was after. The rules concerning the purchase of barley and malt.  Something which effectively amounted to rationing.

The government issued brewers permits to buy a specific amount of barley or malt. This was based on a brewery's malt usage in the last 12 months of peace.

"11. Regulation of Barley and Malt Purchases.— A joint committee with the Maltsters’ Association was formed in April, at the instance of the Ministry of Food, to frame a scheme for the regulation of purchases of the 1940 crop of barley for malting. The resulting scheme was put into operation under the Barley (Control and Maximum Prices) Order 194O (S. R. & O., 1737), with the object of regulating by means of permits issued by the Ministry of Food the quantities of barley or malt to be purchased by each brewer according to his estimated requirements for brewing up to the time when the next crop should become available as malt. The scheme involved no restriction of normal methods of buying barley or malt beyond the limitation of each brewer s total purchases to the quantity for which he held the permit of the Ministry of Food.

12. This method of regulating the purchase by brewers and maltsters of malt and barley has remained in operation throughout the war, although the reason for its necessity has gradually changed from one mainly of conserving barley supplies to one of ensuring that the limited malting capacity should bo fairly shared throughout the country. As the acute shortage of malting labour is relieved, the necessity to continue this control will diminish, but it is unlikely that anything like a sufficient labour force will become available in time to be effective until the malting season restarts in the early autumn of 1946. In the meantime, a brewer is permitted to buy enough malt (or barley to make the malt) to bust until 30th November each season not a very wide margin of carry-over when new season's malt can scarcely be ready until the latter part of September. In arriving at the quantity, the use of sugar, flaked barley, etc., is taken into account. In the case of Scottish breweries, an extra month’s supply up to 31st December is allowed to compensate for the later date at which Scotch barley becomes fit for malting."
Brewers' Almanack 1946, pages 128 - 129. 

The rules meant that the government had a considerable degree of control over brewers' grists. Also rationing brewers to 70% of their pre-war sugar usage and insisting on a certain percentage of unmalted grains, usually flaked barley. I'm sure some brewers weren't very happy about having their hands tied in this way.

On the other hand, the rules did ensure everyone got their fair share of brewing materials. I'm sure German brewers would have been delighted to have such luxury.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

Brewery profits in WW II

Just like WW I, despite all the restrictions on their activities, the war was good for brewers’ profits. With virtually limitless demand, selling beer was no problem. Even if its quality left much to be desired.

Benskins is a good example of a medium-sized brewery, of which there were still a large number in the 1940s. I’ve selected them pretty much at random.

Their story parallels the vicissitudes of the UK brewing industry in the 1930s and 1940s. The dip in profits in 1932 was typical. In 1931 there was an increase in the tax on beer which had a dramatic effect on beer consumption and, with it, brewery profits.

After the tax increase was rolled back in 1933, trade picked up and this is reflected in a modest increase in profits, which then stabilised at around £250,000 until the start of the war. Dividend also picked up, from a low of 10% in 1932 to 18.5% when war erupted.

Despite massive increases in the price of malt and the rate of tax, after a small dip in 1940, profits rose steadily throughout the war, peaking in 1947. The dividend rose to 20% in 1944 and remained there until 1949. The fall in profits in 1948 and 1949 reflects the difficult economic circumstances in post-war austerity Britain and falling beer consumption.

Post-war profits were boosted by a refund of the wartime Excess Profits Tax, which in 1946 amounted to £67,001.

During the war, Bekskins were able to build up considerable reserves of cash: £525,000 for general purposes and £265,000 for repairs and improvements to their tied houses.

The war, despite all the difficulties it brought with it, was good for Benskins financially, as it was for the industry in general. The cash reserves would have been very useful post-war, as very little investment could be made in either the brewery or tied houses during hostilities due to restrictions on building work and the impossibility of sourcing new equipment.

Benskins Brewery profits 1921 - 1929
Year ending 30th Sept.  brought in net profit carry forward to reserve to reserve for property improvements dividend ordinary shares
1931 £166,081 £215,674 £107,995 £22,000 £25,000 11.5%
1932 £107,995 £187,936 £135,231 £20,000 £25,000 10%
1933 £135,231 £207,442 £134,482 £20,000 £25,000 12.5%
1934 £134,482 £220,217 £143,399 £25,000 £25,000 15%
1935 £143,399 £243,515 £152,814 £25,000 £25,000 17.5%
1936 £152,814 £258,692 £154,777 £24,828 £25,000 20%
1937 £154,777 £266,101 £163,978 £28,000 £25,000 20%
1938 £163,978 £255,167 £163,925 £37,000 £25,000 18.5%
1939 £163,925 £257,008 £177,713     18.5%
1940 £177,713 £238,847 £173,340 £25,000 £25,000 18.5%
1941 £173,340 £246,325 £176,446 £25,000 £25,000 18.5%
1942 £176,446 £257,481 £181,771 £50,000   18.5%
1943 £181,771 £263,221 £186,772 £40,000 £25,000 18.5%
1944 £186,772 £281,667 £188,187 £48,878 £26,475 20%
1945 £188,187 £282,579 £193,866     20%
1946 £193,866 £290,891 £207,857 £45,000 £25,000 20%
1947 £207,857 £303,866       20%
1948   £294,640       25%
1949   £277,778       20%
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 01 December 1931, page 13.
Herts and Essex Observer - Saturday 03 December 1932, page 4.
Aberdeen Press and Journal - Saturday 02 December 1933, page 10.
Herts and Essex Observer - Saturday 08 December 1934, page 2.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 29 November 1935, page 14.
Aberdeen Press and Journal - Thursday 26 November 1936, page 11.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 02 December 1937, page 12.
Nottingham Journal - Friday 02 December 1938, page 8.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 05 December 1939, page 3.
Belfast Telegraph - Tuesday 03 December 1940, page 6.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 21 November 1940, page 5.
The Scotsman - Monday 01 December 1941, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Saturday 05 December 1942, page 4.
Birmingham Daily Post - Saturday 05 December 1942, page 4.
The Scotsman - Saturday 04 December 1943, page 3.
The Scotsman - Saturday 20 November 1943, page 2.
Western Mail - Friday 24 November 1944, page 4.
Halifax Evening Courier - Wednesday 21 November 1945, page 3.
The Scotsman - Wednesday 20 November 1946, page 2.
The Scotsman - Friday 14 November 1947, page 2.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Saturday 13 November 1948, page 5.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 12 November 1948, page 3.
The Scotsman - Tuesday 15 November 1949, page 2.



Saturday, 8 May 2021

Let's Brew - 1940 Fullers AK

A style that mostly occurred in the South, AK had come under pressure in WW I. As a relatively low-ABV Pale Ale, it was particularly vulnerable to a general drop in gravities.

This is the last hurray of Fullers version. Literally stricken form history. A slightly later brewing record has AK crossed out, as Fullers drastically overhauled their range of Pale Ales. It started the war with such a low gravity and brewed in such small quantities that it was never going to last the duration.

AK as a type was driven to near extermination by two world wars. Its mistake being to start off pretty weak. In the late 19th century, dozens of breweries produced a beer called AK. After WW II, there were no more than a handful left.

This example was parti-gyled, as usual, with PA and XK.

Turning to the recipe, the flaked maize has been dropped in favour of flaked rice. As you would expect. Otherwise, there’s not a lot of change.

There were four types of English hops, one from the 1939 harvest, the rest from 1938. 

1940 Fullers AK
pale malt 5.75 lb 87.44%
flaked rice 0.75 lb 11.41%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.033 lb 0.50%
glucose 0.033 lb 0.50%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.01 lb 0.15%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1029
FG 1008.5
ABV 2.71
Apparent attenuation 70.69%
IBU 29
Mash at 151º F
After underlet 153º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale

Friday, 7 May 2021

AK grists after WW II

We're nearly done. Just a couple more posts and that will be it for AK. At least for now.

I have been considering lumping all these posts and a few extra recipes into a book. Which I'd predictably call AK!. Would anyone be interested in that? It wouldn't be a huge book, probably only about 60 or 70 pages.

There's a surprisingly large number of malts represented: seven in all. Though no single beer contains more than four and most only a couple. Most is in the form of base malt, which isn't all pale malt, as you might expect.

Strong used a combination of PA malt, the best-quality pale malt and mild malt. The latter seeming to negate the former. Not sure why they'd go for that combination. The others all stick with trusty old pale malt, except for the 1967 iteration of Eldridge Pope, which includes a hefty amount of lager malt as well as wheat malt. 

Eldridge Pope's beer was the only one to use crystal malt. In the case of the 1982 version rather a lot, coming to almost 20% of the total grist.

AK grists after WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer pale malt PA malt mild malt black malt crystal malt lager malt wheat malt
22nd Jan 1946 Shepherd Neame AK 84.87%     2.27%      
15th Jul 1947 Shepherd Neame AK 92.31%            
19th Mar 1952 Strong SAK   29.13% 55.34%        
3rd Jan 1964 Eldridge Pope BAK 76.49%       5.97%   4.88%
6th Jan 1967 Eldridge Pope BAK 49.86%       8.03% 19.39% 10.53%
17th May 1982 Eldridge Pope BAK 74.19%       19.35%   6.45%
27th Jun 1984 Eldridge Pope BAK 70.00%       10.00%   7.14%
Strong brewing record, number 79A01-A3-3-27.
Eldridge Pope brewing record.
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

Adjuncts next.


Thursday, 6 May 2021

AK after WW II

Finally, we're at the end of the AK road, having reached the post-war period. I hope you've enjoyed the journey as much as I have. However unlikely that might be.

Even though not everyone was aware of them all, there were at least three AKs still being brewed at the start of the 1980s. McMullen's, the obvious one, Courage's (formerly Holes), the obscure one and Eldridge Pope's, the hidden one.

As you can see, versions after the war were very much like those produced during it, in terms of strength. A fairly puny one, at around 1030º. About the minimum level that's worth bothering with.

The hopping rate rate is also similar to that of wartime, at around 5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt. Which is also pretty low.

Varying from just over 60% to 85%, the apparent rate of attenuation is all over the place. So much so, that I can't really draw any conclusions.

AK after WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
22nd Jan 1946 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1005.8 2.82 78.57% 4.64 0.55
15th Jul 1947 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1004.2 3.04 84.69% 4.80 0.53
19th Mar 1952 Strong SAK 1030.5 1006.1 3.22 80.00% 5.03 0.61
3rd Jan 1964 Eldridge Pope BAK 1030.2 1007.8 2.97 74.31% 5.10 0.61
6th Jan 1967 Eldridge Pope BAK 1030.2 1011.6 2.46 61.47% 5.81 0.69
17th May 1982 Eldridge Pope BAK 1030.2 1006.1 3.19 79.82% 9.03 0.82
27th Jun 1984 Eldridge Pope BAK 1032.7 1005.0 3.66 84.75% 4.00 0.54
    Average   1029.7 1006.6 3.05 77.66% 5.49 0.62
Strong brewing record, number 79A01-A3-3-27.
Eldridge Pope brewing record.
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

To finish, here are some details of the current survivor, McMullen'a:

McMullen's AK 1967 - 2002
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1967 McMullen AK 1034 1004.5 3.69 86.76% 25
1977 McMullen AK 1033        
1979 McMullen AK 1033        
1981 McMullen AK 1033        
1982 McMullen AK 1033        
1982 McMullen AK 1033        
1983 McMullen AK 1033        
1989 McMullen AK 1033 1003.8 3.80 88.48%  
1999 McMullen AK 1034        
2002 McMullen AK 1036        
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Good Beer Guide 1978, Good Beer Guide 1980, Good Beer Guide 1982, Good Beer Guide 1983, Good Beer Guide 1983, Good Beer Guide 1984, Good Beer Guide 1990.
What's Brewing (Beer) May  2005, p.17; July 2005 p.5
What's Brewing (Beer) July 2005 p.5

Interesting to see that the gravity increased a little in the 1990s.

Grists next time.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1945 Shepherd Neame AK

Even the biggest fan of Light Bitter must be getting fed up of AK by now. Not me. Once I get started on something, I find it hard to stop.

Here's another watery wartime recipe to enthrall you.  From a brewery that stuck brewing AK longer than most, Shepherd Neame.

I’m surprised that it survived this long. Down at the minimum practical (economically) since 1943, there was nowhere down for it to go. With another Pale Ale just a few degrees stronger, any further reduction in the IG of BB would spell doom for AK. Yet it manged to stumble on until the early 1950s.

As Shepherd Neame didn’t record primings, the effective OG could have been a little higher. Low-gravity draught beers were often primed to make sure there were enough fermentables to condition the cask.

Just one type of pale malt, flaked barley and a tiny bit of malt extract. Not exciting at all. The gravity also remains exactly the same as in the last two years.

There is a little excitement in the hopping, where American hops have made a comeback. Very few hops were imported after 1941, except for 1943 when 3,254 cwt. were brought in.  I’m guessing from the USA, most other prominent hop regions being under Nazi control. 10 lbs, out of a total of 242 lbs, were Oregon from the 1942 harvest. The quantity is so small, I haven’t included it in the recipe.

The remaining hops were all English, from the 1941, 1943 and 1944 seasons, 50% being from the earliest year. In response to which I’ve reduced the rate a fair bit in the recipe.

1945 Shepherd Neame AK
pale malt 6.50 lb 88.68%
flaked barley 0.75 lb 10.23%
malt extract 0.080 lb 1.09%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1027
FG 1006
ABV 2.78
Apparent attenuation 77.78%
IBU 15
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast a Southern English Ale yeast

Tuesday, 4 May 2021

AK hops during WW II

I doubt it will come as much of a shock that the hops used in AK during the war were almost exclusively English.

Hop imports almost totally dried up during the war. Falling from 44,056 cwt. in 1939 to just 2,024 cwt. in 1940. During the last four years of the war a total of a mere 3,589 cwt. were imported. The vast majority - 3,254 cwt. - in 1943.* That must have been the year when Shepherd Neame's Oregon hops were imported.

I am slightly surprised that Shepherd Neame were still using hops from the 1940 and 1941 seasons as late as 1944. By the later war years brewers had mostly used up their old stocks and were limited to hops from the most recent harvest and possibly the one before that.

It's a shame Shepherd Neame didn't bother recording the growing region. We can, however, safely assume that the majority were from Kent. What with the brewery being located in that county and having its own hop gardens.

AK hops during WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer hop 1 hop 2 hop 3 hop 4
23rd Jan 1940 Greene King AK EK (1936) EK (1938)    
8th May 1940 Fullers AK English (1938) English (1939)    
20th May 1940 Shepherd Neame AK English (1937) English (1938) English (1939)  
25th May 1941 Fullers AK English (1939) English (1940)    
4th Feb 1943 Shepherd Neame AK English (1939) English (1941) English (1942)  
18th Dec 1943 Shepherd Neame AK English (1940) English (1941) English (1942) English (1943)
21st Feb 1944 Shepherd Neame AK English (1940) English (1941) English (1942) English (1943)
27th Nov 1944 Shepherd Neame AK English (1941) English (1943) English (1944) Oregon (1942)
22nd Feb 1945 Shepherd Neame AK English (1941) English (1943) English (1944) Oregon (1942)
7th May 1945 Shepherd Neame AK English (1941) English (1943) English (1944) Oregon (1942)
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.
Greene King brewing record held at the brewery, document number AC93/1/14 .
Shepherd Neame brewing record held at the brewery.

* 1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.