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%
Sources:
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
Sources:
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        
Sources:
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
SRM 3
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)
Sources:
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.

Monday, 3 May 2021

AK sugars during WW II

Given the high percentage of malt in these beers, it's little surprise that they don't contain a huge amount of sugar. Loads of different types, mind.

Only one, No. 2 invert, appears in more than one, Greene King and Fullers. But only in tiny quantities, the largest amount is less than 2.5%. You'll note that it's far less than before the war, when it was just shy of 10%. Doubtless the reduction was due to difficulties in sugar supply.

CWA, the other sugar, I found was described as a starch conversion syrup, that is an enzymatic syrup. I assume it must have been added in the mash tun rather than the kettle. 

Intense was a caramel of some sort. Pretty obvious from both the name and the minute amount employed. Its use will have been for colour correction rather than flavour of fermentable material.

The malt extract used by Shepherd Neame was EDME, a type of diastatic malt syrup. I suppose it's technically a type of sugar, despite being derived from malt. The candy sugar used in one example was presumably employed as primings..

AK sugars during WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer malt extract no. 2 sugar glucose CWA Intense candy
23rd Jan 1940 Greene King AK   2.35%   2.35%    
8th May 1940 Fullers AK   0.63% 0.63%   0.09%  
20th May 1940 Shepherd Neame AK            
25th May 1941 Fullers AK   1.39% 1.39%   0.09%  
4th Feb 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 0.69%          
18th Dec 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 0.66%          
21st Feb 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 0.64%         0.64%
27th Nov 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 0.66%          
22nd Feb 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 0.66%          
7th May 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 1.32%          
Sources:
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.

Hops next time.

 

Sunday, 2 May 2021

AK grists during WW II

I'm so glad I found a Greene King AK. It means I've something more than just a whole bunch of Shepherd Neame and Fullers versions.

It is the only one, too. Either they didn't brew it very often or it mostly came from their other brew house. Which reminds me - Henry still hasn't sent me the photos he took when we visited the brewery almost three years ago. He was responsible for snapping the records from the other brew house.

An awful lot of base malt and not much else is the short description. Only two beers contain any other malt: crystal in Greene King's version and black malt in one of Shepherd Neame's. The latter seems a little odd. 

So odd, that I've gone back and checked the brewing record. Sure enough, 33 lbs of black malt is clearly there. But bot with the3 rest of the malt. Which implies it may not have been used in the mash tun. It seems to turn up sporadically, mostly in parti-gyles which include SXX, the strongest of their Pale Ales. But not always. Maybe they just didn't always note it down.

Moving on to adjuncts,  there's some flaked rice in the Fullers examples. That's because they're both from the early war years. Had their AK survived a little longer, it, too, would have included flaked barley. 

If you recall their  pre-war versions, you'll know that Shepherd Neame brewed their Pale Ales from 100% malt. Well, and a tiny amount of malt extract. Which, I suppose, counts as malt, too. Their use if flaked barley in the later war years wasn't the brewery's choice. All brewers were compelled to use it.

AK grists during WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer pale malt crystal malt black malt flaked rice flaked barley
23rd Jan 1940 Greene King AK 91.76% 3.53%      
8th May 1940 Fullers AK 86.32%     12.33%  
20th May 1940 Shepherd Neame AK 99.67%        
25th May 1941 Fullers AK 92.97%     4.16%  
4th Feb 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 86.90%       12.41%
18th Dec 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 87.42%       11.92%
21st Feb 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 85.01%   2.10%   11.59%
27th Nov 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 85.43%       13.91%
22nd Feb 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 85.43%       13.91%
7th May 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 84.87%       13.82%
Sources:
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.

Sugars up next.

Saturday, 1 May 2021

Let's Brew - 1945 William Younger No 3

It's a time for celebration. I've finished the last of the 531 recipes in my upcoming book "Blitzkrieg!"

I'm so glad it's all over. I've spent a big chunk of the last two years researching and writing these fuckers. How do I feel now? Relieved.

A very late war beer here. War in Europe, at least. This No.3 was brewed exactly a month before Hitler topped himself. Meaning lucky drinkers could have toasted that happy event with this very beer.

Had the plotters blown Adolf to bits a year earlier, drinkers could have toasted the evil dictator’s demise with exactly the same beer. Just about. The balance of base malt to flaked barley had tipped slightly in the favour of the latter. So slightly, that even the best taster would have been unlikely to notice the change.

Not much excitement with the hopping, where there was a single type of Kent hops from the 1943 harvest. 

1945 William Younger No. 3
pale malt 7.75 lb 72.94%
flaked barley 2.75 lb 25.88%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.18%
Fuggles 75 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1044
FG 1013
ABV 4.10
Apparent attenuation 70.45%
IBU 15
SRM 19
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale


Friday, 30 April 2021

AK during WW II

The excitement just never ends when it comes to AK. Or perhaps it just never started. For you. For me, I can't never get me enough.

Someone mentioned recently that they thought AK died out between the wars. That's not really true. AK was given a good old kick in the bollocks by WW I. Many found their demise in the war's brutal gravity cuts. Others, though fatally weakened, soldiered on. Another war was the last thing they needed.

Kicking off the war at a little over 1030º, there wasn't far they could go once a new round of gravity cuts began to bite. 

Greene King seem to have dropped theirs early doors. Its AK had the bad luck to have another beer, PA, that was just a tiny bit stronger. When gravities fell, it dropped into AK's slot and that was it.

At Fullers, their three pre-war Pale Ales, in ascending order of strength, AK, XK and PA, were pared back to just a single beer in 1942, PA No. 2.

Shepherd Neame's version had the good fortune that the next Pale Ale up the hierarchy of strength, BB, was a good bit stronger at the outbreak of war. 1039.3º to AK's 1031.3º. A gap large enough that, even after the drop in strength, there was still a gap of 4º at war's end. The reprieve was only temporary. AK was discontinued in 1951.

AK during WW II
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
23rd Jan 1940 Greene King AK 1031.6 1007.2 3.22 77.19% 6.00 0.75
8th May 1940 Fullers AK 1029.1 1008.6 2.71 70.48% 9.02 1.05
20th May 1940 Shepherd Neame AK 1030.5 1005.5 3.30 81.82% 6.89 0.80
25th May 1941 Fullers AK 1028.4 1006.4 2.91 77.56% 7.40 0.81
4th Feb 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1005.0 2.93 81.63% 4.62 0.54
18th Dec 1943 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1005.9 2.81 78.16% 4.59 0.52
21st Feb 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1005.8 2.82 78.47% 4.45 0.51
27th Nov 1944 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1006.4 2.75 76.53% 4.87 0.53
22nd Feb 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1005.5 2.86 79.59% 4.87 0.55
7th May 1945 Shepherd Neame AK 1027.1 1006.0 2.80 78.06% 4.75 0.55
Sources:
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.

Grists next time.