Sunday, 21 October 2018

Mild Ale as entertainment

Random searches for terms like Mild Ale in the newspaper archive turn up some odd stuff. Like this about what sound like a rathe r incompatible couple.

MRs. LOUISA Colledge complained that her husband pulled the bedclothes off her if she fell asleep while he was talking on his favourite topic — politics — a Judge said yesterday.

And In politics particularly. went on Mr. Justice Stevenson in the Divorce Court, Mr. and Mrs. Colledge were "dissimilar and incompatible".

Mrs. Colledge, 37, was "prim, careful and precise, and a Conservative way of thinking." Her husband, George, 34, was unimaginative and, by comparison with his wife, rough and uncouth - and a sincere believer Socialism."

Mrs. Colledge. a shorthand typist. of Meadowside Cambridge-park, Twickenham. asked for a decree on the grounds of cruelty. Mr. . Colledge, a clerk. of Redlees-close, Isleworth, denied cruelty.

The Judge said Mrs. Colledge alleged that her bashand referred to her aad her family as parasites

"I hove no doubt there were sharp and bitter political arguments between them." continued the judge.

"The husband may well have used the word parasite Bet it may well be that the wife did not realise it was a poilUcal term In the kind of political disputation to which the husband was addicted.

Mild Ale
Mr. Colledge's sole source of relaxation appeared to be to spend many evenings every week drinking mild ale in a public house, said the judge. He said he drank four pints on weekdays and six pints on Saturdays.

The wife—adjusting herself to her husband's ways. said the judge  accomplled him to the public house and drank half a pint to his pint.

Each claimed that drinking made the other mere irritable, said the judge, and arguments begun in the public house were continued at home in bed.

But the judge said that however bitter the arguments, they did not amount to cruelty. He dismissed Mrs. Colledge's petition."
Daily Mirror - Thursday 20 February 1958, page 9.
At least the wife drank Mild. A husband with a pint and his wife with a half pint was a common enough sight when I first drank in pubs way back in the 1970s.

Though when the Cardigan Arms was my local there was a couple in their fifties who were also frequent drinkers. The man used to have a pint of Mild and the woman two halves. Which looked weird. But back then women, especially older ones, would never have considered drinking a pint.

Some pubs wouldn't serve women pints and others insisted on women drinking from stemmed glasses. Times, happily, have changed. Dolores wouldn't have been very happy having to drink halves.

Saturday, 20 October 2018

1929 Bohemian Lagerbier

A little divergence here from my usual UK fare. A foreign recipe. And a Lager one at that.

As you can probably guess by the lack of brewery name, this recipe isn't taken from a brewing record. Instead it's one I've assembled from information found in technical brewing publications. I can't remember which one off the top of my head. But I'm pretty sure it was in German.

This is the type of beer usually associated with the Czech Republic: a Pale Lager of around 5% ABV.

I could also call this by its Czech name, Světlý Ležák, though that is rather harder for most to pronounce. It literally translates as Pale Lagerbier.

The mashing scheme, a triple decoction, is pretty damn complicated. I doubt I could be arsed to go through the process myself. Very time consuming. I’m not going to get involved in any argument about whether there’s any point to decoction mashing with modern malts. I’ll leave that to the experts.

The key to this type of beer is good quality, very pale, two-row barley and good Czech hops. Not complicated, is it? Followed by three months lagering at about 1º C. Should produce a lovely drinking beer (as opposed to a stare at and sip beer).

1929 Bohemian Lagerbier 
pilsner malt 2 row 10.75 lb 100.00%
Saaz 120 mins 1.00 oz
Saaz 90 mins 1.00 oz
Saaz 45 mins 2.00 oz
OG 1048
FG 1012
ABV 4.76
Apparent attenuation 75.00%
IBU 52
Mash triple decoction
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 41º F
Yeast WLP800 Pilsner Lager

This and about three dozen other Lager recipes, can be found in my book Let's Brew!

Friday, 19 October 2018

The UK hop industry in 1889

Britain's hop industry has seen plenty of ups and downs over the years. Currently, it's about its lowest ever ebb. Though the last couple of years have seen a small increase in the acreage dedicated to hops after years of continual decline.

Worrying about the state of the industry is nothing new. Being a hop farmer is a precarious existence. The yield varies massively from year to year, as does the price. And, unlike barley which also has uses as food or animal feed, brewing is the only place hops can be employed. That's a lot of variables, all of which are out of the famer's hands.

"Mr. Barclay Field on the Hop Industry.—At the Edenbridge Fat Stock Show dinner Mr. Barclay Field presided, and, replying to some observations from Mr. R. Norton, M.P., said that, as an owner of property and as a tenant farmer, farming something like 1,200 or 1,500 acres of land, he could fully sympathise with his friends around him, and regretted he could not speak more hopefully of the agricultural interest. He had grown hops every year at a loss, and he quite felt that the hop industry was not at all in a satisfactory state. Mr. Norton had given them various reasons why that was the case. In the first place, the hon. member mentioned that hop substitutes were used. Now, as far as he (the president) knew—and he had pretty good means of ascertaining—he did not believe there was the slightest danger of the hop industry being hurt in that direction. He did not believe that any large firm would use any such thing at all. It was supposed in 1882 that a large quantity of substitutes would be used; but, as a matter of fact, the quantity was very small. The market was forced by the supposition that they would be used, and prices went up. In that year hops went up to an unjustifiable price, and brewers were induced to try if they could not do with less. The result was that they found they could, and to that fact the present system of brewing was owing. The real thing that had injured the hop industry was the introduction of ice. Every brewer now had an ice-making machine, and he could brew in July as well as he could in October. Nor did they require anything like the same amount of hops. That was his experience. He believed, however, there was a growing disposition on the part of brewers to prefer English hops to any others; and unless they rose again to prohibitive prices English hops would always be preferred, because they were known to be the best. They had every reason to expect better times. There was a time when he should not have said the same, but there was no doubt the English brewers had bought up the hops this year, and next year if farmers could grow a really good crop of good quality they would have no difficulty in getting rid of them."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 393.

There was a good reason foreign hops were imported: the UK simply couldn't grow enough to satisfy the demands of brewers. As you can see from the table below, in the 1890s an average of around 179,000 cwt of hops were imported each year into the UK. Or around 20% of the hops used.

The numbers go up and down, but during between 1880 and 1900 the acreage of hops in the UK declined by almost 25%. Though an increase in yield meant the quantity of hops produced actually increased.

Hop production and imports 1857 - 1900 (cwt)
year Acreage UK production yield per acre net imports of foreign hops
1857 50,974 426,049 8.35 18,711
1860 46,271 99,667 2.15 68,918
1870 60,594 700,000 11.55 127,853
1880 66,698 440,000 6.60 195,987
1890 53,961 283,629 5.26 181,698
1891 56,142 436,716 7.78 176,834
1892 56,259 413,259 7.35 185,716
1893 57,564 414,929 7.21 168,316
1894 59,535 636,846 10.70 204,087
1895 58,940 553,396 9.39 193,738
1896 54,217 453,188 8.36 148,660
1897 50,863 411,086 8.08 223,747
1898 49,735 356,948 7.18 168,130
1899 51,843 661,426 12.76 180,233
1900 51,308 473,894 9.24 141,307
1928 Brewers' Almanack, page 119
“100 Years of Brewing” 1903, page 656.

Did ice machines affect the demand for hops? Perhaps. It had been standard practice to hop beers more heavily in the summer than in th winter. Would have artificial refrigeration change this? I'm not sure it would, as the beer needed protection after it left the brewery, not whaile it was in it. Pub cellars wouldn't be refrigerated for a long time to come.

There's another reason why hop usage might be falling: the move away from Stock Ales. Keeping Porter, for example, died out in the 1870s. That required far more hops than Running Porter, which became the only type made. The move from Stock PAle Ale to Running Pale Alewould similarly have caused a reduction in the quantity of hops used per barrel of beer.

The first year I have details of hops susbtitutes is 1902. When 173 cwt. of hop substitutes were used and 647,547 cwt. of hops. Pretty clearly substitutes weren't replacing hops and the use of them was minimal.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

American tied houses

The late 19th century was a vert capitalist time in the UK. With many investing in shares in limited companies. Breweries were especially popular investments in the 1880s and 1890s.

But, at a certain point, all the large - and many of the not so large - breweries had already converted to limited companies. What did investors do? They started to look abroad. The USA - presumably partly because of the common language - was a popular choice. British investors sometimes purchased breweries outright or, as in the case of The Peter Schoenhofen Brewery, simply bought shares. These investments didn't always work out well.

From this report it's clear that Schoenhofen was quoted on the London stock exchange. Which would have made it much simpler for UK investors to get involved.

"The Peter Schoenhofen Brewery Company, Limited.
A statutory meeting of this Company was held on the 29th ult. at Winchester House. Mr. HALE, who presided, said that there were no accounts to lay before the shareholders, but he had encouraging information. The Company’s agent in Chicago wrote that he had just seen the balance sheet, which, after providing interest on the debentures and preference shares, showed over 17.5 per cent. on the ordinary shares. The Company was turning out 19,000 barrels a month, and they would be able to pay a dividend of 20 or 22 per cent., or double the guaranteed amount — 11 per cent. The brewery premises, situated in the best parts of Chicago, were very valuable, and they had 161 tied houses. Just now barley was 40 per cent. and hops were 20 per cent. cheaper than they had been for the last two years. The chairman also explained that the American alien law would not affect the shareholders. In England, he said, £200,000,000 was invested in the brewing and malting trades, and as much was similarly invested in America.—Mr. RADFORD, representing the American share holders, said that a cable received that morning stated that last month there had been an increase of 1,170 barrels in the output, which meant increased profit.-—-The proceedings then ended."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 390.

19,000 barrels a month works out to 228,000 barrels a year. It's not clear whether those are imperial or US barrels, but it's still quite a lot of beer. Enough to put it in the top 20 UK breweries. In 1889 only 18 UK breweries produced more than 200,000 barrels a year nd only 23 over 150,000 barrels.*

But what really struck was the bit about their tied houses. I knew tied houses exicted in the USA before Prohibition. I've seen the Schlitz signs on their former tied houses in Chicago. But it's great to have something concrete on the subject. 161 is a fair number. Though I'm sure well short of the estate of large UK breweries.

The Schoenhofen brewery survived Prohibition and seems to have finally closed sometime in the 1960s.

* "The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 322.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

1851 William Younger X Mild Ale

Deciding what does and doesn’t count as a Mild Ale in Scotland can be difficult. Unless the brewer was helpful enough to actually call the beer Mild.

Especially when, as at William Younger, the same brew would receive a Shilling or X designation depending on how it was packaged. One batch could magically become both 60/- and X at racking time. Anything filled into hogsheads and intended for bottling had a Shilling name, while what went into barrels for sale on draught had an X name.

There’s not much to say about the recipe, it being just pale malt and Goldings. One salient point about the process should be mentioned: the short boil. Contemporary London X Ales were very similar in other respects – OG and hopping rate – but had longer boils. In the case of Whitbread, the difference was just 15 minutes, but Barclay Perkins boiled their X Ale for a whopping 3 hours.

The true level of attenuation would have been higher, 1029º being the cleansing rather than racking gravity. I’d guess that the actual FG was 1020-1025º.

1851 William Younger X Mild Ale
pale malt 16.75 lb 100.00%
Goldings 75 min 3.50 oz
Goldings 30 min 3.50 oz
OG 1072
FG 1029
ABV 5.69
Apparent attenuation 59.72%
IBU 92
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 184º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

This recipe - and more than 350 others - can be found in my definitive book on Scottish beer:

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Tied Houses

A subject dear to my heart. Tied house were so much part of the beer scene in my youngs days. I couldn't imagine the system breaking down But break down it did.

Back in the 1970s, something like 80% of UK pubs were tied houses. That is, where a brewery owned either the freehold or leasehold. Of the remaining 20% supposedly "free" houses, a large percentage were effectively at least partially tied through a loan from a brewery. An exception was Scotland, where loan ties were the norm and brewers owned a relativley small number of pubs.

I find this letter about a court case involving a tied house fascinating. Had the landlord won, it would have bought the tied house system crashing down.

SIR,—-Allow me, through the medium of your columns, to point out a case of considerable importance to brewers generally, and one which I hope will be taken up by our Country Brewers’ Society, should the scale turn in any but the way one would naturally expect it.

The case in question was resumed on Wednesday last, the 4th inst., at the Chancery Court of Lancaster, before the Vice-Chancellor (Sir H. F. Bristowe). It is an action brought by Messrs. Clegg & Wright and Mr. Robert Cain, brewers of Liverpool, against Mr. Benjamin Hands, lessee of the “Alexandra" Hotel, Upper Hill-street, Liverpool, for an injunction to restrain the latter from selling any ales or stouts except those supplied by or through the plaintith. Now, it seems that the defendant (Mr. Hands) is the lessee of a public-house, the property of Messrs. Clegg & Wright, and some short time ago Messrs. Clegg & Wright sold their business to Mr. Robert Cain, who is the largest brewer in the city of Liverpool; Upon the consignment of Clegg & Wright’s business to Mr. Cain, the defendant refused, and still refuses, to deal with Mr. Cain, on the grounds that the article supplied by this gentleman is not of the quality supplied by Clegg and Wright. The defendant has never dealt with Mr. Cain, and his line of defence seems to rest entirely upon hearsay, and here, I venture to say, rests the rider which will turn the scale. Independent of this, I consider, sir, that upon this case rests one of the most important points in connection with licensed property, for the simple reason should a brewer feel disposed to part with his business, any “tied" houses he may have that are leased to tenants, such tenants may, according to the line of defence, absolutely refuse to deal with anybody but the party or parties from whom their lease was obtained, and the clause in any lease explaining the fact that the lessor has power to assign his business to a second party falls to the ground, and the once “tied" tenant becomes free to deal from whom he wishes, independent of the fact that his lease may have been a hiring lease, that the rent he pays may (as it is in many cases) be even less than the rent paid by the brewer, or, on the other hand, not capable of bringing back interest upon the money invested in the property by the owner.

All I ask is justice, and I have taken the trouble, Sir, to write this letter with the hope that every paper in the interests of the brewing trade will publish full reports of this case, since it is the turning-point of a great financial difficulty, upon which many brewers have already been put to considerable annoyance and expense.

I am, Sir, yours faithfully,

The Laboralory, “City” Brewery,
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 390.

If the lease of a tied house couldn't be transferred from one brewer to another, it would have a big negative effect on their value. Brewers had invested huge sums buying up pubs and would suffer big paper losses if their value fell considerably. It woulkd also make buying up rival brewers unattractive if it didn't include their tied houses. Most buyers weren't interested in the brewery itself, just its pubs.

Obviously, the landlord of the Alexandra Hotel must have lost the case. Otherewise the tied house system of my youth wouldn't have existed. At least not in the form I knew.

The Alexandra Hotel seems to have closed sometime in the last ten years.

Monday, 15 October 2018

Number time

Numbers, numbers, numbers. Our faithful friends. That don't lie. Unlike those unreliable human bastards.

I like this set because it doesn't just cover alcoholic drinks, but hot drinks, too. In fact, that's where all the interest is. Especially tea and coffee.

The two started not that far apart. But while tea consumption doubled between 1852 and 1872, coffee consumption fell by more than 50%. Though the big winner was cocao, the consumption of which quadrupled over the period covered.

Other highlights: beer consumption rising a bit, foreign rising in the first 20 years then falling back, domestic spirits declining, foreign and colonial spirits rising.

The increase in tea consumption, unsurprisingly, seems to coincide with the expansion of tea production in India.

It would be interesting to see the numbers longer term, especially the tea to coffee ratio.

Consumption of various drinks per head 1852 - 1888

British Spirits. Foreign and Colonial Spirits. Foreign Wines. Beer. Tea. Coffee. Cocoa.
Year ended Dec. 31. Gallons per Head Gallons per Head Gallons per Head Spirits of all kinds Gallons per Head Barrels per Head Pounds per Head Pounds per Head Pounds per Head
1852 0.918 0.177 1.095 0.231 0.610 1.993 1.274 0.121
1862 0.644 0.177 0.821 0.334 0.661 2.694 1.178 0.124
1872 0.843 0.285 1.128 0.526 0.884 4.005 0.978 0.244
1882 0.809 0.236 1.045 0.406 0.766 4.673 0.884 0.338
1885 0.732 0.221 0.953 0.379 0.746 5.021 0.899 0.402
1886 0.707 0.235 0.942 0.359 0.739 4.877 0.861 0.413
1887 0.700 0.220 0.920 0.366 0.747 4.948 0.790 0.434
1888 0.693 0.243 0.936 0.358 0.744 4.950 0.815 0.486
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 307.

Sunday, 14 October 2018

Birthday recipe

There's a new button on the left. "Birthday recipe"

Let me explain what it means. Egotist that I am, I've deliberately photographed brewing records on my birthday. Which is why I could have a festival of birthday beers for my 60th birthday party.

I'll be honest here. I need to earn more dosh from my beer activities. Dolores has made this very clear. "You need to earn more money from your beer crap, Ronald."

OK, Dolores. Stop hitting me. I'll sort this out.

Want a special beer for your birthday? Or any other significant event. I can sort you out with a recipe for any given date. I've so many brewing records, I've multiple recipes for any given date.
For a mere 25 euros, I'll provide a home brew recipe for any date. Along with an image of the relevant brewing record to prove I'm not just making it up.

For just 25 euros. Bargain.

Crowley AK grists 1914 - 1919

I continue to lumber my way through the details of various AKs that I've found over the years. I've just discovered another one that I've totally untapped: Kidd AK. Which is a weird one because it only appeared after WW I. I've just never extracted the data from Kidd's post-war records.

More of that later. We're here to discuss Crowley AK. More specifically, its grists during the years of WW I. That's yet another double obsession hit: AK and WW I. Is it me who's lucky or you? MAybe it's both of us.

At least Crowly's version is a bit more interesting than the last lot of Fullers AK we lookd at. No shock there, as the table covers war years. Always lots going on then. At least in terems of gravity. Which, as you can see, dropped steadil until the summer of 1918, after which it rose again. Though it still ended lower than in 1914. 24% lower, to be precise.

Crowley's beers, though not all-malt before the war, certainly contained a high percentage of malt. In the case of AK, at least 90%. During the later war years, it really did go al malt. Probably because they were having trouble getting the type of sugar they wanted.

CDM stands for Caramelised Dextro-Maltose, in case you're wondering. It's a sugar that was used for colouring purposes. Not sure what Laevuline is, but Laevulose is an old name for fructose. I suspect that it's either fructose or something similar.

Odd that Crowly threw some choclate malt in the grist in late 1918. I assume that was for colouring purposes.

Crowley AK grists 1914 - 1919
Date Year OG pale malt chocolate Malt No. 3 sugar CDM laevuline
16th Jun 1914 1047.1 92.59% 7.41%
7th Jan 1915 1045.7 91.46% 8.54%
7th Jan 1916 1042.9 89.29% 7.14% 1.19% 2.38%
13th Jan 1916 1041.6 90.36% 7.23% 2.41%
22nd May 1917 1033.2 92.02% 6.13% 1.84%
10th Jul 1917 1036.0 100.00%
1st Jan 1918 1033.2 100.00%
4th Jun 1918 1030.5 98.36% 1.64%
23rd July 1918 1027.7 100.00%
26th Sep 1918 1030.5 96.39% 3.61%
12th Feb 1919 1034.6 100.00%
12th May 1919 1036.0 100.00%
Brewing record held at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies, document number 37M86/2.

Saturday, 13 October 2018

Let's Brew - 1858 Tetley SP

I'm just realising how few Tetley's recipes I've published. At least on the blog.* Odd given my obsession with the brewery.

Yorkshire isn’t particularly well known for Stout, though, as in all parts of the UK, plenty was brewed there. A brewery couldn’t afford not to have at least one Stout in their range. Drinkers expected the option. Tetley seem to have been particularly enthusiastic brewers of Porter and Stout. Exceptionally so for a Northern brewer.

As you’re probably tired of hearing me say, brewers outside London had mostly dropped brown malt from their Stout grists by the middle of the 19th century. They preferred a simpler grist of just pale and black malt. As is the case with this beer.

In terms of strength, it looks like a London Single Stout of the same period. Does SP stand for “Stout Porter”. Possible. But I wouldn’t bet my house on it. The bitterness level, however looks low. Reid’s 1877 S has more than twice the number of calculated IBUs.

1858 Tetley SP
pale malt 15.75 lb 92.65%
black malt 1.25 lb 7.35%
Goldings 90 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
OG 1072
FG 1024
ABV 6.35
Apparent attenuation 66.67%
IBU 32
SRM 34
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 180º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale

* I have published more Tetley's recipes in various books. This one appears in my excellent Let's Brew!

Friday, 12 October 2018

Fullers AK grists 1925 - 1939

Remember that really dull table of Fullers AK? Here are the grists for those same beers.

And how, er, hardly, er, what's the word I'm looking for? More interesting. That's it. They're hardly more interesting than the last table. But there is one tiny point to be made.

The recipes is very constant between 1931 and 1939. Essentially identical in every year. But between 1925 and 1931 recipes, there is a significant change. Some of the pale malt has been replaced by flaked maize.  Probably for cost reasons. This set demonstrates something about receipe evolution.

At many breweries, outside of the crisis years of the two wars, recipes remained the same for years on end. Sometimes decades. But every now and again, there might be a sudden change, as here. Then everything would stay the same for years.

Ambitious breweries tended to tinker more. Presumably as they were more cost-driven and the brewers themselves tended to have less influence.

Note that the specifications of the beer didn't change between 1925 and 1931. It remained exactly the same strength. Only the recipe changed in the background a bit. Did anyone notice?

Fullers AK grists 1925 - 1939
Date Year OG pale malt flaked maize no. 2 sugar glucose intense
17th Jun 1925 1032.2 87.70% 8.18% 2.34% 1.56% 0.22%
22nd Apr 1931 1032.3 81.80% 14.72% 2.18% 1.09% 0.20%
2nd Mar 1932 1032.5 81.65% 14.52% 2.42% 1.21% 0.20%
25th Jun 1935 1033.4 81.71% 14.53% 2.42% 1.21% 0.13%
31st Aug 1937 1033.7 81.67% 15.06% 2.11% 1.06% 0.10%
4th Jan 1938 1033.7 82.67% 14.59% 1.30% 1.30% 0.15%
24th Oct 1939 1033.4 81.33% 14.79% 2.46% 1.23% 0.18%
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Come and see me in Washington DC

I'll be in Washington DC in just over a wek. Mostly habging out with friends, though I do have a couple of things planned.

Including this meet and greet at DC Brau. Where you'll have a chance to buy some of my books, hopefully. I have two very thirsty children to support. Help me buy them vodka and Best Bier.

It should be lots of fun. You can ask me anything you like (beer-related). Though I may not have the answer. I don't know everything. Just a lot.

An Evening with Ron Pattinson
Fri, October 19, 2018, 6:00 PM – 7:30 PM EDT
DC Brau
3178 Bladensburg Road Northeast
Washington, DC 20018

Going public

One of the unusual features of UK brewing in the 19th century was its ownership structure. Until the very end of the century virtual all breweries, even the very largest like Bass, Guinness or Barclay Perkins, remained privately owned, usually in the form of partnerships.

All that changed in the 1880s, when breweries started converting to public limited companies. Once a couple of launches had been higly successful, everyone rushed to get in on the act. With good reason: it was a great way of raising massive amounts of capital. Which, as we'll see later, breweries had an urgent need of.

THE most remarkable feature of the past three or four years, so far as the liquor trade 15 concerned, has undoubtedly been the wholesale transformation of private brewery concerns into public joint stock companies. Previous to 1885 the number of joint stock breweries might have been almost counted on the fingers, and the total amount of their combined capital did not reach seven million sterling. In 1886 share capital in home breweries to the amount of £7,719,200 was offered to the public, in 1887 £9,986,726, in 1888 no less than £13,486,000 in home and £1,870,000 in foreign concerns. A very conclusive proof of the profitable nature of the trade is furnished by the fact that most of the largest brewers, including Messrs. Bass, Truman, Combe, Courage, Meux, Reid, Watney, and Whitbread, have retained all the ordinary share capital in their own hands, and only offered debentures or preference shares to outsiders. Where the public have had a chance of participating some of the chief prizes for the past year have been among the metropolitan companies. The New Westminster have paid 8 per cent.; Smith Garrett, 9 per cent.; Nalder and Collyer, 10 per cent.; Lion, 12 per cent.; and City of London, 15 per cent. The premier place of all, how ever, must be accorded to the great Dublin firm of Guinness, who although it has declared only 15 per cent. has earned 30, carrying the difference over to a reserve fund, which now amounts to the substantial total of £400,000. Altogether brewery investors, who are now said to number 50,000, have every reason to be satisfied. Beer shows a great elasticity, and no doubt there is still room for considerable expansion. According to the last report of the Commissioners of Inland Revenue duty was paid on 408,347 barrels in excess of the previous year.

The market for brewery shares has been neglected for some time. While home railways and other stocks have boomed and touched the highest prices on record, beers, stouts, and lager beers have been resting. Even Guinness shares are 10 below the best figures touched this year, and most of the others are down in sympathy. Allsopp’s have slipped down from 93.125, to 78.75, and now stand at about 80. Bass, Bristol, Manchester, and others are all lower on balance, while lager beers have, in the majority of cases, been entirely neglected. The entire market has been in a state of repose for some time, and prices have dropped for want of support."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1889", 1889, page 372.

As the article states, in most cases the partners kept hold of the ordinary shares (the ones with voting rights) and only sold not-voting debentures or preference shares to the public. Typically, the capital was split 50-50 between the two. Meaning the partners got 50% of the value of the company in cash, but kept full control. This sudden influx of cash was to have a huge impact on the brewing trade.

Because it happened at exactly the moment when, due to stricter licensing laws, new pub licences were becoming almost unobtainable. The 1869 Licensing Act placed beer houses under the control of local licensing magistrates for the first time. Previously these had been handled by the Excise directly and licenses were granted automatically if a few basic conditions were met. Licensing magistrates wer mostly a miserable bunch, who saw it as their duty to reduce the number of pubs.

The result? The new limited companies used the capital raised to buy pubs, seeing that as the most reliable way of securing trade. The price of pubs rocketed and those who remained privately owned and didn't have much capital saw their outlets drying up. Even the mighty Alssopp, the UK's third-largest brewer, which was late going public and getting into the tied house game, came unstuck.

The boom years of the late 1880s and 1890s - when almost all brewers saw their trade increasing and their profits high - werent't to last. A series of tax increases in the early 20th century severly hit the trade, particularly the value of tied houses. As this formed a considerbale part of most breweries assets, many found themselves over-capitalised and had to mark down the value of their share capital. Often to just 10% of its nominal value.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1953 Truman XXX

We're heading back to the 1950s today. For a couple of reasons.

It's one of my favourite decades, for a start. My affectaion may be conencted with the fact that it's when I first popped into existence. Also because it's the origin not just of me personally, but of the British beer I grew up loving, too. It's a good excuse for another Mild recipe as well.

The strongest of Truman’s Milds, XXX, was pretty strong for a 1950s Mild. I suppose it would count as a Best Mild.

I should mention something about the colour of these Milds. I’ve no idea what it was, to be honest. The colours in the recipes are the minimum they would have been. It’s quite possible that they were sometimes, or always, coloured up at racking time. I’ve no Whitbread Gravity Book analyses for these beers so I’ve no way to check. Truman’s London-brewed Mild was dark, around 20-25 SRM.

3.7% ABV was pretty pokey for a Mild Ale back in the early 1950s. There were plenty under 3% ABV.

1953 Truman XXX
pale malt 3.50 lb 43.75%
high dried malt 3.50 lb 43.75%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.25%
raw cane sugar 0.50 lb 6.25%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1036
FG 1008
ABV 3.70
Apparent attenuation 77.78%
IBU 17
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 61.5º F
Yeast WLP013 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Like this sort of watery post-war recipe? Then why not invest in my latest book? It has a couple of hundred recipes from the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s: