Tuesday 8 January 2008

Suspected Burton

Today's post is especially for Zythophile. Sorry that I couldn't come up with any AKs. Burton should be a good substitute. Burton is close to my own heart: it's the middle name of my second son (the initials of the first are AK).

Burton, ah, Burton. Once so common, now misunderstood or forgotten. For those of you who have arrived late, a word of explanation about Burton. It's not Burton Pale Ale I'm talking about, but Burton Ale. A strong, dark beer, it was one of the standard draught beers in London pubs until well into the 1950's. The last two Burtons were brewed by Fullers and Youngs. Fullers replaced theirs with ESB in the early 1970's. Around the same time Young's renamed theirs Winter Warmer and made it a seasonal beer.

Explanation over. But what about the title? Why suspected Burton? Because not all are called that by name in the Whitbread and Truman gravity books. Some are called Strong Ale, others just XXX or KKKK. I can''t be 100% sure these were Burtons. But as the list of named Burtons is just seven long, I've included the suspected Burtons, too.

Wondering about what the colour numbers mean? They lie in about the same range as Dark Mild. What was the relative strength of Burton? About the same or a little higher than Best Bitter. Want more details? Look below.

Suspected Burton. Better than an attempted moustache.


Alan said...

How odd. I posted about a suspect Burtonian, too.

Matthew D Dunn said...

I love the archival posts. Can you explain how the original gravity was calculated? I don't get it. Truman's purchased beer from competitor's pubs and based on the final gravity and alcohol content calculated the original gravity?

Ron Pattinson said...

I guess it's the same way CAMRA calculated OGs in the 1970's, before brewers declared OG or ABV. Measure the FG and ABV and calculate the OG from the two. It's not a 100% accurate method, but based on a comparison of CAMRA's calculated OGs and the ones eventually declared by the brewers, good enough.

That CAMRA could find someone to do the analyses pretty easily, betrays how common it was amongst brewers. Let's put it this way: I've found gravity books in 2 of the 4 brewer's archives I've looked in.

I'm glad someone else likes the archive stuff. It fascinates me. I had been getting disheartened at the lack of response to them.

Matthew D Dunn said...

I'm always excited to see the archival stuff. Keep it coming. I think that's the best part of your blog. I actually learn something true about the history of beer and brewing by reading your blog, not just rehashed hearsay.

Stonch said...

Ronbo, I like to think (I hope) that the number of responses to a blog post does not correlate to how much it was appreciated. If it does, then all of my stuff I think has been the best has falled on deaf ears.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm pleased to hear that there is interest in my archive-based posts. I'll be delighted to continue with them.

Anonymous said...


Do you have any reference to the grists of, say, Whitbread Burton? By the looks of it they were making it throughout the 1930s, but there wasn't any reference to it in the 1933 brewing log, if I recall. It wasn't the XXX referred to in the 1933 brewing log was it? I had pegged Burton for being similar in color but hoppier than beers in the Mild (X) family.



Ron Pattinson said...

The 1933 Whitbread XXX looks like the best candidate for being their Burton. It was definitely a draught beer and the gravity - 1048 - matches the entry for 1935 in the table of Burtons.

It is slightly hoppier than the Mild and about the same colour.