Thursday, 14 February 2008

How many Stouts?

Zythophile has written another (as usual) excellently-researched piece on Stout and just exactly how many styles of it there are. You must have noticed my fixation with all beers that are black.

How many types of Stout? Zythophile reckons three. And he backs up his argument with facts and quotes. Good stuff. It's a shame this standard is so rarely reached in beer writing. His conclusion:
"In that case there are three historic types of stout, Irish, London and sweet – though since drinkers seem to put the flavour of Whitbread Extra Stout in with Irish-style stouts, it seems to me that Irish and London are all one category of “dry” stout."
Sounds about right to me. The numbers I've excavated from the archives tell a similar tale. If you look closely. I have the details of 308 Stouts, brewed between 1940 and 1967. They're an eclectic bunch, from all over the UK (but no Barclay Perkins), Ireland, Belgium, the USA. It took days to transcribe them all from the Whitbread Gravity Book. But I'm a generous soul. I'm going to let you take a look. I've got the OG, FG, colour, claculated ABV, calculated attenuation.

British, Irish and other Stouts 1940 - 1967

One proviso. If you use any of the information in the spreadsheet or tables, please say where you got it from. That's all I ask. Not much, is it? That goes for all the stuff I publish on this blog. I think it's pretty reasonable considering how much work I put into compiling this stuff.

These tables demonstrate the exact difference between London and Irish Stout (note the different mix of malts):

Is that enough to convince you? Admittedly, it would be nice to have confirmation of a particular Irish style by having similar information from other Irish breweries. Having read the Murphy's brewery history ( "The Murphy's Story" by Diarmuid Ó Drisceoil & Donal Ó Drisceoil), I suspect that at least some brewing records still exist. I suppose I should look and see if there are any logs in Irish archives. Anyone happen to know if there are? Beer nut, do you? It might give me a good excuse to visit Dublin.

I promised Zythophile something about 1950's Whitbread Stout. This is a beer brewed Monday 4th February 1952. WS it's called in the log. Whitbread Stout would be my guess as to what it stands for. I'm prepared to go out on a limb on that one.

They had other Stouts called MS (1042.5, racked 1011.5) ES (1055.4, racked 1013.5) brewed from a similar mix of M.A (mild ale malt, I guess), brown and chocolate malt, pale and dark sugar, but hopped a little less at 1.2 pounds per barrel.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting 1952 recipe, Ron, I'd like to taste that ... there ain’t no pale malt in there, assuming (as I think we can) M.A. stands for Mild Ale malt - 16 per cent of brown and chocolate malt would give a pretty dark beer, and at least two of the sugars are No 3, the dark variety … Taylor, supplier of the brown malt, and French (presumably French & Jupp), supplier of the chocolate malt, were East Hertfordshire specialist maltsters of "coloured" malts. On the hops side, "Bates" is presumably Bates' Brewer, the Golding variety that gave birth to WGV, Whitbread Golding Variety - I wonder if this was actually WGV, and Whitbread called WGV "Bates" internally? Dunno about Highwood and Day, my guess is that they were growers ...

Anonymous said...

I don't have anything meaningful to say -- just wanted to let you know I'm reading!