Sunday, 23 November 2008

Stout 1920 - 1939

You may have noticed that I'm very busy with the period 1920-1950. It's a fascinating time. No, it really is. Well it's fascinating for me.

Do you think I'm going into too great detail? I worry that I'm serving up indigestible platefuls of numbers. What do you reckon? I find myself sucked into the minutiae of the past all too easily. Will I know when to stop? I've already written more than 90,000 words. And there's much, much more I haven't got to yet.

It's numbers and chips for tea again today. Just without the chips.

Though its popularity was on the wane, draught Stout was still relatively common, especially in London. It was one of the strongest draught beers found in a pub. Like all British beers, its gravity had dropped around 25% during the war years. Standard Stouts were around 1050-1055º, though there were some cheaper, weaker versions at 1045-1050º.

Here are some examples of draught Stouts.

Bottled Stout was very popular and many breweries produced several at different strengths. No, it wasn't just sweet Stout. Many were just as highly attenuated as the Guinness of the period. There were sweet Stouts and these relatively weak beers were gaining popularity, but they were by no means the commonest. Some breweries, such as Barclay Perkins, were still making very strong Stouts of up to 10% ABV.

Below are details of some typical bottled Stouts.

In London, a considerable portion of output was Porter and Stout. In 1933, these accounted for 26% of the beer brewed by Whitbread. A far cry from the glory days a century earlier, but still a significant proportion of their sales. From Whitbread price lists, we can see that in addition to the Stouts they brewed themselves, they also sold Guinness and Mackeson in their pubs.

Below is an overview of the Porter and Stouts brewed by Whitbread in the interwar period.

These are the details Whitbread's main Stouts (and Porter) in the 1932:

It's interesting that grist contains no roasted malt or barley, the only dark malts being brown and chocolate. This is probably atypical of the Stouts of the period.

The situation was different at Barclay Perkins. They were producing so little Stout, that the Porter brewhouse was also being used for other short brewlength beers such as KKKK and DB. In 1936, only 4.5% of their production was Porter or Stout.


Barm said...

You're doing pioneering historical work here. Please don't stop.

Oblivious said...

I would have considered chocolate malted to be roasted malt, as with amber and brown just on the lower spectrum of roasting?

Ron Pattinson said...

Oblivious, by "roasted malt" I meant something specific, i.e. the stuff that's also called black malt.

You're correct in saying that other malts are roasted, just to a lesser degree.

Oblivious said...

Ah ok, Ron did you not post a Whitbread porter recipe from around 1870-80's that had chocolate malt and no black as well?

Ron Pattinson said...


Anonymous said...

Maurice Gorham's Back to the Pub, published 1949, seems to indicate that the only draught stout available in London pubs at that time was Guinness, though a Watney guide from around the same time says they were doing something called "container stout".

Ron Pattinson said...

Zythophile, I'd love to be able to pin down exactly when cask Stout disappeared. My guess would after WW II but before 1960.

Anonymous said...

About the difference between chocolate & roasted malt. Isn't Chocolate malt de-bittered roastmalt(bring it in vacuum so most of the bitter parts evaporate)?

Oblivious said...

Hi Anonymous

Chocolate malt can have a slight bitter edge, but depends of the quantities used, I
you are thinking of carafa special 2 malt which is a debittered version of choclate from Weyermann

An the bitterness come from the outer husk of the roasted grain nothing to do with evaporation

Anonymous said...

Hello Oblivious,
I was thinking of the chocolate malt I buy from Dingemans. It's a de-bittered version of their Roastmalt( done with vacuum). Karl Dingemans told me that at least so think in Belgium it's that way.

Oblivious said...

Hi Anonymous

All I have seen from them is a De-Bittered Black Malt is that it?