Tuesday 30 June 2009

How Paulaner got a monopoly of Salvator

Salvator is the name of a brand of Doppelbock brewed by Paulaner (formerly Zacherl). But it wasn't always that way. Once Salvator was like Pilsener, the name of a type of beer. That was until Zacherl trademarked the name. Bastards. A bit like A-B with Budweiser. Their fellow brewers weren't best pleased.

"Gentlemen, you all know the beautiful gift of God that is called Salvatorbier; this beer is brewed by the joint-stock company Schmederer that is the fortunate owner of the Zacherlbrauerei in Munich. This company has recently submitted the trademark "Original Salvator" to the Reich Patent Office, has obtained a registration, and the objections of a whole number of other breweries, who also brew Salvatorbier, were ignored, yes, it has gone so far that the district court in Munich passed an injunction and seized the beer stocks of the other brewers and has started criminal proceedings against the directors of these breweries. Now, everyone who understands the brewing industry knows that the name Salvatorbier in no way implies origin from a specific brewery, but, just like Bockbier, is only a certain type of beer, a stronger type of beer, that is a specific sort. It's certainly reasonable for the Zacherl brewery to call its beer Zacherl-Bräu Salvator; but if officials allow a single brewery to register the name Original-Salvator, if courts punish those who use the designation and seize their stocks, it shows how little expertise the courts possess, and how necessary it is to protect them from such indefinite terms, as those found in the critical words of § l.

Gentlemen, I have information from another brewery in Munich, in which it is shown that in the year 1896 212 Munich publicans obtained their Salvator supplies from the Schwabinger Salvator-brewery, and that in the same year the Zacherlbrauerei only supplied 44 publicans with its Salvator. I have also here a very interesting list of about 30 breweries, which brew Salvator, not only in Munich but also elsewhere in Germany. There are, for instance, the following breweries, which for many years have brewed Salvatorbier and sold under that name: the Hellbrauerei in Passau since 1840, Schmeroldsche the brewery in Passau for 40 years, the Gablersche Brauerei in Nuremberg for 40 years, SSanderbrauerei in Würzburg for 15 years, the brewery of Gebrüder Geismann in Fürth for 12 years, Forsters Dampfbrauerei in Schwabach for 6 years, Pröl Ungers-Brauerei in Schwabach for 6 years, Kaiserslauterner Aktienbrauerei since 1874, Salvatorbrauerei Schrabing in Munich (formerly Petuel) since 1878, the Kronenbrauerei in Augsburg, the Spatenbrauerei, Hackerbrauerei, Thomasbrauerei, Bergbrauerei in Munich, Frankenbrauerei in Bamberg, the Brauerei von Roas in Neuburg near Passau, Gebrüder Lederer in Nuremberg, Evora in Fürth, Aktienbrauerei Meißner Felsenkeüer in Meißen, the Deiningersche Brauerei in Hof, Aachener Exportbrauerei, die Freiherrlich Sternburgsche Brauerei in Leipzig, the Brauerei von F. D. Benders Söhne in Kaiserslautern, the Anklamer Bergschloßbrauerei in Nienstedten, the Modische Brauerei in Lindenhoff etc. All these and many other breweries market a strong beer with the name "Salvatorbier", - and now comes the Zacherlbrauerei, which once, when there were still Zwangs- und Bannrechte, got permission from the Bavarian government to call a particular beer Salvator to call it - the word originally meant Sankt-Vater-Bier - and demands with administrative help a monopoly over a certain beer type. This can happen because the authorities have so little technical insight."
"Die Bekämpfung des unlauteren Wettbewerbs" by Adolf Lobe, 1907, pages 372-374

Nothying new under the sun, is there? The reaction of other brewers was to think up other names with the suffix -ator. WHich is why we have such great names as Triumphator, Bajuvato, Bambergator, Terminator, etc. So I guess Zacherl's shady dealings were neither that successful nor totally bad for the drinker.

Monday 29 June 2009

Trips! (West)

It's that time again. Another of my Mini Series Books has escaped. Volume VIII, it's entitled "Trips! (West)"

What does the title mean? Er, well, it's a guide for those wanting to make boozing trips in the West of Germany. All the Big names are there. Düsseldorgf, Cologne, Ratingen. And plenty of others, too. Dortmund, Osnabrück, Münster, Duisburg, Kaiserslautern. Everything you need for an international piss up is included. Pub details, maps, brewery guide, beer details.

"Trips! (West)" is the essential companion for any trip to the West of Germany. If you like your beer. And you wouldn't be reading this blog if you didn't.

But what if we want to go somewhere else in Germany. Don't worry. "Trips! (South)" and "Trips! (East)" will be volumes IX and X. Collect the set and you'll have the most comprehensive guide to central European beer ever compiled.

Buy "Trips! (West)" now!


C Ale

I took the boys to the swimming baths yesterday. We've been having muggy, overcast days for what seems like weeks. It was pleasant to set and read while the kids cavorted in the outdoor pool.

Naturally, it wasn't just the paper or the latest Jilly Cooper novel I was reading. I actually had two books with me. "Brewing" and "Manchester Breweries of Times Gone By, Vol 2". Nice light reading for a Sunday morning.

I realise that I read this stuff a little differently from most. My attention was immediately drawn by the image of a bill from some brewery in Ardwick. It had the beer names printed on it. Or rather beer codes. I', used to these things, so I could work out most of them:


Let's see, that's Mild, Best Mild, Bitter, Porter, Extra Stout, C??? - what the hell is that, Stout, C Best Bitter?

Then there was a mention in the text of a thing called C Ale, which seems to have been peculiar to Manchester. At least half a dozen breweries made one. There was even a label image. The only clue as to what it could have stood for was a beer called City.

I thought I'd been making progress with these letter codes. I'm pretty confident what the X's and K's mean. T as well. Now here's another bloody cryptic letter. Anyone any idea what the hell it stood for? Or what type of beer it was?

Now I've found a label for C Ale, I see something intriguing. The words "naturally mature in bottle". I wonder if that has anything to do with the identity of C Ale?

Sunday 28 June 2009

The spread of pale lager

I've warned you before about assuming Pilsener brewing quickly spread across Europe after 1842. In Bavaria in particular brewers were reluctant to abandon their dark lagers and follow the new fad for pale lager.

This article documents the eventual adoption of light beer by the Bavarians.

"Notes on Bavarian Light Beer.

The dark, so-called Bavarian beer, which was brewed according to methods originating in Bavaria at a low temperature with bottom fermenting yeast, was well known at the beginning of the 19th Century, when large quantities of this beer were consumed, not only in Bavaria, but also in North Germany, Austria, and even in France.

"Pilsner beer" first attracted general notice during the World Exposition at Paris in 1867, after which it became a serious rival to the dark Bavarian beer. The first Bavarian brewer to make a beer of the Pilsner variety was Karl Michel, at that time owner of a brewery at Augsburg, and now director of the Michel Brewing Academy in Munich. Michel brewed light beers of different strengths and sold them both in and out of Bavaria; he had an especially good trade in Munich. Such was the good reputation of Michel's beer that it occupied a prominent place at the royal feast when Princess Grisela was betrothed to Prince Leopold of Bavaria. At this time no other German brewer was brewing light beer and it was several years before brewers generally began to produce it. The Berliner bohmische Brauhaus took it up and soon all North German brewers were making Pilsner beer.

The Bavarian brewers, particularly those of Munich and Augsburg, for a long time held aloof from the light beer, and even now the world famed Brauerei des Münchener Koniglichen Hofbrauhauses brews only dark beer. The brewers of Niirnberg and Culmbach followed the North Germans. The demand for Pilsner beer became greater, even in Munich. To meet this demand and the competition of outsiders the Munich brewers had to brew light beers.

The Brauerei zum Thomasbrau was the first to undertake to imitate Pilsner beer; next followed the Spatenbrauerei and gradually all the other Munich breweries except the Hofbrauhaus. Some of these brewers, as the Thomas brewery, succeeded in imitating Pilsner beer, but most of the others do not hop their worts as strongly as do the Bohemian brewers; this they do in deference to the taste of the Munich public, which is not very fond of bitter beer. The Munich light beers are generally stronger than the genuine Pilsner.

The differences in character which subsist between the light Pilsner and the dark Bavarian beers are due to differences in the method of preparation of the malt. While for dark beer the brewer requires a sweet, roasted malt with aromatic taste and dark color, for light beer he requires a malt with the brightest possible color without the aroma of roasted malt, and with a mealy, almond like taste. These two types of beer differ also in their concentration and in the amount of hops used. Light beers, taking Pilsner beer as a model, have a lower concentration (original wort) and more hop extract, than the Bavarian; further, the light beers are higher fermented than the dark beers.

As to the composition of the light Bavarian beer in comparison with the dark, it may be remarked that according to German law only malt and hops can be used in the manufacture of beer.

Below are given the average results of the analysis of 20 light and 20 dark Munich beers as given by the Munich Scientific Station for Brewing:

Light beer Dark beer
Original Wort 12.33% 13.68%
Degree of fermentation 58.61% 51.95%
Alcohol 3.76% 3.70%
Extract 5.09% 6.55%

Pilsner beer brewed in Bohemia has the following composition:

Original Wort 11.50%
Degree of fermentation 53.20%
Alcohol 3.30%
Extract 5%

The light beers now enjoy great popularity in Munich as well as outside of Germany. The production increases from year to year; in Munich it constitutes about 30 per cent, of the total."
"Pure products" published by The Scientific Station for Pure Products, 1909, pages 255-256.

Looks like it's becoming a summer of lager. Maybe I should just give it to it and accept it as my ineluctable summer theme.

Saturday 27 June 2009

Salvator Beer

Having obsessions is great fun. If you're a blogger. You never run out of things to write about. I hadn't mentioned Salvator for far too long. Perhaps a week or two. Time to revisit it.

The following is a potted history of Salvator taken from the rather odd magazine "Pure Products", published in New York.

"Salvator Beer.

The most celebrated beer specialty of Munich, which enjoys great popularity not only in the place of origin but also throughout the world, is the Salvator beer brewed at the Salvatorbiere brewery of the A.-G. Paulanerbrau.

As the origin of the name, "Salvator," and the history of the brewery which brews this beer are very interesting they deserve a little notice.

In 1651 the Paulist friars, for whom the Elector Maximillian of Bavaria had built a cloister near Munich in 1623, received from the Elector Ferdinand Maria permission to erect a brewery near the cloister and to brew beer for their own use. Later on they were given permission to sell their product during the feast of the Holy Father (Franz von Paula, April 2). This feast lasted 8 days; the populace of Munich used to go out to the cloister and drink the brew specially prepared for the occasion. This special beer was called '' Holy Father beer " or " Sankt Vaterbier,'' and was highly celebrated on account of its strength and fine flavor; the name "Sanakt Vaterbier" was later corrupted in popular speech to '' Salvatorbiere.'' It was customary for the Electoral Court to attend the feast, which in time came to be a national holiday. After the celebration of the feast in the church the brew was tapped and the first draught presented to the Elector; this custom survived down to recent times and even now the first draught of Salvator beer is sent to the Court.

When the cloisters were secularized in 1799, the Paulist cloister was discontinued; the brewery was taken over and operated by the State. The brewery, which was in a building separate from the cloister (which was first used as a field hospital and later as a penitentiary) was granted in 1803 to the Order of St. John, by which it was operated for a while. Later the brewer Zacherl leased and afterward acquired it by purchase; he also obtained the right to brew the Salvator beer and to sell it for a higher price than ordinary beer.

In the thirties of the last century Salvator beer was sold throughout Germany and exported to foreign countries, and was the first Bavarian beer to enter international commerce.

In 1849 the brewery was sold to the brothers Schmederer, and in 1886 became the property of a stock company. Of the old cloister brewery but little remains now, as the present brewery is thoroughly modern and up to date. It is interesting to note that Zacherl, who recently died, was the first to boil worts with steam.

The difference in composition between Salvator beer and the ordinary dark Bavarian beer consists chiefly in the more concentrated original wort (about 19 per cent.).. It is a low fermented beer, containing unfermented sugar and other carbohydrates; for this reason it has a sweeter taste. The ordinary Bavarian dark high kilned malts are used in its preparation; the process used at the Paulaner brewery is kept secret and other brewers find it difficult to produce beer of similar character. The trade in Salvator beer lasts only a few days, and forms but a small part of the business of the Paulaner Company.

During the feast of the Holy Father the chief place where Salvator beer is consumed is the so-called Salvatorkeller on the Nockerberg. On one day in 1906 18,000 persons visited the Salvatorkeller and consumed 19,200 liters of the beverage; on one day in 1908 the attendance was 7000 and 12,000 liters were consumed."
"Pure products" published by The Scientific Station for Pure Products, 1909, pages 326-327.

As an extra bonus, here's a selection of Munich Bocks from the last 150 years:

Friday 26 June 2009

Loving learning lager

My lager education continues. I'll be doing a summer school in its appreciation in a few weeks. (Translation: I've five days on the lash in Franconia at Annafest time.)

Mike's months of badgering have finally borne fruit. And I've managed to get the time off work. We'll be in Franconia 30th July to 3rd August. The first two days at the Annafest before heading into the wilds of Fränkische Schweiz. Feel free to come up and force beer on me if you spot me. I can already feel a thirst coming on.

While we're on the subject of lager, I should perhaps mention that's what I've picked as my summer theme. More accurately, it's selected me. I just keep finding myself writing about it. Must be something subliminal. Prepare yourselves for non-stop fun. Lots about Salvator, table after table of 19th-century lager analyses, Franconia travel reports and much, much more.

I hope you're as excited as I am.

Thursday 25 June 2009

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1936 Barclay Perkins DB

Is it Wednesday already? Seems more like Monday. What a treat we have in store today. A classic Southern Brown Ale from the 1930's.

Like everyone else, Barclay Perkins jumped on the Brown Ale bandwagon in the late 1920's. Like Whitbread, it called it's beer DB, though the initials stood for something quite different. Whitbread's was "Double Brown", Barclay Perkins "Doctor Brown" after Doctor Johnson. The 18th-century literary giant had been mates with Mr. and Mrs. Thrale, owners of the Park Street brewery before Barclay and Perkins. In the 20th century, an image of Doctor Johnson was the brewery's trademark.

Each brewery seems to have its own ideas about what constituted a Brown Ale. Not surprising, as the style was still very young. Barclay Perkins was one of the weaker ones. (Whitbread's DB was 1055). Neither beer bore any resemblance to the brewery's Milds.

I'll now let Kristen do his stuff . . . . .

Barclay Perkins (BP) 1936 DB

Grist and such
Nothing really jumps out at first with this beer. Lower in gravity, finishes like a normal ale at around 1.011. This one has quite a bit of hopping compared to the others of its gravity and 'color'. When you look closer you will see again that there is a ass load of adjuncts. Nearly 25%! Nearly equal parts of maize and sugars. As we discussed before, this era was ripe with its use of California 6-row as it was thought to lighten the flavor and add a touch of grainyness that the
British malts didn't have. It was also about 1/3rd cheaper than the standard Brit malts. Any two pale malts will do very well. I'd suggest probably Maris Otter and Halcyon as they work very well together. 6-row is very important but if you can't find it, use a lower quality 2-row. 75L crystal is right in the middle of traditional crystal colors. The sugars are very important so if you can't find the inverts, make them yourself (see past posts on this topic).

Standard mash for the era. Barley Perkins was really big on using underletting to raise their mash temperature. This mash was actually quite quick proabably taking about 3 hours to complete which when compared with Whitbreads 9 hour mashes really allows them many more in a day.

For a lighter brown ale this beer has quite a nice kick of hops to it. BP's middle/east kent hops are all rather fresh. The majority being less than a year and a bit nearly 2 years.

Tasting notes
Grainy sweet malt. No chocolate but more of a dark caramel and stone fruits. Corny, grainy middle with a good dose of herbaceous hops. Lots of flavor but quite thin on the end. Moderately bitter finish barely keeps this from being a 'brown liquid'.

Loving lager

Wondered why I've been quiet this last week? No, I didn't think you had. But I'm going to tell you anyway. Volume IX of my Mini Book Series has been occupying most of my time. "Trips! (South)" it's called. A guide to the beeriest spots in southern Germany.

While I was at it, I thought I may as well smarten up the brewery section. I originally assembled the book before christmas and didn't do much in the way of extra research. I've been putting that right this week. Which has meant looking up some stuff on RateBeer. Guess what I noticed?

Now, I don't usually pay much attention to how others mark beers. But something struck me when looking at the really good Franconian breweries. My own scores were way out of whack with those on RateBeer. Mine were much, much higher.

Closer inspection revealed a depressing fact. Virtually no average strength lager got a decent score. Not even the heart-stoppingly good ones. And those good ones only scored marginally higher than not very good ones.

Why does no-one else love lager the way I do?

Wednesday 24 June 2009


Do you know what my biggest fault is? Patience. Joking. You must have seen the title. It's impatience.

I write posts when the mood takes me. But I always try to stay at least two days ahead. (I've got this thing: posting every day is a must. Over the year, my goal is 500 posts.) This system has disadvantages. I'm two days ahead of you in any discussion. In my head. (In my head is where I have most of my discussions. You should meet Lucas. The way he argues with himself out loud matches the inside of my head.)

Apfelstrudel. Schnell, schnell. There's always a WW II film going on somewhere. In my head. The sublimal effect of British war films on my writing is too frightening to think about.

Summer theme. I've written something in the future about it. I'm dying to tell you. But that would spoil all the fun.

Damn my diligence.

Beer tour of Vichy France 1940

There have been times in my travels (Poland 1986 comes to mind) when beer has been hard to find. But I'm sure that was nothing compared to trying to organise a pub crawl in the newly-defeated France of 1940

"An American traveller who made his way from Nice along the coast to Port Vendres then via Spain to this country, relates that he found beer in one district at 10 francs a half-litre bottle - not less than six francs in addition being charged and returned for the bottle - and in another district beer of equally indifferent quality cost 14 francs the half-litre bottle, and 13 francs for the half-litre draught in a cardboard cup. And there the hotel or inn in question was proud of possessing cardboard containers at all. He found beer in Marseilles, but had to search for it a good deal, paying eventually 10 francs for a 250 centilitre glass at a bar counter."
"The Brewers' Journal 1940", page 882.

Random WW I and WW II stories. Maybe that should be my theme. Now what could I call it? "Summer of War"? That could just work . . . .

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Summer theme - update

If you're like me, you probably don't always read all the comments on a blog. So for you lazy twats, here's an overview of the comments on my "What should I have as a summer theme?". Or my answer to them. Stop quibbling.

(In case you're thick, the bit before the dash is the theme suggestion, the portion after it, my response.)

IPA - I don't have access to the enough information, in particular brewing records from Burton.

Spontaneous fermentation - that's not a bad idea. I've got stuff on British methods of spontaneous fermentation. But I've already published some of it.

Conditioning methods - Mmm. Again, it's a question of getting hold of the material. There's definitely a lot to write about. The Czech air-pressure system, for example. And Germany - how were they serving beer 100 years ago?

British pubs 1830 to 2005 - excellent idea. What's more summery than a pub? I could throw in a bit on Irish pubs, too.

Milk Stout, Boys' Bitter and AK - now that's a thought. Any excuse to discuss AK. I'd throw in XK, too.

The 1960s beer keller fad in the UK - fun idea, but no.

Mock Tudor pubs - outside my personally imposed limit of interest. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Tropical Stout - good one. It's the forgotten export. Weird, isn't it, how IPA, which disappeared decades ago is seen as the classic tropical export beer. While Stout both preceded and outlived it.

Whether brewers made any money from selling yeast to bakers or spent grain to farmers - that's too obsessive even for me. Now the trade between breweries in bottom-fermenting yeast strains. That's more promising. Where did all the yeast come from when everyone swapped to lager?

Did German/Czech/Belgian brewers in wartime resort to odd mashes of whatever malt was available as the British did? - If anything, I would expect it to be more extreme. And then a grinding halt. Though, according to my statistics book, the Belgian and Czechs brewed all the way through. But I don't have access to the material I'd need.

Seasonal October / March brewing Stock ales - not bad. But not very summery. On the other hand, I've got some cracking Truman K Ale recipes.

U.K. lager-brewing - very good. Summery and something I've been looking at. But I did a summer of lager last year.

Benelux brewing - a very reasonable idea. Except, I have virtually no decent material for Belgium and don't really know bugger all about Belgian beer, except that I like drinking it. I've got a book on Luxembourg beer. Which is something. And I've quite a few books. And I've some brewing records. Would Nelux be good enough?

Suggestions. They were certainly that. Thank you. For so massively overestimating my levels and areas of expertise. What sort of library do you think I have here? There is still room to walk two by two between the bookshelves. Just.

In my naive early blogging days, I'd have given you a choice of all of the above. That's how I ended up (honest idiot) writing on a couple of topics I would have preferred to avoid. Or that I waffled about or evaded.

What do you reckon? I pluck out the themes I'm comfortable with and put them to the vote. Fair enough, isn't it?

If you disagree, tell me now. I'm already setting up the poll.

19th-century Munich beer (part two)

As promised, more Munich numbers. All the way to the letter Z.

More exciting beers today, I feel. Look at all those Salvators. God, they must have been chewy. Look at the crap degree of attenuation - not much more than 50%. No wonder the monks used it as a food substitute.

In case you're wondering who Zacherlbräu is, it's now known as Paulaner. Brewers of the original and genuine Salvator.

Fed up with numbers yet? Good. There will probably be more tomorrow.

Monday 22 June 2009

Summer theme

I need a good theme for the summer. Something like the decoction mashing series from last year. (If you can remember that far back.)

I'm not usually short on ideas. In fact, the opposite is more often true. That I have way too many ideas. Time for some author-reader interaction. Can any of you lot think of a good theme for the summer? Preferably something I can stretch out to a minimum of a dozen posts.

I suppose there will be a prize for the winner. One of my books, as usual. There's a choice available at the moment. "Trips!", "Numbers" and, by the time the competition is finished, probably "Trips! East", too. Or is the next volume scheduled for release "Trips! South"? Trips something, anyway.

19th-century Munich beer

I haven't posted enough tables recently. What do you mean, you hadn't noticed? Fewer than five in a week and I don't consider I'm doing my job properly.

There are two features of the beers that stand out: low degree of attenuation, modest ABV. The average attenuation is 66.53% - way less than modern lagers. Though it should be borne in mind that these are all dark beers.

This is the sort of stuff that's in "Numbers!". Hence the book's title. I've still loads more. If you're good, there will be more Munich numbers tomorrow.

Sunday 21 June 2009

Women in pubs

I can't stay away from WW I for long. Weird, isn't it? Today's post is more social than beer history, but none the less fascinating for that.

The war brought about changes in social behaviour that had an impact on the brewing industry. Women, often doing men’s jobs and earning higher wages than before, wanted to drink beer, too. It came as a great shock to some.

"I remember, too, that we had a visit from some Chief Constables from towns in the North of England, including Newcastle and Durham, who had come to tell the Control Board of a serious increase in drinking among women in their towns, which was, they emphasised, a growing evil, one non-existent before the war. D'Abvernon sent for figures of convictions for drunkenness in the town concerned, and remarked that from the figures it did not appear that there had been any marked increase in drunkenness among women in these areas - on the contrary, there was an improvement. The Chief Constables replied that there was little actual drunkenness among women, but that their present purpose was to draw their attention to the large increase in the number of women who now drank. In the old days few decent women would go into a public house at all, and now they were walking in 'bold as brass', putting down their money and calling for beer. The Chief Constables assured Lord D'Abernon that this state of affairs had been practically unheard-of in peace time; they feared that it might continue after the war. I had, of course, known that women in ordinary times used public houses much less up north than in the London district, but I was not aware until then how wide was the difference. It seemed to me strange that leading police officials should be so troubled at what in the south was quite a normal custom.

I have always regretted that it should have been regarded as proper for a man to enter a public house but unsuitable for a woman; however, that view was strongly held, particularly in the north - perhaps one reason was the low standard of public houses in the northern industrial districts - or perhaps one result!"
"Seventy Rolling Years" by Sydney Nevile, page 108.

It's a bit odd that socially acceptable behaviour differed so much between the north and south. Was it really just because northern pubs were crap?

Saturday 20 June 2009

Glasgow to have barmaids

It's amazing what you can discover with an old brewing magazine and nothing to do.Yes, you guessed it. I'm still ploughing through "The brewers' Journal 1940".

I know that they had different licensing laws in Scotland. But I never realised that barmaids had been banned in Glasgow.

"Glasgow is to have barmaids again after an interval of fully thirty years.

The magistrates have, by nine votes to six, granted an application by the Licensed Trade for permission to employ barmaids, but have stipulated that women employed should be at least25 years of age.

They refused another application to be allowed to employ youths of of between 16 and 18 years of age as barmen.

Both applications were based on the plea that 50 per cent. of the barmen in the city wre serving with the Forces or were liable to be called up for service.

Temperance organisations opposed the applications on the ground that employment in public-houses was not suitable for women and was not in the interests of public morality.

It was also argued that the presence of women behind the bars might tempt young men into licensed premises and encourage them to drink.

Since the ban, however, the employment of barmaids in hotel, restaurant, and lounge bars has been permitted."
"The Brewers' Journal 1940" page 729.

I'd thought that the temperance lobby had been buggered by WW I. Evidently not. The bastards.

Friday 19 June 2009

One reason for the public-house

Another wartime piece from the Brewers' Journal today. I know. I'm a lazy git. This one is a quite philosophical exposition of the function of a pub.

"Early in the war mass observation revealed that when outstanding war events protruded the number of patrons in licensed houses increased. This wa determined by viviting a cross-section of licensed premises and recording the number of people present at identical times on specified days of the week. The reason assigned by mass observation was that at such times people had more to talk about. The organising secretary of the Alliance News - the principal organ of teetotal thought - has been finding out the same thing, although we suspect that his purpose in setting out his findings was to disparage the public-house. He records:-

"Two passengers in a train entered into conversation concerning the public-house where it was their custom to meet; and presently the younger of the two said that he really did not go for the beer, but for the company. At this I entered into the discussion, and suggested that the same thing was not quite true of a teashop. People only went into a teashop when they wanted a cup of tea."
Not so the public-house, where they not only go to slake their thirst, but to play games and, above all, to talk, as in a true democracy people should. Yes the teashop is no match for the public-house. One doesn't go into the teashop "for the company"; but we are gald at this point - the human atmosphere of the inn - which we have stressed so often, is now emphasised from a quite unexpected source."
"Brewers' Journal 1940" page 806.

I'll go along with that. If I want a beer and to watch telly, I'll sit at home. A chat and the odd glass with friends works much better in a pub.

Thursday 18 June 2009

Brewers' League Table 1973

Bored at home again. So bored I browsed the oh-so-corporate "A History of Bass Charrington". It's full of corporate monopolistic fun. Cool, eh?

The league table of British breweries just before the formation of the Big Six amused me. (Being easily pleased is one of my primary characteristics.) Here it is.

Lactic acid and acetic acid bacteria infections

Now here's something unusual. This isn't at all what I'd been looking for. I was hunting through a wartime Brewers' Journal, looking for good WW II stories - rationing, bomb damage, that sort of thing - and tripped over a piece on bacterial infections instead.

I would normally transcribe the text, but, you know what? I don't really feel like doing it. I'll soon be adjourning to the settee with DVDs of American Dad for the rest of the day. So here are scans instead.

Fascinating, isn't it, how the change in the nature of British beer changed the type of infection it was most vulnerable to. The source is the "Brewers' Jornal 1940" page 893.

Wednesday 17 June 2009

Logs - lesson 1

You know, I'd love to research the last 200 years of British beer history single-handedly. Just my idea of fun. But I have to admit the odd ray of reason to the darkened chamber I inhabit. I'd never have the time.

I've already told you who to locate and visit an archive. Next step is interpreting what you find. It's not that hard. I managed to pick it up without help. You'll get a helping hand.

Here we go then. Below is a log from Kidd & Co.

As these things go, it's pretty straightforward. Maybe I should let you have a go yourselves first, to see what you can work out. One thing I feel obliged to tell you, is that the gravities are given in pounds per barrel. It's the proverbial chunk of urine to calculate SG from that, but you need to know the formula. Which is

sg = (lbs barrel * 2.77) + 1000

So 20 pounds per barrel is (20 * 2.77 ) + 1000. Or 1055.4º.

In the log above, see if you can find the SG in pounds per barrel. As there's a full fermentation record, it's easy to find the FG, or at least racking gravity.

The mashing details are pretty clear. You'll see there are 3 phases to the mash. Mash, underlet, sparge.

The ingredients aren't too hard. I'll tell you that Qrs means Quarters. That's around 336 pounds of pale malt, 250 pounds or so of brown or black malt. In terms of sugar, a quarter is 2 cwt (2 hundredweight or 224 pounds). It's quite simple.

Did I mention there was a prize? Or two. It depends on my mood. And what you don't mind getting lumbered with. It's my books I'm talking about. But back to the matter in hand.

Yes, it's a sort of, help familiarise yourself with brewing records study aid sort of quiz. With a prize. Or two.

Look at the Kidd log in the image and try to answer these questions:

What was the OG
The FG
fermentation temperature
length of fermentation

The ingredients in pounds and what each is
Unusual ingredients
pounds of hops per barrel of beer
pounds of hops per quarter

mash temperatures and duration
length of boil

anything else you can see.

One point for each one of the above. Highest score gets a copy of "Trips!". The book I haven't got around to releasing yet. Except to Mike. I gave him a copy on Saturday. And there may be a second prize. "Numbers!", perhaps. No-one's got one of those. Except me.

The rise and fall of beer styles

I'm taking a break from sugar, WW I and British brewing. And taking a look at German beer styles. In particular, their relative popularity over the years.

Hopefully these figures will help lay to rest the myth about European beer being traditional and unchanging. Nothing could be further from the truth. Take a look at the fortunes of Pils and Export in Germany over the last 40 years.

In the 1970's, Export's market share slumped while that of Pils skyrocketed. But after peaking with almost 69% of the market in 2002, Pils now seems to be definitely in decline, being down to just 55% last year. Export, seemingly on the road to oblivion, has rallied a little and is clinging on to around a 10% share.

Weizen has steadily increased in popularity over the last 30 years, but the picture for some other top-fermenting styles is much less rosy. Alt's progress has been a mirror image of Weizen's, declining from 6.6% to 1.4%. Kölsch has done a little better, falling from 4.5% to 1.6%.

Tuesday 16 June 2009

My favourite pub guide

Ethics. They're like sensible shoes. We wouldn't want to live without them, but who wants to go shopping for them?

I want to be honest with you, so disclaimers upfront. I didn't pay for my copy of this book. I also contributed to it. (Two crappy pages, which were much improved by the editor.) That honest enough? I happen to quite like the author, too.

If I thought the book was crap, my approach would be simple. Silence. But it isn't crap. So I feel obliged to say something.

It seems like more than a decade since I began my own stulted and cowering beer-writing career. Hang on, it was more than a decade ago. Which just goes to show how long Tim has been in the game. One of my early sources and inspirations was Tim Webb's Benelux Guide. It and Peter Crombecq's books taught me most of what little I know about Belgian beer and pubs.

My first entry into the world of beer literature was a tiny Amsterdam Pub Guide webpage. The format, content and style owed much to Tim. More than I would readily like to admit. Handing him the latest print version of my guide in exchange for the GBG Belgium, I thought I'd got a much the better deal. My own book lay flat and lifeless on the table next to his vibrant full-colour work. Humility may not be fashionable, but it has its place.

Even a cynical, critical bastard like me has to admit that beer writing is on the up. My yardstick is simple: could I have done as good a job? I've already found two books this year that surpass my capabilities: "Hops & Glory" and "Good Beer Guide Belgium".

Rejoice. We live in a golden age of beer literature.

War is hell

A couple of random articles from "The Brewing Trade Review 1943" demonstrating the deep reach of the war on brewing and the pub trade.

"In relation to bottled beer, the growing seriousness of the rubber position is likely to have its repercussions on the supply of stoppers and rings. The Rubber Controller has recently issued a strong appeal to the public to co-operate in returning all screw stoppers - and appropriately enough this has been done in newspaper space provided by the Society in the "What do I do" series. The quantity of rubber, even reclaimed rubber, which is required to produce stoppers and rings will almost certainly have to be cut in the immediate future, and every brewery should do what is possible to promote the utmost percentage of recovery of used stoppers from their customers in order to avoid the curtailment of bottled beer output."
"The Brewing Trade Review 1943", pages 173 - 174.

Who wouldn't have wanted the job of Rubber Controller? Sounds vaguely kinky. No, decidedly kinky.

And what happened when your beer was blown up by German bombs?

"There are two distinct statutory provisions in this matter, one designed to deal with beer which has been accidentally destroyed and the other to deal with beer which has become spoiled. The first is contained in Sec 18 of the Inland Revenue Act, 1880, and applies only to beer accidentally destroyed by enemy action or otherwise while on the entered premises of a brewery, apart from certain exceptions relating to bottling depots approved for the purpose.

The second provision arises in the Spoilt Beer Regulations under Sec. 4 of the Finance Act 1915. It permits the refund of duty on beer which has accidentally become spoiled or otherwise unfit for use, and, if it had been delivered to another person, has been returned to the brewery. If, therefore, beer is destroyed in a public-house cellar by enemy action, the proper course is for the licensee to claim the full value, including duty, under the War Risks Insurance Act, but if it is merely rendered unfit for use and is returned to the brewery, the brewery can claim refund of duty under the Spoilt Beer Regulations, in which case the licensee must not include the duty on his claim under War Risks Insurance."
"The Brewing Trade Review 1943", page 174.

See, the Germans weren't deliberately trying to destroy our beer. They only did it accidentally. Very sporting of them.

Monday 15 June 2009

London beer

A long quoted passage today. I feel like shit and it's all I can be arsed to do. So don't start complaining.

If you can be arsed to read it all the way through, you'll find some captivating glimpses into Britain's export trade in beer in the first half of the 19th century. It shows that Porter, far from being driven out of tropical markets by Pale Ale, was still extremely popular in many of the hotter areas of the world. (Which should come as no surprise to anyone who's been to the Caribbean, where Stout is still surprisingly popular.)

Other points of note? References to muslims supping Porter. The classic description of Mumme as "a thing to be eaten with a knife and fork". A mention of Hodgson's Pale Ale.

"The increase of brewers has kept pace with London's increase in other respects. The 26 brewhouses of the reign of Elizabeth had become about 55 in 1759-60, and upwards of 148 in 1841. The number of barrels of beer brewed by the twelve principal brewers in London was—284,145 in 1782; 1,097,231 in 1808; and 2,119,447 in 1836.

The genuine London beer (although we learn from the ' Brewers' Annual' that there are only three brewers in London—Reid, Meux, and Courage—who do not brew pale ale, and that there are a few who brew nothing else) is the brown stout. It is the perfection—the ideal of the "berry-brown ale" and the "nut-brown ale" of the old songs. It is what the poet of those antediluvian days fancied, or a lucky accident enabled their brewers at times to approach. No disparagement to the pale and amber ales, infinite in name as in variety; to the delicious Winchester ; to the Burton, which, like Sancho's sleep, " wraps one all round like a blanket;'' to Hodgson's pale India ale, so grateful at tiffin when the thermometer is upwards of 100, and the monotonousness-creating punkah pours only a stream of heated air on the guests; to the Edinburgh (we mean the Edinburgh as it is not to be had in London *) ; " London particular" is the perfection of malt liquor. As Horace says of Jupiter, there is nothing " similar or second to it"—not even among liquors of its own complexion. Guinness is a respectable enough drink, but we must say that the ascendancy it has gained in many coffeehouses and taverns of London is anything but creditable to the taste of their frequenters. Its sub-acidity and soda-water briskness, when compared with the balmy character of London bottled stout from a crack brewery, are like the strained and shallow efforts of a professed joker compared with the unctuous, full-bodied wit of Shakspere. As for the mum of Brunswick, which enjoys a traditional reputation on this side of the water, because it has had the good luck to be shut out by high duties, and has thus escaped detection, it is a villanous compound, somewhat of the colour and consistence of tar—a thing to be eaten with a knife and fork. We will be judged by any man who knows what good liquor is—by a jury selected from the musical amateurs of the ' Coal-hole,' the penny-a-liners who frequent the ' Cock' near Temple Bar, and the more sedate but not less judicious tasters who dine or lunch daily at ' Campbell's' in Pope's Head Alley. Should it be objected that such a tribunal, composed exclusively of Londoners, might be suspected of partiality, let it be a jury half composed of foreigners—Liibeck, Goslar in Saxony, and any town in Bavaria can furnish competent persons to decide such a question. The German students are in general (at least in the north) devout beer-drinkers, but they are of the class who love "not wisely but too well"—they drink without discrimination. It is among the Philister of Germany that you must look for connoisseurs in beer.

But the favour in which London beer stands in so many and various regions of the earth may .be received as the verdict of a grand jury of nations in its favour. Byron sings—

" Sublime tobacco, that from East to West
Cheers the tar's labours and the Turkman's rest;"

and he might have added that wherever tobacco is known and appreciated, there too have the merits of London porter been acknowledged. The learned Mei- bomius.t who, in a Latin quarto, has dilated upon the subject of "beer, tipple, and all other intoxicating liquors except wine,'' with the completeness and minuteness of a true German naturalist, and with that placid seriousness which might make what he says pass for a joke if there were only wit in it, or for learning if it contained anything worth knowing, has judiciously remarked that smoke-drinking and beer-drinking are natural and necessary complements of each other. The mucilaginous properties of the beer are required to neutralise the narcotic adustness of the Nicotian weed; and London beer, being the perfection of its kind, naturally takes the lead of all other kinds of beer. Accordingly we find it not only on the shores of the Baltic, where the habit of swilling their own indigenous malt liquors might be understood to have predisposed the natives to its use, but under tropical skies, and among the disciples of the first great teetotaller, Mahomet.

On the Nile and Niger, as has above been hinted, this is not so astonishing. There the natives had already a kind of beer of their own ; and where once a taste for malt has taken root, it would take a cleverer fellow than Mahomet to eradicate it. Burckhardt, in his Nubian travels, gives us a tolerable notion of how vainly the Faquirs and Santons preach against indulgence in boosa; and the last letter from poor Anderson, the only one of Park's European companions who survived to perish with his leader, boasts of having got drunk upon boosa with a Moor, and licked his boon companion in his cups. That people accustomed to put up with bad liquor should take kindly to good when it came within their reach is quite natural.

It is among the Osmanli, and the Arabs, and the multiform sects of Hindustan, that we are to look for the real triumph of London beer. In the country last mentioned it is true the high-hopped pale ale of Hodgson, Bass, and others famous in that line, appears to be in greater demand; yet the genuine brown stout will be found in a respectable minority. Probably, too, a minute examination would show that it is only at the tiffins of the Europeans that Hodgson's beer is most run upon, and that the dusky natives do more affect the generous liquor that comes nearer to their own complexion. In the tropical climates of the West, among the fiery aristocracy of Barbadoes, the shrewd hard-headed book-keepers of Jamaica, the alternate votaries of the gaming-table and the languishing Quadroons of New Orleans, bottled porter reigns supreme.

Pale ale is a favourite of long-standing in India. It and the darker kinds of beer crept into Arabia, through the English merchants trading to the Red Sea, at least as early as the time of Niebuhr. That traveller saw a serious elderly Mussulman tipple down repeated glasses of Mr. Scott's beer ; gravely remarking " that Mahomet had only forbidden drinking to intoxication, but that as the vulgar did not know when to hold their hands, it was necessary to make them take the total abstinence pledge ; that he, it might appear to his respected entertainers, although a learned man, and an aged man to boot, drained no moderate draughts of their beer, but that he did so solely because he knew that it did not intoxicate." The Scheich must either have been a notorious old humbug, or profoundly simple, to say of good London beer that it did not intoxicate.

The Turks, of whom Dr. Clarke tells us in his voyages about the Dardanelles and Egypt, were scarcely more candid, but considerably more ingenious. After the French had been driven out of Egypt, a British trading vessel, which had been fitted out to Alexandria by a speculative dealer in beer counting upon the thirst of a British army in a hot climate, arrived just too late for the market it had counted upon. This was a black look-out for the poor fellow who united in his person the responsibilities of skipper and supereargo; but by good luck there were then, as now (though not to the same extent), some of those questionable characters called antiquaries and the like prowling about Egypt, who were on a convivial footing with some of the laxer sort of Turks. The Osmanli tasted the porter at the houses of their Frank friends, and, rather liking it, were not slow to discover that Mahomet could not possibly have prohibited a liquor of which he had never heard, and, without affecting, like Niebuhr's friend, to believe that it did not intoxicate, drank copiously. The skipper found the Turks better customers than the Franks ; and we believe the sale of the article has continued to increase both at Alexandria and Constantinople.

Porter-drinking needs but a beginning; wherever the habit has once been acquired it is sure to be kept up. London is a name pretty widely known in the world : some nations know it for one thing, and some for another. In the regions of the East India Company, where missionary exertions are not much favoured, it is known as the residence of " Company Sahib ;" in the islands of ocean it is known as the place whence the missionaries come ; the natives of New Holland naturally regard it as a great manufactory of thieves ; the inhabitants of Spanish America once looked upon it as the mother of pirates. But all nations know that London is the place where porter was invented; and Jews, Turks, Germans, Negroes, Persians, Chinese, New Zealanders, Esquimaux, Copper Indians, Yankees, and Spanish Americans, are united in one feeling of respect for the native city of the most universally favourite liquor the world has ever known.

*Good Edinburgh ale must be allowed time to ripen into excellence. When bottled, it ought to be cloyingly sweet, and so glutinous that when some is poured upon the palm, and the hand held closed for five minutes, immersion in warm water is required before it can be opened again. After bottling, the ale ought to stand five years in a cool dry cellar, and four months near a Dutch oven in frequent use. It is then at its best; but even then it is more like a liqueur to be sipped than a liquor to be drunk.
"London" by Charles Knight, 1842

Sunday 14 June 2009

The temporary halt in the rise of sugar

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar. When will I find something new to write about?

This time I'm taking a look at the use of adjuncts and sugar in brewing 1910 to 1920. The percentage of sugar fell from 14% in 1914 to under 10% in 1918. The use of malt adjuncts and unmalted corn for brewing stopped completely.

I'm still nowhere near sugared out.

Saturday 13 June 2009

An early British lager

Did I mention that Barclay Perkins began experimenting with brewing lager during WW I? At first I thought this was pretty weird, given the level of anti-German feeling. But on reflection it makes sense. The war had doubtless cut off supplies of foreign lager.

The experimental dark lager brewed on March 10th 1915 was an odd beast. For a start there are the malts: 83% mild malt, 8.5% amber malt, 8.5% Californian pale malt. I guess they were using mild malt instead of Munich malt. The hops were at least partly continental.: 50% Worcester, 50% Burgundy.

The log form wasn't designed to record a decoction mash and there are several lines of comments in an empty part describing the process. It doesn't seem to gave gone quite to plan:

"Mashed 5.5 qtrs @ 7.5 a.m. Underlet at 7.35 - set taps & ran off 6.5 barrels @ 8.5. Raised to boiling point with boiling liq. & steam by 9 am. & boiled 0.5 hour. Brought back to 165º by 2.15 p.m. (should have been 150º - tun nearly full - could not add any more cold) Mashed in 0.5 quarter Calif. very stiff at 2.30 & raked well, conversion complete & taps set @ 3.20 p.m. - Goods would not drain at all - wort only got off by repeated underletting & raking& by siphoning. No reliable tap heats or gravities obtainable. First wort drawn from M.T. kept at about 190º all the time.
Goods were not sparged at all"

That definitely sounds experimental to me.

The fermentation was more like you would expect - comparatively long and cold. Lager yeast was pitched at 46º F and the beer was racked into an aluminium tank in the cold store after 7 days.

The OG was 1052º and the racking gravity 1023º.

Friday 12 June 2009

Lager from British barley

I like to maintain a steady supply of Barclay Perkins references. They did, after all, provide my inspiration for this blog.

Barclay Perkins were one of the first English brewers to get into lager in a big way. Their first experiments were during WW I and by the early 1920's they'd a purpose-built lager plant and were in full production.

The following passage is taken from the speech of chairman Lt. Colonel Robert Wyvill Barclay given at the 41st annual general meeting of Barclay, Perkins & Co. Ltd.

'The new customs duty of £1 per bulk barrel on non-Empire beers is not really such a big thing as it sounds at first. I attracted a certain amount of attention during the debate on the Budget, and I agree with Colonel Gretton, who pointed out that some members were trying to make a mountain out of a molehill. At the same time, we, as brewers or lager beer , do greatly appreciate this action of the government in supporting a British industry, but it is too son as yet to judge what result this new Customs duty will have on the imports of foreign lager beer.

Some of the Members who oppose this increased Customs duty in the House of Commons seem to be under the impression that lager beer cannot be brewed in this country, but we have had expert opinion on this from the Scandinavian Brewers; Laboratory, who say: "Basing our judgment on the results of our investigation, we may consider the quality of the beer as of the highest standard possible, and we may reckon this produce of yours equal to the finest lager beer we know."

That is only one opinion, but we can add to that the opinions of lager beer brewers from all over the world who have visited the brewery at various times.

I should like to back these opinions and ours by inviting those M.P.s to come to the brewery and taste any brand of foreign lager beer obtainable in London they like to name against Barclay's lager. I leave it at that.

I referred to the debate on the Budget just now. Sir Joseph Lamb raise the question of the use of British barley in lager beer. I may be of interest to state that this company have for some time in the past has been experimenting with the making of British barley into lager malt. This has now gone beyond the experimental stage, and I can assure you that the Barclay's lager you drink in this country is made from a large proportion of British malt.

The proportion of British malt has gradually been rising each year as our maltsters have mastered the making of lager malt from British barley, which requires a different process than for making malt for the top fermentation beers.'
"The Brewers' Journal 1936", page 396.

I like the bit where he calls out M.P.s to parallel taste imported lager against Barclay's. I wonder if any turned up at the brewery? There being free drink on offer, I bet some did. You know what a bunch of greedy pissheads politicians are.

Glory, glory

Feeling like I've been run over by a steam tram does have its upside. I like to stay positive. Not just time for music. Time for reading.

Here's a confession. Though I read an absolute stack, I've only read two books cover to cover this year. Actually even that's not true. I haven't managed the last three pages of "The Younger Centuries" yet. Pete Brown's "Hops & Glory" is the only book I've finished this year.

It's very entertaining stuff. "Hops & Glory", I mean. "The Younger Centuries" was a good bit drier. Though they did share certain themes. Younger was one of Britain's biggest beer exporters, heavily into the IPA trade. And there are bits of travel writing in it. "The Younger Centuries" I'm talking about now. This is confusing. Even I'm losing track. I'll just stick to discussing "Hops & Glory".

I was going to write something poncey here. About Pete Brown's laconic style and self-deprecating humour. The sort of tosh you see in printed media. I could bang on about the structure and the pace - both dead good. But I don't want to come over all Sunday supplement on you. Laughs. That's what it's all about. And there are plenty of those. For a few hours all fears of pneumonia disappeared over the equatorial horizon.

Thursday 11 June 2009

The rise of sugar

Sugar week seems to have turned into sugar fortnight. Oh well. And I've barely even started looking at "Pure Beer agitation". Sugar quarter anyone?

The use of sugar and adjuncts gradually increased in popularity after the Free Mash Tun Act of 1880. By 1914 malt accounted for less than 80% of the fermentable material employed in
brewing. As you can see from the table below.

WW I knocked the percentage of adjuncts and sugar back considerably - down to zero in the case of adjuncts. But when normality returned, the proportion of sugar used started edging up again.

Wednesday 10 June 2009


It's great being ill. I get to be at home alone. All those things I can't do while the rest of the family is around are suddenly possible.

Number one is listening to music.

"Dad, turn off that crap." "Noooo dad, I don't want to hear this horrible shit." That was when the kids were being reasonable. Mostly they were far less polite.

Music used to rule my life. Like many youngsters, it was my musical taste that defined me and autoselected my friends. The NME was my bible, punk my epiphany, playing my sacrament. How could I have abandoned my religion without a fight?

Being bullied by your kids. There's not much more humbling than that. But it's true. My kids have bullied music out of my life. Surely it should be the other way around.

They're at school today, while an onion-breathed cold ravages my sinuses and stuffs my head. Time for Teenage Fanclub, Fehlfarben, The Faces and The Wedding Present.

Living in the past. It's what I'm all about.

Bonus question: where's the photo from?

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Let's brew Wednesday - 1943 Whitbread XXXX

Another wartime beer, on this occasion one from WW II.

XXXX what is that? Well it isn't a Mild, as earlier beers called XXXX were. Really, it's more like a KK. A Burton or Strong Ale, something that still featured on most London bar counters. It being wartime, the gravity has been reduced from a pre-war level of around 1055.

Below Kristen wonders about the high proportion of oats in the grist. There's a simple reason for this: the government made them do it. Brewers were told to use a certain proportion of oats, despite many having serious objections.

Whitbread 1943 XXXX (4X)

For the 2nd beer during the fabulous month of June, alcohol anything month, is Whitbreads 4X. Ohhhhh...ahhhhh...ummmm...what the hell is a 4X. Well its simply 1X better than a 3X and 1X worse than a 5X. In all seriousness, this is definitely different than nearly all the the X beers I've seen. Its much different than the Truman 4X 'imperial milds' that sported +1.100 gravities as we'll see.

Grist and such
Crappy malt. Lots of lower quality malts that aren't used on the really good stuff. As with most Whitbread beers of this age there were numerous types of pale malt used. Each was of second quality so it makes sense that there was a few to dry out as much complexity as possible...or it could have just been the cost. A few things really stand out. At over 24% adjunct, this sucker ranks right up there as being the cheapest to make. Even more interesting is half of the adjuncts are flaked oats...first time I've seen that high a dose anyway. As with other milds, lots of really dark No 3 invert.

Single infusion with a single underletting. Not much of a big deal huh? Pretty standard for the time as with that much invert, there will be a good amount of unfermented dextrins left behind. Well, actually I really think it affected the beer quite a bit. Seeing that the oats make up 12% of the entire mash there is going to be a very large amount of beta-glucans. Beta-glucans are basically sorts of gums that, amongst other things, add that 'texture' that using a good portion of oats give you...I guess its more of a silky sensation than anything. To the point, this thing would have been chewier tasting that the final gravity would indicate. Its also worth mentioning that the amount of water used in the mash is nearly 2x as much as usual. Its most assuredly because of the oats.

This is a conundrum. Low quality malts, very fresh hops and quite a high BU count for the 'style'. The hops are only 1.5 years old at most with a third of them less than 7 months old.

Tasting notes
Deep brown with notes of figs, cherry cordial and dark caramel. Oat reek with a chewy plum filed oat scone finish. Spicy hoppy middle with a good dose of bitterness that drys out the end.