Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Whitbread Pale Ales 1910 - 1914

I'm still slowly ploughing my way through my giant table of Whitbread beers. It's time for the next instalment of my analysis of their Pale Ales. At this rate Ui should be finished just in time for Christmas . . . 2015.

If I'm honest, nothing much happened in these years just before WW I. The grists are constant, even across the different types. 60% PA malt, 20% pale ale malt, 20% sugar. The gravities vary by less than one degree. Nothing much going on at all.

The hopping, there's something I can tell you about that. Just before this period, there was a considerable change in the hopping of PA. In 1907 it was reduced from 12 lbs per quarter to 9 lbs. That knocked down the hops per barrel from over 3 lbs to 2.4 lbs. Oddly, the hopping for the weaker Family Ale (FA) remained the same at 11 lbs per quarter. Which meant that despite having a considerably lower gravity - 1048º as opposed to 1060º - it contained a similar quantity of hops per barrel as PA. The export PA, with 14-15 lbs of hops per quarter, retained a 19th-century level of hopping.

In terms of strength, the three Pale Ales are much better differentiated than in the 19th century. At times there had only been 7º difference  between the weakest and the strongest. At other times FA and 2PA had virtually the same gravity. The spread here is much better: 1048º, 1053º and 1060º. Fa is a particularly interesting case. It demonstrates that even before WW I there was a move to lower-gravity Pale Ales.

The calm before the storm. That's what this period leading up to WW I is. In the next four years there were more changes to Whitbread's beers than in the previous 50. That's what's coming next. I bet you're as excited as I am.


StuartP said...

Ron, I'm pretty sure you've covered this before but searching your blog makes my browser sieze up: what is the difference between PA Malt and Pale Malt?

Ed said...

Have you got the grist right?

>>60% PA malt, 20% pale ale malt, 20% sugar

dyranian said...

Can't get excited about this yet! But referring to an earlier blog, I have found copies of neck labels showing Gordon Scotch & Xmas brewed by George Younger.
Is it likely that the Gordon brands which were brewed by George Younger in the 1950s were, as now, owned by John Martin in Antwerp. Perhaps, when George Younger was taken over in or around 1960, it was John Martin who sought another brewer, namely William Younger.

Barm said...

dyranian, you might be onto something there. That theory would solve the puzzle.

dana said...

Ditto StuartP's question.

In the "let's brew' posts, Kristen's recipes put standard UK 2-row for the pale ale malt and US 6-row for the pale malt.

Is that a correct interpretation?

dana said...

The 60/20/20 would drive me crazy as a brewer, but maybe they were on to something.

A couple of old recipes:


Ron Pattinson said...


PA malt (pale ale malt) seems to be the name used for the best quality (and presumably palest) pale malt. It usually only shows up in Pale Ale recipes.

Ron Pattinson said...

Ed, love that avatar.

Martyn Cornell said...

That avatar may be because someone (la la, don't look at me) mentioned Camra Stalinists in a recent comment over at Ed's blog. According to this site, however, Uncle Joe drinks Beck's …

Ron Pattinson said...

Dyranian, thanks very much for the info abut George Younger and the Gordon's beers. Solved a mystery for me.