Saturday, 29 October 2011

James Calder beers 1922 - 1961

To break up those slabs of text from old books, there's something lighter today. Almost fluffy.

I promised you a look at James Calder's beers and here they are. Though, if you've been paying attention, you'll realise that none were brewed at Calder's Shore Brewery. That closed in 1921 and Calder's products were produced at Arrol's Alloa Brewery. Until 1951, when they moved to Jeffrey in Edinburgh.

The most surprising beer in the table below is the first: a Stout from 1922. Why is it unusual? Because of the attenuation, almost 80%. Scots loved their Stouts sweet and this one is surprisingly dry. You can see that later they did brew more Scottish-looking Stouts with low attenuation.

Brown Ale was one trend that did hit Scotland around the same time as England. I'm surprised that the OG of Calder's only fell five points between 1938 and 1950. Around double that woukld have been more typical. In the 1950's, most Brown Ales clawed their way above 1030. The name - Nut Brown Ale - signifies nothing in particular. It's a stock phrase that appears in several  poems and songs. A bit like "oinomata ponta" ("wine-dark sea") in Homer.

Here's one:


The nut-brown ale, the nut-brown ale,
Puts downe all drinke when it is stale,
The toast, the nutmeg, and the ginger,
Will make the sighing man a singer.

Ale gives a buffet in the head,
But ginger under proppes the brayne;
When ale would strike a strong man dead,
Then nutmegge tempers it againe,
The nut-brown ale, the nut-brown ale,
Puts downe all drinke when it is stale.

"Festive songs, principally of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Volume 23" by William Sandys, 1848, pages 81 - 82.

And here's another:

'When the chill sciroco blows,
And winter tells a heavy tale ;
When pies, and daws, and rooks and crows,
Do sit and curse the frost and snows ;
Then give me ale,
Old brown ale,
Nut brown ale,
Stout brown ale,

O give me stout brown ale -
Ale that the plowman's health up keeps,
And equals it to tyrant thrones ;
That wipes the eye that ever weeps,
And lulls in sweet and dainty sleeps.:
Th' o'er wearied bones
Old brown ale, &c.

From the comic opera "Robin Hood" by Robin Mcnally, 1783, page 31.

Do a search in Google Books and you'll find loads of works in which the phrase was used.

Considering that's what made their name, there are very few Pale Ales. Though that could be because of the source of the data. All analyses from 1950 on come from the Whitbread Gravity Book. With a big brand of Milk Stout (Mackeson), Whitbread were keen to see what its rivals were up to. They were also fascinated with Brown Ale.

See how the one 60/- is a Pale Ale. That's what 60/- was before WW II. I'd love to know how and when (and why, come to think of it) it became a type of Dark Mild.

Here's the table.

James Calder beers 1922 - 1961
Year Beer Style Price size package Acidity FG OG colour ABV App. Attenuation
1922 Stout Stout pint draught 1011 1052.99 5.47 79.24%
1922 Ale? Ale? pint draught 1010.8 1052.34 70 5.41 79.29%
1928 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1008 1037 3.77 78.38%
1937 Milk Stout Stout pint bottled 1022.3 1055.75 4.32 60.09%
1938 Nut Brown Ale Brown Ale pint bottled 0.06 1013.4 1039.4 10 + 40 3.36 65.99%
1939 60/- Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1007.8 1036.75 11 – 12 3.77 78.91%
1939 Milk Stout Stout 5d half pint bottled 1021 1052.5 4.06 60.00%
1940 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1005 1035.5 3.97 85.92%
1941 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1009 1038.5 3.83 76.62%
1948 Stout Stout pint bottled 1015 1039.5 3.16 62.03%
1948 Scotch Strong Ale Scotch Ale pint bottled 1019 1065.5 6.04 70.99%
1948 Export Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1015 1045.5 3.95 67.03%
1949 Beer Pale Ale pint bottled 1006.5 1029 2.92 77.59%
1949 Stout Stout pint bottled 1013 1038.5 3.30 66.23%
1950 Nut Brown Ale Brown Ale 1/- half pint bottled 0.06 1011.4 1034.3 40 + 8 2.96 66.76%
1950 Pale Ale Pale Ale bottled 0.05 1014.2 1054.7 21.5 B 5.26 74.04%
1950 Milk Stout Stout bottled 0.07 1029.7 1069.3 1 + 14 B 5.10 57.14%
1954 Scotch Stout Stout 1/2d half pint bottled 0.04 1015.9 1040.9 1 + 14 3.23 61.12%
1959 Scotch Stout Stout 14d halfpint bottled 1021.5 1042.2 300 2.66 49.05%
1961 Export Ale Pale Ale 15d half pint bottled 0.05 1009.9 1044.1 23 4.27 77.55%
1961 Stout (no lactose) Stout 16d half pint bottled 0.06 1019.8 1041.3 250 2.69 52.06%
Younger, Wm. & Co Gravity Book document WY/6/1/1/19 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/001 held at the London Metropolitan Archives
Whitbread Gravity Book document LMA/4453/D/02/002 held at the London Metropolitan Archives


Barm said...

The 60/– conundrum is easy. It's still a Dark Pale Ale.

I just need some evidence to prove it.

Jeff Renner said...

Could you post an image of the chart, Ron? Thanks.