Wednesday 31 October 2012

Maclays beers during WW II (part five)

Finally we're there. At the end of my series on Maclays beers in WW II. We've laughed, we've cried, we've put our heads down the toilet bowl hoping it would all go away.

In a radical new departure, I'm going to look at the recipes. Or at least the grists. And do that compary thing with London. Good reasons for even more tables. Not that I need good reasons. Or any reasons. I'm just going to come out and say it: I love tables. There. I've finally outed myself.

Where was I? Wandering off into incomprehensibility again. It's my favourite spot to take a stroll. I suppose I should get back to the topic, Maclay's wartime grists.

Maclay PA 6d vs Barclay Perkins IPA (1943)
Date Brewer Beer pale malt amber malt SA malt PA malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked barley flaked oats malted oats
average Maclay PA 6d 76.34%

8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
19th Jan 1943 Barclay Perkins IPA
5.25% 41.25% 42.00% 7.00%
difference -76.34% 5.25% 41.25% 42.00% -1.14% -0.25% 4.50% -9.16%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers ACC/2305/01/625 and ACC/2305/01/626.

I'll begin by comparing Maclays PA 6d with Barclay Perkins IPA. No. 1 invert sugar aside, the grists are totally different. Even the base malt is different, with Barclay Perkins using a combination of PA malt and SA malt, while Maclay used plain old pale malt.

Amber malt is a pretty odd ingredient in a Pale Ale. I can only assume Barclay Perkins had a lot of it lying about. Pre-war it only made an appearance in their Stouts and Mild Ales. SA malt is equally unusual in a Pale Ale, usually being found in Strong Ale, Mild Ale and Stout. I think we can safely blame the huge divergence in grists on Barclay Perkins, who were using very different malts compared with peacetime.

The next comparisons should be more useful: Maclays PA 6d with Whitbread IPA. First, the 1943 iterations:

Maclay PA 6d vs Whitbread IPA (1943) 
Date Year Beer Style pale malt crystal malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked oats malted oats
average 1943 Maclay PA 6d 76.66% 8.60% 0.32% 5.32% 9.11%
average 1943 Whitbread IPA 78.08% 6.16% 5.48% 10.27%
difference 1.42% 6.16% -3.12% -0.32% 4.96% -9.11%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

In both cases pale malt and No. 1 invert sugar make up around 85% of the grist. Whitbread used rather more flaked oats, but Maclay offset this by using malted oats as well. Whitbread continued to include some crystal malt, as they had before the war. I should also mention that, while it doesn't show up in the list of ingredients, there was caramel in Whitbread's beer. They used caramel for colour adjustments to get their beers to the standard colour.

The differences in the grists remained generally the same in 1944. Crystal malt in the Whitbread, malted oats in the Maclay. Both brewers had exchanged flaked oats for flaked barley. The presence of flaked oats in 1943 and flaked barley in 1944 is simple to explain. The government forced brewers to use these ingredients.

Maclay PA 6d vs Whitbread IPA (1944) 
Date Year Brewer Beer pale malt crystal malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked barley malted oats
average 1944 Maclay PA 6d 78.19% 8.60% 0.32% 5.32% 7.58%
average 1944 Whitbread IPA 78.00% 9.00% 8.00% 5.00%
difference -0.19% 9.00% -0.60% -0.32% -0.32% -7.58%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

The story is much the same when we compare Maclay Export with Whitbread PA. The Whitbread beer contains crystal malt and the Maclay one malted oats. No surprise about the latter.

Maclay Export vs Whitbread PA (1943)
Date Year Brewer Beer pale malt crystal malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked oats malted oats
average 1943 Maclay Export 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
average 1943 Whitbread PA 73.34% 4.56% 8.84% 13.26%
difference -2.99% 4.56% 0.70% -0.25% 7.15% -9.16%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

Maclay Export vs Whitbread PA (1944)
Date Year Brewer Beer pale malt crystal malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked barley malted oats
average 1944 Maclay Export 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 6.11%
average 1944 Whitbread PA 72.05% 7.16% 8.99% 11.80%
difference -7.34% 7.16% 0.85% -0.25% 5.69% -6.11%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

I think I might have forgotten to mention something. By this stage of the war, Maclay were only really brewing one beer, in two different strengths. PA 6d and Export were almost always parti-gyled and, even when they weren't, the recipe remained the same.

Wait until you see what happened after the war. Maclays recipes have something very special about them. More about that later.

Tuesday 30 October 2012

Death to England

Unwise things to do when in a foreign country, number 238: toasting to the destruction of that country in a public place.

You must be a particularly stupid, arrogant or pissed foreign visitor to pull this stunt. I'm surprised they got out alive.
The German Toast in London Causes Disorder
On Saturday evening (says the "Standard") a party of Germans were seated at a table in a restaurant in Leicester-square London. They were drinking lager beer freely, and as they began each fresh glass solemnly touched glasses and said, "Health to the Kaiser, success to the Germans; to England, death and damnation." Englishmen listened with anger and disgust, and at last an elderly man walked up to the table swept glasses and beer to the floor with a heavy walking-stick, and administered a good thrashing to some of the company.

The Germans picked up their hats and bolted to avoid further punishment. They forgot to pay for the beer which they had consumed, and as the Englishman who had put them to flight refused to pay for the damage the proprietor had to bear the double loss himself.

At another and perhaps better-known resort in Coventry-street, where several groups of foreigners were drinking the Kaiser's health, something like a riot resulted. A party of Englishmen raided the tables, and a strenuous free fight was soon in full swing. Fists, walking-sticks, and umbrellas were used as weapons, and electric light globes, glasses, and chairs were smashed to atoms. The Germans got very much the worst of it, and were only delivered when the manager of the place and several waiters intervened, and requested the Englishmen to leave."
Western Times - Tuesday 25 August 1914, page 2.

It's odd they way Lager Beer is mentioned by name. They could have just said that they'd been drinking or had been drinking beer. Why mention it was Lager Beer? Presumably because it was seen as something foreign.

I doubt an incident like this could have happened much later, simply because there wouldn't have been Germans running around loose in London. They'd have been locked up or kicked out. This was still very early in the war, Britain only having joined in on 4th August. The mood in Britain later became so hostile to Germans that anyone with a vaguely German-sounding name risked attack.

Monday 29 October 2012

Maclays beers during WW II (part four)

Too much detail. That's how I'd sum up my blog. This is a perfect example. The way I've picked apart Maclay's wartime beers in a tediously nit-picking way. The good news is that I've almost finished with Maclay's beers in WW II. The bad news is that I've their brewing records running right through until the 1990's. Plenty more scope for putting things under the microscope.

Having looked at Maclays beers in isolation, it's now time to conextualise them by making a comparison with London beers. Where to start? The beer specifications seem as good a place as any. To be fair, I've only compared beers of roughly the same gravity. Which means that I've only one, Whitbread PA, to compare with Maclay's Export.

The war gradually forced down ordinary Bitter gravities to the low 1030's. MAclay's PA 6d, Whitbread IPA and Barclay Perkins IPA are good examples. This and draught Mild were what most punters drank. "Where's Maclay's Mild?" I hear you ask. That's a very good question. I think I might have the answer. But I'm saving that for later. It's more appropriate to consider when we get to the postwar period.

First, here's how PA 6d shaped up to Barclay Perkins IPA. (Just in case you still need warning, don't think of 1840's India or 21st-century USA when you look at these IPA's. They're a completely different type of IPA, namely the low-gravity southeastern style. An ancient and venerable branch of the IPA family tree.)

Maclay PA 6d vs Barclay Perkins IPA 
Date Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
average Maclay PA 6d 1032 1012.8 2.54 60.03% 3.83 0.53 60 67.4 7.4
19th Jan 1943 Barclay Perkins IPA 1031.5 1006.0 3.37 80.95% 4.41 0.54 60.5 70 8
difference -0.5 -6.8 0.83 20.9% 0.57 0.01 0.5 2.6 0.6
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers ACC/2305/01/625 and ACC/2305/01/626.

I admit to being shocked at how similar these two beers are. The only real difference is the much lower FG of Barclay Perkin IPA, along with the knock-on effect of lower ABV and attenuation. The hopping rate, fermentation temperatures and length of fermentation are all very similar.

Maclay PA 6d vs Whitbread IPA 
Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
average Maclay PA 6d 1032 1012.8 2.54 60.03% 3.83 0.53 60 67.4 7.4
average Whitbread IPA 1031.4 1006.0 3.36 80.87% 8.69 1.14 64 6
difference -0.6 -6.8 0.82 20.8% 4.86 0.61 4.0 -1.4
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

Moving on to Whitbread IPA, the story is very different. There's a similar gap in the FG, ABV and attenuation. But in this case there's a big divergence in the hopping. Whitbread IPA has more than twice as many hops per barrel, a very respectable (for a beer of this gravity) 1.14 lbs per barrel. It's worth noting that Whitbread's IPA is also twice as heavily hopped as Barclay Perkins IPA. Take this as a demonstration of the varying approaches to IPA in Britain, even within the same town. There must have been an enormous difference in the bitterness levels between these two IPA's.

Maclay Export vs Whitbread PA 
Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
Average Maclay Export 1040.2 1015.4 3.28 61.68% 3.81 0.66 60 68.5 7.2
average Whitbread PA 1039.1 1010.3 3.82 73.79% 6.08 1.01 64 8.5
difference -1.1 -5.1 0.54 12.1% 2.27 0.34 4.0 1.3
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/110 and LMA/4453/D/01/111.

Now it's time for Maclay's Export. Which I'm comparing to a single London beer, Whitbread PA. This time the gap between the FG's is smaller - 5 rather than 7 points - but it still leaves a considerable difference in the ABV and attenuation. Whitbread's beer is again more heavily hopped, this time by about 50%. You should note that their much weaker IPA had around 10% more hops per barrel than their PA. (How does that fit in with styles straightjackets? The IPA is correctly hoppier than the PA, but its strength is lower. Does that make the PA underhopped or the IPA understrength? Neither. These are real effing beers, not some geek's fantasy.)

There's only one conclusion I can come to: Maclay's beers had a lower level of attenuation than London ones. Oh, one more, actually. London brewers weren't very consistent when it came to IPA. But I knew that already.

Next time we'll take a look at how Maclay's recipes compared with those of Whitbread and Barclay Perkins. Then we can advance to the 1950's. One of my favourite decades. It is where I come from, after all.

Sunday 28 October 2012

Brewing at Beau's

I'm just back from a short(-ish) trip to Canada. Officially I was there for two reasons: to brew a beer with Beau's Brewery and to give a talk at their Oktoberfest. Unofficially I was there to drink beer, meet people and have a whole load of fun. Beer and friends - who can pass that up?

Considerately (I'd only flown in the day before) the brewery arranged the brewing at a civilised starting time of 10 AM. On the drive to the brewery, one of its co-owners, Tim Beauchesne, explained its origins. He'd run a leather finishing business in the building until all the work disappeared to the Far East. Wondering what to do next, the idea of starting a brewery popped up over a few beers with his son Steve. The idea took hold and soon became a reality, the old premises being kitted out with a 15-barrel plant.

Their main product, Lug Tread, is a pale, top-fermenting beer in the style of a Kölsch. It soon caught on and the brewery's main problem was working out how to brew enough to keep up with demand. Soon they had to brew 24 hours a day, 7 days a week just to keep up. A new 60-barrel kit, installed just a few weeks ago, allows them to brew at a slightly less frenetic pace and has more than doubled their capacity to more than 50,000 hl. A very respectable size for a brewery founded fewer than 10 years ago.

I started feeling guilty just about as soon as I entered the brewhouse. You see I'd come up with the recipe. It's from a Dutch book about Gruit, which handily supplies the grists insisted on by the authorities in various Dutch towns. To maintain a certain level of quality, brewers had to use specific quantities of grain to brew a certain quantity of beer. I chose Dubbel Koyt of 1515 from the town of Zutphen. It looked pretty interesting. An unhopped beer, brewed from three grains.

The grains were the source of my guilt. Because oats made up half of the grain bill. Oats, you know, the stuff you make porridge with. Not exactly the perfect ingredient to work with as a brewer. Porridge is most definitely not what you want to make when mashing. The idea is to get liquid and grain separate, not combined in a big sticky mass.

So I'd realised physically working with oats could be a problem. But I also worried about the chemical side. Would there be enough enzymes to convert the starch? Especially as the grist was only 25% barley, the other 25% being wheat.

Even that wasn't the final guilt source. I was that when I climbed to the brewing stage and struggled past the bags of oats that almost filled it. They'd all had to be carried up by hand and would need to be tipped into the mash tun manually, too. Ninety 50 pound bags.

Luckily there were two brewers to share all the humping and dumping, Matt and Andrew. When they started adding the oats to the hot water in the mash tun, it really did smell like breakfast time. "Where's the honey?" someone quipped. They also threw in a couple of bags of rice hulls to try and keep the mash a bit less porridgey in texture.

When all the grains were in the turn and the rakes moving, it looked like my worst fears had been realised. Big clumps had formed that the rakes were just pushing in front of them and weren't breaking up. It was time for some proper physical work, poor Kevin having stab the clumps with a long rake for 40 minutes or so to get a reasonably smooth consistency to the mash. It reminded me of the pre-industrial way of brewing, where workers had to mix the water and grain using mashing paddles (they often turn up in brewers coats of arms and logos).

With all the heavy work done, we had some time while the enzymes worked their magic (hopefully). Time to sample some Beau's products. I'd already had a couple of pints of their flagship Lug Tread the previous evening, so we popped open some of their other beers. First was a beer I'd dreamed about all summer: Vassar Ale. It's based on a beer of 1808 brewed at the Vassar brewery in Poughkeepsie in New York State. It was brewed from New York- grown barley, malted locally, and a type of Cluster hop, the variety grown in the Northeastern USA in the 19th century.

Vassar Ale is a pale, cloudy yellow, with a delightful tropical fruit aroma. A flavour that continues in the mouth, along with a firm bitterness that just lasts and lasts. A beer that throws itself down your throat like a Session Ale, despite its ABV of over 6%. Really lovely stuff. So lovely I lugged a bottle of it back all the way across the Atlantic.

The tasting didn't stop there. A bottle of Bog Water was opened. Behind the slightly unappealing name is a well constructed Gruit that was in surprisingly good nick considering its age. Without the protection of hops, you don't expect a beer to keep it together for more than 12 months. A very appropriate beer to try, seeing as we were also brewing a Gruit. To be honest, I was relieved that they had experience of brewing with bog myrtle. I wouldn't have had the faintest idea of how much to use.

That was the next task. Finalising the recipe with brewer Matthew O’Hara. We’d discussed the recipe by email, but still had a few little details to iron out, like the yeast strain and the herb additions. Matthew made tea with the bog myrtle and yarrow that we'd be adding in the boil instead of hops. I had no idea what to expect from either and was impressed by the complex herbal bitterness of the former and the menthol-like undertone of the latter. About 2 parts bog myrtle to yarrow seemed to work best.

To my relief an iodine test showed that conversion had taken place. Running off the wort could start. Or at least I prayed it would. I had a nightmare vision of the taps being opened and nothing coming out. Or perhaps a drop a minute. It wasn't like that. Quite. The wort wasn't exactly gushing out and the flow had to be encouraged by underletting and spinning the rakes. Eventually the 60 hl they wanted was run off, but it took 4.5 hours rather than the usual 2.

That left plenty of time for the next job: bagging up the herbs. They couldn't be added loose to the boil, as that would just clog the kettle that's only designed to take pelletised hops, not bits of twig and leaf.

I was surprised when the boil finally got going by the smell. Despite the absence of hops, it smelled very much like a normal boil. Until you stuck your head in the manhole and breathed in the herbally goodness. As the yarrow was very aromatic, some was held back for a later addition. The equivalent of an aroma hop addition. Weird, but fascinating, too.

Breweries are such fun places to hang around in. But this one in particular, full of friendly people only too happy to shoot the breeze with me about anything and everything beer-related.

Brewing done, Steve Beauchesne appeared to whisk a group of us off to a local pub for some Lug Tread and a bite to eat. The beer talk continued long into the night, lubricated by good beer and good company. A great day that I won't be forgetting any time soon.

Disclosure time: Beau's paid for my travelling expenses.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Fracas in a German Cafe

The British. They've a long history of causing trouble abroad. Especially when drink is involved. I can't help thinking that the response of the British vistors would be remarkably sinmilar today.

It's an odd period when this happened, just a year before the outbreak of WW I. The hostile reaction of Mr. Haeuser to the british tourists betrays the already tense relationship between Britain and Germany in the run-up to the war. As does the tone of the newspaper report, which implies the punishment was too harsh. I imagine their reaction would have been different had it been a German tourist glassing someone in a London pub.


BERLIN, Wednesday.
A smart fine was inflicted on a British subject to-day by the local court at Rathenow, near Berlin, for the gross audacity of beating a German in his own Fatherland.

On August 8th an English gentleman was motoring through Brandenburg with party including his secretary. They stopped in Rathenow and, his secretary and chauffeur sat at the table and ordered beer. A master builder, Karl Haeuser by name, was the same room. He was apparently drunk and thought fit to annoy the foreigners, first by making faces and then by making audible remarks such as "English swine."

He finally came to the table and tried engage the strangers in conversation, which the latter declined. At this stage Haeuser, noticing that the lid of the secretary's earthenware beer mug was not down, placed his own mug top of it and claimed a drink in accordance with the well-known German drinking custom.

The secretary, losing his patience, sprang and threw the beer over Haeuser and struck him a blow over the head with his mug, making four-inch wound.

The British visitors, who offered Haeuser compensation, which he refused, were allowed to leave Germany on bail. They were examined by commission and did not appear to-day.

The prosecutor asked for a fine of £2 10s. against for insulting the British party, and fines amounting altogether to £6 against the English secretary.

The court, consisting of a judge and two lay assessors, sentenced Haeuser to a fine of £2 10s., but in the case of the secretary found the prosecutor over lenient on the ground of the "gross audacity of beating German in his own fatherland" and fined him £2 10s. for insulting Haeuser by pouring beer over him, and £17 10s. for assault.—Reuter.

It was stated by the Berlin "Lokolanzeiger" at the time the affray, that the motoring party hailed from Liverpool, with the exception of one, the manager of a London commercial firm."
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 29 January 1914, page 7.
I've drunk a lot in Germany but I've never come across that custom of claiming a free beer. I'll have to try it out myself, should I come across someone with the lid of their stein up. Or maybe not. Seems like a good way to get yourself thumped, as Haeuser did.

I think the seecretary got off lightly. Smacking a stranger over the head and leaving a four-inch wound sounds like a serious assault to me.

Friday 26 October 2012

Oh dear once more

I've still not finished with the style descriptions in the 2013 Good Beer Guide.

First Old Ale:

"Old ale is another style from the 18th century, stored for months or even years in wooden vessels where the beer picked up some  lactic sourness from wild yeasts and tannins in the wood.. As a result of the sour taste it was dubbed 'stale' by drinkers and the beer was one of the components of the early blended porters."

Old Ale was not a component of early Porter. Porter was an unblended partially-aged beer, at least in the beginning. And it was a beer, so wouldn't have had Ale in it. When later in the 18th century they did begin to blend Porter, it was Mild Porter and Keeping Porter that were blended. Two beers.

We've some to the entry on Bitter (totally different from Pale Ale, remember) now:

"Bitter was a new type of running beer: it was a member of the pale ale family but was generally deep bronze or copper due to the use of slightly darker malts, such as crystal, that gave the beer fulness of palate."

Pale Ale had been called Bitter, Bitter Beer, Bitter Ale, etc before the first running Pale Ale was brewed. Bitter was not coined to describe running Pale Ales and after they had appeared continued to be used in relation to Pale Ales of all types.

Running Bitter wasn't darker than Pale Ale. The two beers were brewed from the same ingredients. In fact they were often parti-gyled together. I've yet to find a single case of crystal malt being used in a Pale Ale or Bitter of any kind before 1900.

Finally Scottish beers:

"Historically, Scottish beers tend to be darker, sweeter and less heavily hopped that [sic] beers south of the border: a reflection of a colder climate where hops don't grow and beer needs to be nourishing."
I sometimes wonder if I'll ever manage to stop people repeating this bollocks. It isn't true. Hops have been grown in Scotland and, just because hops aren't grown in a region doesn't mean brewers don't use them. Where are the hop fields in Staffordshire? Or Yorkshire?

Thursday 25 October 2012

Drinkers' revolt

You can understand why they were pissed off, drinkers in 1914, when the price of beer went up. It had cost the same not just for one generation, but two or three. As usual, drinkers blamed greedy publicans and brewers.

To put into context the price rise, standard Mild had cost 2d a pint before the outbreak of war. A halfpenny a half-pint was a 50% increase. A hell of a lot for someone whose grandfather had probably never seen the cost of beer rise in his lifetime.

The raising the price beer by half-penny a half-pint in the public-houses was responsible for many amusing scenes on Friday in the suburbs.

In the saloon bars, where stout and bitter are the favourite beverages, little or no demur was made by regular customers though some grumbled and asked for spirits, preferring to pay the extra halfpenny for whisky. But in the four-ale bars, where the price the half-pint has hitherto been a penny the working-man was vociferous his complaints. Moreover, he was well aware of the fact increased duty had not been levied on the beer that was offered to him at a 50 per cent. price increase, and he was outspoken his opinion of the publicans combining together to "rob him" as he put it. He was quite willing, he said to pay the "half-penny tax" for the war if the money went Mr Lloyd George, but he was not going to pay it for the benefit of the publican and the brewer.

Scenes were frequent in suburban public-houses. At one hostelry in South London, close to some works where about twenty men have been in the habit of going at dinner-time for their daily half-pint, the irate workmen refused the beer when drawn, marched out in a body, and went to a neighbouring off-licensed house, where, borrowing cans, they got their beer at the old price and drank it in the road. So strong was the feeling shown, and so pronounced the drop the takings for beer, that several publicans in South London took fright, and lowered four-ale and six-ale (4d and 6d a quart) to the old price, keeping the figure at 2.5d for a glass of "bitter."

Notices were posted on Saturday by publicans in several places South-East Lancashire intimating that "owing to the alterations in the map of Europe" the price of beer would be increased by a half-penny per half-pint on Monday.

A large number of struggling beer-house-keepers in Bolton have decided to give up business rather than pay the new tax. Many houses will be closed.

Important concessions with reference to the imposition of the tax on beer were made on Tuesday by Mr. Lloyd George in the House Commons. The Chancellor stated that instead of the proposed tax of 17s 3d a barrel from the present date duties would be levied as follow:—
From present date to March 31, 1916 15/3 a barrel 
March 31, 1916, to March 31, 1917  16/3 a barrel 
From then onwards  17/3 a barrel "
Western Gazette - Friday 27 November 1914, page 10.
There's a nice little bit about the class system in pubs. The saloon bars were the haunt of the middle classes, who drank more expensive beers like Bitter and Stout. In the public bar - here called a four-ale bar because most of the punters drank four-ale, as standard Mild was colloquially known because of its price of 4d a quart - the working classes drank Mild.

Scenes like this would be repeated later in the war, for example in April 1917, when beer duty was again raised. The complaint was the same, too: publicans raising the price the charged for beer that they had bought at the old price.

That plan for a gradual increase spread over several years was never implemented. And the tax didn't increase to 17s 3d in late 1914, but to 23s. There were further duty increases in April 1916 and April 1917.

Wednesday 24 October 2012


Maybe it's my fault. I should have insisted on a full explanation on the label.

1914 Whitbread Porter and SSS Stout. That's where my recreation brewing career started. I pitched an idea to an importer and found a brewer. What was that idea? You need to understand my motivation  to get beers brewed first. 

Frustration. Frustration with stupid arguments with brainwashed geeks about beer history. In particular, the difference between Porter and Stout. How best to demonstrate that historically they were just different strength versions of the same thing?

Easy. Get someone to brew a Porter and Stout recipe from the same year from the same brewery. That's the core of my recreation idea. Release a brace of brews whose relationship taught something about beer history. Either two related styles from the same year or the same style from different years.

I thought it was a pretty groovy concept. At least two others agreed.

I hoped the beers would be drunk side by side and my point would be clear. Fat chance. Not necessarily the fault of the punter. No guarantee they could find or afford both.

Judging by these comments on ratings sites, my efforts were in vain.

"Billed as a stout on the chalkboard at the Shelton Bros event - you could/should bump this up into the 'imperial porter' category."

"Lists as an imperial stout but does feel more porter like."

"Really a flavorful malty porter."

"The mouthfeel leaned more towards a Porter than a stout"

"The label describes this beer as a porter, but it definitely isn't. It is somewhere between a light, chocolatey quad, a Belgian stout, a Belgian Dark Strong Ale."

"Think brown porter."

"The result is an old fashioned porter/stout which has a lot in common with current (imperial) brown ale style, so I think they definitely got the point with this recipe."

"it feels lighter in body than a porter. More like a brown ale"

"I’m getting modern porter here."

"The bottle we had said porter, but we believe it to be the same. Nice rich RIS"

"Great stout that may actually may be an exceptional Porter."

"turns out i put the 1914 porter here by mistake.. opps"

"drinkable in quantity if i were into porters masked as thin imperial stouts"

"mouthfeel i find a little thin for my liking more like a porter"
Incidentally, if you want to learn more about Porter and Stout, the differences between them and even the recipes for the two 1914 beers, you should buy my book "Porter!" . There's a 20% discount on the hardback until the end of October.

Maclays beers during WW II (part three)

Not forgotten about Maclays. No indeedy. We're now moving to the mid- to late-war period, namely 1943 and 1944. When our lads were bravely pushing the Germans out of the Ukraine and back into Poland.

Maclay's beers 1943 - 1944
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days) pale malt no. 1 sugar caramel flaked oats flaked barley malted oats
29th Jun 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1014 2.38 56.25% 4.00 0.56 60º 67.5º 7 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 4.53% 9.06%
2nd Jul 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1013.5 2.45 57.81% 4.00 0.55 60º 67.5º 8 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
2nd Jul 1943 PA 5d Pale Ale 1028 1012 2.12 57.14% 4.00 0.48 60º 67º 7 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
6th Jul 1943 Export Pale Ale 1041 1015 3.44 63.41% 4.00 0.71 60º 67º 8 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
6th Jul 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1011 2.78 65.63% 4.00 0.55 60º 65º 8 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
4th Aug 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1014 2.38 56.25% 4.00 0.55 60º 67º 6 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 4.53% 9.06%
19th Oct 1943 Export Pale Ale 1040 1015 3.31 62.50% 4.00 0.70 60º 70º 7 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
19th Oct 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1012 2.65 62.50% 4.00 0.56 60º 68.5º 8 76.34% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 9.16%
21st Oct 1943 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1012 2.65 62.50% 4.00 0.54 60º 69º 7 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 4.53% 9.06%
18th Jan 1944 Export Pale Ale 1040 1016 3.18 60.00% 3.53 0.60 60º 68º 7 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 6.11%
18th Jan 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1012 2.65 62.50% 3.53 0.48 60º 68º 8 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 6.11%
20th Jan 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1013.5 2.45 57.81% 3.48 0.47 60º 67º 7 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 4.53% 9.06%
10th Mar 1944 Export Pale Ale 1040 1015 3.31 62.50% 3.53 0.59 60º 68º 7 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 6.11%
10th Mar 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1011 2.78 65.63% 3.53 0.48 60º 67º 8 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 6.11% 6.11%
16th Mar 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1012.5 2.58 60.94% 3.48 0.48 60º 67º 7 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 4.53% 9.06%
9th Jun 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1014 2.38 56.25% 4.00 0.56 60º 67.5º 8 76.98% 9.06% 0.38% 13.58%
13th Jun 1944 Export Pale Ale 1040 1016 3.18 60.00% 4.00 0.71 60º 69.5º 7 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 12.21%
13th Jun 1944 PA 6d Pale Ale 1032 1014 2.38 56.25% 4.00 0.57 60º 68º 7 79.39% 8.14% 0.25% 12.21%
Maclay brewing record, document number M/6/1/1/13 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Maclay's beers in these years are, er, a little dull. There are only really two of them, PA 6d and Export. PA 5d makes a fleeting appearance at a laughably low strength of 2.1% ABV before disappearing. With PA 6d not much stronger, it's no surprise this was dropped. Effectively PA 6d had dropped into the bottom strength spot.

What is surprising is the appearance of Export at a very reasonable gravity of 1040. It looks like a replacement for PA 7d but, not having the records for the years 1941 and 1942, I'm not sure how PA 7d was phased out and Export phased in.

Once again the different winter and summer hopping rates are very clear: 4 lbs per quarter in the summer and 3.5 lbs per quarter in the winter. That's quite a drop from the 6 lbs and 5 lbs for summer and winter in 1939-40. That's a really low hopping rate. About as low as I've seen for a British Pale Ale.

I find this very significant. Despite the gravities falling, the FG's remain high. So that the attenuation has dropped even lower. Maclay's Pale Ales are beginning to look very different from their London cousins through the combination of low hopping rates and low attenuation. Could this be when sweet, malty Scottish Pale Ales appeared?

On to the ingredients. There have been a couple of changes wince the early war years. No. 2 invert sugar has been dropped and replaced by No. 1 invert and caramel. I assume because of supply reasons. The percentage of sugar in the grist has also dropped from 13-17% to 8-9%.

I'd expected to see flaked barley and flaked oats in the grists. Brewers were pretty much forced to use these by the government. As a brewer that had used both flaked adjuncts and oats before the war, Maclays would have been at ease with these ingredients. What is unusual are the malted oats used in every single one of the beers. Maclays had been famous for their Oat Malt Stout, so that might explain rtheir willingness to use malted oats. But I still would have expected them to use flaked rather than malted oats as that was the form the government was pushing. There was less energy involved in producing flakes.

The barley malt element of Maclays beers remained remarkably constant throughout the war at 75-80%. A fairly decent level and much like how they brewed when they had a free choice before the outbreak of war.

Next time we'll be comparing Maclays beers with some from London. Very revealing is all I'll say in advance. Don't want to spoil your fun.