Sunday, 9 December 2012

William Murray's beers in the 1940's and 1950's

Now the end is near and we face the final curtain. Yes, you'll be glad to hear this is the last part of my series on the beers of William Murray.

I'll work through the styles in alphabetical order. It's as good a method as any. So we'll be starrting with Brown Ale. Do you remember me saying, many years ago, what a diverse bunch Brown Ales were? Here's proof. Both are way too strong, even the one at 1037º. In the late 1940's a typical Brown Ale would have been around 1030º.  The stronger one, well, it's got me wondering whether I typed it in wrongly. That's very strong for just about any style in 1950.

There's something else about the Brown Ales worth mentioning: the colour.  Those values, if my conversion is correct, are around 50 EBC. At the dark end of the spectrum for a Brown Ale.

Don't you just love the random use of shilling designations for the Pale Ales. There are 60/-, 70/- and 105/- examples with very similar gravities around 1030º. That's about right for an Ordinary Bitter in the 1940's. The ones from 1940 and 1946 are probably the same beer. The difference in gravity being the effect of WW II.

What really draws my attention, though, are those ones with Export in the name. They look very much like, er, Export. The modern 80/- type thing. I'm becoming convinced that the term, at least the way it's used in style nazi fiction, is a post-war phenomenon.

Those two Stouts are very different in style. The Export Stout looks like a pre-WW I Stout. Perhaps it was genuinely brewed for export. The high degree of attenuation is very unlike most post-war Scottish Stouts. The colour, 350, is pretty much opaque black.

The weak , sweet one looks more typical. Interesting that it has a higher FG than the Export Stout, despite having a much lower OG. 175 is on the pale side for a Stout. Just about enough to be in Stout territory.

Finally the Strong Ales, or as the brewery called them, Heavy Ales. Funny, isn't it, that although Export was being used in the modern sense around 1950, Heavy wasn't. Clearly it's still being used as a synonym for "strong". The gravity is very decent for the immediate post-war period. Many Strong Ales were under 1050º.

Obviously these beers don't necessarily include the whole of Murray's range, but there is one obvious omission: any sort of Mild Ale. The style seems to have been dead as a doornail pretty much by the time WW II rolled around. So a good 50 years before it suffered the same fate in most of England.

William Murray beers in the 1940's and 1950's
Year Beer Style Price size package FG OG colour ABV App. Atten-uation
1949 Brown Ale Brown Ale 1/- pint bottled 1010 1037.8 18 + 40 3.60 73.54%
1950 Brown Ale Brown Ale 1/- half pint bottled 1013.4 1057.1 11 + 40 5.69 76.53%
1940 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1005.75 1036.25 3.97 84.14%
1946 60/- Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1007 1028.5 2.79 75.44%
1947 105/- Ale Pale Ale 15d pint bottled 1004.5 1032 3.58 85.94%
1947 70/- Ale Pale Ale 15d pint bottled 1006.5 1032.5 3.38 80.00%
1947 Pale Ale Pale Ale pint bottled 1009.5 1031 2.78 69.35%
1949 PA 60/- Pale Ale pint bottled 1006 1030 3.12 80.00%
1949 Pale Ale Pale Ale half pint bottled 1010.5 1029.5 2.45 64.41%
1949 Strong Pale Ale Export Pale Ale pint bottled 1010.5 1038.5 3.63 72.73%
1954 Export Ale Pale Ale bottled 1016 1044 23 3.62 63.64%
1955 Export Ale Pale Ale 1/3d half pint bottled 1010.7 1044.5 25 4.39 75.96%
1959 "Wee Murray" Pale Ale Pale Ale 10d half pint bottled 1011.2 1032.7 30 2.69 65.75%
1955 Export Stout Stout 1/3d nip bottled 1015.8 1064.6 350 6.36 75.54%
1959 Extra Sweet Stout Stout 14d halfpint bottled 1018.3 1039.6 175 2.74 53.79%
1947 Heavy Ale Strong Ale pint bottled 1017.25 1066.25 6.38 73.96%
1955 Heavy Ale Strong Ale 1/3d nip bottled 1021 1071.7 105 6.59 70.71%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive

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