Friday, 11 January 2013

Blame Drybrough

If I've been a little light on Scottish tables of late, there's a good reason. Drybrough. And their  eccentric brewing records.

A snapped a whole load of during my last commado raid on the Scotttish Brewing Archive. I grabbed 700+ photos of their records, getting every year from 1906 to 1970. It's a great set. And I would have gone through them as soon as I got back. But . .

Very first record of the first year and I can't understand it. Some, but not this:

That column heading "Runnage" - what the hell is that?

It was enough to make me scratch my head, scratch a few less-mentionable bits, and then move on to something I could understand. Being intensely lazy, I naturally seek the line of least resistance. Robert Younger's and Maclay's records may have been as dull as December, but at least I could understand them.

Drybrough's records are frustrating in many ways.

There are three or four different formats. each of which omits some really handy piece of information. Between them, everything you need is there. Just never all on one record. In some the boil times are missing. Others the pitching temperature. Or even the FG.

Then there are the beers that appear from nowhere in the last columns, conjured from who know's where.

Over Christmas I forced myself to look at Drybrough again. Starting with the less weird later records and working backwards. It's not a great deal of fun. They belonged to the one recipe school of Scottish brewing.

I've done most of the 1950's. It was a bit like hammering a nail through your big toe, but without the thrill of an ambulance ride to casualty.

The 1930's were a weekend in Bamberg in comparison. Slight exaggeration. A year in Swindon. That's it. Like a year in Swindon.

I'm on WW I now. And I've tipped over my comprehension horizon. I'm recording stuff I don't understand. I really hate that.

I'll be busy for weeks, whatever my level of understanding. It'll be worth it in the end. For the 64-year arc of a Scottish 60/-.


Unknown said...

I found this probably relevant question in:
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 54 (1948):

"10. The runnage of your pasteurized non-deposit beers is unusually low. Where would you look for the cause, and what steps would you take to rectify it?"

Just guessing based on that and the format of the table, is it possibly the kegged/casked output of the batch, and are /2 and /4 are size indicators? So the first batch was maybe 12 hogsheads and 3 barrels?

Andrew Glass said...

Ben Smith, that was my first guess as well. At Yards Brewing Co., we commonly use fractions to denote yields of keg runs, so a number like 10/2 would mean 10 half-barrel kegs.