Saturday, 10 August 2013

Beer in India in the 1860's

More about India. Though I'm pretty sure some of the information in this source is incorrect.

Like this statement:

"Malt liquor at home is a very different affair to the strong-bodied ales and porters brewed for the Indian market. To preserve these beverages through the voyage they must be brewed strong, and with an excess of fermentable matter in them. Unless malt liquor be perfectly sound, it is apt to derange the digestive organs, and predispose to disease. In ordinary Medical practice in India nothing is so common, as to hear that a "bottle of beer not quite sound," has been the cause of the attack of diarrhoea, or dyspeptic symptoms. Very few persons, who engage in sedentary occupations, and who take but little exercise, can drink beer without suffering from subsequent discomfort in the shape of disturbed nights, bad dreams, flatulence, and often bilious purging and a feeling of prostration for the whole of the next day. Beer drinking amongst the better classes, officers, merchants, &c., may be said to be falling into disuse, and in nine cases out of ten, to the manifest improvement in the health of those who abandon the practice."
"Madras Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, Volume 6" edited by Howard B. Montgomery, 1863, page 404.

It's pretty easy to check that claim about Ales and Porters being stronger for the Indian market. Here are Barclay Perkins standard Porter, TT, and East India Porter, EI. The gravity is pretty much identical. The attenuation is a little more in EI. The big difference, unsurprisingly, is the level of hopping.

Barclay Perkins Porter in 1856
Date Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
25th Apr TT 1060.7 1018.0 5.64 70.33% 12.72 3.10
25th Mar EI 1060.9 1016.0 5.95 73.74% 17.05 4.68
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/542

Pale Ales in the 1860's
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1862 Allsopp Pale Ale 1067.1 1008.6 7.74 87.18%
1862 Allsopp Pale Ale 1071.9 1009.3 8.30 87.07%
1862 Allsopp Pale Ale 1088.4 1008.6 10.66 90.27%
1862 Allsopp Pale Ale 1070.8 1007 8.47 90.11%
1869 Allsopp Pale Ale 1064.16 1010.4 7.18 83.82%
1869 Allsopp Pale Ale 1068.45 1013.5 7.19 80.32%
1862 Bass Pale Ale 1067.8 1014.3 7.04 78.91%
1862 Bass Pale Ale 1069 1017.2 6.80 75.07%
1862 Bass Pale Ale 1069.5 1016.9 6.91 75.68%
1862 Bass Pale Ale 1063.2 1012.4 6.69 80.38%
1862 Bass Pale Ale 1066.9 1015.6 6.74 76.68%
1869 Bass Pale Ale 1065.89 1010.2 7.33 84.50%
1869 Bass Pale Ale 1065.41 1012.5 6.96 80.87%
1869 Bass Pale Ale 1066.67 1011.8 7.20 82.33%
1869 Bass Pale Ale 1067.03 1013.2 6.81 80.31%
1865 Whitbread PA 1061.8 1012.7 6.49 79.37%
1866 Whitbread PA 1061.8 1016.1 6.05 73.99%
1866 Whitbread PA 1068.4
1867 Whitbread PA 1063.2 1015.8 6.27 75.00%
1867 Whitbread PA 1063.2 1017.7 6.01 71.93%
"The lancet 1853, Volume 2", 1853, page 631.
British Medical Journal August 28th 1869, page 245.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/030, LMA/4453/D/01/031, LMA/4453/D/01/032 and LMA/4453/D/01/033.

Now let's look at Pale Ales. A little trickier, as I don't have domestic and export versions from the same brewery. But I do have ones from Bass and Allsopp, plus domestic Pale Ale from Whitbread. I'll be honest, I'm not sure if the Bass and Allsopp beers were intended for domestic use or export. One of the Allsopp beers is a bit odd, the one with an OG of 1088º. OI wonder it that's really a Burton Ale that's got mixed in with the Pale Ales. That one aside, there's not a huge difference in gravity between the Burton Pale Ales and Whitbread's. Though the ABV of the Burton beers is a little higher - 6.75 to 7.3% as opposed to 6 to 6.5% - than Whitbread's.

This observation is slightly less contentious: the better off were switching from beer to wine.

"Dining not long since with a large mess party at a station in the Mofussil, where ice had been recently introduced, we were much struck by the change of habits and customs. Looking down the mess table, the sight of a beer glass was the exception instead of the rule, as it used to be ten years ago. Most of those present drank claret and water, or plain iced water, but out of a large party of nearly fifty, there were not half a dozen beer drinkers.

A friend of ours, who has spent many years in the Straits Settlements, informs us that the European community there have almost entirely discarded beer, as unsuited to the climate, and have taken to light French wines instead. In the Presidency town of Madras, the use of beer has greatly diminished of late years. In the dining room of the Club, for one person who may be seen taking that beverage, there will be two or more, who give the preference to "claret cup," or some of the light wines.

The change in habit is more observable in the better classes of society than elsewhere, for the reason that agreeable substitutes for beer are more within their reach, than is the case with the artizan or soldier."
"Madras Quarterly Journal of Medical Science, Volume 6" edited by Howard B. Montgomery, 1863, pages 404 - 405.

Typical posh bastards, drinking French wine in preference to good, honest British beer.

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