Wednesday 28 August 2013

Bottled beers in the 1980's

Here's a weird paradox. I have more details about British bottled beer from the 1940's and 1950's than I do from the 1980's and 1990's. I blame CAMRA.

Because with cask beers, there's no problem. They've been documented by the Good Beer Guide since the 1970's. But only cask and bottle-conditioned beers. Which leaves all other forms of bottled beer and keg beer pretty much undocumented. Bit of a bummer for someone like me who's interested in every form of beer. At least from an academic point of view.

So I was delighted when Bailey (of Boak & Bailey) passed on some scans of a 1986 What's Brewing article about bottled beer. One that had lots of lovely gravities included.

It doesn't look that short a list, until you realise that for some styles, for example Stout, it's pretty much complete. Buy which I mean it includes most of the Stouts then brewed in Britain. Apart from Guinness and Courage Russian Stout. I have details for those two elsewhere.

Unfortunately, there weren't any Light Ales listed, which is a bit annoying. It's a style I'd like to trace through to its current virtual extinction. I can't think of many that are still brewed. Courage Light Ale is and maybe Harvey's still make one. How many others are there still?

Brown Ale is another former bottled favourite on its last legs. Well, apart from Newcastle Brown. Even Whitbread's Forest Brown has now gone. I'd be surprised if there were still half a dozen of the weaker type of Brown Ale still knocking around.

Strong Ales and strong Pale Ales were probably the bottled types doing best in the 1980's. Again, my division of them into Strong Ale, Old Ale and Barley Wine is pretty arbitrary. I could just as easily have classified them all simply as Strong Ale.

Bottled beers in the 1980's
Year Brewer Beer Style OG
1986 Sam Smith Golden Strong Barley Wine 1100
1981 Lorimer Barley Wine Barley Wine 1074
1986 Adnams Tally Ho Barley Wine 1075
1986 Young Old Nick Barley Wine 1084
1986 Whitbread Forest Brown Brown Ale 1032
1986 Mann Brown Ale Brown Ale 1034
1986 Bass (Runcorn) M & B Sam Brown Brown Ale 1035
1986 Home Ales Home Brewed Brown Ale 1036
1986 Hardy & Hanson Special Brown Brown Ale 1036
1986 Scottish & Newcastle Newcastle Brown Ale Brown Ale 1045
1986 Vaux Double Maxim Brown Ale 1044
1986 Sam Smith Strong Brown Ale Brown Ale 1045
1986 Adnam Fisherman Brown Brown Ale 1042
1986 Northern Clubs Federation Strong Brown Ale Brown Ale 1047
1986 Home Ales Robin Hood IPA IPA 1045
1986 King & Barnes Old XXXX Old Ale 1046
1986 Banks Imperial Old Ale Old Ale 1096
1986 Robinson Old Tom Old Ale 1080
1986 Gale Prize Old Ale Old Ale 1095
1986 Greene King Strong Suffolk Old Ale 1056
1986 Greene King 5X Old Ale 1106
1986 Young Ramrod Pale Ale 1046
1986 Shepherd Neame Abbey Pale Ale 1045
1986 Ridley Old Bob Pale Ale 1050
1986 Courage Bulldog Pale Ale Pale Ale 1068
1986 Adnam Broadside Pale Ale 1068
1986 Eldridge Pope Royal Oak Pale Ale 1048
1986 Gale Strong Pale Ale Pale Ale 1062
1986 Wadworth Old Timer Pale Ale 1051
1986 Timothy Taylor Landlord Pale Ale 1044
1986 Young Strong Export Pale Ale 1062
1986 Sam Smith Taddy Porter Porter 1051
1986 Whitbread Mackeson Stout 1042
1986 Sam Smith Nourishing Sweet Stout Stout 1042
1986 Sam Smith Strong Stout Stout 1050
1986 Hardy & Hanson Blackamoor Stout Stout 1044
1986 Timothy Taylor Black Bess Stout 1043
1986 Morrell Malt Stout Stout 1042
1986 Shipstone Ship Stout Stout 1042
1986 Courage Velvet Stout 1041
1986 Watney Cream Label Stout 1038
1986 Younger Sweet Stout Stout 1032
1986 Tennent Sweetheart Stout Stout 1035
1986 Randall (Guernsey) Bobby Stout Stout 1046
1986 Guernsey Brewery Milk Stout Stout 1042
1986 Ann Street Brewery Mary Ann Stout Stout 1038
1986 Belhaven Sweet Stout Stout 1033
1986 Brain Extra Stout Stout 1043
1986 Gale Nourishing Stout Stout 1034
1986 Greenall Whitley Red Rose Stout 1040
1986 Hardy & Hanson Blackamoor Stout Stout 1044
1986 Harvey Sussex Sweet Stout Stout 1032
1986 Holt Brown Stout Stout 1040
1986 Home Ales Stout Stout 1037
1986 King & Barnes JK Stout 1033
1986 Lees Archer Stout Stout 1042
1986 Morrell Malt Stout Stout 1042
1986 Palmer Extra Stout Stout 1032
1986 Sam Smith Sweet Stout Stout 1042
1986 Timothy Taylor Black Bess Stout 1044
1986 Sam Smith Nourishing Stout Stout 1050
1986 Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout Stout 1051
1986 Sam Smith Imperial Stout Stout 1073
1981 Elgood Malt Stout Stout 1031
1981 Greene King Farm Stout Stout 1035
1981 Robinson Unicorn Stout Stout 1038
1981 Devenish S. West Stout Stout 1040
1981 Marston Mello Stout Stout 1043
1986 Greene King St. Edmund Ale Strong Ale 1060
1986 St. Austell Smuggler's Ale Strong Ale 1070
1986 St. Austell Prince's Ale Strong Ale 1100
1986 Davenport Top Brew de Luxe Strong Ale 1074
1986 Davenport Top Brew Original Strong Ale 1071
1986 Morrell College Ale Strong Ale 1073
1986 Lees Moonraker Strong Ale 1074
1986 Holt Sixex Strong Ale 1064
1986 Higson Stingo Strong Ale 1078
1986 Harvey Elizabethan Ale Strong Ale 1090
1986 Harvey Christmas Ale Strong Ale 1090
1986 Eldridge Pope Hardy Ale Strong Ale 1125
1981 Paine EG Strong Ale 1047
1981 McMullen Mitre Strong Ale 1058
1981 Devenish Crabber's Nip Strong Ale 1066
1981 Greene King Audit Ale Strong Ale 1078
1986 Hoskins & Oldfield Christmas Noggin Strong Ale 1100
1986 Hall & Woodhouse Stingo Strong Ale 1075
1986 Watney Stingo Strong Ale 1076
1986 Broughton Old Jock Strong Ale 1070
1986 Godson Stock Ale Strong Ale 1086
GBG 1987
What's Brewing November 1986, page 7.


Oblivious said...

So green king did make 5x available to general public in bottle format, interesting

Bailey said...

We've come across both Young's and Whitbread's Light Ale in the last couple of years. Guess the former is the same as Courage these days, and the latter is... who knows?

Rob Sterowski said...

Is it the case that 5X was bottled, or did the source article perhaps say something along the lines of "a lighter ale is blended with 1106 5X to make Strong Suffolk" ?

Ron Pattinson said...


5X wasn't sold straight, only after blending.

Rob Sterowski said...

I asked because it’s in the table, which led Oblivious to assume that it was sold in bottles.

Ron Pattinson said...


I assembled the table from all the OGs listed in the article. There wasn't a table in the article.