I’ll go through the styles alphabetically because I can’t be arsed to think of anything more clever. Dull old me. Which means we start with Barley Wine. Of which they had two: Arctic Ale and Colne Spring Ale. The former was the descendent of beer really made for Arctic voyages and the other a brand acquired with the purchase of Benskin.
Arctic Ale is pretty strong for the 1950’s, at a little under 8% ABV. But it’s puny compared to its ancestor. These are the vital statistics of the 1875 version, analysed in 1961*:
Note the massive finishing gravity, which isn’t that much lower than the OG of the 1950’s version. It says much about how British beer had changed since the 19th century.
I was surprised to see that Colne Spring Ale was cheaper, despite being considerably stronger than Arctic Ale. It’s actually not bad value when you consider it has four times the ABV of the weaker Stouts and Brown Ales.
|Ind Coope other bottled beers 1950 - 1960|
|Date||Beer||Style||Price per pint d||Acidity||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||colour|
|1950||Arctic Ale||Barley Wine||54||0.05||1079.8||1020.1||7.80||74.81%||18 + 40|
|1951||Arctic Ale||Barley Wine||52.5||0.08||1078.1||1019.1||7.71||75.54%|
|1952||Arctic Ale||Barley Wine||54||0.07||1080.3||1020.2||7.85||74.84%||21 + 40|
|1953||Arctic Ale||Barley Wine||54||0.08||1079||1018||7.98||77.22%||18 + 40|
|1950||Arctic Ale No. 1||Barley Wine||0.10||1079.9||1020.8||7.72||73.97%||40 + 16|
|1956||Arctic Barley Wine||Barley Wine||54||0.05||1077.1||1019.7||7.49||74.45%||105|
|1959||Benskins Colne Spring Ale||Barley Wine||47||0.10||1092.8||1009.3||11.08||89.98%||80|
|1950||Allsopp Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||15||0.04||1029.9||1007.7||2.88||74.25%||7.5 + 40|
|1955||Double Brown Ale||Brown Ale||25||0.04||1047.8||1012.6||4.57||73.64%||45|
|1950||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||0.06||1029||1009.5||2.52||67.24%||40 + 9|
|1950||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||18||0.05||1032.3||1008.6||3.07||73.37%||40 + 9|
|1951||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||18||0.04||1032.6||1007.7||3.23||76.38%||40 + 8|
|1951||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||19||0.05||1031.9||1008.3||3.06||73.98%||17 + 40|
|1952||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||19||0.05||1030.9||1011.7||2.48||62.14%||11 + 40|
|1954||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||19||0.04||1030.7||1009.7||2.72||68.40%||11 + 40|
|1955||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||22||0.04||1033.6||1011.2||2.90||66.67%||105|
|1956||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||20||0.04||1032.2||1012.3||2.57||61.80%||90|
|1959||"Dry Club" Stout||Stout||26||0.02||1038.7||1013.2||3.30||65.89%||240|
|1950||Allsopp Special Stout||Stout||36||0.05||1034.4||1010.4||3.11||69.77%||1 + 40|
|1951||Allsopp Special Stout||Stout||24||0.05||1037.8||1011.9||3.35||68.52%|
|1953||Allsopp Special Stout||Stout||30||0.05||1038.1||1013.4||3.19||64.83%||1 + 11|
|1959||Allsopp's Sweet Stout||Stout||28||1037.8||1015.4||2.89||59.26%||275|
|1960||Allsopp's Sweet Stout||Stout||26||0.04||1037.7||1017.3||2.63||54.11%||300|
|1950||Special Stout||Stout||0.05||1035.9||1011.7||3.13||67.41%||1 + 14|
|1950||Special Stout||Stout||24||0.05||1038.2||1014.9||3.01||60.99%||1 + 14|
|1951||Special Stout||Stout||24||0.08||1038.3||1013.4||3.22||65.01%||1 + 14|
|1951||Special Stout||Stout||29||0.07||1037.1||1015.3||2.81||58.76%||1 + 16|
|1952||Special Stout||Stout||23||0.05||1037.9||1011.5||3.42||69.66%||1 + 11.5|
|1956||Sweet Stout (lactose present)||Stout||28||0.05||1038.5||1016.5||2.83||57.14%||250|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.|
I’ve not much to say about Nut Brown Ale. Other than that they clearly deliberately made it sweeter after 1952 by dropping the level of attenuation. Oh, and they seem to have upped the gravity a bit when tax fell in 1950.
It’s nice to see a Double Brown, a stronger type of Brown Ale that mostly died out in the 1950’s. This one is a bit weaker than Whitbread’s, which was over 1050º and disappeared in 1955. The colour is quite pale (80 is Dark Mild). So more in the direction of Newcastle Brown.
All that’s left are the Stouts. All two of them. Clearly Special Stout was rechristened Sweet Stout in 1956. Looks like they raised the FG by adding lactose at the same time. Leaving a beer you’d need to drink several gallons of to get any kind of buzz. You can see that the gravity of the Stout was also raised a bit in 1950.
Draught beers next time.
* The Brewer, volume 67, 1961, pages 511 - 513.