Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1954 Whitbread Double Brown

I thought for a minute that I’d finished with Whitbread’s beers of the 1950’s. Then remembered that I hadn’t done the Brown Ales. Or the ordinary Mild. Without them, how would you recreate a 1950’s Whitbread pub?

I’ll admit to having a bit of a thing about Double Brown. It is a fascinating beer. A type of Brown Ale which has been forgotten. Sadly, in my opinion as it looks like a cracking beer. Dark, but quite hoppy and a good bit stronger than most post-WW II Brown Ales.

It was introduced in 1932, when it had a very respectable gravity of 1058º. And a grist very different from Whitbread’s Mild Ales. A more expensive grist, using pale ale malt as its base, as did their, er, Pale Ales. At 10 lbs of hops per quarter of malt, it was one of their most heavily hopped beers, ranking above PA (6lbs per quarter) and just behind IPA (11 lbs per quarter). Two things are clear: it wasn’t a cheap drink and it wasn’t based on Mild.

DB managed to survive WW II, though its OG did drop to the low-1040’s. By 1950, it was almost back to its pre-war strength, at 1055º. But it wasn’t to last long. DB was discontinued either in late 1955 or early 1956. And Whitbread concentrated on their other Brown Ale, Forest Brown. A watery beer based on Best Ale, Whitbread’s standard Mild.

You can’t accuse the recipe of being over-complicated. There’s just the base malt, a smidgin of chocolate malt and some No.3 invert sugar. There was a small amount of a proprietary sugar which I’ve replaced by more No. 3. The hops were a combination of Kent, Mid Kent and Sussex. I’ve assumed they were all Fuggles, but feel free to swap some for Goldings.

Whitbread went in for very short boils after WW II and this beer is no exception, being boiled for just 60 minutes.

No time to piss around, just to give you the recipe . . .

1954 Whitbread Double Brown
pale malt 9.00 lb 82.76%
chocolate malt 0.125 lb 1.15%
no. 3 invert sugar 1.75 lb 16.09%
Fuggles 60 min 1.25 oz
Fuggles 40 min 1.25 oz
Fuggles 20 min 1.50 oz
OG 1053
FG 1014.5
ABV 5.09
Apparent attenuation 72.64%
IBU 42
SRM 30
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale


Magnus Bark said...

How similar was the double brown to the Home Brewed beers of the early 20th century?

Ron Pattinson said...


good question. Fairly similar, I'd say. Though I've not seen a real Home Brewed recipe.



Rob Sterowski said...

Very different to the sweet style of brown ale, yes. What strikes me is that in certain respects – the heavy hopping and the colour coming from dark malts – it is closer to the modern American brown ale.

Anonymous said...

It looks remarkably similar to 1958's Whitbread KKKK.

It also looks very tempting, and I'll be having a go at it this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Just as you suspected this is a cracking pint. Thanks Ron!