Saturday, 2 September 2017

Let’s Brew 1931 Barclay Perkins X

In the September of 1931 Snowden, the Labour chancellor, introduced an emergency budget in an attempt to balance the books. It didn’t quite work out as planned.

One of the ways extra revenue was to be raised was by increasing the tax on beer from 100 shillings to 134 shillings per standard barrel. The response of brewers was simple. They realised drinkers couldn’t afford to pay more for their beer so they cut gravities. The aim being to leave the retail price the same.

The tax revenue actually fell, from £71.25 million in 1930 to £68.7 million in 1932, the first full year it was in effect. Over the same period, the number of standard barrels produced fell from 19.5 million to 15.5 million. It was a disaster for everyone involved, including the government. It wasn’t until 1940, when extra wartime taxation was introduced, that the yield returned to its 1930 level.

Barclay Perkins reacted within days of the budget, cutting the gravity of X Ale to from 1043º 1038º. This enabled them to maintain the same retail price of 6d per pint. They also introduced a new beer, XX Ale, with a similar gravity to the old X Ale. Standard Mild would never go above 4% ABV again.

The recipe remained much the same, except the SA malt was dropped.

1931 Barclay Perkins X
pale malt 2.25 lb 27.31%
mild malt 3.25 lb 39.44%
amber malt 0.66 lb 8.01%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.07%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 12.14%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.55 lb 6.67%
caramel 0.03 lb 0.36%
Fuggles 150 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1038
FG 1008
ABV 3.97
Apparent attenuation 78.95%
IBU 27
SRM 12
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale