Thursday 31 May 2018

Dutch-brewed Lager in the UK 1950 - 1963

Continuing my series on foreign-brewed Lager in the UK in the 1950s and 1960s, here are some from Holland.

One thing is immediately obvious: all these beers were brewed specifically for the UK market. How do I know that? Because they're all way too weak to have been sold in Holland, where Pils is always a standard 5% ABV. They have the typical OG of British Lagers of the period: somewhere in the low 1030ºs.

The names are pretty much as you would expect. Heineken, Amstel, Oranjeboom, ZHB. You might not have heard of the last one. It stands for Zuidhollandse Bierbrouwerij, which was a decent-sized brewery in The Hague. It closed in the early 1970s. Loosje, on the Nieuwe Markt in Amsterdam has a wonderful depiction of the brewery in tiles.

Bierbrouwerij De Wereld I'd never heard of. It was located in the village of Raamsdonk in Noord Brabant. The beers in the table can't have been brewed there because the brewery was bought and closed by Oranjeboom in 1948.

The one simply called Breda, must be Drie Hoefijzers. Which in 1968 formed Verenigde Nederlandse Brouwerijen Breda-Rotterdam with Oranjeboom. And which was later taken over by the UK's Allied Breweries.

Dutch-brewed Lager in the UK 1950 - 1963
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Amstel Lager 1033.6 1008.1 3.31 75.89% 15.5
1957 Amstel Lager 42 1030.8 1007.2 3.06 76.62% 9.5
1961 Amstel Amstel Lager 36 1030.9 1006.1 3.10 80.26% 9.5
1957 Amstel Amstel Lager 1031.9 1006.9 3.24 78.37% 12
1957 Bierbrouwerij De Wereld Piraat Lager Beer 30 1032.8 1005.7 3.52 82.62% 9
1959 Bierbrouwerij De Wereld Piraat King Size Ale 27.5 1031.1 1005.6 3.31 81.99% 10
1950 Breda Lager (light) 1036.9 1007.8 3.78 78.86% 13.5
1961 Heineken Lager  Beer 36 1030.6 1006.3 3.04 79.41% 4.5
1963 Heineken Lager 40 1030 1008.4 2.70 72.00% 6
1957 Heineken Lager 42 1038.7 1009 3.86 76.74% 5
1961 Oranjeboom Dutch Pilsner 36 1031.1 1006.9 3.02 77.81% 9.5
1963 Oranjeboom Pilsner Lager 42 1031.6 1005.9 3.21 81.33% 7.5
1957 Oranjeboom Dutch Lager 1035.4 1007.5 3.62 78.81% 10
1957 Oranjeboom Dutch Pilsener 42 1033.3 1007.8 3.31 76.58% 9
1947 Z.H.B. Z.H.B. Lager 30 1032.4 1008.2 3.14 74.07% 11.5
1950 Z.H.B. Lager 1033.7 1008.4 3.28 75.07% 12
1957 Z.H.B. Export Pilsner Lager 1032.3 1005.8 3.44 82.04% 13
1957 Z.H.B. Export Pilsner Lager 42 1031.6 1006.2 3.30 80.38% 10
1961 Z.H.B. Export Pilsner Lager 37 1032 1005.9 3.26 81.56% 8
37.1 1032.7 1007.0 3.3 78.44% 9.6
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Wednesday 30 May 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1947 Boddington XX

One last watery Mild before the end of May. This time, one from the late 1940s. Probably one of the most depressing times to be a beer drinker in Britain.

I can remember Boddie’s Mild quite well. It was one of the semi-dark kind. Though compared to their straw-coloured Bitter, it looked pretty dark. I assume that the version I drank was the direct successor to this beer.

With an OG of just 1028º, it’s not exactly high-gravity. Though thanks to a high degree of attenuation, it is just about 3% ABV. So just about intoxicating.

The grist is fairly simple: pale malt, crystal malt, flaked barley and sugar. Three different types of sugar: DMS, Fla. and invert. I’ve substituted No. 3 invert for them. Hopefully it’s somewhere close to what was in the original.

The hops were English (1945), Styrian (1945), Czech (1945) and 3 lbs hopulon. I’ve bumped up the hops by 21 lbs to account for the latter. The quantity of Styrian hops is so small – 2 lbs out of 105 lbs, I’ve left them out.

What next I wonder, now I'm done with watery Mild? Any suggestions?

1947 Boddington XX
pale malt 4.00 lb 65.31%
crystal malt 80 L 0.50 lb 8.16%
enzymic malt 0.125 lb 2.04%
flaked barley 0.75 lb 12.24%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 12.24%
Fuggles 115 mins 0.75 oz
Saaz 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1028
FG 1005.5
ABV 2.98
Apparent attenuation 80.36%
IBU 21
SRM 10
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 115 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Tuesday 29 May 2018

1898 - a big year for Watney

Because that's when they orchestrated the first big merger in UK brewing. When they clubbed together with two other established London breweries to form Watney, Combe Reid.

But they were busy with other deals, too. Like taking over the Mortlake brewery, their final home.

"Messrs. Phillips, More, and Co., Limited, Mortlake Brewery, S.W., have completed the amalgamation of their company with that of Messrs. Watney and Co., Limited, Pimlico, and they trade now entirely under the style of Watney and Co., Limited. The business is conducted, however, in all respects precisely in the same manner, and under the same management, as hitherto."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 134.
The new merged company was enormous, with a combined output of over 1 million barrels a year. And a huge amount of share capital:

"Watney, Combe, Reid and Co., Limited — Registered, with a capital £9,000,000 in £1 shares (2,500,000 first preference and 6,500,000 ordinary), to adopt and carry into efiect three several agreements made by this company with Watney and Co., Limited, Combe and Co., Limited (and the liquidators thereof), and with Reid's Brewery Co., Limited (and its liquidators), for the acquisition of the businesses and undertakings, assets and liabilities, &c, of the said companies, and to develop and extend the same. The first directors — of whom there shall be not less than nine nor more than 15 — are Messrs. H. C. O. Bonsor, V. J. Watney, C. Combe, A. M. Wigram, C. J. Phillips, C. Watney, R. Combe, C. H. Babington, C. H. Combe, H. E. Phillips, J. A. Combe, 0. P. Serocold, E. M. Wigram, and P. Combe. Qualification, £8,000. Remuneration, £22,500 per annum, divisible. Registered office: Stag Brewery, Pimlico."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 536.
To put that into context, the same year Tetley was floated with a share capital of £1 million and Charrington, one of the largest breweries in London, with £3,950,000 capital.

Though there were still a few formalities, like vacuuming up all the stock of the three constituent companies and converting into stock in the new company:

"Watney, Combe, Reid and Company, Limited.
The statutory meeting was held at the Stag Brewery, Pimlico, on the 10th inst. Mr. H. Cosmo Bonsor, M.P., who presided, observed that nearly all the stockholders of the three companies which had recently been amalgamated had assented to the change and had converted their various stocks into the stock of the new company. In regard to the debentures, about 8 per cent. in money value had not yet been converted, but in view of the fact that a considerable quantity of the stock was held by trustees and others, an that a great deal of it was in joint names, he thought that the terms ofi'cred had been sufficiently liberal to bring in a large body of stockholders. In regard to the conversion of the old preference stocks of the companies the amount unconverted was so small that he could not place it in the form of percentage, but there were under 20 stockholders who had not as yet converted, and some of those had not given their assent owing to absence from England and other causes. This absence, of course, prevented these stockholders from completing their transfer. However, the directors could say that practically the whole of the preference shares of the old companies had been converted into the shares of the new company. The solicitors to the company had informed him that the application for a quotation and settlement on the Stock Exchange had been before the officials, and the directors daily expected to hear that both had been granted by the committee. The business, so far as the directors were aware, was doing as well as they could possibly expect."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 763.
Then came the inevitable closure of one of the three breweries:

"The Brewing operations of the amalgamated company of Watney, Combe, and Reid, Limited, will, in future, conducted, we understand, at Pimlico and Long Acre. We learn that it has been decided to close Messrs. Reid's establishment, or, at any rate, not to use it as a brewery, the other establishments being sufficient to meet the demands of the company's trade."
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 820.

Combe's Long Acre brewery didn't remain in operation much longer. Presumably because Watney's two breweries in Pimlico and Mortlake had sufficient capacity. However, Watney continued to brand some beers Combe or Reid for decades.

Monday 28 May 2018

I've a shitload of books

My apologies for tarting them again.

There are some crackers in there, mind. And my books are one of the ways I earn money directly. Or any effing money, for that matter.

Buy my books!

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Weird ways of exporting beer

Thanks to Brandon for setting me this little tidbit. About weird ways of exporting beer.

"Among the most curious developments of modern brewing are the frozen beer of Tasmania and the compressed beer of Switzerland, both made for export. The British colonies are fast learning to brew for themselves instead of depending on the mother country, and Tasmania, which has the best reputation for its beer, ships it to India and Australia in frozen blocks, so that in Calcutta they suck their beer instead of sipping it. The Swiss process consists in evaporating beer during the stage of fermentation or after the completion of that process, until the residuum is as thick as condensed milk, occupying from an eighth to a twelfth of its original bulk. The alcohol which distills over with the water is separated from the latter, and is afterward mixed with the syrupy extract of beer. The condensed beer, which is shipped in tins, is said to stand exposure to the air in almost any climate. When it is to be used, the proportionate amount of water is added, and fermentation is again started by adding some lees or ordinary beer, and it is claimed that the result is a good table-beer."
"Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Volume 71", 1885, page 680.

Did they really ship beer ice lollies to India? I guess in 1885 refrigerated ships were around. I guess beer ice cubes might be nice to add to your beer. At least they wouldn't water it down like the boring not beer type.

I was wondering why they would start fermenting the Swiss condensed beer again. But, of course, it would be flat after going through the condensing process. I'm prtty sure that that process would bugger up the flavour of the beer even more that the most crude pasteurisation.

Sunday 27 May 2018

UK beer imports 1961 -1969

I've collected beer statistics long before I started writing seriously. That's just the number-obsessed idiot that I am.

When throwing together a chapter of my latest wonderful book, Austerity, yesterday, I was shocked to realise that I'd never properly harvested the figures for beer imports into the UK. A shocking omission.

Something I promptly corrected. Spending an hour of my free day on Brewers' Almanack data extractions. Well worth it. Every number collected will come in useful someday. That's proived true so far.

Only the second half of the table is worth attention. The top half is clearly just Guinness Extra Stout. Technically an import. But not necessarily in drinkers' perception. That's not even all the Guinness sold in the UK. Their Park Royal brewery in London served the bottom half of the country.

Other than Guinness, the imports all look like Lager. Mostly from Denmark. So Carlsberg and Tuborg.With Dutch beer rising at the end. Which seems to correspond with Allied Breweries' purchase of Oranjeboom in 1967. Coincidence?

Those Dutch imports can't be Heineken, as you might expect. At this point, Heineken Pils, very unusually, was brewed under licence in the UK.

Weird how imports from Czechoslovakia collapse in 1968. I wonder why that was? And that beer being imported from Norway - what was that? I can't remember seeing Norwegian beer in the UK.

In case you get excited about the Belgian beer available back then, from what I see in the Whitbread Gravity Book, it was Stella, Lamot Pils and Ekla Pils.

UK beer imports 1961 -1969
Country of origin 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968 1969
Irish Republic 1,329,752 1,245,451 1,215,539 1,281,126 1,215,168 1,240,440 1,277,257 1,313,038 1,252,844
Commonwealth Countries 1,740 2,303 3,793 3,007 3,344 2,226 2,738 2,890 2,730
Total Commonwealth Countries 1,331,492 1,247,758 1,219,332 1,284,133 1,218,512 1,248,066 1,279,995 1,315,928 1,255,574
Denmark 178,975 148,018 149,974 159,164 143,189 156,147 178,892 195,370 215,136
W. Germany 8,926 7,601 9,805 13,925 12,485 18,254 20,487 28,247 36,382
Netherlands 28,077 21,212 23,321 28,245 28,363 28,836 37,734 63,375 81,745
Belgium 8,907 8,391 5,303 5,803 5,053 5,287 5,752 4,993 4,770
Norway 2,390 2.308 3,887 4,491 6,081 5,344 5,945 5,109 6,327
Czechoslovakia 1,083 1,038 922 1,391 1,276 529 400 601 999
Sweden 670 578 1,112 459 460 863 226 112 591
Other Foreign Countries 655 589 853 1,392 1,166 3,352 1,607 2,866 5,332
Total Foreign Countries 229,689 189,795 195,177 214,870 198,073 218,612 251,013 300,673 351,284
Total bulk barrels 1,561,181 1,437,553 1,414,509 1,499,003 1,416,585 1,467,278 1,531,038 1,616,001 1,606,858
“1971 Brewers' Almanack”, page 55.

Saturday 26 May 2018

Let's Brew - 1947 Barclay Perkins XX

I told you it was watery Mild month. still time to squeeze in a couple more before June rolls around.

The late 1940s weren’t the best time to be a Mild drinker. At least if you wanted to get pissed. Watery was the key word.

Though there are some rather interesting recipes. Like XX, for example. Rather than being coloured up solely with sugar, there are two coloured malt: crystal and amber. The real grist was even more complicated than it appears in the recipe, as two-thirds of what is listed as mild malt was really SA malt.

The hops were a combination of Mid-Kent Fuggles from the 1945 and 1946 crop and Mid-Kent Tolhursts from 1944.

To account for the primings, which raised the effective OG by three points at racking time, I’ve added more No. 3 Invert sugar.

1947 Barclay Perkins XX
mild malt 5.00 lb 68.97%
amber malt 0.33 lb 4.55%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.90%
flaked barley 0.33 lb 4.55%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 13.79%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.09 lb 1.24%
Fuggles 75 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.50 oz
OG 1033.5
FG 1009
ABV 3.24
Apparent attenuation 73.13%
IBU 21
SRM 15
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 25 May 2018

Victory to Austerity

When I cranked up this blog, the idea was that it would track my research. A diary of my dives into the dusty depths of archives.

Ignoring rambling reports of my drunken meanderings around the beer-pots of the world, I've served up unleavened bread. Facts and numbers not quite fully formed.

Being prolific has its downside. The volume of words and numbers is hard to keep under control. Early in my blogging days, I started copying my posts into Word documents. By theme. Resulting in quite a few of my Mini Books and Mega Books. Porter! Mild! Bitter!, Strong!, London! Books like that.

They're an assembalge of research notes. Interspersed with a few crap jokes. Good as I think some of them are - Porter! I'm particularly proud of - they were never my final goal. They were a step on the way.

I was crazily over optimistic when I began my beer history swim. Soon plunging into a mad book project on British beer 1700 to 1973. The unfinished manuscript is enormous. One chapter may be the longest blog post of all time.

Victory! is an unpublished book of mine on post-WW II beer. The nailed-together blog post kind. I say unpublished, there are two copies. It was the prize for the who owns most of my books contest. And, obviously, I got one for myself.

Tell me if I start boring you with this shit. I'm listening to John Coltrane.

My bloggy books, wonderful as they may be, are really my notes. Time I started turning them into proper books. Like with Scotland! vol. II. A coherent book. I had so much fun writing, I decided to write one a year.

I got a bit stuck on the one I intended for this year. Ran out of enthusiasm. What to do?

Knock out a quick recipe book, I thought. Last years' Let's Brew sold pretty well. I've got a shitload of post-war recipes. I can bang together the recipes with some geeneral crap about brewing in the period. And lots of tables. Easy peasy.

That was the plan. Just wish I knew when to stop. The brief introduction has gained bulk. I've promised myself to stop adding new stuff on Sunday. Evening.

Austerity! British brewing 1945 to 1965. My next book. Such a sexy topic. A distillation of the unpublished Victory! And the second chapter to be published of my crazy big book. (The other is Peace!) Third, if you count the crazy long blog post.

Published when I get the recipes done. The counter is at 102, currently. I'm sort of aiming at 200, but may settle for 150. How many watery Mild recipes do you need?

Lager brewed in Germany 1952 - 1963

I'm continuing my series of random Lager analyses from the years following WWW II. Why, you may ask. The simple answer to that is: because I can. This is my blog and I can do what the hell I like.

That's the glory of a blog. There's no editor looking over your shoulder. You're 100% on your own. Which is the way I like it. I hate being told what to do.

Getting back to the topic of this post, these are beers which I'm pretty sure were on sale in the UK. The ones with a price listed, almost certainly so. Though all are some sort of Pale Laager, there's a fair amount of variation in strength.

The two examples at just over 1030º were definitely specifically brewed for the UK market. No-one in Germany drank Lager that weak. The ones at 1040-1042º couldn't have been for the German market, either. There was a gap in the tax gravity bands between 9º and 11º Plato (approximately 1036º-1044º. so those must be some sort of beer for export.

It's interesting to see so many examples of Holsten. A little later - in the 1970s and 1980s - Holsten was a big brand in the UK. I wonder if that was because they'd got into the UK market early?

Lager brewed in Germany 1952 - 1963
Year Brewer Beer Price OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1957 Dortmunder Union Pilsener 47 1042.8 1007.4 4.61 82.71% 8
1963 Dortmunder Union Pilsner 44 1042 1006.7 4.41 84.05% 9
1952 Dressler Lager 1051.8 1009.4 5.53 81.85% 6.5
1963 Elbschloss Ratsherrn Lager 48 1030.5 1006.3 3.03 79.34% 13
1961 Hackerbräu Hackerbräu Light 66 1051.7 1014.5 4.65 71.95% 8
1957 Holsten Holsten Pilsner 1044.7 1007.4 4.86 83.45% 8
1957 Holsten Holsten Pilsner 42 1044.7 1008.2 4.75 81.66% 8
1961 Holsten Holsten Lager 40 1044.1 1008.1 4.50 81.63% 7
1961 Holsten Pilsner Lager 40 1045.5 1000.8 5.59 98.24% 7
1963 Holsten Pilsner 44 1046.1 1006.7 4.92 85.47% 6
1957 Löwenbräu Pale Bock 51 1061.9 1014.3 6.20 76.90% 6
1961 Patzenhofer Patz Lager 42 1041 1007.5 4.36 81.71% 7.5
1959 St. Paul B.B. Lager 1030.7 1010.3 2.64 66.45% 7
1950 Tucher Tucher Pils Lager 1055.1 1014.4 5.29 73.87% 15
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

All of the beers were hideously expensive. To put things into perspective, you could get a pint of Truman's bottled Light Ale for 20d. That's a beer, at 1031.8º slightly stronger than Ratsherrn Lager, for less than half the price. I'm not sure I understand why anyone would voluntarily pay more than double the price for their beer.

Thursday 24 May 2018

The London hop market in May 1898

Another little interlude. This time looking at the prices for various types of hops.

The table below is dead handy as it gives any idea of how much the various types of hops were valued by British brewers. Though much of what it tells me I alreadt knew. For example, that East Kent Goldings were the most prized. And that Belgian hops were cheap. Interesting to see that Alsace hops were some of the better liked continental hops.

You may be wondering why there are three columns for each year. They're the price of the differeng grades of hops, obviously working up from lowest to highest.

"Hops.—There is scarcely any feature of interest to observe in this market, which, since our monthly report of the 14th ultimo, has been very quiet, and business has been on a much contracted scale. Speculation, it is almost needless to say, has been entirely dormant, and as most of the brewers are fairly well stocked with hops, the demand from the trade has been confined to the making up of odd parcels and the completion of unfulfilled orders. English descriptions, wherever and whenever they can be procured, have been much preferred to other kinds, but owing to the absence of a proper assortment, few purchases of importance have taken place, and no fresh advance having been established, present rates remain the same as those of a month ago. All the best "yearlings ” have either disappeared or been worked off, as practically none are left to bear a quotation, and nothing is now to be had above £3 10s. per cwt. An inquiry has existed for Continental hops, and good qualities have realised firm prices ; but California growths have been less generally sought after, and their outturn and condition not being thoroughly satisfactory, this, with their comparative abundance, has induced holders to submit to rather lower terms, say £2 5s. to £5, for common to the finer grades. American hops, however, exhibit no alteration, and this day’s general currency in the Borough, as approved by the merchants there, rules as follows :-—

Hop prices in London May 1898
1898 1897 1996
£ s. £ s. £ s. £ s. £ s. £ s. £ s. £ s. £ s.
East Kent Goldings 1897’s 4 15 5 10 7 0 2 0 3 0 4 10 1 15 2 16 4 10
Mid-Kents ,, 4 16 6 0 5 15 2 0 2 16 3 15 1 10 2 5 3 15
W. of Kent ,, 4 10 5 0 5 12 1 10 2 5 3 0 1 0 1 10 2 16
Sussex ,, 4 10 4 15 5 0 1 15 2 5 2 10 1 0 1 10 2 10
Worcesters ,, 4 5 4 10 5 0 1 10 2 10 3 0 1 0 2 0 3 10
Farnhams ,, 4 10 4 15 5 12 2 0 2 10 6 15 1 0 2 0 3 10
Country Do. ,, 4 10 4 15 5 10 2 0 2 10 3 10 1 0 2 0 3 10
Yearlings 1896's 2 5 3 10 - 0 10 2 0 - 0 10 1 0
Old Olds  1 0 1 10   0 5 0 10   0 5 0 10
Bavarians 1897's 4 0 4 10 5 10 1 18 2 5 3 10 1 10 2 0 2 10
Belgians ,,  2 2 2 10 3 3 1 5 2 0 - 1 10 2 0
Alsace ,,  4 4 4 15 1 12 2 0 3 10 1 0 2 5
Bohemia ,,  none. none. none.
Burgundy ,, 4 4 4 10 4 15 1 15 2 0 2 16 1 10 2 5 2 10
American ,, 3 0 4 0 5 10 - 2 14 3 15 2 0 2 16
Californian ,, 2 5 3 10 5 0   3 0 3 15 1 0 1 10 2 10
Foreign Old Olds 0 10 0 15 - 0 5 0 10 - 0 5 0 10 -
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 391.

Messrs. Tuchmann and Low, 11, Southwark Street, London, S.E., report as follows on the English and Foreign Hop market :— “Since Easter we have a better inquiry and more business doing. Good useful copper hops have been in request, and as the stock of those remaining unsold is small holders continue firm in their demand as to price. Continental hops are without much alteration in value. Pacific Coast hops the last few weeks have been receiving more attention, and some business has been done in these, the cheap prices at which the lower qualities were, being offered having stimulated business.”

Messrs. Bloch Brothers, of Nuremberg. write us on the 10th inst. as follows :—"Our market continues unchanged. Stocks are exceedingly reduced, and the volume of business is necessarily quite small; prices remain firm on the same basis as last month. The new hop plant is doing well so far, but, of course, it is too early to attach any importance to this fact.”
"The Brewers' Journal, 1898", page 391.
Of the foreign hops, only Bavarian and Burgundy commanded close to the same price as English hops. It's just a shame that there were no Bohemian hops. I suspect they would have been rivalling English hops in terms of price.

The difference between the price of American and Californian hops is fascinating. I'm pretty sure the former are hops grown on the East Coast, mainly in New York state.

Old olds, if you're wondering, are hops more than two years old.