Wednesday, 1 August 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1965 Drybrough Keg Heavy

There’s a name to fill a drinker’s heart with dread: Keg Heavy. Not a well-loved type of beer.

By 1965 it made up a large proportion of what Drybrough brewed, having overtaken 60/- as their most popular product. What was odd about their beer range in the 1950s was that it lacked a 70/-. Keg Heavy seems to have first appeared around June 1960, though there had been a  beer of a similar gravity, B/XXP (presumably Bottling XXP), for a while before.

This beer dates from just after Drybrough underwent the worst fate for any brewery: being bought by Watney. no suprise, then, that they were keen on pushing keg. The brewery continued in production until the early 1980s, when Watney finally pulled the plug. In their later years cask beer did make a return, in the form of a 70/- and an 80/-. Never had either, myself, as far as I can recall.

This looks very much like an English Ordinary Bitter. Except for the poor attenuation and the very low level of hopping. It must have been pretty sweet. All those residual sugars probably took on a lovely boiled sweet character after heavy pasteurisation. I’m sure it tasted great.

1965 Drybrough Keg Heavy
pale malt 6.00 lb 74.91%
black malt 0.01 lb 0.12%
flaked maize 1.00 lb 12.48%
malt extract 0.25 lb 3.12%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.75 lb 9.36%
Fuggles 90 min 0.50 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.50 oz
OG 1037
FG 1014
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 62.16%
IBU 14
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale


Phil said...

Had this once; very dim memories of something like a budget best bitter but heavy on the caramel. My strongest memory is of acute embarrassment at the name. At school, if I ever wanted to put on a Scottish accent I'd think of Billy Connolly doing broad Glasgow and run through a couple of phrases - and "pint of heavy" was one of them. Approaching the bar I automatically thought "pynt o' HEHH-veeh", and then worried I'd actually say it. What I actually said was the most English, most RP "Pint Of Heavy" you could imagine, and sounded even more ridiculous.

Why couldn't they just call it 'bitter' and have done?

Jonno said...

How did they manage to get such poor attenuation with a mash temp of 146? Deliberately underpitching the yeast?

Brian said...

My heart used to sink whenever I saw this on sale in a bar. Because I was always with a crowd who would drink heavy, no matter what..!

Personally I don't remember it as very sweet at all - it tasted more like strained/burned sick.


popular beer in north east england and now much maligned. i drank heavy upto the closure of cragmillar brewery and it never tasted like burned sick to me.after they moved production to alloa it was totally different and pretty much disgusting.bring back drybroughs i say.

Anonymous said...

It was sold at Newcastle Poly in 79-82 and was as weak as pish, thin as black tea, had no zing to it at all and was flavour-free except for a slight bitterness. It was always served freezing cold and you only drank it if everything else was off. Terrible, terrible stuff. No-one ever found it pleasant.

gordon brown said...

anonymous you must have been drinking a different drybrough heavy to me because up our end in northumberland it was a long way better than the muck from the FED and S and N.whoever was keeping it must have had no bloody idea.

Unknown said...

I was employed at Drybrough's laboratory circa 1971-73 and the attenuation was much more than stated by others. Finishing gravity around 1008. ABV circa 3.5%. Not that sweet, just not very bitter. Bland and rather dry if anything.