Wednesday 31 October 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1918 Whitbread Imperial Stout

I'm almost done with my new book. Just polishing off the last few recipes. Then there are a few other bits that need finishing. And I'm done. Hopefully.

Here's a recipe from it . . . 

Whitbread tinkered with their range of beers during the war. Mostly dropping beers. But there was one new arrival, Imperial.

Imperial was a replacement for Whitbread’s two strong Stouts, SS and SSS. This beer, brewed in March 1918, was one of the last brews, with only four coming after it. It was the end of really strong Stouts at Whitbread.

The grist has the same components as all Whitbread’s Black Beers: pale, brown and black malt plus No. 3 invert sugar. The proportion of roasted malts is slightly smaller than in London Stout, but not drastically so.

The hops used are exactly the same as in their Porter: Mid-Kent (1915 Cold Store, 1916) and Pacific (1913). Not that surprising as this beer was parti-gyled with Porter. Given the age of the hops, I’ve reduced the quantity in the recipe by quite a lot.

1918 Whitbread Imperial Stout
pale malt 10.75 lb 65.43%
brown malt 2.50 lb 15.22%
black malt 1.43 lb 8.70%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.75 lb 10.65%
Cluster 105 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.50 oz
OG 1073
FG 1028
ABV 5.95
Apparent attenuation 61.64%
IBU 57
SRM 47
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Richmond here I come

The trip starts with the usual bus to the airport. Or rather, two buses: first the 15, then the 397.

Changing at Haarlemmermeerstation has become no fun since they started redoing the bus station there. All the buses have to stop at the same spot, and you virtually have to stand in the road. Dead crap. Especially if, like me, you have luggage with you. But the route is the quickest – and cheapest – way to get to Schiphol from mine.

Once at the airport, I quickly dump my bag and go through the security crap. It’s great having silver status with KLM. No need to queue up with the plebs. Amazingly, security doesn’t pull out one of my bags for closer inspection. That almost always happens to me at Schiphol.

I don’t have a huge amount of time before boarding starts – around 45 minutes. So I quickly get the extra security check over with. The flight is departing from pier D and that means one thing: a trip to Murphy’s Irish pub. After a couple of quick Jamesons, I head to my gate.

Boarding is already underway. Not that it worries me. I’m not in any rush to get to my seat. There’s still quite a while before take-off. I’ve got extra legroom, as usual. I like my comfort.

I’ve remembered to bring lots of extra batteries for my noise-cancelling headphones. I ran out on the way back from Hong Kong. About 95% of the way through Ocean’s 8. Which was slightly frustrating. Even before the plane takes off, I’m getting into a crap film. That’s my standard plan: watch unchallenging stuff to make the journey whizz by. It’s worked pretty well so far.

My route is an odd one. Even though I’ll be spending most of my time in Washington DC, I’m flying into Richmond, via JFK. Not a route I would have picked. But I wasn’t buying the ticket. It was bought for me by Colonial Williamsburg.

Let me explain, I was going to be speaking at a historic brewing conference in Williamsburg. They’d already bought my ticket when the event was cancelled. Leaving me with a return flight to Richmond. It would have been a shame to waste it.

I quickly rejigged my trip, arranging to stop with friends Paul and Jamie in Washington. Maryland, to be totally accurate, though still in the DC metro area. And also arranging a couple of events during my time there.

I’ve only 1 hour 40 minutes between my flights at JFK. Much shorter than I would have liked. I usually avoid making connections. My preferred option is to always stay on the night of arrival; and night before departure in the city I’m flying to. I’ve been on too many flights that were delayed and fellow passengers missed their connections.

And the last time I had a connecting flight on my return from Chile last year a delay meant that I missed my onward flight to Schiphol and had to spend 8 hours at Charles de Gaulle, one of my least favourite airports. Pretty grim.

We seem to be on time, so I’m not fretting too much yet. The last few times I’ve arrived in the USA, I’ve breezed through immigration pretty quickly. But that wasn’t at JFK.

The fun starts after getting off the plane. It’s a long walk to immigration. A really long walk. Which eats into my time. Good news is that they’ve the machines. Which, as a returning ESTA passenger, I’m allowed to use.

The machine takes my fingerprints and a photo of me. Then spits out a slip of paper with an X on it. Evidently there are two types of slip: one with an X, the other with an O. Those with an X have to join the queue for human immigration officers. Great. It’s quite a long queue.

Eventually I get to the head of the main queue and am directed another queue in front of one of the counters. When I’m half way to the front of this queue, the counter closes and I’m directed to the back of another queue. Wonderful. Time is ticking away.

By the time the officer has stamped my passport, I’ve only 35 minutes before my next flight. That should be long enough, shouldn’t it?

It’s a bit of a walk to the baggage hall, too. Though at least my bag is already there. I dash through to airside and drop at the luggage transfer desk. And join the security queue. Luckily, I’ve got TSA pre, which means I should get through quicker.

In theory, it should be a shorter queue. But it doesn’t seem to be. I’ve now only 25 minutes left. And damn it if they don’t pull out one of my bags. Fucking magic.

By the time they’re happy with my bag, I’ve 20 minutes. I should be OK. I’ve a checked in bag and they can’t leave with that and without me.

D43 is the gate. Which doesn’t sound good. I’m at D1.

D43 is a s far away as it sounds. After 10 minutes brisk walking, I’m still just at D30-odd. This is a good way to give myself a thrombie, this stressed rushing about. Hopefully my flight is a bit late. Then I should be fine.

When I get to D43, there’s no-one around. This isn’t good. Then someone from Delta appears. The flight hasn’t left the gate yet, but the doors are closed. No way I’m getting on. “You’ll need to go to our service desk to arrange a later flight.” Fanfuckingtastic.

An Italian bloke trolls up. He’s missed the flight, too.

“What about my checked in bag?”

“That should be waiting for you in Richmond.”

Looks like they have flown it without me.

At the service desk, the lady tells me that I’ve been rebooked on the next Richmond flight. Which isn’t for another five hours. It’ll be after 9 PM when I eventually land in Richmond. Just as well I don’t have anything arranged in Richmond tonight.

This is going to be a long day. I’ll need to get some food down as by the time I get to Richmond it will be getting too late. I find the closest bar and park my arse at it. Blue Smoke, it’s called. I order A Shiner Bock and a double Jack Daniels.

With a beer and a bourbon in front of me, things don’t seem quite so bad. I sip on them slowly and read Private Eye to pass the time. I don’t think I’ve tried Shiner Bock before. A bit metallic. And caramelly. OK, I guess. Not sure I’d have another.

After a while, I invest in some food. Nothing too big, but enough to tide me over until tomorrow. A crispy chicken sandwich, if you’re interested.

The day drips by as I drip drink into me. At least I’m not in Charles de Gaulle.

My flight appears to be on time. Which is good. I should get to my hotel before it’s time to sleep. Before we pull away from the gate, they announce that we’re having to wait a while for a take-off slot. It takes half an hour. When we do set off another announcement tells us that we’re at the back of a long queue of aircraft. It’ll be another half hour before we’re in the air.

The flight is uneventful. But an hour late. Bollocks. Doesn’t look like I’ll be seeing much of Richmond today.

I look for the Delta baggage office to see about picking up my bag. There doesn’t seem to be anyone around, but I spot my bag standing outside it. I grab it and head for the taxi rank.

The bloke in front of me in the taxi queue suddenly gets out of the taxi again.

“What was all that about?” I ask the driver.

“He’s come to the wrong Richmond. He wanted to go to Richmond, California.”

“Wow, that’s quite a mistake.”

Fortunately it’s not too far from the airport to my hotel downtown. I’m soon checked in and looking on the internet for a nearby bar that’s open. I had looked up some beer-oriented places back in Amsterdam, but they’re a bit too far away. There’s an Irish bar further down the street, I notice. I head there.

But before I reach it, I notice a hot dog place that’s open. Peering through the open doorway, I notice that they’ve several beer taps. That’ll do. And there’s baseball on the TV. Perfect. I get myself a beer and bourbon. And the world suddenly seems a better place.

The crowd is pretty young. And drinking with admirable enthusiasm. I get chatting with one bloke, who’s a hotel worker. Most customers seem to work in the hospitality industry. This is obviously where they tip down when their shifts are done. A bit raucous, but quite friendly.

I leave at midnight, just after last orders. And am soon safely tucked up in bed. Where I’m smothered by sleep. I’ve been up almost 24 hours.

City Dogs
1316 E Cary St,
VA 23219.
Tel: 804-343-3647

Monday 29 October 2018

East India Porter

The more I learn about East India Porter, the more I realise that it's a much neglected object of Study.

For a start, it seems to have existed as a thing for longer than India Pale Ale, a term to which the first  known references only date from the 1820s. Pale Ale was exported to India earlier than that date, it's true, seemingly before the term India Pale Ale was coined.

My oldest East India Porter recipe - brewed originally by old friends Barclay Perkins - dates from 1805. But the term has been around longer than that. As this proves:

T PIDGEON, No. 30, Cusse-street, respectfully informs the Public, that his stores are constantly stocked with the following articles, of genuine quality and prime order:

Per Doz.
Per Doz. 
Bellingham Ale, 7 7  East India Porter, 5 5 
Windsor do. 5 5 English do. 3 9h
Fermoy do. 5 11h Andrews’s Pale Butt 5 11h
Appledore do. 5 5 Double Spruce Beer, 2 8h 

Four dozen English Porter, at 3s. 6d. per dozen.
Wines usual of best quality, for ready money only."
Saunders's News-Letter - Thursday 08 March 1804, page 2.
It's interesting to note the price differential between ordinary London Porter and East India Porter: 45.5d to 65d. That's around 50% more. But I know from the 1805 Barclay Perkins records that the gravities of the two types of Porter were the same, the only difference being hopping. The India version had around double the hops of the domestic one.

India Porter was already around in the 19th century:

WADE and MARSHALL, of the Earl Macartney indiaman, 16, Dame-street, have received from the east India Sales, per the Suir and Eliza, from London, fresh of Teas, Sugars, Spices, and other articles, which are of the finest flavour and quality, the lowest terms for ready money. They have also supplied themselves with a quantity Dr. SOLANDER’s SANATIVE ENGLISH TEA, which has been so highly improved his experience, acquired in his voyage round the world with the celebrated Captain Cooke, and which is approved and recommended by physicians of the first eminence in England, the most pleasing and powerful restorative in all  Nervous Disorders. Their Family WHISKEY is remarkably fine flavoured, old, and well worth the attention of private families —very fine old Claret — Port — White Wines — and East India Porter, in wood and bottle — with all kinds of foreign Spirits. N. B. Wholesale purchasers will meet with encouragement, and find it their intercit to apply."
Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 09 March 1797, page 3.
That's a slightly confusing advert. Were they shipping the Porter back from India?

And here's the oldest reference that I've found so far:

"East India Porter, in high order 8s. 6d. per Doz. BEST LONDON PORTER, in Wood and Bottle.
Town and Country Retailers supplied the most liberal Terms, WILSON’S WINE-VAULTS and London Porter-Stores, No. 13, GRAFTON-STREET, Dublin."
Dublin Evening Post - Thursday 19 January 1792, page 3.
Not many details there, unfortunately.

My guess is that the term East India Porter is older than 1792. The way it's referred to implies a consumer would know what it was.

Sunday 28 October 2018

Chicago beers in 1890

A quick look at some beers that were on sale in Chicago in the 1890s.

I'm assuming that they're all Lagers of one kind or another. But it would be nicee if they had been a bit more specific about the beers, rather than just identifying them by numbers.

The most striking feature is the poor degree of attenuation. Only two samplees were above 70% apparent. The average is a poor 63.5%. On the other hand, the gravities are pretty decent, with five examples over 14º Balling. The alcohol is in ABW, in case you were wondering.

"Analysis of Beers.
THE following table shows the result of a gravimetric analysis made by P. F. Siebel, In, of a number of beers recently obtained in the Chicago market. The beer No. 12, if an article with such a low attenuation can still be called by that name, is said to be imported :—

No. of SAMPLE. I. II. III. IV. V. VI.
Alcohol 4.23 3.79 4.24 3.46 3.35 3.57
Extract 6.5 7.7 5.6 7.35 5.8 7.15
Weight in per cent 4.6 6 3.7 5.8 4.3 5.55
Corresponding specific gravity 1.0184 1.0240 1.0148 1.023 1.0172 1.0222
Original gravity of wort 14.62 14.98 13.14 13.99 12.23 14.00
Water 89.27 88.51 90.16 89.19 90.85 89.28
Degree of apparent attenuation 68.5 59.9 71.8 58.5 64.8 60.3
Degree of real attenuation 56.5 49.6 60.2 47.7 53.6 49.9
Alcohol 3.79 4.46 3.79 4.13 3.35 2.79
Extract 6.4 5.2 7.3 6.95 6.05 8.5
Weight in per cent 4.7 3.2 5.6 5.1 4.55 7.25
Corresponding specific gravity 1.0188 1.0128 1.0224 1.0204 1.0182 1.0291
Original gravity of wort 13.67 13.76 14.58 14.88 12.48 13.87
Water 89.91 90.34 88.91 88.92 90.6 88.71
Degree of apparent attenuation 65.1 76 61.5 65.7 63.3 47.7
Degree of real attenuation 54.2 63.1 50.9 54.3 52.5 39.6

Although the above figures give a fair representation of the variation in the amount of alcohol and extract, and the attenuation of beers in the Chicago market at present, yet it must not be supposed that the beers with comparatively low attenuation are actually represented in the same proportion in the market as they are in the above table."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 128.

Saturday 27 October 2018

Let's Brew - 1948 Drybrough Burns Ale

In typical Scottish fashion, Drybrough only had the one recipe. From which they brewed three Pale Ales of varying degrees of wateriness and a Strong Ale, Burns. Named after the poet, not the facial hair.

There’s a little more black malt in this one, but otherwise it’s much the same recipe as the single-gyle 60/-. But with more oomph. Lot’s more oomph. Enough oomph to get you intoxicating after fewer than a dozen pints.

Though due to the rubbish degree of attenuation, it’s only a little over 5% ABV. You’d expect a beer of this gravity to be at least 6.5% ABV.

1948 Drybrough Burns Ale
pale malt 11.25 lb 70.87%
enzymic malt 1.75 lb 11.02%
black malt 0.125 lb 0.79%
flaked barley 1.50 lb 9.45%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.57%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.00 lb 6.30%
Fuggles 90 min 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1070
FG 1031
ABV 5.16
Apparent attenuation 55.71%
IBU 24
SRM 12
Mash at 145º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

You can find this recipe, along with literally hundreds of others, in my post-WW II British brewing:

Friday 26 October 2018

Very profitable Guinness

The conversion of Guinness to a public company was very successful As was the company itself.

In 1890, Guinness made getting on for three-quarters of a million quid. A huge amount for the time.

"A. Guinness, Son & Co., Limited.
The directors’ report for the year ended June 30 last states:- “The results of the financial year, after making provision for bad debts, and including dividends on investments and interest on loans, show a profit of £719,665 9s. 9d. This, together with £25,641 15s. 11d. carried forward from the last account, makes a total of £745,307 5s. 8d. After providing for the debenture interest, the dividend on the preference stock, the balance of income tax, and the interim dividend paid in March on the ordinary stock, there remains available for appropriation the sum of £387,284 9s. 2d., as shown in the profit and loss account. The directors propose to apply this sum as follows:— To add £100,000 to the reserve fund and £30,000 to the depreciation fund; and, subject to the approval of the general meeting, to pay to the ordinary stockholders a final dividend of 9 per cent. for the half-year, making, wit the interim dividend of 6 percent. paid March 1 last, a total dividend for the year ended June 30, 1890, of 15 per cent., free of income tax. These payments will absorb £355,000, thus leaving a sum of £32,284 9s. 2d. to be carried forward to the next account. Sir Edward Guinness and the Hon. John Baring retire by rotation.

“Sir Edward Guinness has informed the board, to their great regret, that he cannot offer himself for re-election, as he finds some relief from work to be imperativer necessary. One of his main objects in the formation of the Company was to enable him to withdraw from the active supervision of a business requiring so large an amount of time and constant attention. All matters connected with the change from a private firm to a limited company have now been satisfactorily arranged, and as the Company is working successfully in every way,- Sir Edward feels confident that he can, without detriment to its interest, take the contemplated step of retiring from the management.""
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 262.

I know Guinness sold around 1.3 million barrels in 1889. meaning they were making almost 11 shillings per barrel. Which is a pretty decent profit. And their sales were still increasing, as you can see from this table.

Guinness sales 1880 - 1890
Extra Stout Porter other total
Year Britain Ireland total Britain Ireland total FES Export total Britain Ireland FES/Export total
1880 207,695 201,348 409,043 2,208 435,127 435,335 53,890 14,796 68,686 209,903 637,475 68,686 916,064
1881 204,073 201,546 405,619 1,686 465,190 457,586 54,739 14,053 68,792 205,759 657,736 68,792 932,317
1882 235,583 230,053 465,636 1,867 515,170 517,037 66,247 15,225 81,472 237,450 745,223 81,472 1,064,145
1883 227,572 201,007 425,579 854 407,681 408,535 57,154 11,817 68,971 228,426 608,688 68,971 906,085
1884 259,481 235,860 495,341 1,765 544,210 545,975 71,122 11,361 82,483 261,246 780,070 82,483 1,123,799
1885 260,488 237,584 495,072 1,923 597,594 599,517 74,538 10,947 85,485 262,411 835,178 85,485 1,183,074
1886 274,294 239,171 513,465 1,394 621,089 622,473 71,707 10,321 82,028 275,678 860,260 82,028 1,217,966
1887 290,501 245,547 536,438 1,274 659,725 660,699 74,501 9,634 84,135 291,775 905,572 84,135 1,282,576
1888 302,145 245,766 547,911 1,208 689,438 690,646 81,660 9,086 90,746 303,353 935,204 90,746 1,329,303
1889 308,223 243,337 551,560 1,054 690,453 691,507 80,690 9,837 90,527 309,277 933,790 90,527 1,333,594
1890 352,109 261,359 613,468 1,257 686,491 687,748 79,335 7,732 87,067 353,666 947,850 87,067 1,368,383
"A Bottle of Guinness please" by David Hughes, pages 276-279

Happy days for anyone lucky enough to have got hold of some Guinness shares. 15% is a very decent return. Of course, those ordinary shares would have been retained by the directors and family members,

Thursday 25 October 2018

Calcutta beer imports in 1889

A quick little post based on a tiny quote from the Brewers' Guardian. It may be brief, but it yells us some interesting facts about beer exports to India.

For one thing, it confirms that the Scots were big exporters to India. I am slightly surprised that George Younger came out top. It wasn't a particulalry big brewery. I assume that the Allo Ale mentioned was IPA, not Scotch Ale.
"Notwithstanding the growth of breweries in India, that count is taking more malt liquors from Europe than ever. Messrs. George Younger & Son’s Alloa ale heads the Calcutta imports list for last year with 260,000 gallons, followed by Pilsener with 205,000 gallons. Bass is imported at about 100,000 gallons."
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 261.
It looks like pilsenere was rapidly gaining ground in India.Again, something I knew occurred, but it's nice yto have confirmation and some numbers. Bass Pale Ale, a beer very much associated with India, scores surprisingly poorly

Though, to be honest, the quatities for all three breweries are quite modest. Then again, I doubt many Indians drank beer, just their colonial masters.

Calcutta beer imports in 1889
Beer barrels
George Younger Alloa Ale 7,222.2
Pilsenser 5,694.4
Bass Pale Ale 2,777.8
"The Brewers' Guardian 1890", 1890, page 261.

Wednesday 24 October 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1966 Maclay Oat Malt Stout

Just when I thought Maclay’s records were as exciting a wet February weekend in Skegness, they throw in something completely different. Not an Oatmeal Stout, but an Oat Malt Stout.

Maclay were the first to brew an Oat Stout, way back in the 1890s. They tried to patent Oat Malt Stout, but other brewers simply used flaked oats and called their beers Oatmeal Stout. It’s weird that the two new types of Stout that appeared 1890 – 1910 both came from small, regional breweries. Oat Stout by Maclay, Milk Stout by Mackeson.

While London brewers threw in a token amount of flaked oats into their Oatmeal Stout, Maclay’s version always contained a considerable proportion of oat malt. In this example, it makes up a full third of the grist.

1966 Maclay Oat Malt Stout
pale malt 3.25 lb 42.15%
black malt 0.67 lb 8.69%
malted oats 2.50 lb 32.43%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.25 lb 16.21%
caramel 5000 SRM 0.04 lb 0.52%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1035
FG 1012
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 65.71%
IBU 21
SRM 34
Mash at 145º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

You can find this recipe, along with literally hundreds of others, in my post-WW II British brewing:

Tuesday 23 October 2018

Floating brewery (part two)

More on Mr. Clarke and his ingenious floating brewery.

"He claims for the pints at sea.

BRITISH sailors under operational conditions missed their pint of beer during the war. Conscious of this. the Admiralty asked the Institute of Brewing if beer could be brewed at sea.

The answer was "No," Mr. Stephen Clarke told the Royal Commission on awards to inventors in London yesterday.

Mr. Clarke, head brewer of an Alton (Hants) brewing firm, said that he had solved the problem. He claimed an award for his work on what became known in the Navy as the "Floating Brewery."

Mr. Clarke said that in 1944 he was told that the Admiralty had been informed that it was not possible to brew beer at sea under operational conditions.

"I thought very carefully and decided 'Yes' it could be done." said Mr. Clarke.

He had to drop the original idea of using malt and hops in their usual form because of storage space.

Hop concentrates
"Eventually we got to brewing this beer at sea from malt extract and hop concentrates."

Sea water, distilled and treated, was used.

Mr. Clarke said that the brewery at sea was contained in a hold 70ft. long, 35ft. wide and 18ft. deep. The requirement from such a unit was 250 barrels a week.

During the hearing, the commission adjourned to see a film of the sea-going brewery plant aboard the 7,494-ton converted merchantman Menestheus.

Mr. P. Stuart Bevan, for the Admiralty, submitted that "There was no wartime user of this invention--it was not used until 1945. Therefore, it does not qualify for an award."

The plant was known and in the ingenious fitting of it into a ship Mr. Clarke was enabled to earn a royalty for the use of patented parts of that plant.

The commission's findings will be announced."
Birmingham Daily Gazette - Thursday 29 July 1954, page 2.

I can see why hops would be a problem. They take up an awful lot of space. Malt not quite so much, but still more than malt extract. Never been keen on malt extract beer, myself. When early mircos in the UK brewed from extract in the 1970s, you could always taste it.

This article also says 250 barrels a week so I'm inclined to believe that's the correct figure. Sounds more reasonable than 250 barrels a day.

At least Mr. Clarke had earned something from his invention through his patents.

By the time this argument about the award was going on the Menestheus no longer existed, having sunk the previous year:

"Caledon-built cargo ship abandoned
Seconds after an engine-room explosion on the Caledon-built motor vessel Menestheus, flames swept the ship and left it blazing fiercely. The crew fought the outbreak until the pumps gave out. Then the boats were lowered and the crew—all uninjured—were taken aboard the steamer Navajo Victory, which had rushed to the scene. The Navajo Victory then set off alone for San Diego. The Menestheus, blazing from stem to stern, was abandoned. The Menestheus is a Blue Funnel cargo liner built at Dundee in 1929. She was attached to the navy during the war and helped to lay the minefield from the North of Scotland to the Arctic ice barrier. In 1944 she was converted into an amenities ship for service in the Far East. She was fitted with a cinema and a brewery capable of brewing 2000 pints of mild ale daily."
Dundee Courier - Friday 17 April 1953. page 2.

A sad end to such a useful ship.

Monday 22 October 2018

Floating brewery

I was very pleased to trip over an item about the Royal Navy's floating brewery. Especially as it led me to find more details about it. And who came up with the idea.

"So the brewery went to sea
Who showed the wartime Navy how to brew its own beer aboard ship? Cheerful, 51-year-old Mr. Stephen Towers Clarke claims the honour.

On July 28, Mr. Clarke, of Windmill-road, Alton, Hants, is appearing before the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors.

He will argue his claim that he thought-up and designed the beermaking machinery for the Navy's "floating brewery," the converted 7,494-ton liner Menestheus, which went out to the Far East just before the end of the war.

Distilled sea water and hop and malt extracts were used to brew 9,000 gallons of bitter and mild ale a day.

This overcame the difficulty of carrying and keeping casks of beer in hot climates. Instead of "tired" brew, the Navy got fresh beer.

Mr. Clarke, married, with two children, is head brewer of an Alton firm. He first went into the beer business when he was 14, and still likes his glass of light ale.

He would say nothing about his claim yesterday. "Let's wait until after the hearing," he said.
Daily Herald - Saturday 17 July 1954, page 2.
9,000 gallons is 250 barrels. Which is a fair old amount. Assuming 6 brew days a week, that comes to 75,000 barrels a week. A decent-sized brewery, I'd call that.

The ship must have had a pretty decent duistillation plant to provide enough water to brew that quantity of beer. But they didn't brew with staright distilled water. As this next article makes clear, it was treated to make it more suitable for brewing.

A MAN claimed in London yesterday that his wartime invention gave the British sailor his pint of beer at sea.

He is Mr. Stephen Clarke, head brewer of an Alton (Hants) brewery, and he claimed an award for inventing the "floating brewery."

He told the Royal Commission on Awards to Inventors how the beer was made.

The "brewery" was built into a bold of the 7,404-ton converted merchant-ship Menestheus, he said.

Malt extract and hop concentrates were used to make the beer - with distilled and treated sea water.

The "brewery," said Mr. Clarke. was capable of producing 350 barrels of beer a week.

The Admiralty described the snip as an "amenity ship," containing theatre, cinema, reading and writing rooms."

But, said Mr. Clarke. this description was "unromantic." In fact, the ship was a brewery plant.

Mr. Clarke said that in 1944 he was told that the Admiralty had asked the Institute of Brewing whether it was passible to brew beer at sea. "The answer was 'No'," said Mr. Clarke. "but I decided it could be done."

Treat and the Liffey The president. Lord Justice Cohen questioned Mr. Clarke on the reason for treating distilled water for brewing.

"The salts are nevessary." Mr. Clarke said. "They are the reason why Burton-on-Trent has become famous."

Lord Justice Cohen: Ah. yes, and the Liffey in Dublin.

Mr. P. Stuart Bevan. for the Admiralty, said the first brewing took place in the Menestheus in December, 1945.

"There was no wartime use of this invention." he said. "Therefore it does not qualify for an award in any event."

And he added: "It is with distress that I have to recommend a nil award in so meritorious a subject matter."

The Commission's findings will be announced."
Daily Mirror - Thursday 29 July 1954, page 4.

I wonder which article got the brewery's capacity right? There's a big difference between 250 barrels a day and 350 barrels a week.

It's amazing how people always assume that Guinness used water from the River Liffey to brew. I don't think I can recall a single case where a brewery used river water. Other than London breweries using New River water. But, then again, that wasn't a real river but a man-made supplier of drinking water.

Sad that Menestheus never brewed any beer during the war. So Mr. Clarke couldmn't get an award for his useful invention.

Next we'll find out more about the brewery and the fate of the Menestheus

Sunday 21 October 2018

Mild Ale as entertainment

Random searches for terms like Mild Ale in the newspaper archive turn up some odd stuff. Like this about what sound like a rathe r incompatible couple.

MRs. LOUISA Colledge complained that her husband pulled the bedclothes off her if she fell asleep while he was talking on his favourite topic — politics — a Judge said yesterday.

And In politics particularly. went on Mr. Justice Stevenson in the Divorce Court, Mr. and Mrs. Colledge were "dissimilar and incompatible".

Mrs. Colledge, 37, was "prim, careful and precise, and a Conservative way of thinking." Her husband, George, 34, was unimaginative and, by comparison with his wife, rough and uncouth - and a sincere believer Socialism."

Mrs. Colledge. a shorthand typist. of Meadowside Cambridge-park, Twickenham. asked for a decree on the grounds of cruelty. Mr. . Colledge, a clerk. of Redlees-close, Isleworth, denied cruelty.

The Judge said Mrs. Colledge alleged that her bashand referred to her aad her family as parasites

"I hove no doubt there were sharp and bitter political arguments between them." continued the judge.

"The husband may well have used the word parasite Bet it may well be that the wife did not realise it was a poilUcal term In the kind of political disputation to which the husband was addicted.

Mild Ale
Mr. Colledge's sole source of relaxation appeared to be to spend many evenings every week drinking mild ale in a public house, said the judge. He said he drank four pints on weekdays and six pints on Saturdays.

The wife—adjusting herself to her husband's ways. said the judge  accomplled him to the public house and drank half a pint to his pint.

Each claimed that drinking made the other mere irritable, said the judge, and arguments begun in the public house were continued at home in bed.

But the judge said that however bitter the arguments, they did not amount to cruelty. He dismissed Mrs. Colledge's petition."
Daily Mirror - Thursday 20 February 1958, page 9.
At least the wife drank Mild. A husband with a pint and his wife with a half pint was a common enough sight when I first drank in pubs way back in the 1970s.

Though when the Cardigan Arms was my local there was a couple in their fifties who were also frequent drinkers. The man used to have a pint of Mild and the woman two halves. Which looked weird. But back then women, especially older ones, would never have considered drinking a pint.

Some pubs wouldn't serve women pints and others insisted on women drinking from stemmed glasses. Times, happily, have changed. Dolores wouldn't have been very happy having to drink halves.

Saturday 20 October 2018

1929 Bohemian Lagerbier

A little divergence here from my usual UK fare. A foreign recipe. And a Lager one at that.

As you can probably guess by the lack of brewery name, this recipe isn't taken from a brewing record. Instead it's one I've assembled from information found in technical brewing publications. I can't remember which one off the top of my head. But I'm pretty sure it was in German.

This is the type of beer usually associated with the Czech Republic: a Pale Lager of around 5% ABV.

I could also call this by its Czech name, Světlý Ležák, though that is rather harder for most to pronounce. It literally translates as Pale Lagerbier.

The mashing scheme, a triple decoction, is pretty damn complicated. I doubt I could be arsed to go through the process myself. Very time consuming. I’m not going to get involved in any argument about whether there’s any point to decoction mashing with modern malts. I’ll leave that to the experts.

The key to this type of beer is good quality, very pale, two-row barley and good Czech hops. Not complicated, is it? Followed by three months lagering at about 1º C. Should produce a lovely drinking beer (as opposed to a stare at and sip beer).

1929 Bohemian Lagerbier 
pilsner malt 2 row 10.75 lb 100.00%
Saaz 120 mins 1.00 oz
Saaz 90 mins 1.00 oz
Saaz 45 mins 2.00 oz
OG 1048
FG 1012
ABV 4.76
Apparent attenuation 75.00%
IBU 52
Mash triple decoction
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 41º F
Yeast WLP800 Pilsner Lager

This and about three dozen other Lager recipes, can be found in my book Let's Brew!