Friday 30 November 2018

More seasonal suggestions

for presents. And what better gift for anyone than one of my books? I honestly can't think of one. Guess what Dolores and the kids will be getting.

The vague theme this time is location. They're all about a specific place. Except Draught! Though that is sort of about London.

Some lovely examples of Alexei's cover art here. Plus a crappy one of mine. Can you guess which it is?

Other Bass draught beers after WW II

Following on from my post about other (than IPA) bottled Bass beers after WW II, here are their other draught beers. Hopefully there's at least one of you who finds this crap interesting.

It's not the most captivating set of beers I've ever seen. A couple of Milds and the rest Keg Bitters. I guess that's what they were brewing in Bass's Burton brewery back then. Well sort of.

Splitting apart Bass and Worthington at this point is tricky. I don't really know how the two Milds were branded. They could well have been sold under the Worthington name. The two breweries had merged between the wars and, especially in the post-war period, had a habit of selling the same beer under both brands, just with a different name. White Shield and Bass Red Triangle, for example.

It looks to me as if the same was going on with Bass Keg and Worthington E. The gravities are suspiciously similar.

The 1950 Mild Ale is exceptionally strong for that date. It looks more like a pre-war Best Mild. The colour, interestingly, is semi-dark. Which was still quite a common colour for Mild just after the war.

Maybe it was different in Stoffordshire, but I can't recall ever coming across a Burton-brewed Mild from Bass back in the 1970s and 1980s. Draught Bass and White Shield were common in Bass Charrington pubs all over the country, but Mild tended to be sourced from a more local brewery. In Yorkshire that meant XXXX Mild from Tadcaster. In the West Midlands, M & B Mild from Birmingham.

Worthington beers next. Should I be in an arsing moood.

Other Bass draught beers after WW II
Year Beer Style Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Mild Ale Mild 15 1041.4 1008 4.34 80.68% 40
1977 Light Mild Mild 1033.1
1960 Worthington "E" Pale Ale 18 1041.8 1006.5 4.60 84.45%
1967 Bass Keg Pale Ale 28 1038 1007 4.03 81.58% 23
1972 Worthington E Pale Ale 16 1037.8 1007.1 4.00 81.22%
1977 Worthington Best Bitter Pale Ale 1036
1977 Joules Bitter Pale Ale 1035
Which Beer Report, 1960, pages 171 - 173.
Daily Mirror July 10th 1972, page 15
Good Beer Guide 1978
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Thursday 29 November 2018

More pestering

to buy my books. What better way to celebrate Christmas than to sit down with your family with one of my history books. Which is today's theme, by the way. History of a period rather than a particular style.

Honestly, there are some real crackers in here. Enough material to read to your toddlers to last years. The draught versions worked a treat in getting my kids off to sleep. I'm sure the story of Mild ALe in the 1930s will have them whacking out z's in no time.

Other Bass bottled beers after WW II

Someone asked yesterday about Bass beers other than their IPA. Did  I know what they were like? Well, what do you think? My master table of beer analyses has 22,817 entries in it. Of course I've got other Bass beers.

Though they were best known for their iconic Pale Ale, Bass brewed a full set of other beers.They had to, seeing as they were supplying their own tied houses. Which would have needed a full range of draught and bottled styles.

Some of their bottled beers had been around almost as long as their Pale Ale. No. 1 Barley Wine, for example, which goes back to at least the 1860s and probably a decade or two further. It was a Burton Ale in the old style, so may even pre-date the Pale Ale.

Bass No. 1 was one of that rare breed of beers which, even after two world wars, still retained its 19th-century strength. Though you paid a price for that high gravity: 5 shillings or more for a pint. Not that anyone really drank it by the pint. Like all very strong beers of the period, it usually came in nip (third of a pint) bottles.

Imperial Stout, also known as P2, was another long-lived product. Though probably not quite as old as No. 1. It wasn't as lucky on the gravity front, having fallen from 1093º in the 1930s. Though there were few Stouts with gravities pushing 1080º in the 1950s and 1960s.

The Brown Ale will be of a much more recent date. I would guess late 1920s, but I have no data to back that up. My first analysis for it is the one from 1955 in the table. Based on the OG, it's clearly meant to compete with beers like Newcastle Brown Ale, rather than the weaker Manns style.

Finally Gold Triangle. Which looks like an intended competitor of Gold Label, given its nbame and very pale colour. Though it is quite a bit weaker.

Other Bass bottled beers after WW II
Year Beer Style Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1955 Burton Amber Ale Amber Ale 22 1036.4 1008 3.69 78.02% 20
1952 Barley Wine Barley Wine 64.5 1104.1 1035.6 8.93 65.80% 80
1953 Barley Wine Barley Wine 60 1104.6 1036.3 8.90 65.30% 80
1958 No. 1 Barley Wine Barley Wine 63 1106.8 1039.8 8.71 62.73% 100
1955 Brown Ale Brown Ale 24 1054.7 1015.6 5.07 71.48% 85
1959 Brown Ale Brown Ale 36 1052.9 1015.6 4.84 70.51% 105
1952 H & O Pale Ale Pale Ale 1036.7 1007 3.86 80.93% 20
1948 Export Stout Stout 1065 1018 6.11 72.31%
1953 Imperial Stout Stout 45 1078.2 1025.1 6.90 67.90% 375
1955 Imperial Stout Stout 1078.8 1018.4 7.90 76.65% 375
1956 Imperial Stout Stout 54 1077.5 1027.9 6.43 64.00% 350
1966 Imperial Stout Stout 63 1077.2 1027.7 6.41 64.12% 312
1963 Gold Triangle Strong Ale 72 1063.6 1013 6.61 79.56% 19
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Wednesday 28 November 2018

What you really need at this time of year

is more of my books. Though that's true of any time of the year. There are so many of them you can't possibly have copies of them all. I don't think even I do.

And because there are so many of them, I'm tarting my books in themed batches. The theme this time being beer styles. A topic very dear to my heart.

There, that's all the British styles covered.

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1936 Barclay Perkins IBS

It's a return to an old favourite here. A beer that I not only drank in the past, but which I continue to drink. I still have at least 40 bottles of 1992 and 1993 Russian Stout.

One of the effects of WW I was the splitting of Barclay’s Imperial Russian Stout into two versions. One, called IBS Export, was brewed to pre-war strength. The other, simply called IBS, was little more than half as strong.

You have to wonder what makes something under 6% ABV an Imperial Stout. But I guess drinkers got used to it. As they got used to cuts in strength of most beers. Funnily enough, at a certain point in the 1950s the weaker version was dropped and only the full-strength version produced.

It’s a real kitchen sink of a recipe, with a total of seven grains. I know, there are only six in the recipe below. That’s because I’ve combined the SA malt with the mild malt. Even combined, they’re barely 50% of the total. The tiny amount of oats is presumably there so some could legally be sold as oatmeal Stout.

There are no fewer than four sugars: No. 2 and No. 3 invert, caramel and something called BS. I’ve substituted No. 4 invert for the latter. No idea how close that is, but I’m pretty sure it’s something dark. I’ve added and extra half pound of No. 3 invert to account for the primings added at racking time.

The hops were Mid-Kent Fuggles (1936), Mid-Kent Fuggles (1935) and Mid-Kent Goldings (1934), the latter two having been kept in cold store.

1936 Barclay Perkins IBS
mild malt 7.00 lb 51.23%
brown malt 0.75 lb 5.49%
amber malt 1.50 lb 10.98%
roast barley 1.50 lb 10.98%
flaked maize 0.75 lb 5.49%
malted oats 0.04 lb 0.29%
No. 2 invert sugar 0.25 lb 1.83%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 7.32%
No. 4 invert sugar 0.75 lb 5.49%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.13 lb 0.91%
Fuggles 150 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
OG 1063.5
FG 1020
ABV 5.75
Apparent attenuation 68.50%
IBU 53
SRM 44
Mash at 143º F
After underlet 153º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Tuesday 27 November 2018

Every home should have one

Or, preferably, several of my books.What better gift for the beer geek you love best. Which, let's be honest, is probably yourself, in many cases.

My new book on brewing in WW I. is full of all my usual funs stuff: words, numbers and a stupid number of homebrew recipes.

 Buy this wonderful book.

Next it's my seasonal treat of photos of brewing records. No words, mind. Other than the index. Makes it nice and simple to "write" each year Buy the book.

My other new book this year was about British brewing after WW II. Another laugh a minute topic. Almost as side-splitting as the one about WW I. It's another one with a mad nuber of homebrew recipes.

Talking of lots of recipes, that's pretty much the point of Let's Brew! They're very wide in range, with both North American and Lager recipes, It's sort of an expansion pack for my Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.

Second is the definitive history of Scottish beer over the last 150 years or so. Other than a few recipes, of which there are almost 400, all the material is new. 

Or mayve buy one of my many other books

Boston Beer Shortage

1941 seems to have been a bad year for drinkers. All over the country there were shortages - or threatened shortages - of beer. But what was the best way to deal with the beer shortage?

One response was to reduce the hours that pubs were open. It makes sense. Less time for punters to drink would automatically reduce their consumption. But there was another option: "customer-rationing".

Rationing To Be Necessary?
HOTELS and public houses in Boston are facing a beer shortage, and it has so threatened existing supplies in the borough that many licensees are having to curtail their selling hours.

Pencilled notices to the effect that "beer is short" have made their appearance in different licensed houses and on the door of one is the notice: “Open at 8 p.m.” This later time of opening is, presumably, to conserve the existing stocks of beer for the busier days in the week of Wednesday and Saturday.

On Monday one hotel exhibited a notice. "Closed to-day." and was apparently suffering from the effects of the week-end "rush trade.”

The Standard” was informed this week that there is every likelihood of a meeting of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association being held to discuss the present emergency and to formulate a universal plan by means of which licensed houses in the borough can deal with the difficulty. It is too early yet to say with any certainty what lines will be adopted in the beer economy which will be necessitated, but it seems almost definite that a "customer-rationing" scheme will have to be introduced.

This has just been begun in Carlisle, for instance, on the basis of supplying a fixed maximum to regular customers and a smaller fixed maximum to “strangers.”

One local prominent wine and spirit merchant told the Standard this week: "I suspect that the shortage of beer has arisen as a result of the extra money now being earned by work people. They have not been able to spend the money so easily in confectionery, cigarettes, etc., since they have been difficult to obtain and the demand for beer has grown enormously. I have been showered under with orders from local ‘houses' who have been doing big business and whose stocks have been almost exhausted and it isn’t at all easy to cope with the demands. It seems to me that a meeting of the Licensed Victuallers Association will have to be held to determine what we are going to do.”"
Lincolnshire Standard and Boston Guardian - Saturday 12 July 1941, page 8.
I suppose setting a maximun amount of beer customers could by was a fair way of rationing beer. But it all sounds rather ad-hoc and arbitrary. I can also imagine that giving locals a larger allowance of beer might have caused some resentment amongst "strangers".

One of the ironies of the war was that, while people had plenty of money due to high wartime wages, there was little available for them to spend it on. Most everything was rationed or in short supply.

Monday 26 November 2018

Burton IPA after WW II

The war had minimal impact on bottled Bas Pale Ale. I can’t think of another mass-market beer of which that’s true. Especially as, unlike some strong beers that returned to their pre-war strength in the 1950s, its production was uninterrupted.

Amazingly, the gravity of Bass Pale Ale after WW II was slightly higher than it had been before the war. That’s definitely a real rarity. One thing that remained the same, however, was the high degree of attenuation

A gravity of over 1050º was very unusual in the late 1940s when average OG was in the low 1030ºs. I’m not sure how Bass was able to do that, unless, as in the case of beer zoning, different rules applied to them.

At Worthington something similar was happening after the war, though in this case the gravity increased even more. By the mid-1950s, Worthington IPA had returned to something close to its pre-WW I gravity. The colour is very pale for a Pale Ale of its strength. More usual would have been in the high 20s. Anything below 20 is pretty pale.

White Shield was the bottle-conditioned version of Worthington IPA, Green Shield the filtered and artificially-carbonated version. Eventually White Shield and Bass Red Triangle (the bottle-conditioned version of Bass Pale Ale) became the same beer.

Bass Pale Ale after WW II
Year Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1946 1053.8 1011.2 5.55 79.18% 20.5
1946 1054.8 1010.1 5.83 81.57% 20
1946 1051.9 1008.2 5.71 84.20% 18
1948 18.5 1054.2 1009.1 5.89 83.21% 17.5
1948 1053.8 1008.9 5.86 83.46%
1949 1054 1008 6.01 85.19%
1949 28 1054.1 1008.6 5.94 84.10%
1950 1058 1008.3 6.51 85.69% 21
1950 31 1057.1 1007.6 6.48 86.69% 19
1950 37 1056.1 1004.6 6.76 91.80% 19
1948 1047.8 1009.75 4.95 79.58%
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Bottled Worthington IPA after WW II
Year Beer Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1947 IPA 22 1053.2 1003.3 6.55 93.80% 20
1948 IPA 24 1054.1 1005.1 6.42 90.57% 20
1948 IPA Export 1053.2 1006.3 6.14 88.16% 19
1951 India Pale Ale 29 1056.7 1007.2 6.48 87.30% 18
1951 India Pale Ale 32 1054.6 1006.1 6.35 88.83% 19
1953 India Pale Ale 1061.1 1013.5 6.21 77.91% 27
1955 India Pale Ale (Green Shield) 1063.3 1009.4 7.06 85.15% 18
1955 India Pale Ale (White Shield) 1063.7 1002.9 8.02 95.45% 18
1959 India Pale Ale 32 1051.6 1011.5 5.22 77.71% 18
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Sunday 25 November 2018

What does a pub do when it has no beer?

This was a genuine dilemna during WW II. When there were often shortages of beer, causing pubs to run out. What should they do then: stay open or close?

Opinions varied. In this part of the Midlands, they had to stay open:

Lichfleld Sand &ugeley have not been immune from the beer shortage week and many houses have been closed. In this respect we understand that one of the prominent brewery firms has circulated a letter to their tenants stating that licensed houses must remain open during permitted hours. The letter explains that the matter had been considered the directors of the firm in conjunction with the various trades associations, and they had decided, in the best interests of the trade and of the public, that their licensed houses must be kept open for the whole of the permitted hours, whether the licensee has any beer to sell or not. If there were supplies of any commodity available customers should be informed, and there was no objection to a notice effect being put up on the -premises. Licensed houses, however, must remain open throughout the permitted hours."
Lichfield Mercury - Friday 08 August 1941, page 6.
I realised beer shortages were a both a common and widespread occurrence when I searched for the term in the newspaper archives. Lots of results from all over the place. As the next example, which is from the North, shows:

Nine o'clock closing of public houses in the centre of Leeds is an early possibility.

Efforts have been made the last few days to secure the necessary unanimity among the licensees of city houses.

Several arguments are advanced favour of closing an hour before the normal time fixed by the Licensing Bench. One is that it the desire the Ministry Home Security, and therefore the local police, that the centres of big cities should be cleared, as far as possible, of surplus population during the hours when air raids are likeliest. As a contribution towards this official policy, the departure times of "last" tramcars and buses taking suburban dwellers home have been greatly advanced for the winter months. This fact makes difficulties for licensees whose employees, if detained in the city until after 10 p.m., will probably have to walk home.

To meet a similar difficulty theatres and cinemas already are ending their performances earlier.

Beer Shortage
Another factor to be taken into consideration in connection with the proposed earlier closing of public houses, is the beer shortage. It has been found that with the present entirely haphazard and sometimes apparently capricious "turning off taps" there is natural tendency of customers of closed houses to crowd into those still open, so that stocks are depleted to the inconvenience later in the week of the "regulars." All day closing on Sunday one result in some instances.

With the idea solving these problems transport and supply, licensees of houses the centre of Leeds have been asked the last few days, by a prominent member of the licensed victuallers' organisation, to agree to 9 p.m. closing. All have accepted the proposal, except tenants of one firm, which controls several houses."
Yorkshire Evening Post - Wednesday 24 September 1941, page 5.

Exactly the opposite approach.

I found the changes needed to cope with air raids fascinating. They must have been incredibly diisruptive. I'd never considered the little practical details like bus and tram times.

Saturday 24 November 2018

Let's Brew 1939 Barclay Perkins X (Dark)

At the outbreak of war Barclay Perkins brewed a baffling range of Mild Ales, at different strengths and with different colours.

The standard X Ale came in two variations, Light and Dark. The beers were brewed exactly the same way. The only difference was that the Dark version was adjusted with caramel at racking time.

The grist is quite exciting for a Mild of the period. Most had nothing darker than crystal malt and some not even that, deriving all the colour from sugar. Here there are four malts (well, five, really, as I’ve substituted more mild malt for SA malt): pale and mild as base, plus crystal and amber.

There are three types of sugar: No. 3 invert, caramel and something called BS. I’ve just bumped up the quantity of No. 3 to account for that.

The hops are all from Kent:  Mid Kent Fuggles (1938 CS), Kent Fuggles (1938), Mid Kent Fuggles (1937 CS).

1939 Barclay Perkins X (Dark)
pale malt 1.75 lb 21.77%
mild malt 2.75 lb 34.20%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.22%
amber malt 0.33 lb 4.10%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 15.55%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.25 lb 15.55%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.21 lb 2.61%
Fuggles 150 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1037
FG 1010
ABV 3.57
Apparent attenuation 72.97%
IBU 20
SRM 22
Mash at 146º F
After underlet 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 23 November 2018

Make your birthday special

By brewing a beer originally made on that date.

For a mere 25 euros, I'll create a bespoke recipe for any day of the year you like. As well as the recipe, there's a few hundred words of text describing the beer and its historical context and an image of the original brewing record.

All you have to do is click the new button on the left labelled "Birthday recipe"

I can offer recipes for a wide variety of styles an ers. Just let me know any preferences you have. Though, ultimately, this is limited slightly by what I happen to have photgraphed for any date. If your birthday is in July, October or January, you're likely to have a wider choice, as I've photographed more records from those months. Don't ask me why.

It'll make the perfect birthday or Christmas present for the brewer you love. And for just 25 euros. Bargain.

Burton IPA before WW II

In Burton, IPA continued to mean a beer recognisably related to the classic versions of the previous century. Though the most famous Burton brewer, Bass, never called its version IPA, but simply Pale Ale.

Bass, Worthington and Allsopp all produced IPAs at the top end of the strength bracket. Around 1055º, not coincidentally at the bottom end of the top price control band in 1921. The price control bands cemented beer prices and strengths interwar.

The Bass and Worthington beers look very similar. That shouldn’t be a surprise, seeing as they were competing in the same market. Bass was one of the few draught beers allowed into rival brewers’ pubs, such was its renown.

Note that a very high degree of attenuation remained a feature of Burton IPA.

More common was for Bass and Worthington to be available in bottled form in pubs belonging to other breweries. Just as was the case with Guinness until the 1980s, the beer was delivered to breweries in bulk and then bottled there. Giving the other brewer the bottling profit.

The bottled versions of Bass and Worthington were very similar, in terms of gravity, to the draught ones. Except in some cases the rate of attenuation was even higher, sometimes hitting over 90%.

The gravities are all, with one exception, right around the 1055º mark. Which demonstrates the lasting effect of the last set of WW I price controls.

Draught Burton IPA before WW II
Year Brewer Price per pint country FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1927 Worthington 8 1052.7
1932 Worthington 1054.7 1010.1 5.82 81.54%
1933 Worthington 8 1055 1007.6 6.20 86.18%
1937 Worthington 8 1054.3
1937 Bass 8 1055
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

Bottled Burton IPA before WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1933 Bass Pale Ale 1055 1007 6.28 87.27%
1933 Bass Pale Ale 13.5 1055.8 1012.2 5.68 78.14%
1921 Allsopp IPA 17 1054.4 1004.4 6.56 91.91%
1921 Worthington IPA 13 1054.9 1007.4 6.22 86.52%
1922 Worthington IPA (Brussels) 1055 1004.7 6.60 91.45%
1922 Worthington Pale Ale (Brussels) 1053 1009 5.74 83.02%
1931 Worthington IPA 1059 1013.1 5.98 77.80%
1931 Worthington Green Label 10 1055.1 1014.3 5.30 74.05%
1933 Worthington Pale Ale 14 1055.4 1011.6 5.71 79.06%
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.