Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Burton Ale before WW II (part two)

The first table I published a few days ago looked rather threadbare. Blame Truman, who mostly only bothered to record the OG, but not the FG. However, by turning to brewing records we can find rather more information. For example, the hopping rate, which is of particular interest.

The Truman’s entry is a bit of a guess. I’m pretty sure that they brewed their Burton Ale in Burton, not at Brick Lane. And there’s only one Burton-brewed beer that seems to fit the bill XXX. It has the same OG as the entry from the Truman Gravity Book in the table above and, though it was often parti-gyled with Mild, it’s stronger than any 1930s Mild I’ve come across.

Before WW I, it was pretty standard for London brewers to produce multiple Burton Ales, often called KK and KKK. With KK being the standard draught Burton and KKK a stronger version. This tradition of stronger Burton Ales lived on between the wars, with three of the breweries represented in the table making one.

Both Barclay’s KKKK and Fuller OBE (Old Burton Extra) were exclusively draught beers, which is surprising given their strength. Few beers over 6% ABV were sold on draught at the time. OBE was famous for catching out unwary drinkers, who mistook it for a standard-strength Burton. Both were produced in modest quantities and KKKK was only available in the winter.

I’m not sure how Courage KKK was packaged but, given that it was brewed in batches of a couple of hundred barrels, it wouldn’t surprise me if some was sold on draught. The only one of the above beers that I know for certain was bottled was Barclay’s KK (bottling). This was an exclusively bottled beer, as the name suggests, which was marketed as Southwarke Olde Ale.

The hopping rate was pretty high, except for the Truman beer. Though that’s as much because of where they were brewed as because of the style. All London beers tended to be quite heavily hopped, even Mild Ales.

Unfortunately, Whitbread, Truman and Fullers didn’t record dry hopping in their brewing records. But I would be very surprised if they didn’t dry hop their Burton Ales. It goes along with the style. The 11 ozs. in Courage KKK is extremely heavy. Implying that it was perhaps aged before sale.

Burton Ale before WW II (part two)
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel)
1939 Whitbread 33 1061 1020 5.42 67.21% 8.49 2.15
1936 Barclay Perkins KK (Trade) 1055.7 1017 5.12 69.50% 7.90 1.84 3.00
1936 Barclay Perkins KKKK 1078.5 1027 6.81 65.60% 10.99 3.62 4.00
1936 Barclay Perkins KK (bottling) 1068.6 1022 6.17 67.95% 10.54 2.92 8.00
1939 Truman (Burton) XXX 1048.2 1007.8 5.35 83.91% 5.76 1.07
1937 Courage KKK 1072.6 1026.9 6.05 62.98% 7.34 2.35 11.37
1937 Courage XXX 1053.7 1016.1 4.98 70.10% 7.34 1.74 0.00
1939 Fullers BO 1055.4 1014.1 5.46 74.50% 7.16 1.62
1939 Fullers OBE 1069.3 1020.2 6.50 70.83% 7.16 2.02
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/620 and ACC/2305/01/621.
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/263.
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.


Unknown said...

Hi Ron. I'm brewing a bass ale clone soon based on some of the recipes in your book, Vintage Beers. One question I've got is; are those recipes in the book based on ten gallon batches?
Thanks, Matt

Ron Pattinson said...


6 US or 5 Imperial gallons.