In the first war, there was only a slight reduction in gravity up until April 1917. That the cuts – ever more drastic – piled up at an accelerating pace. While in WW II, there was a gradual reduction in gravity until the middle of 1942, after which things stabilised for a couple of years. Whitbread Burton Ale demonstrates this trend perfectly.
Whitbread’s Burton is slightly atypical of the style, in that it started rather stronger than the average, 1061º rather than the more usual 1055º. Which could explain why there was a name change in 1940 from 33 to XXXX. Neither of which is a standard name for Burton, which was usually called KK in the brew house.
Note the fall in the hopping rate in 1941. This was the direct result of intervention by the government, which in June 1941 cut by 20% the quantity of hops available to brewers. Though in the case of XXXX the drop from 8.5 lbs to 6.5 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt is a reduction of about 23%.
The table below is slightly deceptive as it makes it look as if XXXX remained unchanged in the latter war years. While the strength may have remained much the same, there were several changes to the recipe.
|Whitbread Burton Ale 1939 - 1945|
|Date||Year||Beer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/107, LMA/4453/D/01/108, LMA/4453/D/01/109, LMA/4453/D/01/110, LMA/4453/D/01/111 and LMA/4453/D/01/112.|