Thursday 28 February 2019

Beer value

I love old price lists. I always have done. Even when I know nothing much about the beers listed. But that's all changed.

I came across a Dominic of Horsham advert from 1948 which lists various, mostly quite well know, beers.1948 is a good year for me because Whitbread were very active at that time collecting samples of other brewers' beers for analysis. Meaning I have analyses of many of the beers in the price list.

It's always fun to play around with tables of data. Especially when I can combine information from different sources. As I know the OG and the price, I can easily work out the price relative to strength, by calculating the cost per gravity point.

I was slightly surpised by how consistent the pricing is: around 0.28d per gravity point. Then again, so much of the price of beer was the tax, that it flattens out any variation. Truly unexpected is discovering that Bass and Worthington Pale Ales were the best value. They're exactly the type of beer that you might expect to charge a premium price. Guinness - another beer with a premium image - comes out around average.

No prizes for guessing the worst value beers. Obviously that honour goes to the Lagers. They've always been crap value in the UK.

That the Burton Pale Ales are listed as Burton Ales is rather annoying. They aren't and never were.

PALE ALES half Pts. Pts  Qts.  OG price per gravity point
SIMONDS' Light Ale  7.5d 1/2d 2/3d
   "     S.B. Best Pale Ale  8d 1/3d 2/5d 1029.1 0.2749
Rigden's "KENT'S BEST" Pale Ale 8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
SIMONDS' Brown Ale  7.5d 1/2d 2/3d 1025.6 0.293
SIMONDS' "Berry Brown" Ale  8.5d 1/4d 1029.5 0.2881
Rigden's "KENT'S BEST" Brown Ale 8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
SIMONDS' Luncheon Stout  8d 1/3d 2/5d
SIMONDS' SPECIAL Stout 1/- 1043.9 0.2733
Rigden's DOUBLE STOUT  8.5d 1/4d 2/7d
HAMMERTON'S OATMEAL 11d 1/8d 3/2d 1036.8 0.2989
GUINNESS 1/1d 2/- 3/10d 1045.2 0.2876
SIMONDS' I.P.A.  1/- 1039.7 0.3023
Bass 1/2d 2/3d 1053.8 0.2602
Worthington 1/2d 2/3d 1054.1 0.2588
BEN TRUMAN 1/2d 1048.2 0.2905
RED TOWER  1/1d 1035.8 0.3631
Barclay's  1/1d 1036.1 0.3601
CARLSBERG (Imported) 1/5d 1035.6 0.4213
PILSNER URQUELL (Imported)  1/7d 1049 0.3469
West Sussex County Times - Friday 26 November 1948, page 11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Wednesday 27 February 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1939 Whitbread Double Brown

Parti-gyled with Whitbread’s draught Burton Ale, 33, Double Brown was effectively a bottled Burton.

Looking back at one of the random Whitbread archived documents, I noticed that Double Brown was one of the three beers Whitbread exported to Belgium, along with Extra Stout and Pale Ale, the latter two are still available there. I find it quite surprising that a Brown Ale was shipped to Belgium. It’s not one of the UK styles (Pale Ale, Stout and Scotch Ale) I associate with that country.

Whitbread’s Double Brown was quite different from most other Brown Ales. While many breweries just tweaked and bottled their Mild Ale, Double Brown was always its own brew. And a good bit stronger than the norm.

Whitbread did have a beer, Forest Brown, which was more typical. It’s a brand that they acquired with the Forest Hill Brewery in 1924. Not sure how it was produced before the 1950s, when it appears in Chiswell Street brewing records, as the Forest Hill Brewery was closed immediately. They were probably doing the usual trick of tinkering with their Mild.

The grist is pretty straightforward: pale and crystal malt, plus sugar. Not a huge amount to discuss there. It was only later in the war that Whitbread was forced to use unmalted adjuncts.

The hops were Worcester from the 1938 harvest, Mid-Kent from 1937, East Kent from 1937 and Sussex from 1936, the latter three all having been kept in a cold store. I’ve guessed Fuggles and Goldings.

1939 Whitbread Double Brown
pale malt 8.50 lb 76.85%
crystal malt 60 L 2.25 lb 20.34%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 2.26%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.06 lb 0.54%
Fuggles 75 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.75 oz
OG 1054.5
FG 1018
ABV 4.83
Apparent attenuation 66.97%
IBU 39
SRM 18
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 75 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 26 February 2019

Barclay Perkins XLK grists 1939 - 1946

A drop in gravity wasn’t the only change. The recipes were tinkered with several times during hostilities.

Most of the alterations to the grist was fiddling around with the base malt. In all, four different ones were used: pale malt, PA malt, SA malt and lager malt. I suspect the latter was employed just because there was some lying around in the brewery. PA malt was the best type of pale malt, intended, as the name implies for Pale Ales. While SA malt, which produced a less readily fermentable wort, was mostly used in Strong Ales.

The most significant change, however, was the introduction of crystal malt in 1941. It was really only in WW II and its aftermath that crystal malt came to be regularly used in Bitters. I suspect to replace body lost to gravity cuts.

The colour varied considerably, from 20 to 34. For a Bitter of this strength, I’d expect the colour to be 20 to 24. 34 is very dark for an English Bitter.

There were rather fewer modifications to the adjuncts used. Though these were prompted by the government rather than the brewers themselves. Maize, which had to be imported, some became unavailable. Initially it was replaced by rice, which itself gave way to flaked barley in 1942. The proportion employed varied from 5% to 10%.

The use of crystal malt seems to have removed the need for colour correction with caramel. My guess is that No. 3 invert sugar was in every version, but wasn’t fully recorded in all of the brewing records. Sometimes simply “Sacc.” (meaning “sugar”) is specified.

In common with many London brewers, Barclay Perkins principally employed hops from Kent. Which made sense as it was virtually in the brewery’s back yard. Though they did also use some from Worcester. Even before the war interrupted imports, Barclay used all English hops.

The vast majority of their hops were either Goldings or Fuggles, which is what you would expect. They were by far the two varieties which were the most widely grown.

Barclay Perkins draught XLK malts 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG pale malt crystal malt SA malt PA malt lager malt colour
22nd Jun 1939 1045.8 21.50% 50.63% 22
11th Jun 1940 1042.8 12.26% 68.29% 23
22nd Apr 1941 1042.8 10.34% 10.34% 72.41% 34
8th May 1942 1035.3 3.91% 80.47% 23
2nd Nov 1944 1035.7 6.12% 38.27% 38.27% 3.06% 20
7th Apr 1945 1035.4 7.44% 64.46% 29
25th Jan 1946 1035.3 7.03% 77.34% 24
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/623, ACC/2305/01/624 and ACC/2305/01/626.

Barclay Perkins draught XLK adjuncts and sugars 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG flaked maize flaked rice flaked barley no. 3 sugar Sacc. caramel
22nd Jun 1939 1045.8 11.10% 16.65% 0.12%
11th Jun 1940 1042.8 8.76% 10.51% 0.19%
22nd Apr 1941 1042.8 6.90%
8th May 1942 1035.3 9.38% 6.25%
2nd Nov 1944 1035.7 6.12% 8.16%
7th Apr 1945 1035.4 9.92% 18.18%
25th Jan 1946 1035.3 4.69% 10.94%
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/623, ACC/2305/01/624 and ACC/2305/01/626.

Barclay Perkins draught XLK hops 1939 - 1945
Date Year OG hops
22nd Jun 1939 1045.8 MK Fuggles (1938), Kent W (1938), MK Goldings (1937 CS); EK Goldings (1938) dry hops
11th Jun 1940 1042.8 MK Fuggles (1939), W (1938), EK Goldings (1939); EK Goldings (1939) dry hops
22nd Apr 1941 1042.8 Worcs. (1939 CS), MK (1939 CS)
8th May 1942 1035.3 MK Fuggles (1941 CS), Worcs. Fuggles (1941), MK Fuggles (1940); EK Goldings (1940) dry hops
2nd Nov 1944 1035.7 K Fuggles (1943), MK Fuggles (1943), Worcs. Fuggles (1942), MK Fuggles (1944); EK Goldings (1944) dry hops
7th Apr 1945 1035.4 MK Fuggles (1943 CS), Worcs. (1942), MK Fuggles (1944); EK Goldings (1944) dry hops
25th Jan 1946 1035.3 MK Fuggles (1943), MK Goldings (1945), MK Colgates (1944), MK Fuggles (1944 CS); EK Goldings (1945) dry hops
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/623, ACC/2305/01/624 and ACC/2305/01/626.

Monday 25 February 2019

Mild Ale on the eve of WW I

Mild Ale had been the most popular style of beer since the mid-19th century. For most breweries, Mild Ale accounted for more than 50% of output.

In the second half of the 19th century, it was typical for a brewery to produce four Mild Ales, usually called X, XX, XXX, XXXXX. By 1914, many breweries had reduced their range of Mild Ales to just two or three. Most extreme was London, where the large breweries often brewed just a single Mild, called X Ale.

The number of Milds brewed wasn’t the only difference between London and the provinces. While a London X Ale had a gravity or at least 1050º, provincial versions could be as weak as 1040º. An XXX or XXXX Ale from the provinces was around the same strength as a London X.

While the provincial Milds are mostly hopped at a similar rate to London Milds – around 5 lbs per quarter of malt, those from Boddington are extremely lightly hopped.

Scottish Mild Ales follow a similar pattern to provincial English versions, with the strongest examples about the same strength as a London X Ale. This was the last hurrah of Mild Ale in Scotland. After the war, very little of it was brewed.

As with provincial English Milds, the weakest examples are under 1040º. No London beer was as weak as that before the war.

Provincial Mild Ale before WW I
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1914 Boddington B 1037.0 1010.0 3.57 72.97% 2.86 0.51
1914 Boddington BB 1047.0 1014.0 4.37 70.21% 3.62 0.85
1914 Boddington XXX 1051.0 1015.0 4.76 70.59% 3.67 0.99
1914 Adnams X 1033.0 1005.5 3.64 83.33% 4.38 0.58
1914 Adnams XX 1042.0 1007.0 4.63 83.33% 4.20 0.73
1910 Warwicks X 1043.2 1013.9 3.88 67.95% 5.00 0.85
1910 Warwicks XX 1048.5 1014.7 4.47 69.71% 4.95 0.95
1910 Warwicks XXX 1055.4 1017.7 4.98 68.00% 4.95 1.14
1911 Lees U 1034.0 1007.0 3.57 79.41% 4.74 0.66
1911 Lees K 1049.0 1010.0 5.16 79.59% 5.82 1.12
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/126.
Adnams brewing record Book 2 held at the brewery.
Warwicks & Richardsons brewing record held at the Nottinghamshire Archives, document number DD/NM/8/4/1.

London Mild Ale before WW I
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1914 Whitbread X 1052.1 1010.0 5.57 80.80% 6.04 1.29
1914 Barclay Perkins X 1051.3 1013.6 4.99 73.54% 5.49 1.15
1914 Fullers X 1049.6 1011.1 5.09 77.65% 5.15 1.15
1910 Truman X 1052.6 5.42 1.22
1914 Courage X 1054.6 1019.4 4.65 64.47% 4.96 1.05
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/079.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/603.
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/190.
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/247.

Scottish Mild Ale before WW I
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1914 Thomas Usher 60/- MA 1038 1015 3.04 60.53% 5.00 0.79
1914 Thomas Usher X 1045 1013 4.23 71.11% 7.25 1.35
1914 Thomas Usher 80/- MA 1046 1016.5 3.90 64.13% 5.00 0.96
1914 Thomas Usher X 60/- 1051 1013.5 4.96 73.53% 7.25 1.52
1909 Maclay Mild 42/- 1034 1013 2.78 61.76% 6.31 0.91
1909 Maclay Mild 56/-  1061 1025 4.76 59.02% 6.31 1.63
1913 Younger, Wm. XX 1055 1018 4.89 67.27% 4.07 0.87
1913 Younger, Wm. XXK 1056 1016 5.29 71.43% 4.07 0.81
1913 Younger, Wm. XXX 1065 1021.5 5.75 66.92% 4.55 1.15
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/1/5.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/58.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/2.

This is an exceprt from Armistice! my book on British brewing during WW I.  Buy this wonderful book.

Sunday 24 February 2019

Wet canteens for women

This article is filed in my notes under the heading "Temperance Twats". Becuse that's what it is: a rant by a temperance twat.

Mostly he seems pissed off because loony temperance ideas were rightly ignored during WW II. Which is why he mentions WW I, where governemnt stupidly leant their ear to such extremist nonsense.


The Rev. Noel F. Hutchcroft, superintendent of the Birmingham (Methodist) Central Mission, yesterday issued a statement to his congregation on what he termed the Government’s drink-promoting policy.” He said; While no patriot has any right to hinder his country’s leaders by unnecessary criticism, it is his duty to draw attention to serious danger. The Government has, by the most amazing action seen in England for a century, created a situation by its drink-promoting policy and campaign which is at once an offence to common sense and decency and a peril to the nation’s chances of victory.

"During the last war the merchant navies of all neutral and allied States (including France, Italy and Japan) carried our food across the seas. To-day we fight without this enormous aid. The loss of such essential foods as eggs, bacon, milk and those citrous fruits which alone can maintain adequately the supply of necessary vitamins is made the more sinister when it is remembered that these shortages are seriously aggravated by the enormous consumption of pure, human foodstuffs and good animal and poultry foods in brewing. Yet the production of beer is still sanctioned at 100 per cent., though mysterious references are made to 'great reductions' when protests are addressed to the evasive Lord Woolton. In fact, the consumption of barley is fully as great as before the war and the shortage of that food is a chief contributor to the shortage of meat, milk and eggs. The British Government is not only prepared to sacrifice food and health for beer, but it has adopted methods which leave any student of the effect of alcohol on efficiency completely amazed.

“For months the evidence of history and science has been pressed on the Cabinet for consideration, but instead of inducing a sound policy it is set aside and ignored, and now the Government has thrown aside all restraint and emerged as the principal advocate and advertiser of the beer industry. It is not merely that the tone of broadcasting is alcoholic, but the very official activities of propaganda are the medium for drink advocacy. A recent publication bearing the words 'The Army at War, Issued for the War Office by the Min. of Information’ declares beer to be to Englishmen 'the most requisite and wholesome of luxuries.’

Wet Canteens for Women
The latest development of the Government’s drink advertising campaign is the most sinister. While every endeavour is being made to enlist girls in the uniformed services, the authorities have decided to introduce wet canteens for girls and women. This action in deliberately placing temptation and danger in the way of young girls fresh from home should shock the mothers of the nation and will undoubtedly prove a deterrent to all parents who have any anxiety about their young daughters.

“It might be said rightly that the modern girl is a fine type capable of looking after herself, but what right has the Government to join forces with the trade in liquor to conspire to put very real danger in their way? The first victim of alcohol is moral discretion. The Government is guilty of a betrayal of the nation’s youth in this and another Order. What can be said for the action in introducing an Order in Council permitting the establishment of beer canteens in every factory and even in hostels? It drives straight through all the careful legislation of past years, designed by painful experience.

"In an alleged democracy it permits action of at least highly questionable character to be undertaken without any reference to the views of the nation. It ignored the mass of evidence from science to prove that alcohol is the No. 1 enemy of efficiency and production. It overlooks the lessons of the last war. The Government has no mandate from the nation for these revolutionary proposals. They are an outrage to the finer feelings of the nation.

“The people of England have a right to ask what is the reason for the complete surrender of their highest interests to a traffic which is no friend to victory. Why is it necessary to pretend that alcohol is more to the nation than patriotism It is freely stated by the Trade ’ that the Government dare not restrict beer output for fear of causing unrest. That is tantamount to saying that the average British worker and soldier thinks more of beer than of hjs nation’s survival. Such a view is an insult to the men as it is to the intelligence of those who entertain it. Let the Government give the country the facts relating to food and production, and we can well afford to leave the result to the better nature of our people.”
Birmingham Daily Post - Tuesday 25 November 1941, page 2.
There's a typical temperance worry about women drinking. It was an obsession of the Victorians, a recurring theme in the 20th century and still a hot topic today. Negative stories about women and alcohol are still common in the shittier type of UK newspaper. As if the odd half of beer in the works canteen was going to corrupt those poor impressionable girls?

The we have the "food destruction" argument, which is total rubbish. Far more food value is obtained by turning barley into beer than using it to feed pigs. But simple facts aren't enough for this type of fanatic. Rather like those who ignore exprts today because their concusions aren't what they want to hear.

What did Rev. Hutchcroft want? Total Prohibition, obviously. Something which would have had a massive negative impact on morale. The twat. Thankfully pisshead Churchill was never going to cut of f alcohol supplies.

Saturday 23 February 2019

Let's Brew - 1939 Boddington Stout

Unlike some other Northern breweries, Boddington retained a Stout in their portfolio. Albeit not a very stout one.

To put the strength of Boddington Stout into context, Guinness Extra Stout is a good marker. In 1939 that was 1055º. Leaving Boddington’s a good bit off the pace at just 1045º. Especially considering it was a bottled product.

The grist is a bit of an odd one, including as it does a large proportion of wheat. It’s in all their other beers, too, but in much smaller quantities. I assume its main purpose here is to help head retention. I’m not 100% sure that it was in malted form. That’s just a guess based on its position in the brewing record.

The bulk of the sugar is made up of something simply described as B. I’ve no idea what that was and have substituted No. 3 invert sugar.

In addition, there’s also rather a lot of high dried malt and a little black malt. Though a lot of the colour comes from the caramel. It’s the only one of Boddington’s beers where all the pale malt is English. In all the others there’s something simply described as “foreign”.

The hopping is quite heavy and consists of several types of hops: Oregon (1937 Cold Store), English (1937, 1937 Cold Store and 1938). They leave something which could in no way be described as a Sweet Stout.

1939 Boddington Stout
pale malt 2.25 lb 21.95%
high dried malt 3.75 lb 36.59%
wheat malt 2.25 lb 21.95%
black malt 0.50 lb 4.88%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 9.76%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.50 lb 4.88%
Cluster 130 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 130 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1045
FG 1013
ABV 4.23
Apparent attenuation 71.11%
IBU 40
SRM 46
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 130 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

Friday 22 February 2019

Texas here I come

for just the second time. On a bit of a strange trip. Organised rather at the last minute.

I had an email a few weeks back asking if I wanted to talk at the MBAA District Texas Spring Conference in San Antonio. Of course I'd like to. It's just a case of the money. Something that's surely overcomeable.

And so it turned out to be. With a little imagination, I could find something else to do in Texas. Namely, drop by Jester King in Austin. It's not that far from San Antonio. I wouldn't want to miss out on a chance to see my mate Jeff Stuffings again.

This really wasn't something that I had pencilled into my 2019 travelling schedule. Which is starting to look rather full. I've two more US trips planned - Asheville in May and Providence in June.

This is my Texas schedule:

Tuesday 26th March to Thursday 28th March Austin
Friday 29th March to Sunday 31st March San Antonio