Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Lees beers in 1946

Let’s be perfectly honest, Lees had a deathly dull range of beers going into WW II. Range is being generous, as it consisted of just two beers, a Mild and a Bitter.

In wartime, most breweries trim their range, ditching less popular or very strong beers. The opposite was the case at Lees. The year following the war’s end their portfolio was up from two to five beers. Though two of those, Best Mild and “C” Ale, were only introduced after the end of hostilities.

Three of the beers are variations on a Mild theme. Bot B., for example, was probably marketed as a Brown Ale. Its recipe is, however, essentially the same as K and BM.

Not that there’s a huge difference between the Milds and the Bitter.  The latter has a slightly higher hopping rate, but not by a huge amount. The hopping rate for all their beers was quite a bit lower than in 1939. For K, the drop was 25% and for Bitter 21%. These would not have been voluntary changes.

The arrival of “C” Ale must have brought a smile to drinkers’ lips. Finally a beer with some real backbone. A type of beer peculiar to Manchester, “C” Ale was roughly similar to a London Burton Ale. The difference being that it was a bottled rather than a draught product.

Several breweries in the Manchester are produced “C” Ales. What the C referred to is anyone’s guess. It seems to have fizzled out sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. Lees version was dropped in 1953.

Lees beers in 1946
Date Beer Style OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl dry hops (oz / barrel) boil time (hours)
1st Apr BM Mild 1033 5.06 0.73 1.03 1.75
6th Mar Bot. B Mild 1030 5.09 0.64 1.02 1.75
17th May K Mild 1028 5.09 0.60 0.95 1.75
26th Mar B Pale Ale 1038 5.75 0.89 1.36 1.75
25th Mar “C” Ale Strong Ale 1052 5.92 1.38 2.86 1.75
Lees brewing records held at the brewery

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