Sunday, 14 April 2019

London draught Pale Ale on the eve of WW II

In the capital, two or even three draught Pale Ales was standard. Fitting the 6d, 7d and 8d per pint niches, when sold on draught. Though, as you can see in the table below, 7d and 8d Bitters were the norm.

7d Bitters had gravities in the high 1040º’s, and 8d Bitters ones in the mid-1050º’s. These gravities and prices had remained constant since the early 1920s, with the exception of the years 1931 to 1933, when there had been a disastrous tax increase. Brewers’ reaction was to reduce gravities to leave retail prices the same, rather than raise prices by 1d per pint as the government had expected.

You can see that there wasn’t a huge amount of variation in the strength of beers in each class. That isn’t coincidence. Brewers were well aware of the gravities of their rivals’ beers, despite them not being made public. I’m sure that all the larger breweries, just like Whitbread and Truman, had their rivals’ beers analysed. It’s only drinkers who were in the dark as to how strong their beer was.

The rate of attenuation is fairly high, at least 75% in all but two examples. The ABVs are accordingly also quite high, with the Mann’s example even hitting 6% ABV. There would never be a London-brewed Bitter of a similar strength again.

London draught Pale Ale in 1938
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1938 Barclay Perkins PA 7 1043.9 1011.3 4.23 74.26%
1938 Charrington PA 7 1046 1007.2 5.06 84.35%
1938 Taylor Walker Pale Ale 7 1043.1 1015.7 3.54 63.57%
1938 Truman Pale Ale 7 1048 1006.8 5.38 85.83% 24
1938 Watney Pale Ale 7 1048.8
1938 Whitbread Pale Ale 7 1048.6 1011 4.89 77.37% 27
Average 1046.4 1010.4 4.62 77.08%
1938 Courage PA 8 1050.2 1012.7 4.87 74.70%
1938 Mann PA 8 1052.4 1006.5 6.01 87.60% 27
1938 Watney PA 8 1055 1012.2 5.57 77.82% 27
1938 Wenlock Pale Ale 8 1054
Average 1052.9 1010.5 5.48 80.04%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/105.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

No comments: