Friday 31 May 2019

WW II - Lager imports dry up again

World War II, just like WW I, caused huge difficulties for the British brewing industry. There were shortages of raw materials and limits placed on output and on the strength of beer. One of the results was that most breweries trimmed down their ranges. A policy that led to Porter’s extinction in London, with Whitbread brewing their last Porter in September 1940.

So it’s interesting to see what happened to Barclay Perkins beers. Them being one of the big players in the Lager trade. They started the war with an enormous range of draught beers: Porter, Stout, five Mild Ales, two Bitters and two Burtons. In November 1940 two Milds and Best Bitter were discontinued. Porter didn’t last much longer.

A price list from 1943 shows that they were still brewing their full pre-war set of five Lagers: bottled Light and Dark Lager; draught Export, Light and Dark Lager. The draught Lager came in metric-sized barrels of 5.5 and 11 gallons. The brewery also supplied CO2 cylinders to serve the beer.

The fact that they retained all their Lagers while paring down the varieties of other styles demonstrates how important Lager was. You could say, oh well they brewed it in such small quantities discontinuing would have had little impact. Yet the beers that disappeared, such as Porter, were mostly ones that didn’t sell much.

Whitbread had bigger problems. Before the outbreak of war, they sold four types of Lager: Graham’s, Carlsberg, Tuborg and Artois, all bottled. In 1940, supplies of three of those were cut off by the German army. It caused their sales of Lager to drop more than 50% compared with 1939.

But we shouldn’t get too carried away about that drop. It looks enormous in percentage terms, however in absolute terms, it’s bugger all. Total Lager sales for 1940 were 115 barrels, down from 254 barrels in 1939. Especially when you compare it with bottled Ale sales: they were 204,098 in 1940.

I assume that it was difficulties in obtaining supplies of continental Lager that prompted Whitbread to do something very unusual in July 1940. They brewed a Lager in their Chiswell Street brewery in London. Though it wasn’t fermented with Lager yeast and it was brewed from pale rather than lager malt. It did use Saaz hops, at least. And the colour was nice and pale at just 7.5º Lovibond, compared to around 27º for their Pale Ales.

Whatever their reasons for brewing it, they didn’t make a regular habit of it. There was just a single batch.

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):

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Thursday 30 May 2019

Winding down

My latest US trip is about done. Been as cool as ten cool sticks.

And I've been out in the sticks:

Though it's actually been as hot as fucking hell down here in the South. Fortunately, it being the US, I've rarely needed to stray far from air conditioning. Just as well, seeing my propensity to melt when the temperature gets above 20 C. I say melt, I really mean sweat like a pig on a spit in Arizona.

Met lots of really good people. Some I already knew, some new. Beer really does bring people together. In a good way.

My mate Mike at Zebulon made more of my dreams come true. A full set of Warwick & Richardson draught beers from 1910 and eight old Porter recipes. That bastard spoils me rotten. And he arranges a room of people for me to shout about beer at.

I got to rant about Scottish beer yesterday here in Raleigh for another of my chums, Stuart. The cask-strength bourbon got me right in the mood.

As I said earlier, it's all been as cool as ten cool sticks. Other than the weather.

Such a shame that I won't be back this side of the Atlantic soon. Not until the NHC next month in Providence.

Porter after WW I

In the early 1920s, London Porter went into a dramatic decline. Its last bastion in the UK started to crumble. Sales of Porter plummeted, possibly in response to the dramatic fall in strength. In the immediate aftermath of WW I, most had gravities in the low 1040ºs – about the same as Best Mild – a 7d per pint beer. Soon it had been dropped down a couple of classes, to a 5d beer. The same strength as the weakest Milds, successors to the dreaded wartime “Government Ale”.

Looking at the numbers from Whitbread, it looks as if many Porter drinkers may have shifted their allegiance to draught Stout. A beer which was much like the Porter from before the war. I can’t blame them. Given adequate financial resources, I’d have done exactly the same.

As London brewers parti-gyled their Porter and Stout, they were beers of very similar character. If you wanted a beer like the Porter of 1914, Stout was your obvious choice in the 1920s.

Outside London and Ireland, Porter was stone dead after WW I. Even in the capital, it wasn’t doing that well. Though most brewers still produced one. Though, had they not been parti-gyled with Stout, I doubt many brewers would have bothered brewing Porter even in London.

London Porter in the 1920s
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1922 Whitbread P 1028 1007 2.78 74.98% 7.47 0.93
1928 Barclay Perkins TT 1032.6 1009 3.12 72.36% 15.10 0.63
1925 Fullers P 1041.5 1015.5 3.44 62.62% 7.95 1.55
1923 Courage Porter 1032.7 1008.3 3.22 74.58% 8.29 1.18
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/115.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan archives, document number ACC/2305/01/614.
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.
Courage  brewing record held at the London Metropolitan archives, document number ACC/2305/08/253.

You'll find more information that you'll ever need to know about Porter in my excellent book on the subject:

Wednesday 29 May 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1950 Whitbread Best Ale

The rather inappropriately-named Whitbread Best Ale was introduced in the Autumn of 1949. Unbelievably, despite only having a gravity of 1029.1º, it really was a Best Mild, as their existing beer, XX, was a mere 1026.3º.

The two only seem to have very briefly been brewed in parallel. By 1950 XX was gone, and Best Ale was left to fly the Mild flag alone.

The main difference between Best Ale and Whitbread's pre-war Mild (apart from the lower gravity) was the amount of crystal malt. In 1939 X Ale, over 13% of the grist was crystal malt. In 1950, it was just about half that. As is typical for mass-produced Milds of the period, the colour comes from dark No.3 invert sugar and caramel.

The grist retains the typical Whitbread simplicity: mild and crystal malt, plus No.3 invert and caramel. There were, however, two types of mild malt and two of crystal malt.

The hops were English: Mid-Kent from the 1948 and 1950 harvests, plus Essex hops from 1949.

1950 Whitbread Best Ale
mild malt 6.00 lb 87.27%
crystal malt 0.50 lb 7.27%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.25 lb 3.64%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.82%
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1031
FG 1009
ABV 2.91
Apparent attenuation 70.97%
IBU 18
SRM 21
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 65º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

This is one of the dozens of recipes in my book Mild! plus. Which is available in both paperback:

and hardback formats:

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Lager brewers ask for help

During the 1930’s there were various attempts to promote Lager brewing in Britain through legislation. Either by lowering the excise duty on British-brewed Lager or raising the import duty on foreign Lager . The former was never implemented due to the difficulty in coming up with a legal definition of Lager. However in 1936 an extra £1 a bulk barrel import duty was imposed on beer from outside the Empire.

British Lager brewers felt that the system of taxation put them at a disadvantage relative to their competitors. Continental brewers, they said, only paid tax when their beer arrived in Britain. While British brewers paid tax as soon as the wort hit the fermenter.

“Until comparatively recent times, lager beer was virtually a foreign monopoly, but manufacturers in this country have been trying to make it an entirely British article, and but for the heavy pressure of foreign competition would have been successful. The home producer has to store his beer for four months, and the high rate of duty entails a considerable loss of interest on the capital so locked up, whereas the foreign competitor, on the other hand, does not pay duty on the beer until it arrives at the port, and is also able to purchase his raw materials more cheaply.”
Brewers' Journal 1934, page 324.

Of course, that assumes that the beer is being properly lagered for several months.

According to a parliamentary debate, in 1936 there were just six breweries producing Lager in Britain. Between them they brewed 114,000 barrels in 1935.

Who were these brewers? Arrol, Tennent, Barclay Perkins, the Red Tower Lager Brewery in Manchester, the Wrexham Lager Brewery and Jeffrey of Edinburgh. That's an impressive three out of six for Scotland.

Brewer Location Date started
Arrol Alloa 1921
Tennent Glasgow 1885
Barclay Perkins London 1921
Red Tower Lager Brewery Manchester 1920’s
Wrexham Lager Brewery Wrexham 1883
Jeffrey Edinburgh 1902

Based on newspaper advertisements of the period, Graham’s, Barclay’s, Tennent’s and Wrexham Lagers were marketed nationally, unusual at a time when brewing was still very regional.

But the relative amount of Lager being brewed was tiny. According to the Brewers' Almanack 20,864,814 barrels were brewed in Britain in 1935. I make Lager just 0.55% of total beer production.

But what about imported Lager? Good question I happen to know the import figures for a year or two earlier:

1932-3    22,486 standard barrels
1933-4    32,480 standard barrels
Brewers' Journal 1934, page 324.

Adjusting those to more useful bulk barrels (assuming a gravity of imported Lager of 1048), I make that 25,765 barrels in 1932-33 and 37,217 barrels in 1933-34. Of course, that's all imports from the Continent, but it's safe to assume the vast majority was Lager. Even assuming that all British-brewed Lager stayed in the country (not actually true) that's still less than 150,000 barrels in total.

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):

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Monday 27 May 2019

Oat Porter

The Free Mash Tun Act opened the door for another ingredient, flaked oats. The first Oatmeal Stout, brewed by Maclay in Alloa in 1890s contained a whacking 30% of malted oats.

Brewers who followed the trend, most likely trying to dodge Maclay’s patent on Oat Malt Stout, usually went for flaked oats. In quantities so small, they could only have been for legal purposes. At no more than 1% of the grist, far too little to have any impact on the character of the beer.

No-one in London set up to brew an Oatmeal Porter. It was simply a side-effect of parti-gyling. As Porter usually shared its grists with the Stouts, there was simply no avoiding it, if you wanted to brew an Oatmeal Stout.

There never seems to have been an attempt to market this by-product. Perhaps because Oat Stout was usually a bottled product. And by this point Porter wasn’t usually bottled. A fact which probably hastened its demise. Stout, for example, managed to survive in bottled form long after draught versions disappeared.

With oats making up less than 1.5% of the grist at Truman, they were pretty typical of London brewers.

Truman Runner grists 1880 - 1909
Year OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl pale malt brown malt black malt crystal malt oats flaked maize caramel sugar
1880 1056.8 12.8 3.84 44.15% 11.13% 4.45% 40.27%
1890 1058.2 9.1 2.50 66.77% 10.02% 6.01% 17.20%
1895 1057.6 7.1 1.92 65.33% 10.89% 6.82% 16.97%
1899 1058.2 7.3 1.99 56.17% 11.70% 7.83% 10.01% 14.30%
1905 1054.3 5.8 1.35 63.91% 7.58% 5.13% 9.57% 3.19% 10.63%
1909 1058.2 8.2 2.31 67.30% 5.66% 5.41% 5.41% 1.47% 2.60% 4.05% 8.10%
Sources: Truman brewing records held at the London Metropolitan archives, document numbers B/THB/C/082, B/THB/C/092, B/THB/C/096, B/THB/C/102, B/THB/C/108 and B/THB/C/112.

You'll find more information that you'll ever need to know about Porter in my excellent book on the subject:

Sunday 26 May 2019

Allsopp’s great gamble

The 19th century ended with one of the most significant events in British Lager brewing: the building of Allsopp’s Lager brewery, which was completed in 1899.

Why was it so important? Because Allsopp was one of the greats of British brewing, second only in size to Guinness and Bass. And they were a Pale Ale brewer. Not just any old Pale Ale brewer, but one of the most renowned. Their move into bottom fermentation must have made some of their competitors stop and think.

The brewery was imported at great expense from the USA. Almost as much fuss was made of its opening as the visit of the Prince of Wales a dozen or so years earlier. A special train was laid on to bring the invited guests to the brewery.

Considering the consumption of Lager in Britain at the time it was huge, capable of brewing 50,000 barrels a year. To put that into context, in 1935 the total output of Lager in Britain was just 114,000 barrels. Though it’s likely that Allsopp, which was a big exporter, also had its eye on foreign markets.

Newspaper reports of the opening were wildly optimistic:

“There is little room to doubt that in a short time the public demand for Allsopp's Lager will be such as to tax to the utmost the capacity of this their newest brewery”.
Isle of Man Times - Saturday 28 October 1899, page 3.

Newspaper advertisements confirm that Allsopp’s Lager was promoted in Britain. The Gloucester Citizen of 4th June 1900 advertised Allsopp’s Lager Beer, East India Pale Ale and Light Dinner Ale. Significantly the Lager appeared first in the list of beers. At 3s 6d for a dozen pint bottles, it was the same price as East India Pale Ale. That’s relatively cheaper than in the early days of the 1860’s, when Lager was double the price of Bass. In the late 19th century it had been expected that Lager beer would massively increase in popularity if it was priced the same as Bass, that is around 4d a pint.

Those expectations were to be disappointed. Despite Allsopp’s Lager costing the same as their IPA, a very reasonable 3.5d per pint bottle, sales didn’t take off as anticipated. It didn’t help that Allsopp was in financial turmoil, with collapsing sales and minimal profits.

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Saturday 25 May 2019

Let's Brew - 1917 Whitbread Government Ale

And here’s the beer that replaced X Ale, the first iteration of Whitbread’s Government Ale.

It must have been a bit of a shock for drinkers when they first got to try Government Ale. Just a few months earlier Whitbread’s X Ale had still been over 5% ABV, around 1.5% ABV stronger than this beer.

The recipe, despite the lower gravity, is very similar to the final version of X Ale. It’s just pale malt and sugar. Whitbread really weren’t into complicated grists. By not using maize, as most other UK brewers did, they were under less pressure to modify their recipes due to wartime supply difficulties. Maize, which at the time had to be imported, was unavailable in the later war years.

While this version of Whitbread GA was watery compared to pre-war Milds, at least it still contained enough alcohol to be intoxicating. As long as you drank enough of it. That wouldn’t be true  of some later wartime Milds.

1917 Whitbread Government Ale
pale malt 6.25 lb 89.29%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 10.71%
Goldings 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1033.5
FG 1005
ABV 3.77
Apparent attenuation 85.07%
IBU 28
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

This is one of the dozens of recipes in my book Mild! plus. Which is available in both paperback:

and hardback formats:

Friday 24 May 2019

The rebirth of Porter

Porter didn’t desert the British Isles for long. It only disappeared for four orfive years, reborn through the rekindled interest in beer ignited by CAMRA. During Real Ale revival of the 1970s, two brewers introduced beers called Porter: Penrhos Court and Timothy Taylor.

The authenticity of Timothy Taylor Porter could be doubted. The recipe was based on a Sweet Stout and it tasted like it. Far too sweet. I can remember being greatly disappointed when I first tried it.

Penrhos Court was closer, but still not quite right. At least it was somewhere near the classic pre-WW I Porter strength of 1050º.

A few other brewers released Porters in the 1980’s, with varying degrees of authenticity.

There were still only a handful of breweries producing Porter. Mostly in tiny quantities. The only established breweries in that list are Timothy Taylor and the Three Tuns. Neither of those was exactly a giant. The others are new micros and brewpubs.

For me, London Porter was reborn when Fullers released theirs. Brewed from the classic combination of pale, brown and black malt, the recipe closely resembles that of their pre-WW I Porter.

Revived Porters 1979 - 1983
Year Brewer Beer OG
1979 Penrhos Penrhos Porter 1050
1979 Timothy Taylor Porter 1043
1981 Bragdy'r Defaid Du (Black Sheep Brewery) Defaid Du 1045
1981 Bruce's (Portobello) Portobello Porter 1040
1981 Pier Hotel Pirate's Porter 1035
1981 Ringwood Blackjack Porter 1036
1981 Three Tuns Castle Steamer 1045
1983 Burton Bridge Porter 1045
1983 Dempsey Porter 1034
1983 Oak Porter 1050
1983 Royal Tunbridge Wells Entire 1055
1983 Woodforde Norfolk Porter 1042
Good Beer Guide 1980, 1982 and 1984.

You'll find more information that you'll ever need to know about Porter in my excellent book on the subject:

Thursday 23 May 2019

Vienna Beer arrives in London

It was only in the 1860’s that Lager became regularly available to drinkers in Britain. Two events were the catalyst to Lager’s arrival: the 1867 Great Exhibition in Paris the hot summer of 1868.

One of the big hits at the Paris Exhibition was the Vienna beer hall. Inspired by its success, similar beer halls began to spring up in Paris . British visitors to the exhibition were suitably impressed. A particularly hot summer the following year made cool Lager beer seem particularly inviting. In the southeast of England there was at least one day over 32º C in every month between May to September and in July alone there were 9 days over 32º C – . It sounds like the weather was very similar to 1976: a long drought and high temperatures for months on end.

By the end of 1868 there were five places selling Viennese Lager in London, two on the Strand and three in the city . The beer they sold was Märzen, either from Dreher’s brewery in Schwechat or from Liesing:

DREHERS BEER, bought at the Vienna Restaurant, 395, Strand. LIESING BEER, bought at the Crown Coffee-house, 41,  Holborne. 
Specific gravity 1,019.76 1,019.11
Alcohol 4.43 4.45
Acetic acid  0.12 0.13
Extract 7.05 6.82
Original gravity 1,062.27 1,061.67

Some things never change. The Austrian Märzen sold in London was more expensive than locally-brewed beer. Much more expensive. A pint of Dreher or Liesing Märzen would cost you 6d . Or 2.5p. Sounds pretty cheap, doesn’t it? But let’s put that into perspective. A pint of Mild Ale, also with a gravity in the low 1060’s, was only 2d, a third of the price .

Bavarian Beer, presumably from Munich, was also available in London. At the Royal Bavarian Restaurant, at 30 Oxford St., for example. This was a little weaker than the Viennese Märzen at 1058º and 5% ABV, but still cost 6d a pint. Compared to British beers, it was terrible value.

Looking at the wholesale price of Vienna Lager, it’s not surprising that it retailed at three times the price of Mild. The importer paid £5 6s. 6d for a 36-gallon barrel:

The beer itself in Austria  46s. 
carriage to England,  26s.  
duty,  24s.  
return of cask,  7s. 6d
Pall Mall Gazette - Thursday 28 January 1869, page 5.

£5 6s. 6d is 106s. 6d, almost exactly triple the 36s. a 36-gallon barrel of Mild Ale would cost.

It didn’t take long for Lager to spread outside London. In December 1868, the Bavarian Beer Hall, at 204 Oxford Street, Manchester was advertising “Genuine Bavarian Lager, Vienna & Bock Beer. In March 1869 the Dundee Courier reported that a “well-known establishment in Miller Street”, Glasgow had started selling Vienna beer.

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1917 Whitbread X

April 1917 was a momentous month for British brewing. As that’s when gravities started to fall. A drop from which most British styles never recovered.

At this point, Whitbread X Ale had lost 10 gravity points since the outbreak of war. But things were going to get much worse over the next two years. X Ale itself was dropped in July 1914, just a couple of weeks after this example was brewed. It was replaced by Government Ale, a much more watery beer.

Other than the fall in gravity, not much had changed since 1916. The grist is still a very simple combination of pale malt and sugar. Though there were four different types of pale malt, including some made from American barley.

The hops were all English, Mid-Kent from 1916 and East Kent from 1915 and 1916.

Whitbread never brewed a Mild Ale as strong as this again.

1917 Whitbread X
pale malt 8.25 lb 89.19%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 10.81%
Goldings 105 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
OG 1044.5
FG 1008
ABV 4.83
Apparent attenuation 82.02%
IBU 31
SRM 9.5
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

This is one of the dozens of recipes in my book Mild! plus. Which is available in both paperback:

and hardback formats:

Tuesday 21 May 2019

Graham’s Golden Lager

Graham’s Golden Lager, which appeared in 1927 , was one of the first big British Lager brands. The tale of how it came to be brewed in Scotland is an odd one, with John Calder, one of the greats of Scottish brewing, playing a central role.

The story begins at the end of the 19th century in Burton, of all places, with Allsopp’s Lager brewery. It opened in 1899, just as Allsopp was starting to get into serious financial difficulties. They did have a degree of success with their Lager, especially in export markets, but their Pale Ale trade collapsed. Between 1900 and 1910 Allsopp's sales fell by 40% . By 1911 a receiver had been appointed to run the business .

In 1912, John Calder of Calder's Brewery in Alloa was brought in to run Allsopp. This forged a link between Allsopp and Alloa that was to play a key role in the later formation of Allied Breweries. It also brought Lager brewing to Alloa, for in 1921 Allsopp's Lager plant, which had lain idle in Burton, was moved to Arrol's Brewery, where John Calder was also a director . In 1927 a new beer was brewed in Arrol's Lager brewery - Graham's Golden Lager .

It was a big success. As Arrol's were brewing all their Lagers, it's no surprise that Allsopp's took a controlling interest in the company in 1930, even before their 1934 merger with Ind Coope . Arrol's was completely bought out in 1951  and the brewery converted to a Lager-only plant.

In common with other Lagers in the interwar period, Graham’s was above average strength. Npt by a huge amount, but a little.

In 1959, Graham's Golden Lager was rebranded as Skol, though for a while it had the ungainly name of Graham's Skol Lager . It became the main Lager of Ind Coope and later the whole Allied Breweries group.

Graham's Golden Lager 1933 - 1952
Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1933 1044.5 1010.5 4.42 76.40%
1939 1045.2 1008.6 4.77 80.97% 8.5
1950 1040.6 1010.6 3.89 73.89% 9
1952 1039.2 1014.3 3.22 63.52% 15
.Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):

Monday 20 May 2019

Mike mine a Mild

I've always been a bit of a contrarian. Swimming against the tide even when that meant certain drowning. That's how my relationship with Mild began.

I think it was a letter in What's Brewing, back in the dark days of the mid-1970s that prompted it. Someone taking a writer to task for assuming the only cask beer was Bitter. What about Mild?

I can remember asking my brother, "What is this thing called Mild Ale?" I was young, naive and pretty cluseles. My brother was scarcely better informed. He could come up with an answer: "Mild is dark." That did me for a while.

I have a natural inclination to underdogs. Mild as a style under stress immediately appealed. That's how my love began.

As I've matured and changed, so have my ideas about Mild. I know how many different forms it's taken. Twisting and turning to fit in my the demands of the day.

I've drunk so many different beers and different styles since the 1970s. But I still love Mild. Admittedly more the 19th-century style ones nowadays.

Maybe Mild is going to do a Milk Stout. Become so out of fashion it can swing back into style again.

I'm old enough to have seen so much weirdness that I don't rule anything out.

Sunday 19 May 2019

Victory Project (second attempt)

Right. Gave this a whirl once, didn't work. But I can be as stubborn as Theresa May. Hopefully, not as ineffectual.
After I finally got the Historic Lager Festival to fly, I've only become more insanely determined. Who would have thought anyone would go for that?

I don't want to go into too long an introduction to the concept. But maybe I will. I rarely have any idea of where posts like this will end up.

WW II themed historical recipes, is the basic concept. Released next year to coincide with the end of WW II. A much happier event to commemorate than its start. (The starting date being also far harder to pin down. Once I'd have said: 1939, or course. But for Americans and Russians, it's 1941. For the Japanese and the Chinese they invaded, the date might be as early as 1931).

This is meant to apply to professional brewers. Other arrangements will be available for home brewers.

Here's the simple version. I provide an old recipe from, I was going to say: one of the war years. What I meant was: 1939 to 1945. (Six years and six is my favourite number. Or maybe 15. I'm getting to old to even remember all the weird shit in my head.) You brew it and sell it to your customers.

Maybe I'm oversimplifying.

I provide a recipe, you get to use my name and benefit from me plugging the project like crazy.

In return, you pay me a sum. Whatever you think is appropriate. Just use the GUILT BUTTON to the left. Fill in the amount of your choice.*

Pick any style you like. As long as its one of the four UK styles. Or Lager. Or some Scottish stuff.

* Note that, the more generous the contribution, the more likely I am to turn up for your beer's launch. And the more interesting recipe you're likely to get.

Barclay’s London Lager

Barclay Perkins began experimenting with Lager during WW I. Once the war was over, they lost no time in entering Lager production seriously.

Barclay’s opened their shiny Lager brew house in 1921 and employed a Danish brewer, Arthur Henius, to run it.

Unlike today, it Lager was a posh drink in the 1920’s. The Brewer’s Journal reported:

“Doubtless they do not imagine that any large trade in this type of beer can at present be looked for from the working classes. The potentiality of trade lies with the middle and upper classes, and with that floating population from the ends of the earth which the Metropolis always embraces."
Brewers' Journal 1921, Page 275.

Barclay’s brewed their first production Lager on 13th May 1921. The first brew, Export Lager, was just 64 barrels. To put this into context, batches of X Ale in the same year varied between 600 and 1,200 barrels. Even Russian Stout was usually brewed in batches of 150 barrels. In its first 12 months of operation, Barclays Lager brewery produced 3,000 barrels. Or about as much as three batches of X Ale. 

They brewed three different types of Lager: Export at 1050º, Dark at 1049º and Special Dark (also called Munich) at 1057º . Two out of the three were dark, only Export being pale. Initially, only bottled beer was produced.

Barclay Perkins Lagers in 1925
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl barrels Pitch temp
Export Export 1050.5 1014.1 4.82 72.08% 6.54 1.31 129.75 48º
Dark Dunkles 1057.6 1020.1 4.96 65.10% 4.64 1.29 62.25 48.5º
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/638.

The name that Barclay’s chose for their Lager is also revealing: London Lager. Presumably they avoided a Teutonic-sounding name because of the anti-German feeling engendered by the war.

Barclay’s were ambitious. They saw opportunities for their Lager not only in Britain, but also abroad. WW I and prohibition had taken the three largest Lager exporters, Germany, Austria and the USA, out of the game .

Building a Lager plant was a brave decision by Barclay’s. As the Brewers’ Journal remarked at the time:

“They [brewers] are not unmindful, also, of the fact that large sums of money have unprofitably been sunk in like enterprises.”
Brewers' Journal 1921, Page 275.

There had been several spectacular failures of modern Lager breweries at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. At the very moment Barclay’s were building theirs, Allsopp’s Lager brewery, bought at great expense in the 1890’s, lay idle in Burton.

Like this? Then you'll love the book it comes from, Lager! (UK):