Wednesday 31 July 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1944 Barclay Perkins KK (bottling)

The bottled version of KK was one of the strongest beers in London in 1944. When it retailed at 13d for a half-pint. Though it probably wasn’t that easy to find.

Marketed at No. 1 Southwarke Ale, it had been a mighty 1069º before the war. But by 1944 the war had pushed it to below the pre-war strength (1056º) of the draught version of KK. London wouldn’t be seeing draught beers that strong for quite a while.

Surprisingly, the grist is quite different from draught KK. For a start, the base is a 50-50 split between SA and PA malt. And there’s no amber malt or flaked barley. Looking more closely, draught KK has a grist that’s quite similar to their Milds. Which makes sense, as some of Barclay’s London rivals – Courage and Fullers, for example – parti-gyled their Mild and Burton Ales. The presence of PA malt and the lack of adjuncts betray that this was a high-class beer.

On the other hand, the sugar content is much higher here. Almost 20% of the total opposed to around 8% in the draught version.

The hopping is also quite different: all Goldings. Another sign this was a classy beer. The hops in draught KK cost 387/- and 336/- per cwt. While for the bottling version they were 417/-, 424/-, 432/- and 435/- per cwt. Most were from East Kent, but there were also some Worcesters. All were from either the 1943 or 1944 harvest.

1944 Barclay Perkins KK (bottling)
pale malt 4.00 lb 36.78%
mild malt 4.00 lb 36.78%
crystal malt 60 L 0.75 lb 6.90%
No. 3 invert sugar 2.00 lb 18.39%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.15%
Goldings 90 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1053.5
FG 1022
ABV 4.17
Apparent attenuation 58.88%
IBU 38
SRM 20
Mash at 150º F
After underlet 154º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Tuesday 30 July 2019

Brewing at William Younger in the 1880’s (part two)

Let's allow Alfred Barnard to take our hand again and guide us through not one, but two, William Younger breweries in Edinburgh.

Holyrood Brewery

"Leaving this place, we passed down some steps into another building, devoted to the fermenting operations, and first entered the square room, which measures 140 feet by 50 feet, and contains twenty-eight fermenting squares. It was here that we saw the beer in active, or as the brewer designated it lively, fermentation, and were treated to a sniff of carbonic acid gas, much to the amusement of our guide. Crossing this floor we found ourselves in another and much larger room, which covers an area of 6,000 square feet. The floor is laid with asphalte, and it contains 160 union casks. Descending a stair, we passed through the rooms below this and the adjoining buildings, all of which are used as racking floors and store cellars. In one of them there are twenty cleansing squares or settling backs, each of an average content of 120 barrels."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 19.

Next Barnard visited Younger’s newer brewery, Holyrood, which had been specifically built to brew Pale Ale.

"Here there are three mash-tuns, each capable of mashing forty quarters of grist at one time, over which are the hoppers referred to, and each vessel contains gun-metal stirring gear and draining plates, manufactured by Messrs. Stewardson & Hodgson of Edinburgh."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 27.

The mash tuns remained of a modest size in the new brew house. A big London brewery had much larger mash tuns. Barclay Perkins had ones capable of holding 130 quarters . Even after the introduction of the Steel’s masher, mash tuns still often had internal rakes. Rakes were useful for preventing a stuck mash and, for brewers adding extra, hotter water to their mash, a way of mixing it through the grain.

This is an interesting remark about the way wort was boiled.

"In the old brewhouse, at the back of the tuns, there are two other wort coppers of 120 barrels content. The ale wort is kept boiling, with the hops in the coppers for about two hours, and the great object of the operator now is to preserve the delicate aroma of the hops. The flavour of the ale partly depends upon a careful attention to the process at this stage, as, if kept too long boiling, the fine aroma, which now so pleasantly greeted us as we approached the coppers, being evanescent, flies off with the vapour, if not carefully watched."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 28.

Scottish brewers seemed very keen on retaining delicate hop aroma. Presumably another reason why their boils were so short earlier in the century.

The above is an extract from my book on Scottish beer: 

Monday 29 July 2019

Leaving Boston

I rise just before nine. No rush has been my motto this trip.

The first thing I do is to ring reception to ask if I can check out later. I get a delay until 1 PM. That'll do. I've learnt that you have to ask for stuff. What's the worst that could happen? They could say no.

When I check in for my flight, I’m offered an upgrade to business class for 402 euros. Bit too rich for me, sadly. Though the thought of a flatbed is extremely tempting.

Time for some crap TV and lazing around in my trollies. What fun. I also polish off a couple of bottles of homebrew I was given. Leftover competition beers. I’m always wary of taking homebrew on a flight.

I realise that I'm on the 14th floor. But it jumps from 12th to 14th. So I'm really on the 13th floor. Weird how superstition still has a hold.

The plan for today is elegant in its simplicity: dump my bags in the hotel and wander down to Cambridge Brewing for a pint or 38.

It’s hot. Uncomfortably hot. Maybe sitting inside wasn’t the best decision as there’s no airco, only fans.

I remember meeting Todd Alstrom when I was over here with the family. We struggled to walk through the snow and ice I may have to move outside where at least there’s a breeze.

I’ve ordered a House Lager. Just 4.5%. But I did have quite a bit of hotel whiskey earlier. I don’t want to get too mad quite yet. My flight is after 8 PM.

House Lager 4.25% ABV
Cold. I’m happy about that. And not crazy. I’m definitely going off crazy beers unless they’re Imperial Stout. Or Imperial Mild.

It’s cool just to hang out for a bit with no aim, other than having a few beers. Back to the work shit tomorrow. Though where it will be, I’m not quite sure. All this shit I need to get done as in a week I’ll be in Madrid doing something I don’t understand.

Odd being probably the most prolific beer writer. Yet not a professional. As many assume I am. I need a fucking agent to sort the financial shit out.

Been really on top of the notes this trip. Both the scribbled stuff in the pub and electronic notes back in my hotel. I think I’m getting the hang of this. Finally.

Why do I feel so at home in the US? Easy. It was my home for 18 months. I know how shit works here. I made a conscious decision in 1987 to leave the US. Now I feel myself wishing six months or a year over here. Probably long enough to put me off again – as I remember all the reasons. Like hooking up with an old girlfriend and remembering why it all fell apart in the first time around. Wouldn’t stop me giving it another go, mind. The US, I mean, not an old girlfriend.

Fuck, the brewery is close to the bar here. With nothing inbetween. Just saw a brewer climbing into a mash tun just 5 metres away.

Wing Suit 4.5% ABV
Session IPA with rye. Fuck, that’s cloudy. I’d have sent it back a couple of years ago. But I guess anything goes now. It smells like the mango and orange juice mix I used to drink in Melbourne. Just cloudier. Weirdly savoury in the mouth. I’m dead confused.

I had a weird and very complicated dream this morning involving a murder disguised as suicide and confusion over pills. Yes, that is with a double “L”. I never did manage to understand what was going on. Which is sort of a metaphor for my life.

“Didn’t you just murder someone?” I asked someone who knocked at my door.


Just weird enough not to be really scary. The victim looked like someone I worked with in Leeds in the 1980s. Not totally convinced by the murderer’s attempts to recreate realistic blood splatter. And why was my niece Jackie running down the cycle path on all fours?

Why do I write? I always have since I was a child. Sort of a compulsion. And who I am. Being a writer – other than hanging around on the dole – was the only thing I ever aspired to. For a long time, I never thought it would happen. Then I discovered writing about beer and pubs.

I need some food. Only had a few mouthfuls of yesterday’s leftover sandwich. What to have? Chicken quesadilla or a fried chicken sandwich? After changing my mind about a dozen times, I go for the latter.

The sandwich isn’t bad. And handy for later. Don’t want to rely on the food on the plane. It’s often shit.

Back at the hotel, I retrieve my bags and get a cab. Amazingly, this one seems to take me by the most direct route to the airport. There’s a first. Boston’s taxis must be the worst in the First World. Maybe in all three worlds.

As I’ve some time before boarding, I have one double Jim Beam, no ice, in a bar. Just the one. Out of a sense of tradition.

With my pushing on boarding I’m soon sinking into my seat. The one next to me is handily unoccupied. Perfect for dumping my stuff on. I watch a little stuff on the entertainment system. But not for long. I need to get a good kip. Because I’ll be working as soon as I get home.

I soon drift off into a surprisingly deep sleep.

Cambridge Brewing Company
1 Kendall Square,
MA 02139.
Tel: +1 617-494-1994

Sunday 28 July 2019

Brewing at William Younger in the 1880’s (part one)

Alfred Barnard. What a great bloke. I’d like to shake his hand. For the service he did to history grubbers like me by recording so many classic breweries of the late 19th century. He might have been vague on the beers. I can fill that information in from brewing records. Barnard noted the nuts and bolts of breweries. The mash tuns, coolers, coppers, fermenters and cleansers.

Luckily for us, Barnard dropped by William Younger on his travels. After a couple of chapters on Younger’s extensive maltings, he gets onto the useful stuff, the Abbey Brewery. Kicking off with the mashing stage.

"At one corner of the place a pair of mill rollers were actively at work crushing the malt as it fell from a receptacle above, and we saw the grist "Jacobed " as they call it here—i.e., lifted by an elevator to an immense hopper fixed in the centre of the house, to be ready for the first process. From the apex of this hopper protrudes a large-size Steel's mashing machine, which serves two mash tuns, each of which holds forty quarters. They are both constructed of wood, lined with copper, and possess gun-metal draining plates."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, pages 18 - 19.

A Steel’s masher is a large screw in which water and malt are mixed on their way into the mash tun. Invented by a Mr. Steel in the 1850’s, it proved immensely useful and popular. Older British breweries like Fullers and Harveys still use them. It’s a very simple and effective way of getting a mash with a good consistency from the minute it enters the tun.

A tun of forty quarters could mash enough wort for around 160 barrels of 1056º beer. However, looking at Younger’s records for 1888, they weren’t mashing at full capacity every time. Or even any time. Mostly it was just 20-odd quarters per brew. The largest I can find was just 35 quarters.

The wort would have flown from the mash tun to the underback.

"The next object that attracted our attention was the underback, also a copper vessel of some ten barrels capacity, which is placed in the basement of the building, and from which the wort is pumped direct into the coppers."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 19.

A ten barrel underback seems very small to contain wort from a 40-quarter mash tun. That’s enough to produce around 160 barrels of beer at 1055º and 80 barrels even at a gravity of 1100º.

“Returning to the mashing floor we were shown the two coppers, wherein the wort is boiled with the hops. These are of cylindrical form, and rise from the floor of the house to a great height. They are also constructed of copper, and their tops are reached by means of a gangway protruding from the second stage. We noticed in close proximity another vessel called the heating tank, which supplies the hot water to the mash tuns, etc. The hot wort is conveyed from the coppers in pipes, stretching across the western corner of the building to the hop-back, which is placed on a long gallery overhead. From this vessel the strained liquor runs by gravitation to the coolers placed on the floor of the next building."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 19.

Cooling was performed the classic late 19th-century way, with a combination of large, open, shallow coolers and heat-exchanging refrigerators:

"Pursuing our investigations, we next ascended a stair to the first stage, and by a doorway entered the cooling or cooler room. It is a large apartment, with latticed sides, measuring 90 feet by 40 feet, and contains two open coolers of large dimensions, and two of Morton's refrigerators."
"Noted Breweries of Great Britain and Ireland vol. II", by Alfred Barnard 1889, page 19.

The initial stage in the coolers wasn’t just for cooling purposes. These shallow vessels were also perfect for dropping out a lot of the gunk in the wort.

A Morton’s refrigerator is like a washboard of copper pipes through which brine is circulated. The wort runs over these pipes, cooling quickly. And presumably oxidising nicely at the same time.

This is an excerpt from my excellent book on Scottish brewing, Scotland! vol. 2:

Saturday 27 July 2019

Let's Brew - 1944 Barclay Perkins London Stout

Still forlornly beating my 1944 recipe drum. Still plenty more to come. Unless I suddenly see sense. (Not much chance of that. When I get an idea in my head it takes some shaking out.)

On a Barclay Perkins price list from 1944, five Stouts appear:

Stout (draught) 8.5d per half pint
Stout 7.5d per half pint
Best Stout 9.5d per half pint
Victory Stout 9.5d per half pint
Russian Stout 18d per nip

Though I’m pretty sure that they only brewed three, with the brew house names BS, LS and IBS. Draught Stout, Best Stout and Victory Stout all look like the same beer to me. Especially if you consider that the difference in price between a draught and a bottled beer was 1d per half pint. By this point London Stout (LS) was being marketed as simply Stout.

After the war, Best Stout and Victory Stout were separate brews, with the former being the stronger of the two.

The grist is very similar to BS. No surprise there since, as you would expect, the two were often parti-gyled together. Though both beers were also brewed single-gyle. When parti-gyled, the quantity of LS was always much greater than that of BS.

The kettle hops were Mid-Kent Fuggles from the 1943 harvest and Kent Fuggles from 1941. Rather surprisingly, given the difference in strength and the fact that LS was a bottled beer, which often weren’t dry-hopped, this contains the same quantity of dry hops as BS.

1944 Barclay Perkins London Stout
mild malt 4.00 lb 49.23%
brown malt 0.50 lb 6.15%
amber malt 1.00 lb 12.31%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.15%
roast barley 1.00 lb 12.31%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 12.31%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.54%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1034.5
FG 1013
ABV 2.84
Apparent attenuation 62.32%
IBU 27
SRM 31
Mash at 143º F
After underlet 149º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Friday 26 July 2019

Russian Stout season

War is hell. WW II meant supplied of Barclay Perkins legendary Russian Stout weren't available year-round. Only in a specific season.

It could have been worse. Most stronger beers had long been discontinued by 1944. The amount of correspondnce Barcaly Perkins sent to its tenants is a sign of how important a beer Russian Stout was. Despite not selling in massive quantities.

Popular enough that not everyone got a supply. The handwritten note at the top of the letter remarks: "sent to tenants with an allocation of Russian Stout."

I'd have put up with having to take Russian Stout in half pints rather than nips. Then you'd only neded two bottles to get a full pint. I mean, who drinks less than a full Imperial pint of Russian Stout? That's just disrespectful, man.

Thursday 25 July 2019

How much tax did beer drinkers pay during WW II?

I'm sure you've often wondered how much beer drinkers contributed to the UK's finances during WW II. A shedload would be a reasonable guess.

I already had the figures, but was only prompted to add them up when I came across this little article:

During the ten war and post-war years 1939-48 Britain's beer-drinkers, contributed through excise duty alone nearly £2,000 millions towards the country's revenue. The precise figure was £1,989,631.848. This and other surprising facts are revealed by the just-published handbook, Brewers' Almanack.

Now, however, the beer revenue is dropping rapidly because of the slump in beer-drinking, and to-day's tax of ninepence on the average public bar pint is yielding no more than did the sevenpence pint tax of two years ago.

Hopes for a return to better beer are suggested by the facts that the home barley yield has increased from 17,840,000 cwt in 1939 to 29,260,000cwt, in 1947; the hop yield has risen from 288,000 to 300,000 cwt, the wartime use of flaked barley and oats as brewing substitute is no longer compulsory, and brewers are now free to revert to the full use of malt.

Recent evidence of diminish-ing returns from high taxation may presage cheaper beer."
Sunderland Daily Echo and Shipping Gazette - Wednesday 23 March 1949, page 4.
The number for WW II is obviously less than £2,000 million. Here are the full figures, plus some other numbers for fun:

UK beer output, tax and average OG 1939 - 1948
year bulk barrels Total Tax £ average OG
1939 24,674,992 62,370,034 1040.93
1940 25,366,782 75,157,022 1040.62
1941 26,203,803 133,450,205 1038.51
1942 29,860,798 157,254,430 1035.53
1943 29,296,672 209,584,343 1034.34
1944 30,478,289 263,170,703 1034.63
1945 31,332,852 278,876,870 1034.54
1946 32,650,200 295,305,369 1034.72
1947 29,261,398 250,350,829 1032.59
1948 30,408,634 264,112,043 1032.66
Total 1,989,631,848
1955 Brewers' Almanack, pages 50 & 80.

My numbers tally exactly with those in the article. Not surprising, as the source is the same.

Almost forgot, I promised to tell you how much tax was paid on beer during the war. It was £1,179,863,607. Which even today, after 75 years of inflation, is still an enormous sum.

Turning to another point made in the article, yes brewers no longer had to use oats and flaked barley. But that didn't mean they "reverted" to brewing all-malt. As most brewers had never worked that way. What really happened was that they went back to using flaked maize instead of flaked barley.

Note that the cheery article didn't mention that beer wasn't really getting any stronger. Though it was up minutely on its nadir, which was in 1947.

Wednesday 24 July 2019

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1944 Barclay Perkins XLK

I should perhaps change the name of this series to "Brews from 1944", as that's what they've all been recently. I'm easily seduced by theming the recipes I publish. It makes my life easier in selecting recipes.

When WW II erupted, Barclay Perkins were producing four Pale Ales, in descending order of strength: PA, XLK (Trade), IPA and XLK (bottling). By 1944 just IPA and a single version of XLK remained.

The bottling XLK had always been lower in gravity than XLK (trade), which was the draught version. The single XLK brewed in 1944 was the same OG as pre-war bottling XLK. Effectively they had eliminated the draught version and used the bottling version for both. 1944 XLK, in terms of strength, looks like a typical post-war Ordinary Bitter.

The grist of XLK had become considerably more complex during the war. At the start it was just pale malt, PA malt and flaked maize. Plus some sugar, of course. The 1944 version was a combination of PA malt, SA malt (for which I’ve substituted mild malt), crystal malt, lager malt and flaked barley.

Excuse me if I’m repeating myself, but crystal malt wasn’t common in Bitter before WW II. Barclay Perkins only began to employ it in 1941. Perhaps to compensate for the fall in gravity. Lager malt appears in several of their beers around this point. I assume they just had some extra lying around that they wanted to use up.

The hops were Kent Fuggles from the 1943 harvest, Mid-Kent Fuggles from 1943 and 1944, Worcester Fuggles from 1942, plus East Kent Goldings dry hops from 1944.

1944 Barclay Perkins XLK
pale malt 3.00 lb 37.08%
mild malt 3.00 lb 37.08%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 6.18%
lager malt 0.25 lb 3.09%
flaked barley 0.67 lb 8.28%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.67 lb 8.28%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1035.5
FG 1010.5
ABV 3.31
Apparent attenuation 70.42%
IBU 20
Mash at 147º F
After underlet 152º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Tuesday 23 July 2019

Less whisky

Of course, beer wasn't the only drink made from malt. In Scotland, considerable quantities were used in the making of whisky.

Like brewers, distillers were allocated a ration of raw materials, based on their pre-wart production. Though they were never allocated enough to reach anything like the pre-war level of production. By 1942, distillers were only allowed to produce a tiny percentage of their peacetime output.

Further Cut in Production

A further cut of 10 per cent. in the production of malt whisky will be made during 1942. Licences for malt distillers to purchase enough Scottish barley to produce their quotas — one third, less a tenth, of their output in the year ended September 30, 1939 — will be issued shortly. No grant of licences for production of grain whisky will be made at present.

A cut of about 15 per cent. in whisky supplies last August following a reduction of 35 per cent. in March brought the total reduction up to 50 per cent. of pre-war figures.

Last week ihe Brewers' Society announced that the specific gravity of beer was to be reduced by 5 per cent. from January 1.

Difficulty in Finding Staffs
The information that there will be licences to purchase barley for the making of whisky this season, even on a restricted scale, is welcomed in the North of Scotland, which is the chief producing area.

"Hope of a restart had almost been given up," stated a Speyside distiller last night. "Although we are to be allowed only to make 10 per cent. less than last season's quota, which was one-third of the output for the year ended September 30, 1939, it is welcome as — on account of heavy exports — a shortage would soon have been apparent."

The chief difficulty will be in finding staffs, but that will be overcome by reengaging men who have been on the retired list."
The Scotsman - Wednesday 07 January 1942, page 3.

I'm not quite sure why no grain whisky was allowed to be produced. It seems counterintuitive to me.

Because of the time lag between distilling and selling of whisky - a minimum of three years - the effect of cuts in production would only just have been starting to bite in 1942. And the shortage must have last well into peacetime. Whereas with beer the effects were much more immediate.

Average OG fell from 1038.51 in 1941 to 1035.53 in 1942. Which is closer to 8% than 5%.

Monday 22 July 2019

Curious Parcels Dropped by Bombers

It's weird the stuff you come across in wartime newspapers. Especially stuff you weren't really looking for.

This article, for example, which I found when searching for "pilsener".

"Curious Parcels Dropped by Bombers
. . .

Beer From Heaven
A CERTAIN fighter squadron had a series of dog-fights with a yellow-nosed squadron. Fights were hotter than Vesuvius, but were marked by decent shooting. There was no potting at men baling out, or gunning falling machines to set them on fire and burn pilots alive, or anything outside Queensberry rules.

One of our lads followed Heinkel back to France (as impetuous lads will!) and got shot down. He must have mentioned we were having a special celebration dinner in the coming week in honour of a gay little lady of the West End stage who has a special connection with that fighter squadron.

One evening at dusk came the whine of a power-diving bomber over the squadron's home station. Something black zipped down towards the ground as the bomber tipped its nose, put its skates on — and vanished.

Everybody dropped flat and prayed the bomb wouldn't come too near. But it wasn't a bomb. It was something on a little parachute.. When it landed they found it was a case of prized Pilsener beer — every bottle intact. It went down like perfumed snow. I had some, so I know.

Homage To A Lady
I HEARD and joined in the clapping and stamping and cheering when the O.C. read out the note attached to the case the Germans had dropped. It went — "Please convey our homage to the lady in whose honour you dine. We have no champagne, and this is the best we could contribute. Heil youth, wit, and beauty!"

The lady in question — famous on the Continent before the war as well in London — was charmed. A week or so later a British bomber reversed the trick. Sailing over the base to which the German squadron was attached, it sent down case of bubbly with the message —

"Miss ____ sends her thanks. The Pilsener was glorious. Will you try our champagne?"

A German pilot we shot down quite recently told us the champagne was glorious, too. It should have been — it was a rare Sillery. The amount it cost made the mess green for weeks.

So, you see, we don't always drop plonkers from the big bombers."
Sunday Post - Sunday 24 August 1941, page 8.
I suspect that this sort of sportsmanship was in rather shorter supply by 1944. The Germans seem to have got much the better deal. A case of champagne must have been far more expensive than one of Pilsener.

I've never seen the word "plonker" used in the context of a bomb nbefore. I wonder when the meaning changed to someone useless?

Funny how the meaning of words can change so quickly. Gay is also used in a different way to how it is now. And here we're only looking at 70-odd years.

Sunday 21 July 2019

Boddington bombed

Some of the most fascinating entries in brewing records often have little or nothing to do with brewing itself.

Like the entry at the start of one Barclay Perkins brewing logs from the early 19th century where it mentions that the Napoleonic Wars have ended.

But it's WW II that throws up the most dramatic entries. For the first time, breweries were directly under attack. There's a not in a Whitbread record from September 1940 mentioning that the brewery had been hit by a couple of bombs. Though some damage was caused, it wasn't enough to put the brewery out of action. Though they did lose a stockpile of barrel staves which went up in smoke.

Large London breweries, like Whitbread, were better protected than most enterprises as they had their own fire brigades. Dead handy, as most dmage was from from fire not the blast of high explosive bombs. At the end of the war, the Whitbread stood virually alone in a sea of devastation.

Boddington wasn't so lucky. The brewery was so badly damaged in raids just before Christmas 1940. So badly that it was out of action for several months, with production being transferred to Hydes. Even worse, all the beer in the fermenters was spoilt and had to be thrown away.

The "ran away" refers to the beer being thrown out, not the brewer legging it.

Saturday 20 July 2019

Let's Brew - 1944 Maclay PA 6d

While remaining Maclay’s biggest seller, PA 6d, a class of beer which was also called PA 60/- at some other Scottish breweries, had inevitably seen its gravity reduced. Down from 1038º in 1939 to 1032º by 1944.

Coincidentally, 1032º had been the OG of PA 5d before the war. While Maclay’s only other Pale Ale at this point, Export, had a gravity similar to pre-war PA 6d. Effectively all their beers had moved down one strength class.

In Scotland, where few breweries made true Mild Ales, PA 6d filled the slot occupied in England by Ordinary Mild. After the war, it continued in this role, often coloured up enough at racking time to pass for Dark Mild. Though it retained the name PA 6d in the brew house, it was usually sold as 60/- in the pub, especially when in cask form.

There have been some subtle changes to the grist. Flaked maize has been replaced by flaked barley and there’s been an addition of a small quantity of malted oats. Neither of these changes would have been voluntary.

The hops, as you would expect, are all English. No idea of their age, as Maclay didn’t bother recording that.

1944 Maclay PA 6d
pale malt 5.75 lb 79.11%
malted oats 0.50 lb 6.88%
flaked barley 0.50 lb 6.88%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.50 lb 6.88%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.018 lb 0.25%
Fuggles 120 min 0.33 oz
Fuggles 60 min 0.33 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.33 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1032
FG 1011
ABV 2.78
Apparent attenuation 65.63%
IBU 14
Mash at 147º F
After underlet 155º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday 19 July 2019

Pale Ale Before WW I

Before 1850, Pale Ale was mostly brewed by specialist brewers, either in Burton or in Scotland. After the middle of the century, the style went mainstream.

The biggest boost to the style was given by the introduction of Light Pale Ales around 1850. The original Pale Ales were all brewed as Stock Ales, being aged for 6 to 12 months before sale, always in trade casks rather than vats. The new running versions were aged for no more than a few weeks and were much lower in gravity. While a typical Stock Pale Ale had an OG around 1060-1065º, AK, a common name for a Light Pale Ale, was in the range 1045º-1050º.

Provincial Pale Ales follow a similar pattern to those from London: a weaker one at about 1045º and a stronger one around 1060º. The exceptions being the two Manchester breweries, Boddington and Lees, whose strongest version was only around 1055º. Truman, unsurprisingly, as they were in Burton, had the strongest Pale Ale.

There a big variation in the hopping rates between different breweries: only around 3 lbs per quarter at Boddington to over 12 lbs at Tetley. Though generally the hopping rates are a little lower than in London.

Scottish hopping rates, at 4.5 lbs to 7.5 lbs per quarter, aren’t very different from provincial English breweries, but are lower than in London. What does stand out is how weak some versions were. One is even below 1030º, a gravity unknown in England. Even the strongest only has a gravity of 1056º. Odd, given that Scotland was once famous for brewing very strong beer.

The lower gravities were general.

London Pale Ale before WW I
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1911 Barclay Perkins PA 1060.0 1014.5 6.02 75.83% 6.00 2.97
1914 Barclay Perkins XLK (trade) 1049.9 1012.2 4.99 75.58% 7.51 1.52
1914 Barclay Perkins XLK (bottling) 1045.0 1009.4 4.71 79.07% 7.51 1.35
1914 Whitbread FA 1047.1 1013.0 4.51 72.39% 10.97 2.22
1914 Whitbread IPA 1049.3 1013.0 4.80 73.63% 11.96 2.53
1914 Whitbread 2PA 1053.0 1016.0 4.89 69.81% 8.94 2.05
1914 Whitbread PA 1060.2 1021.0 5.18 65.11% 8.94 2.33
1914 Fuller AK 1044.3 1009.1 4.65 79.38% 7.33 1.34
1914 Fuller PA 1054.2 1012.2 5.56 77.52% 8.1374 1.98
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/2305/1/602 and ACC/2305/1/603.
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery.

Provincial Pale Ale before WW I
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1914 Adnams BLB 1044.0 1007.0 4.89 84.09% 7.00 1.34
1904 Tetley PA 1059.3 1007.8 6.82 86.92% 12.55 2.94
1914 Boddington AK 1044.0 1013.0 4.10 70.45% 2.92 0.57
1914 Boddington PA 1046.0 1014.0 4.23 69.57% 3.33 0.97
1914 Boddington IP 1053.0 1016.0 4.89 69.81% 4.00 1.35
1911 Lees B 1054.0 1015.0 5.16 72.22% 7.30 1.61
1915 Truman (Burton) P1 1063.7 1020.5 5.72 67.83% 9.71 2.48
1914 Truman (Burton) P2 1056.8 1009.4 6.27 83.41% 8.79 2.01
1914 Truman (Burton) P3 1049.9 1008.3 5.50 83.33% 8.79 1.77
1910 Warwicks LBB 1042.7 1012.5 3.99 70.78% 3.68 0.62
1910 Warwicks XXX B 1049.9 1015.5 4.54 68.89% 6.58 1.31
1910 Warwicks BB 1052.6 1015.8 4.87 70.00% 6.58 1.38
1910 Warwicks IPA 1058.4 1018.3 5.31 68.72% 7.40 1.76
Adnams brewing record Book 2 held at the brewery.
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/126.
Lees brewing record held at the brewery.
Tetley's brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives, document number WYL756/51/ACC1903.
Truman's brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/329.
Warwicks & Richardsons brewing record held at the Nottinghamshire Archives, document number DD/NM/8/4/1.

The above is an excerpt from my book on brewing in WW I.  Buy this wonderful book.