Thursday 30 April 2020

Whitbread Porter and Stout in 1939 (part two)

The grists are in some ways typical, and in others slightly unusual. The classic London Porter grist after 1817 was pale, brown and black malt. In a radical move, Whitbread ditched black malt in favour of chocolate malt in 1925.  Those crazy anarchists. It wasn’t an innovation that other large London brewers copied.

Malt, at close to 90%, made up the majority of the fermentables. Quite a lot. Unlike the oats, which only appeared in token quantities. On the other hand, it was in everything and not just the Oatmeal Stout. That’s parti-gyling for you.

It wasn’t unusual to see some, or even all, mild malt as the base in Porter and Stout. With all that roast, you weren’t likely to be able to make out much of the base malt’s character. Unlike in a Pale Ale, where you’d never see mild malt.

Just two types of sugar appeared in Whitbread’s Black Beers: No. 3 invert and something called Duttson. Based on the percentage, and the style of beer, my guess would be some sort of caramel. Or a proprietary sugar with a large caramel component.

At 12% of the total, there wasn’t a crazy amount of sugar. And it’s clearly being used for specific qualities, rather than just cheap extract. Flavour in the case of No. 3 and colour in the case of Duttson.

Whitbread Porter and Stout malts in 1939
Beer Style OG pale malt brown malt choc. Malt mild malt oats total malt
P Porter 1029.6 59.69% 7.85% 7.85% 10.99% 1.57% 87.96%
LS Stout 1047.3 59.69% 7.85% 7.85% 10.99% 1.57% 87.96%
LOS Stout 1047.3 59.69% 7.85% 7.85% 10.99% 1.57% 87.96%
MS Stout 1051.8 72.22% 7.94% 7.94% 0.00% 0.79% 88.89%
ES Stout 1055.4 59.69% 7.85% 7.85% 10.99% 1.57% 87.96%
SSS Stout 1110.3 72.22% 7.94% 7.94% 0.00% 0.79% 88.89%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/126.

Whitbread Porter and Stout sugars in 1939
Beer Style OG no. 3 sugar Duttson total sugar
P Porter 1029.6 4.46% 1.95% 6.41%
LS Stout 1047.3 8.38% 3.66% 12.04%
LOS Stout 1047.3 8.38% 3.66% 12.04%
MS Stout 1051.8 8.47% 2.65% 11.11%
ES Stout 1055.4 8.38% 3.66% 12.04%
SSS Stout 1110.3 8.47% 2.65% 11.11%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/126.

Wednesday 29 April 2020

a 20% discount this time

Another discount code (until the end of 3rd May) when you can get 20% off my Lulu print books with this discount code:


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Let's Brew Wednesday - 1944 Whitbread XXXX

Burton Ale remained a popular style in London, despite the restrictions of the war. Whitbread continued to brew in on a large scale. This particular batch was 723 barrels.

All things considered, XXXX was holding up pretty well. The gravity remained unchanged at 1043º. Not super strong, but still with considerably more punch than most of the beer being brewed in 1944.

The big change in the recipe is the replacement of flaked oats by flaked barley. The whole oats thing was just a one-year aberration forced on brewers. I’m sure that they were far happier to use flaked barley. Which remained the most used adjunct through to the end of the war and a few years beyond, until supplies of maize once more became available. Whitbread dropped flaked barley towards the end of 1946 and their beers returned to being adjunct-free.

Other than that, the proportions of the ingredients have changed a little, with a bit more pale malt and little less adjunct.

The hops were all English and mostly pretty fresh: Whitbread Mid-Kent from the 1942 harvest, Mid-Kent from 1943 and East Kent from 1943.

1944 Whitbread XXXX
pale malt 7.50 lb 77.28%
chocolate malt 0.33 lb 3.40%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 10.30%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 7.73%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.125 lb 1.29%
Fuggles 60 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1043
FG 1011
ABV 4.23
Apparent attenuation 74.42%
IBU 26
SRM 22
Mash at 151º F
After underlet 154º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 60 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Bitter on the eve of WW II

No, this isn't another preview of my new book. But rather something to settle a Twitter argument. Or not, as the case might be.

Martyn Cornell and Dominic Driscoll were arguing about whether Northern Bitters were more heavily hopped than Southern ones to take into account the use of a sparkler, which would reduce the perceived bitterness.

It just so happens that I've written a large number of recipes for Bitters from all over the country. Part of the process being to calculate the IBUs using BeerSmith. I wouldn't take the numbers as gospel, but they give a general idea.

Are the Northern versions more Bitter than Southern ones? Well, yes and no. Boddington Bitter comes out top at 48 IBU. But Tetley comes bottom at 14 IBU. While all the London beers in the table are reasonably well-hopped.

Surprisingly, for a brewery in the middle of hop country, most of Shepherd Neame's beers weren't that bitter. Other than their PA.

About the only real discernible pattern is in the Scottish beers. Which are mostly not very bitter at all. Except for the Maclay beers.

Bitter on the eve of WW II
Year Brewery Beer OG IBU
1939 Adnams PA 1039 33
1939 Barclay Perkins IPA 1044 30
1939 Barclay Perkins XLK (trade) 1046 30
1939 Barclay Perkins PA 1053 38
1939 Boddington IP 1045 48
1939 Drybrough 54/- 1032 19
1939 Drybrough 60/- 1038 21
1939 Drybrough 80/- 1050 26
1939 Fullers AK 1033.5 35
1939 Fullers XK 1039.5 40
1939 Fullers PA 1050 43
1939 Lees Bitter 1047 30
1939 Maclay PA 5d 1032 28
1939 Maclay PA 6d 1038 30
1939 Maclay PA 7d 1042 32
1940 Shepherd Neame AK 1030.5 19
1940 Shepherd Neame BB 1038 21
1940 Shepherd Neame PA 1047 39
1940 Shepherd Neame SXX 1055 28
1941 Tetley Bitter 1038 14
1939 Truman Pale 2 1047.5 27
1939 Truman Pale 1B 1053.5 30
1939 Whitbread IPA 1037 36
1939 Whitbread PA 1048 29
1938 William Younger XP 1037 14
1938 William Younger XXP 1042 16
1939 William Younger XXPS 1046 12
1939 William Younger Export 1054 22
various brewing records

Monday 27 April 2020

Whitbread Porter and Stout in 1939

Now onto the half of Whitbread’s range: Porter and Stout. I’m listing them separately, just for the sake of clarity. They were also in a separate brewing book from the Ales. I’m not the first person to have divided up their beers this way.

On the face of it, there were the same number of beers: six. Except London Stout (LS) and London Oatmeal Stout (LOS) were exactly the same. No difference at all in recipe or strength. Other than that London Stout was available both draught and bottled, while the “oatmeal version” only appeared in bottles.

All of the Ales were on sale in the UK. That wasn’t true of the Stouts. Extra Stout (ES) was brewed specifically for the Belgian market. Explaining why it was dropped early and 1940 and picked up again early in 1948.

The vast majority was just two beers: London Stout and Mackeson. Around 91%, to be specific. Sales of Porter had been plunging since the 1920s. It wouldn’t be around much longer. While Mackeson was rapidly increasing in popularity.

Whitbread Porter and Stout production in 1939
beer style barrels % of total
P Porter 3,810 2.96%
LS Stout 67,177 52.14%
ES Extra Stout 6,037 4.69%
MS Milk Stout 50,890 39.50%
SSS Imperial Stout 928 0.72%
Total 128,842
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/126.

SSS had been Whitbread’s strongest Stout between the 1860s and WW I, before being dropped in 1917. It made an unexpected comeback in 1939. Though it didn’t last long, being discontinued again the following year. Not really a surprise, that. Such a strong beer would have been untenable in wartime.

Typically for London, all of these beers were reasonably well hopped at around 7lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt. That is a lower rate than for the Ales, which were mostly hopped at over 8lbs per quarter. Unsurprisingly, the Imperial Stout got the most hops.

The OG and FG shown above for Mackeson, taken from the brewing record, don’t reflect the beer as sold. As they exclude the lactose which was added as primings at racking time. These analyses of the finished beer are more accurate:

Whitbread Mackeson Milk Stout 1937 - 1939
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1937 Mackeson Milk Stout 1057 1024.5 4.19 57.02%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1056.5 1025.5 3.99 54.87%
1938 Mackeson Milk Stout 1058.25 1026.75 4.05 54.08%
1939 Mackeson Milk Stout 1056 1025 3.99 55.36%
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/11.

Around 5º of OG were added by the lactose primings. Which are excluded from the following tables of ingredients.

Whitbread Porter and Stout in 1939
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
P Porter 1029.6 1008.0 2.86 72.97% 6.93 0.87
LS Stout 1047.3 1013.0 4.54 72.52% 6.93 1.38
LOS Stout 1047.3 1013.0 4.54 72.52% 6.93 1.38
MS Stout 1051.8 1017.5 4.54 66.22% 7.40 1.59
ES Stout 1055.4 1017.0 5.08 69.31% 6.93 1.62
SSS Stout 1110.3 1043.0 8.90 61.02% 7.40 3.38
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/126.

Sunday 26 April 2020

Whitbread Ale hops in 1939

Most of the hops employed in Whitbread’s Ales were reasonably local, either from Kent or Sussex. Though some were from a bit further afield in Worcestershire. The small quantity of foreign hops which were used came from Germany. Ironic as these beers were brewed in September 1939, just when war was declared on Germany.

What’s missing are any hops from outside Europe. While such hops – especially those from North America - weren’t as prevalent as they had been before WW I, they also weren’t totally absent from British brewing in the 1930a.

Only a minority of the hops were reasonably fresh, most being two, three or even four years old. Most of the older ones, however, had been kept in a cold store, as indicated by “CS”. That would have considerably slowed the decline in alpha and beta acid levels.

The varieties aren’t recorded in the brewing records, just the region where they were grown. East Kent hops were almost certainly Goldings or some other similar type of whitebine. Mid Kent were most likely Fuggles, though could have been something Golding-like. Worcester probably Fuggles, again, but also possibly Goldings.

Whitbread Ale hops in 1939
Beer Style OG hop 1 hop 2 hop 3 hop 4
LA Mild 1028.4 MK (1937 CS) MK (1938) Hallertau (1935)
X Mild 1033.9 Whitbread MK (1937 CS) MK (1938) Hallertau (1935)
IPA IPA 1037.1 Worcs (1938) MK (1937 CS) EK (1937 CS) Sussex (1936 CS)
PA Pale Ale 1048.2 Worcs (1938) MK (1937 CS) EK (1937 CS) Sussex (1936 CS)
DB Brown Ale 1054.5 Worcs (1938) MK (1937 CS) EK (1937 CS) Sussex (1936 CS)
33 Strong Ale 1061.0 Worcs (1938) MK (1937 CS) EK (1937 CS) Sussex (1936 CS)
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Saturday 25 April 2020

Let's Brew - 1938 Perry PA

Seeing as Perry styled themselves as Pale Ale brewers, it’s no surprise that they had a beer called PA.

On the face of it, it’s very similar to a London Ordinary Bitter. Beers like Barclay Perkins or Whitbread PA. The gravities were about the same and the level of hopping generally similar. Though because of the use of American hops and a longer boil, Perry’s PA comes out with rather higher (calculated) IBUs.

The recipe, however, is quite different from the London versions of PA. Much. Much simpler. It’s basically just pale malt, with a tiny amount of black malt for colour adjustment. Then some malt extract which was used as primings.

Once again, the hops were all quite old, with none from the most recent season. Oregon from the 1934 harvest, plus English and Styrian, both from 1936. The dry hops were English and Styrian from the 1936 season. I haven’t included the Styrian in the copper hops because the amount was so small – just 15 lbs out of a total of 120 lbs.

1938 Perry PA
pale malt 10.25 lb 96.61%
black malt 0.03 lb 0.28%
malt extract 0.33 lb 3.11%
Cluster 150 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.75 oz
Styrian Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1046
FG 1012.5
ABV 4.43
Apparent attenuation 72.83%
IBU 39
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale

Friday 24 April 2020

Whitbread grists in 1939

In reality, the six beers in the last post were brewed from four recipes. LA and X were parti-gyled together, as were DB and 33. While PA and IPA were both brewed single-gyle.

The slightly unusual feature of Whitbread was that they used no adjuncts, just malt and sugar. To put their ingredient usage into context, in 1939 the average across all breweries was 78% malt, 16% sugar and 6% unmalted grains.   All of Whitbread’s beers contained a higher malt percentage than that average.

Their malt usage, amongst their Ales, at least, was quite dull. Just base malt and some crystal. PA malt (Pale Ale malt) was simply the poshest version of pale malt, usually reserved for, unsurprisingly, Pale Ales. Though also used in higher-class Ales such as DB and 33.

It’s interesting that all the Ales contain crystal malt. No surprise in the Mild Ales and Burton, but this was quite early for it to appear in Pale Ales. That was mostly a post-war thing.

Note that the cheapest beers, LA and X, contain the highest percentage of malt. While the most expensive, DB and 33, contain the least.

The sugars are scarcely more exciting. Just No. 1 invert in the two Pale Ales. While the Milds get No. 3 and some caramel. Which is pretty much what you would expect. The two strong dark beers, DB and 33, went for a combination of caramel and Albion. Not sure what the latter was, but probably some sort of dark invert.

There’s considerable variation in the proportion of sugar across the different styles. With the two cheapest beers containing the least. A good demonstration that the principal reason for using sugar wasn’t its price.

Whitbread Ale malts in 1939
Beer Style OG pale malt PA malt crystal malt total malt
LA Mild 1028.4 75.73% 13.59% 89.32%
X Mild 1033.9 75.73% 13.59% 89.32%
IPA IPA 1037.1 28.85% 51.92% 3.85% 84.62%
PA Pale Ale 1048.2 24.06% 56.15% 4.81% 85.03%
DB Brown Ale 1054.5 25.27% 52.17% 2.45% 79.89%
33 Strong Ale 1061.0 25.27% 52.17% 2.45% 79.89%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Whitbread Ale sugars in 1939
Beer Style OG no. 1 sugar no. 3 sugar Albion caramel total sugar
LA Mild 1028.4 9.06% 1.62% 10.68%
X Mild 1033.9 9.06% 1.62% 10.68%
IPA IPA 1037.1 15.38% 15.38%
PA Pale Ale 1048.2 14.97% 14.97%
DB Brown Ale 1054.5 19.57% 0.54% 20.11%
33 Strong Ale 1061.0 19.57% 0.54% 20.11%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Thursday 23 April 2020

Still a few hours of discount left

(until the end of 23rd April) when you can get 15% off my Lulu print books with this discount code:


The perfect opportunity to pick up some of my wonderful books cheaply.

Whitbread Beers in 1939

Compared to most provincial breweries, Whitbread brewed a very wide range of beers. Though not quite as many as some of their London rivals, for example, Barclay Perkins, which produced a ridiculous number of beers at the outbreak of the war.

A good example are the Mild Ales. Barclay Perkins brewed three different strengths of Mild, in the 4d, 5d and 6d per pint classes. But the latter two also came in semi-dark and dark versions, making a total of five Milds.

Whitbread, on the other hand, only brewed two strengths of Mild: 4d and 5d. And there were no colour variations. Both LA and X were always dark in colour. And darker than even the dark Barclay Perkins versions.

The vast majority of Whitbread’s Mild came in the form of X. While Barclay Perkins brewed reasonable quantities of Ale 4d, the equivalent of LA. in 1939, Whitbread produced 232,453 barrels of X but just 5,747 barrels of LA.*

The effective gravities for both Whitbread’s Milds were almost certainly a couple of degrees higher. Their brewing records don’t include details of the primings which were almost certainly added at racking time. It was standard practice for Mild at the time.

Heavy hopping was a feature of London beers in the 19th century and by the outbreak of WW II, that was still the case. Over 8 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt is a lot for Mild. Between 4 and 5 lbs was more typical. Note that the rate is even higher than that of their Pale Ale.

Whitbread offered just one draught Bitter, PA. It fell into the 7d per pint class and would have counted as a Ordinary Bitter. Unlike the majority of their London competitors they didn’t have an 8d per ping Best Bitter.

Their IPA, in case you’re wondering, was sold exclusively in bottled form. Filling in the Light Ale slot, though not using that name. They couldn’t really, as that, most confusingly, was already taken by their low-gravity Dark Mild.

There was at least a genuine Brown Ale. By that, I mean a beer specifically brewed as such and not just a tweaked version of Mild. Double Brown was notable for being a good bit stronger than the average London Brown Ale. In many ways it was closer to a bottled Burton Ale than a classic Brown Ale.

A second, weaker version, Forest Brown, was also produced. As this doesn’t appear in the brewing records, I’m guessing it was basically X Ale. Certainly after the war it was parti-gyled with, and very similar to, standard Mild.

A real outlier was their Burton Ale, 33. So named because it was introduced in 1933 when excise duty was reduced. Most Burton Ales were 8d per pint beers with gravities in the range 1050-1055º, though some brewers, such as Truman, made 7d per pint versions at around 1048º.

* Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Whitbread Ales in 1939
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl colour
LA Mild 1028.4 1009.0 2.57 68.31% 8.27 0.93 83
X Mild 1033.9 1010.5 3.10 69.03% 8.27 1.11 110
IPA IPA 1037.1 1008.0 3.85 78.44% 10.00 1.51 18
PA Pale Ale 1048.2 1012.0 4.79 75.10% 7.33 1.41 22
DB Brown Ale 1054.5 1018.0 4.83 66.97% 8.49 1.92 105
33 Strong Ale 1061.0 1020.0 5.42 67.21% 8.49 2.15 115
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.

Wednesday 22 April 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1936 Perry XX Stout

An even more special Irish beer today. A genuine Irish Stout.

This is more the type of beer you would expect an Irish brewery to be making: a Stout. It looks like it’s meant to be along the same lines as Guinness Extra Stout, which in the 1930s had an OG of 1054.5º.  Though Perry’s beer is a little weaker.

It does appear that Stout was only a small part of what Perry brewed, judging by the gyle numbers. This was brew 8 of XX Stout that year. An XX Ale brewed a few days earlier was the 49th brew. The brew length of XX Ale, at 72 barrels, was more the double the size of this batch, which was just 32. Clearly Perry’s main trade was in Ale.

The grist of this beer might come as a bit of a surprise. Not only is there no roasted barley, there isn’t even any black malt. The roasted grains being chocolate and brown malt. Which makes it look rather like a Whitbread Stout recipe. They also used a combination of brown and chocolate malt for colour.

The hops are again a mix of English and Oregon, both from the 1933 harvest. Which is rather on the old side. But there were rather a lot of them, which is why the (calculated ) IBUs are so high.

1936 Perry XX Stout
pale malt 9.25 lb 77.89%
chocolate malt 1.00 lb 8.42%
brown malt 0.75 lb 6.32%
crystal malt 60 L 0.75 lb 6.32%
malt extract 0.125 lb 1.05%
Cluster 150 mins 1.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.75 oz
OG 1050
FG 1017
ABV 4.37
Apparent attenuation 66.00%
IBU 62
SRM 31
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 164º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1084 Irish ale