Thursday, 16 April 2020

Scottish Brown Ale after WW II

While the Scottish beer market was out of step with that in England in many ways, that didn’t extend to Brown Ale. The style was popular both sides of the border, despite Mild Ale being pretty much dead in Scotland. Not sure exactly why what was essentially bottled Mild should have fared so well.

Knowing how most brewers operated in Scotland, I’m fairly certain that the majority of Scottish Brown Ales were standard Pale Ales coloured up at racking time. Perhaps with some extra primings added, too. The ones in the low 1030ºs look like they have a 70/- base, while those under 1030º look like 60/-.

There are a couple of outliers in the table: the stronger Murray example and Younger’s Double Century Ale. I assume that the former was intended for the Northeast of England, where that type of Brown Ale, in the form of Newcastle Brown or Vaux Double Maxim, was common. Not sure if Double Century Ale was marketed as a Brown Ale, but it falls nicely into this category.

I can’t see any huge stylistic difference with English versions. Though the colour was generally on the darker side. The attenuation is generally lower, 70% as opposed to 75% to 80% in England. Though there are examples of around 80%. Generally, the rate of attenuation seems to have been lower for all styles in Scotland.

Scottish Brown Ale after WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1949 Calder Nut Brown Ale 22 1033.7 1011.6 2.86 65.58% 65
1950 Calder Nut Brown Ale 24 1034.3 1011.4 2.96 66.76% 71
1949 McEwan Nut Brown Ale 1029.5 1006 3.05 79.66%
1949 Murray Brown Ale 12 1037.8 1010 3.60 73.54% 115
1950 Murray Brown Ale 24 1057.1 1013.4 5.69 76.53% 83
1947 Steel Coulson Brown Ale 1028.5 1005 3.05 82.46%
1949 Younger, Wm. Brown Ale 14 1033.6 1011.2 2.90 66.67% 115
1950 Younger, Wm. Brown Ale 22 1032.6 1011.4 2.74 65.03% 180
1954 Younger, Wm. Double Century Ale 36 1056.6 1023.3 4.29 58.83% 80
Average 22.0 1038.2 1011.5 3.46 70.56% 101.3
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.


Thom Farrell said...

I was curious as to whether Younger's Double Century was targeted at the North East of England market. An, admittedly brief, search of the British Newspaper Archive seems to indicate otherwise however. Adverts suggest that it was sold throughout the whole of the British mainland, from Taunton to Aberdeen.

It's a pity, as I like the idea of North Eastern brown ale as a style. Are there any examples other than NBA, Double Maxim, and latterly, Sam Smith's Nut Brown?

Ron Pattinson said...

Thom Farrell,

Murray brewed one that looks the part. As did Usher and Aitken, at least pre-war. Not sure about after it.

Chris Pickles said...

Double Century seems to have had very low attenuation, I don't remember Newcy Brown or Double Maxim being all that sweet. The Fed also did a strongish brown ale but I forget it's name.

Barm said...

I once spoke to someone who remembered drinking Double Century, who said it was regarded as incredibly strong loopy juice at the time. Which by the standards of 1954 it probably was.

Ron Pattinson said...

Chris Pickles,

the Fed beer was called High Level.