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.


John said...

Presumably Albion was a product from these bods - not that it helps to explain what type of sugar it was -

qq said...

Albion Sugar were based on the former Woolwich Dockyard site just east of where the Thames Barrier is now (opposite Tate & Lyle). Formed in 1929 by a consortium including Pauls maltsters, the site was sold for housing the early 1980s although the company seems to have continued for a time after that.

Good history of the company here : - interesting to see how Thames frontage was at such a premium in the 1920s that it was only the release of government land at the dockyard that enabled the company to happen.
History of the dockyard site :

Mike in NSW said...

The lower strength beers using the most malt, echoes of that in Australian mid strength and light beers that are often all-malt for flavour and mouthfeel, or at least far less sugar than the 30% or more used in the full strength brands.