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.


John Clarke said...

So the Porter was just 2.86%? How are the mighty fallen. Hardly surprising it bit the dust.

Martyn Cornell said...

I keep meaning to say this to you: in a short history of Whitbread in the Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Jan-Feb 1943, p2, it says: "The last brew of porter was made on 18th June 1941." As I recall, you identified the last porter brew as happening in 1940. Do yopu have a copy of the brfewing records for 18/6.1941?

Ron Pattinson said...


I don't have a photo of the brews on that day. It would have been easy to confirm if Whitbread hadn't annoyingly stopped putting week by week totals of the beers they brewed in the back of the logs. The last year they did it was 1940. In that table you can see that Porter was brewed every week up until the middle of September. From then until the end of the year, no Porter was brewed. Which is why I've always assumed September 1940 was the last brew. I suppose they could have brewed it as a one-off in 1941. Someone needs to get down the LMA when it reopens.