Sunday 31 May 2020

Scottish Watery IPA before WW II

Back in the 19th century, Scotland was a major producer of IPA. Mostly in the two main brewing centres: Alloa and Edinburgh.

By the 1930s, it was all a bit arbitrary if a beer was marketed as IPA or Pale Ale. Much the same as in England. I’ve used my normal system of differentiating between the two: what the brewer called them.

Mostly, they look like the relatively weak Southeastern type, with gravities between 1030º and 1040º. But there are a couple of stronger examples. The two types are different that I’ve split them into separate tables.

Kicking off with the watery stuff.

Mostly, they fall into what was the 5d per pint (on draught) class in England. Beers with a gravity a little short of 1040º. Note the different use of the term 90/-. For some reason in the last couple of decades people have started to use 90/- to refer to Scotch Ale. While before WW II it designated a bottled Pale Ale of fairly modest strength. Neither use makes any real sense.

The examples in the high 1030ºs look like bottled versions of 60/- (or 6d) Pale Ale. The middle of the three different strength Pale ales which most Scottish brewers produced. The weaker ones resemble 54/- (or 5d) Pale Ales, the bottom-strength in the range.

The low gravity and the low rate of hopping, that must have created something almost, but not quite, totally unlike the modern idea of an IPA.

Scottish Watery IPA before WW II
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1928 Bernard 90/- India PA 1039 1005 4.43 87.18%
1929 Bernard India Pale Ale 90/- 1039.5 1009 3.96 77.22%
1933 Bernard India Pale Ale 1038.5 1009.5 3.76 75.32%
1936 Jeffrey India Pale Ale 1039.5 1012.1 3.55 69.37%
1933 Murray India Pale Ale 1036 1010 3.37 72.22%
1931 Usher IPA 1032 1010 2.85 68.75%
1932 Usher India Ale (watered from PA) 1030.5 1008 2.92 73.77%
Average 1036.4 1009.1 3.55 74.83%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.

Saturday 30 May 2020

Let's Brew - 1838 and 1943 Barclay Perkins X Ale

I thought I’d end Mild Month with a special pair of Mild recipes. Two versions of Barclay Perkins X Ale brewed more than a century apart. It’s a demonstration of how much a beer can change over time. In small, almost imperceptible steps, but ending up as something completely different.

As you’ll see, 1838 X Ale had nothing in common with 1943 X Ale. Despite being the same product from the same brewery.

1838 Barclay Perkins X Ale
The 1838 iteration is typical of standard London X Ales in the 1830s. Ridiculously strong and heavily hopped by today’s expectations.

The recipe is dead simple: base malt and two types of hops. The latter consisting of two thirds East Kent from the 1837 cop and a third Mid-Kent from 1838. I’ve reduced the quantity to account for this.

As was standard practice at the time, there were multiple mashes. An infusion followed by what looks like an underlet, followed by a third infusion. Plus another two mashes which seem to be for return worts. That is very weak worts which were used for mashing water in a later brew. In this case, they were 1013º and 1008º.

1838 Barclay Perkins X Ale
pale malt 16.50 lb 100.00%
Goldings 180 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 90 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1072.5
FG 1013
ABV 7.87
Apparent attenuation 82.07%
IBU 46
Mash at 147º F
Sparge at 166º F
Boil time 180 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

1943 Barclay Perkins X
Good news for Mild drinkers – Barclay Perkin X has got a tiny bit stronger since last year. But, at just 3% ABV, it wasn’t exactly heady stuff.

There have been a few changes in the grist, too. The lager malt has gone and there’s been a change in the adjuncts. Flaked oats have replaced flaked and torrefied barley. And the percentage has risen from 11% to 14%. Oat malt has also made an appearance. Not unusual in 1943, the year of oats.

Around two-thirds of the base malt was SA malt. I’ve replaced it with mild malt, which is about the closest modern equivalent.

No. 3 invert sugar content has increased by about 50%. That’s excluding the extra No. 3 I’ve added to account for the primings.

The hops weren’t the freshest. Mid-Kent Fuggles from the 1941 and 1942 harvests, plus Kent from 1941. I’ve reduced the hopping rate to 70% of its original value to take account of this.

Compared to 1838 X Ale, it's pretty weedy. And far less hoppy. Almost to the point of imperceptibility. Darker, too. Especially as it was coloured up with caramel to around 20 SRM. What a difference a century could make.

1943 Barclay Perkins X
mild malt 4.00 lb 59.52%
crystal malt 60 L 0.33 lb 4.91%
amber malt 0.50 lb 7.44%
oat malt 0.33 lb 4.91%
flaked oats 0.75 lb 11.16%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 11.16%
caramel 1000 SRM 0.06 lb 0.89%
Fuggles 105 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.25 oz
OG 1031
FG 1008
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 74.19%
IBU 14
SRM 13
Mash at 145º F
After underlet 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

Friday 29 May 2020

Spot the IPA - the results

Here they are, the results of my Spot the IPA contest.

No-one managed to identify all three: namely A, C and E. Only one out of eight participants guessed A. All three of these beers were unequivocally IPA, both being called that in the brewhouse and marketed as such. I'm prepared to concede Boddington IP as sort of an IPA. The brew house name implied that, though it was marketed as Bitter.

Spot the IPA - the results
Beer Beer gueses OG FG ABV app. Atten-uation IBU SRM
1939 Barclay Perkins IPA A 1 1044 1013.5 4.03 69.32% 30 6.5
1939 Barclay Perkins PA B 1 1053 1018.5 4.56 65.09% 38 7
1939 Whitbread IPA C 4 1037 1008 3.84 78.38% 36 7.5
1939 Whitbread PA D 2 1048 1012 4.76 75.00% 29 8
1938 William Younger IPA Pale E 4 1055 1012 5.69 78.18% 22 4
1938 William Younger XXP F 3 1042 1010 4.23 76.19% 16 3
1939 Adnams PA G 2 1039 1010 3.84 74.36% 33 5
1939 Boddington IP H 5 1045 1010.5 4.56 76.67% 48 6
1939 Drybrough 80/- I 1 1050 1014.5 4.7 71.00% 26 8
1939 Fullers PA J 4 1051 1012.5 5.09 75.49% 43 6
1939 Lees Bitter K 3 1047 1010 4.89 78.72% 30 7
1939 Maclay PA 7d L 1 1042 1014.5 3.64 65.48% 32 7.5
1939 Maclay PA 6d M 3 1038 1011.5 3.51 69.74% 30 7
1940 Shepherd Neame PA N 3 1047 1012 4.63 74.47% 39 5
1940 Shepherd Neame BB O 3 1038 1009 3.84 76.32% 21 8
1939 Tetley K P 2 1047.5 1011.6 4.75 75.58% 22.5 7
1939 Truman Pale 1B Q 1 1053.5 1013.5 5.29 74.77% 30 6
1939 Truman Pale 2 R 4 1047.5 1009.5 5.03 80.00% 27 6

Two people managed to spot two of the IPAs. Plus Boddington IP. But both had more incorrect than correct guesses: Chris Pickles 4 and StuartP 7.

These are the participants' results:

IPA guesses
guesser guesses correct maybe wrong
UselessLogic 5 1 4
Mr B Fastard 4 1 3
Chris Pickles 7 2 1 4
StuartP 10 2 1 7
Unknown 5 1 1 3
Sen_Repris 4 1 3
Yann 7 1 6
robc 5 1 1 3

Every single beer was guessed at least once. Of the beers with a single guess, one was Barclay Perkins IPA.  The most guessed beer was Boddington IP with 5. I'm gobsmaked that anyone went for Shepherd Neame BB or Maclay PA 5d.

My conclusion? As expected, no-one was really able to pick the two - PA and IPA - apart. No-one got more right than wrong. Unsurprisingly. I wouldn't have been able to do so either, if just given the specs.

Thursday 28 May 2020

London IPA after WW II

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more confusing with IPA, along comes some post-war weirdness.

Post-war, another type of IPA seems to have popped up. A Best Bitter strength draught beer. Though weedy bottled versions of a little over 3% ABV were still common.

The colour is a bit darker than the other types of IPA. And more typical of a draught Best Bitter.

Charrington’s post-war IPA was about a similar strength to their pre-war PA. Which by 1930 was just 1034º.  It looks like one of the stronger Bitters introduced after the end of the war when things were picking up. Rather than bump up the strength of their standard Pale Ales, brewers introduced new beers. Things like Fullers London Pride and Young’s Special.

In a London context, using IPA for such beers was dead confusing. As it was already established as the term for a weak bottled beer. Though it doesn’t seem to have perturbed drinkers much. Back then, styles didn’t mean much. And style guidelines didn’t exist.

I drank Charrington IPA myself often enough in the 1970s. At the time, I didn’t really think anything of the name IPA. It just seemed like a Best Bitter. Though its gravity by then had dropped below 1040º. In the 1970s, it was probably the best-selling IPA in the UK. No longer brewed in London, though. By then it had been moved up to Cape Hill after the closure of Charrington’s Anchor Brewery on Mile End Road.

John Courage was a posh bottled beer. Along the lines of Ben Truman. Which was also originally defined as an IPA, but by the 1950s was called simply a Pale Ale. As I’ve already

Whitbread beers were bottled export beers. The Whitbread one, I’m guessing was intended for Belgium. Which is where their principal export market was. Where it was sold as Pale Ale. Nothing confusing there.

London Strong IPA after WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Charrington  IPA 18 1043.8 1009.4 4.47 78.54% 29
1954 Charrington  IPA 19 1046.7 1008 5.04 82.87% 27
1954 Courage John Courage IPA 28 1050.4 1011.2 5.10 77.78% 20
1954 Mann Crossman IPA 20 1044 1009.8 4.45 77.73% 25
1954 Mann Crossman IPA 20 1044 1011.6 4.20 73.64% 26
1948 Whitbread Ex IPA 1046.8 1013.0 4.47 72.22% 23
Average 21 1046.0 1010.5 4.62 77.13% 25
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.

Wednesday 27 May 2020

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1864 Lovibond XXX

Still a few days left in May. Enough time for another Mild recipe. One quite different from the last.

This time it's a Triple Mild from the 1860s. The sort of beer where people say: "How can that be a Mild? It's almost 8% ABV and over 50 IBU." Pretty simple, really. Mild Ale used to mean something different. Or at least to drinkers. No-one in the 1860s would have been surprised by a Mild of this strength.

It wasn't even the strongest Mild in Lovibond's portfolio. They also made a XXXX that was over 10% ABV.

The recipe is uncomplicated. As most 19th century recipes are. Just base malt and a mixture of English and American hops.

1864 Lovibond XXX
mild malt 16.75 lb 100.00%
Cluster 120 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings 90 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1073.5
FG 1016
ABV 7.61
Apparent attenuation 78.23%
IBU 53
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 56º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Monday 25 May 2020

Watery London IPA during WW II

More WW II-related IPA fun. When will it end?

It will come as no surprise that the strength of IPA brewed in the capital declined considerably during the war. As with other styles, this mostly occurred during the first three years, after which it remained stable. At least until the end of hostilities, after which there was a further drop.

Barclay Perkins IPA seems to have dropped down a class by 1942, being just about the same strength as Whitbread’s version.  XLK (Bottling) appears to have been dropped to give up its slot to IPA.

Averaging around 20, the colour is the same as pre-war. Whitbread’s version continued to be very highly attenuated, with every example bar one over 80%.

Watery London IPA during WW II
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1939 Barclay Perkins IPA 1043.9 1014 3.87 68.13% 20
1940 Barclay Perkins IPA 1038.7 1011.5 3.53 70.31% 23
1941 Barclay Perkins IPA 1036.9 1007.5 3.82 79.69% 23
1942 Barclay Perkins IPA 1031.3 1007 3.15 77.64% 21
1943 Barclay Perkins IPA 1031.5 1006 3.31 80.95% 17
1944 Hammerton IPA 1027.6 1004.5 3.00 83.70% 19
1939 Whitbread IPA 1037.1 1008 3.78 78.44% 19
1940 Whitbread PA 1036.6 1006.1 3.97 83.33% 18.5
1941 Whitbread IPA 1034.3 1005.5 3.81 83.97%
1942 Whitbread IPA 1032.4 1005.5 3.56 83.02% 22
1943 Whitbread IPA 1031.2 1005.5 3.40 82.37% 20
1944 Whitbread IPA 1031 1005.6 3.30 81.94% 18
1945 Whitbread IPA 1031.7 1005.0 3.53 84.23% 22
Average 79.82% 20.2
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/623.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/624.
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/625.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/107.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/108.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/109.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/110.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/01/112.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

Sunday 24 May 2020

Boddington - from Mild to Bitter

Trawling through Boddington’s brewing records, I noticed that in the later war years the batches of IP were more frequent. Working from the handy totals at the end of each month, I’ve been able to get some idea of the development in the balance between the different beers.

If you’re wondering why 1941 is missing, it’s because the brewery was closed due to bomb damage.

From 1943 on, there’s a significant increase in both the quantity and proportion of total production of IP. Going from 753 barrels and 23% in 1939, to 1,945 and 40% in 1945. A significant switch from Mild to Bitter after 1942. Is this when England started falling out of love with Mild?

What could the reason be? XX dropped down to its bottom OG of 1028º in 1943. While IP was 1041º. Were drinkers trading up to Bitter because Mild was getting too watery for them? Or was it simply that they had more cash and could afford the more expensive option?

I’ve included the 1951 figures to show that the trend from Mild to Bitter continued after the war.

Just one brewery. How typical was it? Certainly, got me thinking.

Boddington output by type in April 1939 - 1945
Year Beer XX IP St CC total
1939 barrels 2,303.22 753.39 93.83 98.33 3,248.78
% 70.90% 23.19% 2.89% 3.03%
1940 barrels 3,390.14 636.83 93.83 94.86 4,215.67
% 80.42% 15.11% 2.23% 2.25%
1942 barrels 3,878.58 1,011.58 0.00 0.00 4,890.17
% 79.31% 20.69% 0.00% 0.00%
1943 barrels 3,520.78 1,477.36 0.00 0.00 4,998.14
% 70.44% 29.56% 0.00% 0.00%
1944 barrels 2,670.69 1,466.39 0.00 0.00 4,137.08
% 64.56% 35.44% 0.00% 0.00%
1945 barrels 2,910.06 1,944.58 0.00 0.00 4,854.64
% 59.94% 40.06% 0.00% 0.00%
1951 barrels 2,681.42 2,108.69 200.06 0.00 4,790.11
% 55.98% 44.02% 4.18% 0.00%
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/129.

Saturday 23 May 2020

Let's Brew - 1945 Boddington XX

I've just realised that it's May and I haven't published anu Mild recipes. How remiss of me. And what better way to put that to rights than with a nice watery WW II Mild.

This is about as fresh as any of my recipes get. I only harvested the brewing record earlier this week and the recipe itself I wrote yesterday. I'm almost done with Boddington for WW II. Just a couple of 1946 recipes to knock up and that's it.

As with IP, XX isn’t a great deal different from the version of the year previous. Same OG, same ingredients. Just small difference in the proportions of those ingredients.

There’s a little more crystal malt and flaked barley. And a little less malt extract. The other proportions are more or less unchanged.

Just to spice things up, there was just a single type of English hops, from the 1943 season. And a couple of pounds of that hopulon stuff. Which at this point was reserved exclusively for XX. IP got 100% actual hops.

In terms of calculated colour and bitterness, it’s identical to the 1944 iteration.

1945 Boddington XX
pale malt 4.00 lb 63.19%
crystal malt 80 L 0.75 lb 11.85%
black malt 0.125 lb 1.97%
flaked barley 1.00 lb 15.80%
malt extract 0.125 lb 1.97%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.33 lb 5.21%
Fuggles 125 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1028
FG 1005
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 82.14%
IBU 20
SRM 13
Mash at 146º F
Sparge at 162º F
Boil time 125 minutes
pitching temp 62º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)