Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Barclay Perkins Ales before WW II

To say Barclay Perkins produced a wide range of beers is a bit of an understatement. 20 beers in all. Though it’s possible I might have missed a low-volume export beer or two.

So many, in fact, that I’ve split them into two tables: one for the Ales and one for Porter and Stout. We’re going to kick off with the former.

The 12 Ales break down into four styles: Brown Ale, Mild Ale, Pale Ale and Strong Ale.

“Doctor Brown” (DB) was of Brown Ale which weren’t based on Dark Mild. Another example was Whitbread Double Brown. The OG in the table is a bit deceptive. Very heavy priming at racking time raised the effective OG to 1046.5º. Unusual that a beer which was exclusively available in bottled format should receive so many primings.

There were effectively even more Milds than the three in the table, as all were sold both as brewed, which was semi-dark, and in dark versions. The latter being achieved by the addition of caramel at racking time. Primings raised the effective OGs to 1031.6º, 1037.1º and 1044.8º.

The Milds fall in the lowest three price classes, namely 4d, 5d and 6d per pint.  Not every brewery had Milds in all three categories.

At 7 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt, the hopping rate is very high for Mild. Heavy hopping was a feature of many London brewers. Adnams, for example, hopped their Mild ay about 5 lbs per quarter. While at Shepherd Neame it was just 4 lbs.

Barclay Perkins Ales before WW II
Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1936 DB Brown Ale 1040.8 1010.0 4.07 75.48% 7.40 1.20
1939 A Mild 1030.8 1007.5 3.08 75.65% 7.00 0.84
1939 X Mild 1034.8 1010.0 3.28 71.26% 7.00 0.95
1939 XX Mild 1042.7 1015.0 3.66 64.87% 7.00 1.14
1939 IPA (bottling) IPA 1043.8 1012.5 4.14 71.48% 7.50 1.32
1939 XLK (bottling) Pale Ale 1035.8 1011.5 3.21 67.88% 7.50 1.15
1939 XLK (trade) Pale Ale 1045.8 1014.5 4.14 68.35% 7.50 1.35
1939 PA Pale Ale 1052.8 1018.5 4.54 64.96% 7.50 1.54
1936 PA Export Pale Ale 1058.6 1017.5 5.44 70.16% 8.89 2.13
1936 KK Strong Ale 1055.8 1017.0 5.13 69.52% 8.34 1.86
1937 KK (bottling) Strong Ale 1068.9 1022.0 6.20 68.07% 10.73 2.89
1936 KKKK Strong Ale 1078.5 1027.0 6.81 65.60% 10.86 3.62
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/01/621 and ACC/2305/01/623.

Including the IPA, there are five Pale Ales, two of which were draught beers (XLK Trade and PA), the rest bottled. At least I assume the export PA was a bottled beer. I could be wrong.

The export version of PA looks very much like the pre-WW I domestic version. Which was often the case with export beers. Before WW I, they were usually the same strength as versions for the UK market. After the war, they returned to their old strength while domestic ones saw around a 25% reduction in gravity.

The standard PA isn’t a bad strength for between the wars. It’s in the strongest draught beer class, costing 8d per pint in 1939. Many London brewers had beers in this class, but it wasn’t so common elsewhere. Provincial versions were mostly in the 6d or 7d classes.

PA was brewed in modest quantities. In the parti-gyle of it and the two XLKs in the table, only 75 barrels were PA. Against 354 barrels of XLK Trade and 312 of XLK Bottling.

You might have expected the Pale Ales to be considerably more heavily hopped than the Milds. But, in reality, the rate is just 0.5 lb per quarter (336 lbs) of malt higher. Not much at all. However, the Pale Ales were dry-hopped while the Milds weren’t. This would surely have made them appear hoppier in flavour, if not necessarily more bitter.

Three Burton Ales complete the set. One draught, one bottled and one seasonal. KKKK was a winter-only beer. If Barclay’s advertising is anything to go by, it was served from a pin on the bar.

Draught KK was primed, raising the OG to around 1057º. Which is about as strong as draught beer got, but typical for a draught Burton, which was usually an 8d per pint beer. Bottling KK, marketed as No. 1 Southwarke Old Ale, and KKKK were not primed. All three were dry-hopped, however. Plenty of copper hops, too. With the exception of a couple of strong Stouts, they were the most heavily hopped beers in Barclay Perkins’ portfolio.

No comments: