Thursday, 31 December 2020

Scottish weak bottled Stout after WW II

Low-gravity and poorly-attenuated Stouts had been brewed in Scotland since the late 19th century. For example, in 1888, William Younger’s S3 Stout was barely 4% ABV and hopped at just 4lbs per quarter (338 lbs) of malt, a very low rate. Even lower, as some, or all, of the hops were spent.
This trend to ever weaker and sweeter Stouts continued, reaching its ridiculous peak after WW II.

Some of these beers are so weak, they could have legally been sold to children, being around the same strength as shandy. Did people drink such beers straight? Because if you did, you weren’t going to have a very merry evening down the pub.

McEwan’s Imperial Stout is really a joke, being under 3% ABV. Is this the weakest Imperial Stout ever brewed? Sweet Stouts were brewed elsewhere in the UK, but never as ridiculously weak and poorly-attenuated as the most extreme Scottish examples.

Scottish weak bottled Stout after WW II
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1949 Aitken Stout   1038.5 1020 2.38 48.05%
1948 Belhaven No. 1 Stout   1035 1011 3.11 68.57%
1949 Belhaven No. 1 Stout   1035.5 1015.5 2.58 56.34%
1949 Blair Invalid Stout   1035 1016 2.45 54.29%
1948 Maclachlan Stout   1032 1009.5 2.91 70.31%
1949 McEwan Imperial Stout   1039.5 1017 2.90 56.96%
1947 Tennent Stout 13 1030.7 1018.18 1.61 40.78%
1948 Tennent Stout   1030 1015.5 1.86 48.33%
1949 Tennent Stout   1032 1017.5 1.86 45.31%
1949 Tennent Stout 15 1034.9 1018.3 2.13 47.56%
1948 Younger, Geo Extra Stout   1036.5 1017.5 2.44 52.05%
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/11.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.


1 comment:

Phil said...

Interesting. I've been fighting the cause of "Imperial Russian" Doesn't Necessarily Mean "Russian Empire" ('Russian' meant 'the style we exported to Russia', 'Imperial' meant 'the good stuff'), but it looks as if I may need to open a second front, "Imperial" Doesn't Necessarily Mean "Strong".

On the other hand, both of those bits of pedantry contrast our modern misconceptions with the good old days when everyone knew that "Imperial Russian" didn't have anything to do with the Romanovs (and "Imperial" didn't necessarily mean "loopy juice"), and that may be over-optimistic. But you would certainly have been disappointed if you ordered a half of that Imperial Stout expecting a skull-splitter.