Saturday, 16 October 2021

Let's Brew - 1879 Adnams PA

In addition to their rather watery AK, Adnams also produced a full-strength Pale Ale. Called, simply, Pale Ale. Not that they brewed a huge amount of either. The bulk of their output was either Mild Ale or Stout.

I’m going to struggle to come up with too much to say about this beer. The brewing records are extremely sketchy. About all it includes are the ingredients and the gravity. Everything else is just an educated guess.

The grist is simply base malt and sugar. As this is a high-class Pale Ale, I’ve chosen No. 1 invert as the sugar.  It could also have been No. 2, but at this point they mostly strove to keep Pale Ales of this type as light in colour as possible.

That probably explains the high percentage of sugar, which makes up a third of the total grist. A higher proportion even than in XX Ale.

As for the hops, I know nothing other than the quantity. Which was an awful lot. Even after me reducing the quantity (the actual amount would have come to two 8.5 oz. additions) to allow for some age, the calculated bitterness still comes to stupid number of IBUs. As PA was most likely aged for 12 months, the bitterness would have mellowed out before it was sold.

1879 Adnams PA
mild malt 7.27 lb 65.97%
No. 1 invert sugar 3.75 lb 34.03%
Goldings 105 mins 7.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 7.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1061
FG 1016
ABV 5.95
Apparent attenuation 73.77%
IBU 165
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 65º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold


Friday, 15 October 2021

Franconian goodness

It's been far too long since I've been to Franconia. Happily, Franconia came to me.

In the form of the Franconian Anstich Fest at Butcher's Tears last weekend. Lots of lovely Franconian beers, served the way god intended: straight from the cask. And they had Monchsambacher. Such wonderful stuff.

The older I've got, the less I've enjoyed most beer festivals. Too may people, too many beers, too few seats. Thankfully, none of those failings apply to the festivals held at Butcher's tears. And there's no travelling involved, other than a 15-minute walk. 

I love Lager. I've said it many times, but it bears repeating. Good Lagers, I mean. Brewed the old-fashioned way and served up without too much fizz.

I almost forgot one of my other pet hates at beer festivals: tiny glasses. You can fuck off serving me 10 cl or even 15 cl. That's why I used to take my own pint glass to the Borefts festival. I don't want 20 mouthfuls of beer I'll never remember. I want to give each beer the respect it deserves. Which, unless it's super-strong, is at least a half litre. Then again, I've be known to drink Imperial Stout by the pint.

A great festival, just hope they do another.

Thursday, 14 October 2021

Delivering beer to the Wehrmacht

Germans like their beer. Especially young men. No surprise then that German cantines in occupied Holland needed to supplied with beer. And quite a lot of it.

They weren't very happy when Dutch brewers proposed weakening their beer:

"Gravity reduction.
The second unpleasant point, that the German authorities objected to a further reduction in the gravity of the Dutch beer, partly in connection with the claims of the German armed forces."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 228.

The Wehrmacht, quite predictably, wanted full-strength beer for its troops. Though they wouldn't be able to demand that forever as the food supply situation worsened in occupied Europe.

The plan was to distribute beer to German cantines centrally, through the Meelcentrale (an organisation dedicated to  distributing grain) and the CBK (the brewers' organisation:

"6. Deliveries to the German Wehrmacht, Survey regional beer turnover.
With regard to the deliveries to the German armed forces, it was promised that these would be made on the basis of a distribution by the Meelcentrale via the C.B.K. The same system is applied in Germany in the distribution of beer requirements for the German armed forces in Poland, which are distributed among the German breweries by the Ersatz Verpflegungs Magazin (E.V.M.), without taking into account preferences for certain beer brands.

The N.M.C. already provided a similar distribution for several other articles in the Netherlands. With regard to the practical application of this, it is still necessary to speak with Dr. Engelhard. Meanwhile, the C.B.K. a survey will be set up to find out approximately how large the beer consumption of the German soldiers is. In connection with this, a survey is held at 16 breweries, together representing + 85% of the total Dutch turnover, to get an impression of the regional sales of the beer. The speaker is convinced that this survey will provide a great deal of work for the breweries concerned. The Meelcentrale originally wanted a survey into the turnover of the +- 30,000 pubs in the Netherlands, in which case the amount of beer consumed by the German military would also have to be stated. The speaker replied that such a survey was practically impossible to carry out, if only because many pubs do not keep accounts at all. The speaker continued that the idea occurred to the chairman and secretary to link the problem of supplying the German armed forces with redistribution. There is still the difference of opinion between export breweries which have large stocks and breweries with relatively little stock. A leveling of supplies can be achieved if the breweries with the largest stocks deliver the beer to the canteens; for this they receive extra brewing rights, but no extra raw materials. This point will require further discussion."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 230. 

One of the problems in working out how much German troops consumed, was that they didn't limit their drinking to military canteens, but also drank in normal pubs. Pretty complicated, as you'd need information from every one of the 30,000 pubs in the country. It would also depend on publicans keeping track of what was drunk by soldiers and what by civilians.

Central distribution of beer for German canteens had one huge potential danger. It meant that the CBK would know exactly where each German canteen was and how much beer they required per month. Which meant they'd know the size and disposition of all the German military in the country. Very handy information for the Allies. 

As I've already posted, someone at the CBK did, indeed, pass the data on to Allied spies.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1878 Adnams XXXX

Here’s a Mild Ale which challenges modern concepts of the style. Strong and heavily hopped, no-one would describe such a beer Mild today.

That said, it wasn’t as strong as the Milds brewed in London. In the 18760s, Whitbread X Ale had an OG of 1062º and XX Ale 1076º. In general, breweries out in the sticks, like Adnams, tended to brew weaker beers, especially when it came to Mild.

Though it wasn’t parti-gyled with XX, the grist is essentially the same. With just a single type of malt and another of sugar, there’s not a great deal to it.

The brewing record says nothing about the hops, other than the quantity. I’ve just guessed that they were Goldings.

1878 Adnams XXXX
mild malt 9.00 lb 72.00%
No. 2 invert sugar 3.50 lb 28.00%
Goldings 105 mins 4.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 4.00 oz
OG 1067
FG 1018
ABV 6.48
Apparent attenuation 73.13%
IBU 91
SRM 13
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold


Tuesday, 12 October 2021

Beer in Belgium in WW II (part three)

The situation was continuing to deteriorate rapidly. Seing what happened even in the early war years, I'm surprised the brewing industry survived at all

Beer strengths were being cut far more than in Holland. Where Lagerbier gravity was reduced in January 1941 to 7.8º Balling and Pils to 10.3º Balling. Compare that to the pitiful gravities below.

Mr Stikker points out that the raw material position of the Belgian breweries is very bad. With effect from 1 January this year the gravity has been reduced again; only 6 days were given for its preparation. There are currently 3 beer types:

inn beer 1st category of 2° or +-5% Blg
" 2nd " “ 1.4° ” +-3.5% Blg
table beer " 0.8° " " +-2% "

It is to be expected that the Belgian breweries will be completely dry by April next.

Beer is only available for bread coupons in Belgium.

The free association of all Belgian breweries has been abolished and its place has been replaced by an official corporation within the framework of the Reichsnahrstand with compulsory membership and regulatory authority. At the head of this is Mr. Breedam. This body has recently introduced the above-mentioned gravity reduction. In addition, no more beer may be brewed of a higher quality than has been determined for sale."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 21st January 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 264. 

The first gravity figures - 2º, 1.4º and 0.8º are Belgian degrees. The strengths would have been approximately 2% ABV, 1.4$ ABV and 0.8% ABV, Basically, not worth drinking. Even worse, some beer could only be obtained with bread coupons which the public was reluctant to use in this way. 

"In Belgium, the system of dispensing beer on bread coupons would have been abolished, but this only applies to beer with a 2% original wort content. The breweries have large stocks of beer, but cannot sell it, as the public will not give up bread coupons."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 5th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 243.

The combination of higher taxes, bread coupons and low gravities was starting to seriosly damage the whole industry.

"The speaker pointed out that here in the Netherlands one should not be faced with the situation as in Belgium; there the breweries had little stock, while the coupon system makes it impossible to sell beer, so that the breweries are unable to afford the large reclaim due to the sharp increase in beer excise duty. The consequence of this is that the brewing industry has been damaged in a very serious way in Belgium, while the gravity there is particularly low. Some things resonated with Mr. Biel."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 229.

Six months later and gravities were cut again with the elimination of the strongest category of beer.

"B. Belgium.
The maximum gravity is currently still there, but the levels will be reduced to 3.5% and 2% as of July 15th. Despite the presence of the occupying troops, turnover amounts to only 60% of that in 1940. In. Some Belgian circles are of the opinion that the reduction in turnover is a result of the series of reductions in gravity which have taken place which render the beer undrinkable and turn the public away from the beer."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 4th July 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 110.

Consumption of beer had collapsed and was continuing to fall. In contrast to Holland, where production had increased, albeit at lower gravities than before the war.

One of the committee disagreed that the low gravities were responsible for the marked decline in beer consumption.

"Mr. van Marwijk Kooy believes; that the reduced beer consumption in Belgium is not the result of the poorer beer quality, but of a lack of money on the part of the Belgian population, which has to spend much more money on food due to its very poor food position. A reduction in volume would be at the expense of the public, as the armed forces will continue to claim their normal quantum. For this reason, the Speaker considers a reduction in gravity, which is technically possible, to be preferable to a reduction in volume. In these times the public does not attach so much importance to quality; The main thing is that a product is still available."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 4th July 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 111. 

My guess is that it was a combination of ridiculously weak beer and lack of money. Why waste cash on beer that was hardly worth drinking?

Monday, 11 October 2021

Beer in Belgium in WW II (part two)

Back with the disaster that was Belgian brewing during WW II.

Over the two world wars, the Belgian brewing industry was probably more damaged them any other in the world. Including Germany. In WW I, most breweries were either blown to pieces by artillery or looted of their copper by the Germans. In WW II, they just ran out of war materials. It's a wonder that brewing survived at all.

Just as in the UK, bottles and casks were in short supply. Brewers couldn't afford to lose packages. With losses concentrated in the south of Holland, a finger was pointed at their closest neighbour.

Mr. van Reede points out that the loss of bottles is great in the south of the country, while it is practically non-existent in the north.

Mr Stikker does not consider it impossible that bottles will disappear to Belgium.

Mr. Chambille says that it is not only a question of losing bottles, but also of barrels. It is therefore advisable to instruct the representatives of the breweries not to deliver casks that can be transported to Belgium and France."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 14th November 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 300.

Meanwhile, a lack of raw materials was really hitting home in Belgium:

"Mr Stikker agrees. In Belgium, too, beer gravity has been further reduced, with effect from 1 January to 7.5 and 2.5%. Nevertheless, Belgian breweries will probably run dry in about May. The result of this will probably be a redistribution of raw materials, at the instigation of Mr. Breedam, leader of the breweries on the agricultural front, who seems to feel more in favour of redistribution of raw materials than beer. At the moment a lot of German beer is sold in Belgium. With regard to possible further measures in the Netherlands, Speaker considers that an attempt should first be made to induce the authorities in Berlin to import malt into the Netherlands, for which purpose Speaker may possibly go to Berlin."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 10th December 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 281. 

That's a reduction from around 3% ABV - just about intoxicating for the determined drinker - to 1% ABV. A beer you could safely give to a toddler.

In comparison, Holland was doing fairly well. Pilsner had fallen in strength, but was still 3.5% ABV. A decent session strength.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Beer in Belgium in WW II

The minutes of the CBK (Dutch brewers' organisation) aren't just packed with useful stuff aboput Holland. There's plenty about their southern neighbour, Belgium.

It's fascinating to see how different the situation was in the two countries. Unlike Holland, Belgium didn't seem to grow much malting barley. Even in early 1940, before Belgium was officially participating in the war, the country's brewers were trying to import barley. Itt looks like their supplies were drying up. Where had they imported their barley from previously? It it was anything like the UK, the USA, Chile and the Middle East would have been the biggest suppliers.

Mr Stikker announces that at the N.A.C. has been urged to have any malting barley to be exported be malted in the Netherlands.

De Heer Swinkels believes that the N.A.C. has already exported 6,000 tons of malting barley to Belgium.Minutes of the management of the CBK on 16th January 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 379.

Rather than just buy it outright, the Belgians were offering to exchange feed barley for malting barley:

"The N.A.C. announced that it has to export 7,000 tons of Zeeland malting barley to Belgium in exchange for feed barley in the ratio of 100 : 155. In Belgium, the Assbra (Association of large Belgian breweries) offers this barley at frs.185- (± f.11 .50) to breweries or malthouses. In addition, Belgium is also considering importing Moroccan barley at frs. 150.- "
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 13th February 1940, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 367.

We're now into the summer of 1940, after the Germans had occupied both Belgium and Holland.

Mr Stikker announces that the beer gravity in Belgium since 20th July may not exceed 10%; the use of rice is prohibited, only malt and sugar are allowed; Furthermore, it is forbidden to malt barley. Belgian breweries would receive 55,000 tons of barley for the next season, which is very little in relation to their needs.

The two brewery associations existing in Belgium, namely the Assbra and the Federation, have united to form an association which has regulatory authority for the brewing company.
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 30th July 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, pages 339 - 340.

Immediately beer gravity was cut and restrictions imposed on the use of certain materials. Unlike in Holland, there was immediately a shortfall in barley supplies. In Holland not much changed in the first six months of the occupation as malt and barley stocks were sufficient.

Things only got worse.

Mr Stikker says that it has recently been forbidden in Belgium to give a Belgian beer names that indicate a foreign origin, such as "Pilsen", "Baviere", "Munich", "Dortmund".

Regulations have also been given with regard to gravities. Three qualities of beer are allowed with a gravity of +- 10%, +- 6.25% and +- 5.75%.

The recently issued ban on processing the raw material stocks of the breweries has now been lifted again.

Beer consumption has recently fallen by about 30 to 40%."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 14th November 1940, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 297. 

The Belgians weren't even allowed to keep their beer names. And the strengths of some types of beer were already getting frighteningly weak. Those gravities equate to about 4%, 2.5% and 2.3% ABV. What a contrast to Holland, where beer production increased in the first couple of years of the war.

All this was just a taste of the bad times to come.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

Let's Brew - 1878 Adnams SS

Like every brewery in the UK at the time, Adnams brewed a Stout. Though they didn’t produce a Porter. That style was starting to fade away outside of London.

In terms of strength, it looks very much like a standard London Stout. Something line Barclay Perkins Brown Stout.

While London brewers remained faithful to brown malt until the bitter end, by the middle of the 19th century most provincial brewers had adopted far simpler grists, usually consisting of just base malt and black malt. I’ve gone for mild malt as base, as that’s probably closest to the pale malts used in black beers. Why bother with a high-class pale malt when it was going to be covered up with lots of roast?

As was common in the 19th century, the brewing record is very vague about the type of sugar. I’ve opted for No. 3 invert, mostly because this is a dark beer.

I’ve no real idea what the hops were. One is illegible and the other looks like “Kt”, i.e., Kent. I’ve guessed at Fuggles.

1878 Adnams SS
mild malt 8.00 lb 168.42%
black malt 3.75 lb 78.95%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 21.05%
Fuggles 105 mins 5.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1068
FG 1020
ABV 6.35
Apparent attenuation 70.59%
IBU 65
SRM 38
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold


Friday, 8 October 2021

European Brown Stout

Now here's a new one. Not Export Stout, Tropical Stout or Foreign Extra Stout but European Brown Stout. I've no idea why it was called "European" as from the advert below it's quite clear that this was a beer for the domestic UK market.

The advert is quite wordy, which is good for me, as it includes a few nuggets.

"Bass & Co.’s European Brown Stout,

The Water of Burton-on-Trent is celebrated for the peculiar excellence of its brewing properties, and the Stout now manufactured there by Messrs. BASS & CO., from the very choicest qualities of English Hops and Malt, bids fair to rival in worldwide popularity their East India Pale Ale.

The supposition that Burton Water will not, or that Burton Water cannot make good Stout, is gratuitous and erroneous, and founded only on the fact that the demand for Burton Ale has hitherto been beyond the possibility of supply, causing the brewing of Stout for the time to be a matter of secondary consideration.

Messrs. BASS & CO.’S Stout is not introduced as a cheap Stout, but one which, being brewed especially for bottling and family use, has a distinct character of its own, is absolutely free from any trace of acidity, and is as pure, grateful, and nourishing, as the best materials and skill in the science of brewing can produce.

It is bottled with the most scrupulous care in Imperial Pint Bottles, which are all labelled with Messrs. BASS & CO 's Brown Diamond Trade Mark, and secured by Patent Metallic Capsules, bearing the COOPER CO.’S ”CASTLE” trade mark, so as to guarantee its being genuine.

It can be obtained at 4s. dd. per dozen Imperial Pints, from all Wine Merchants and Grocers, and at Clubs and Hotels;
and Wholesale from

Who will also deliver it in quantities of not less than four dozens to private customers in any part of Town, or at any Railway Station in London, if a difficulty arises in obtaining it in any particular locality.

PRICE. Imperial Pints.
Bass’s European Extra Brown Stout 4s. 6d. per dozen. 
Bottles (if not exchanged) 2s.         " 
Bin Cases (if sent by rail)  4s. 6d. per 2-doz. Case.

Islington Gazette - Friday 31 December 1875, page 1.

I'm not sure that Burton water is particularly suited to brewing Stout. An opinion shared by some brewing scientists.

"To begin with, then, it is not customary to employ saline waters, or, in other words, if such water be employed the black beer produced is deficient in that roundness and fulness of palate taste that is considered so necessary a feature, while I can example this by referring to the black beer produced at Burton, which has been universally described as a mere black pale ale — i.e., though black in colour, its palate taste reminds one very strongly of the pale beers produced by Burton firms. It will be quite understood that I am not decrying this article; it may and does suit many palate tastes, and is thought a great deal of on the Continent, but at the same time it differs very widely from the accepted standard quality of a black beer as specified."
"The theory and practice of modern brewing" by Frank Faulkner, 1888, pages 259-260.

And there people were thinking that Black IPA was recent invention. Maybe its popularity on the Continent is why Bass called it European Brown Stout.

That's a good excuse - the demand for Burtion Ale was so high that Bass had no time to brew Stout.

Bottled beer wasn't really a big thing in 1876 - it only really started to catch on a decade or two later when new bottling techniques were adopted. Which makes it interesting that this was a bottled only product. Being totally free of acidity implies that there was no Brettanomyces secondary fermentation. That is, it was bottled without any ageing. Which would have been very unusual for a Stout.

After digging around in old price lists, I'm pretty sure that I know which Bass beer they're talking about: P2 or Extra Stout. Which would give it an OG of around 1075º. That was their second strongest Stout after P2 Imperial Stout. It definitely wasn't a cheap beer. 4s 6d for a dozen imperial pints is the same price as Bass Pale Ale, which was an expensive beer. Though it had a lower OG of 1065º.

Thursday, 7 October 2021

Heineken's 1935 Lagers

I recently recorded as joint talk with Peter Symons about beers from Heineken's pilot brewery in 1935. It goes into excruciating detail about what they were brewed from and how they were brewed. One for the real obsessives.

Too detailed? Possibly. Rather that than too sketchy.

Chasing down Burton

When was Burton first used to refer to a London-brewed Stock Ale? I had no real idea.

My first reaction was to take the easy way out and ask Martyn Cornell. Unfortunately, he didn't know either. There was nothing for it but to start looking myself. The obvious place being the British Newspaper Archives.

Just searching for "Burton Ale" wasn't going to be very productive. I'd just find hundreds of adverts for Bass and Allsopp. Reckoning brewery price lists were my best bet, I went for a dual search: "Burton Ale" and "Mild Ale". As I was only looking for London brewery price lists, I also limited the search to just London publications.

I kicked off in the 1860s. Plenty of references to Burton Ale, but none of them brewed in London. I'd just about given up on the 1870s, when I came across this:

Tottenham and Edmonton Weekly Herald - Saturday 24 May 1879, page 8.

This is what will appear in "Free!", my book after next, on the topic:

Stock Ales Had been brewed in London for a considerable length of time. Even the big Porter breweries had been bashing them out since the 1830s. Initially called XXK, XXXK and XXXXK, by the latter part of the century they were mostly known as KK, KKK and KKKK withing the brewery.

There was also a change in what they were sold as down the pub. With the name Burton gradually coming into common usage. By the time WW II rolled around Burton was the term universally used in London for strong, dark beers.

Why the term was used is a bit of a mystery. Most likely it was on account of strong Stock Ales for which Burton-on-Trent was famous. And had been long before IPA was ever brewed in the town

The when I can do a bit better on. Trawling through the British Newspaper Archives, the first mention of the name in connection with a London-brewed Strong Ale I could find was from 1879. In an advertisement from the Collier Brothers brewery of Walthamstow, which lists a “Fine Strong Burton Ale” for 60 shillings a barrel.  That price indicates a very powerful beer, probably 1080º, at least.

A pair of price lists from the same brewery give a clue to when the adoption of the term Burton began. In 1876 Santer and Collingwood, of the Albion Brewery on the Caledonian Road in London advertised a “Strong Ale” for 4 shillings and 3 pence a dozen imperial pint  bottles. Four years later, the same beer was advertised as “Strong Burton Ale”.  Which places the term’s origin at the end of the 1870s.

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1887 Fullers XXK

The set of Fullers beers is completed by XXK, described in an 1893 price list as Strong Old Ale. I see no reason to disagree with the name.

Unsurprisingly, being the strongest beer in the range, it was also the most expensive, at 70 shillings per 36-gallon barrel.  A good 10 shillings more than IPA, the second most expensive.

I’m not sure if the term Burton was already in use for Strong Ale in London. But that’s certainly what it would have been called a decade or two later. By which time it was firmly established of one of the standard draught beers in a London pub.

It’s fascinating to see crystal malt making an appearance. It wasn’t commonly used by London brewers. Whitbread only adopted it in the 1930s. Barclay Perkins sometimes threw in a small amount, mostly in Milds. Truman added it to its X Ale just before WW I.

Other than the crystal, it’s just pale malt and our old friend “Sacc.”. Giving it a fairly dark colour. Earlier in the century Stock Ales – KK, KKK and KKKK – had been made from 100% pale malt and fairly pale. Though the strongest ones would have had a little colour, purely due to the massive amount of malt.

There were no fewer than five types of hops, some of which I can’t read. Others where I’ve no idea what they mean. This is how I have them noted down. HB (1886), EK (1986), W of K (1886),?? (1886), Poperinge (1886). The last two were in pretty small quantities, 80 lbs and 94 lbs, respectively, out of a total of 1,100 lbs. About a third were EK, so something Goldings-like. Whatever they were, all the hops were fresh, as this brew was in April 1887.

I know for certain it was aged. There’s a note in the brewing record:

“Pumped over into settling back Tuesday Morning 26th April and run into No. 13 vat, next day very bright”

If they’re taking the trouble to put it into a vat, they’d be ageing at least 6 months. More likely, 12 months. Which would have considerably increased the attenuation and ABV. The latter possibly as high as 9% or more due to a Brettanomyces secondary fermentation..

1887 Fullers XXK
pale malt 12.75 lb 75.00%
crystal malt 60 L 0.50 lb 2.94%
No. 2 invert sugar 3.75 lb 22.06%
Fuggles 90 mins 3.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 3.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.00 oz
Fuggles dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1079
FG 1021
ABV 7.67
Apparent attenuation 73.42%
IBU 87
SRM 26
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast WLP002 English Ale


Tuesday, 5 October 2021

When did Burton Ale originate?

I don't mean when did the beer first called Burton Ale appear. Rather, when were London-brewed Stock Ales first called Burton Ale? But that was a bit too long for a title.

I started wondering about this when writing a post about a Fullers Stock Ale recipe from 1887. I know that later it would have been called a Burton. But was it back in 1887?

My gut instinct said late 19th century. I know from a London publicans' price fixing agreement from around the start of WW I that Burton Ale was part of the standard draught range of a London pub. Logically, the term must have pre-dated WW I by at least a decade. But how to nail down a more precise date?

Being a very lazy person, the first thing I did was to ask Martyn Cornell. Him being a fount of knowledge on everything connected with brewing in London. Unfortunately, he didn't know any better than me., coming up with around 1900.

Getting off my lazy arse a little, I remembered my spreadsheet derived from brewery price lists. Bound to be something in there. Sure enough, there was. This from 1893:

Kelly's Directory for Ealing, Acton, 1893-94

It ticks all the boxes. A London-brewed Strong Ale clearly named Burton. I've knocked the date back to the early 1890s. Surely it must be older than that. I'm guessing at least the 1880s.

Why don't I just check all the London brewing records I have? Because brewers called beers differently in the brewhouse. What a drinker called Burton, was KK or KKK internally. At least at the big breweries. 

The same was true at smaller Fullers. Where in the 1880s and 1890s, their Burton was called XXK inside the brewery. Though sometime between 1898 and 1902 the name was changed to BO - Burton Old.

My curiosity now roused, I've started trawling the newspaper archives. Beginning with the 1860s, where I came up with zilch. I'm now on the 1870s. I'll let you know how I get on.

Monday, 4 October 2021

German beer (part four)

Yet more about German beer imports into Holland during WW II.

The following question - which must have been posed by the German authorities - was in German, as was the Dutch brewers' reply.

"1. Import of German beer.
What are the wishes regarding the import and export of beer on the Dutch side?

The following was answered in writing: 

A. The beer imported into the Netherlands will be:

1. in a calendar year be not more than 25,000 H.L.,
2. have an original wort gravity which is not higher than the maximum percentage that is permitted for Dutch beer,
3. be subject to the same sales regulations as the local beer (possible rationing, customer protection)."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 8th May 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 158.

It's very much a summation of the CBK (the Dutch brewers' association) attitude to German imports. Basically, they didn't want German beer to have any advantage over Dutch beer. And only be imported in limited quantities. Relations still seem to have been quite cordial between the German authorities and the Dutch brewers. A couple of years later there would have been more demanding than asking questions.

I'd wondered why Heineken analysed Patzenhofer. Here's the answer:

"C. Import of German beer.
The speaker put forward that the C.B.K has the impression that considerably more beer is being imported than corresponds to the agreed quantity of 25,000 hl. The Speaker mentioned the Patzenhofer Brauerei as an example, which had never before imported into the Netherlands, but now suddenly appears here on the market.

Mr. Abraham made some announcements from which it could be calculated that the import amounted to an annual quantity of more than 50,000 hl. The German side then informed them that the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft in Germany only allows exports to certain breweries for which a limited quantity of raw materials is made available, which amounts to 140,000 - 150,000 hl. per year, which must be used for export to various countries. It was suspected, however, that some breweries are now exporting at the expense of their domestic turnover, which matter will be discussed in Berlin. Mr. Abraham suggested that the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft specify how much beer each of the recognized export breweries is allowed to import into the Netherlands each month to facilitate control by the Meelcentrale. The German authorities did not consider such a check on imports appropriate. The only solution was seen in the introduction of a Kundenschutz, which would then apply to both Dutch and imported bier.

The speaker replied that he was generally an opponent of Kundenschutz, but that he had no objection to this under the present circumstances, even if this would entail very great difficulties. The speaker added that there are breweries that cannot agree with Kundenschutz.

Finally, it was agreed that Co Haupt-vereinigung (Ausfuhrgemeinschaft) will be proposed by the German gentlemen to limit beer imports to the Netherlands in the months May to December 1941 at 37,500 hl. (this quantity was increased in proportion to the increase in domestic turnover in the Netherlands) in connection with the supply of raw materials to German breweries. This will be further announced. The Meelcentrale will check the imports."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 5th June 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, pages 125 - 126.

How crazy was it to be shipping beer from Patzenhofer - based in Berlin - all the way to Holland? Didn't the Germans have more pressing need of transport than shipping beer around the place?

I'm amazed that German beer was being exported to multiple countries. Again, what a waste of limited transport. And of raw materials, with regard to domestic production. No wonder they lost the war.

 In the UK zoning was introduced to limit unnecessary movement of beer internally in the UK

Sunday, 3 October 2021

German beer (part three)

Yes, yet more weirdness relating to German beer imports into Holland during the war. I hope you're enjoying all this as mush as I am. Which is a stack.

This discussion reveals why German brewers might have been so keen to sell their beer in Holland: it made them more money.

Mr Stikker says that the price of the German imported beer has also been discussed with Mr Schokker.

As is known, Löwenbrau now offers beer for f 49.50 per H.L.

With regard to this price in the Netherlands, the following global comparison can be made with the price of this beer in Germany:

  in Germany  in the Netherlands
  R.M. f R.M. f
price 56 42 66 49.5
levies 25 18.75 14 10.5
net 31 23.25 52 39

According to this calculation, the German breweries in the Netherlands would make much higher profits than in Germany, which may give rise to renting or buying Dutch cafes. This subject greatly interested Mr. Schokker; he asked for further details."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, pages 236 - 237.

That's 68% more markup that Löwenbräu was getting in Holland compared to Germany. No wonder German brewers were keen on getting into the Dutch market.

German brewers were approaching Dutch brewers and pub owners directly, offering to sell them beer.

"Mr. Chambille announces that a quantity of 25,000 H.L. has been offered to de Leeuw by a German brewery along with the representation for some Dutch provinces. Speaker asks if he can accept this offer.

The meeting is of the opinion that De Leeuw should not accept this.

Mr Zylker says that German breweries are offering beer to customers of Oranjeboom on the condition that the customer undertakes to purchase only the beer from the German brewery.

Mr Stikker says that in The Hague several customers already carry German beer in addition to Dutch beer.

Mr. Zylker says that, as far as Speaker is known, none of the Oranjeboom customers have accepted the offer to buy exclusively German beer."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 237. 

De Leeuw was located in Limburg, very close to the German border. So they would have been an obvious company for a German brewer to approach. Unsurprisingly, the CBK didn't want them to accept the offer.

In the case of Oranjeboom, the Germans were even bolder, going behind the Dutch brewer's back and offering beer directly to their pubs. I can understand why they would be worried by such a development. That the German beer would force out Dutch. With hindsight, it's easy to say that this was obviously never going to happen. Pretty soon they wouldn't be able to supply beer to the German domestic market. But in early 1941 no-one in Holland knew that.

Dutch customers would have been tempted by the offer of German beer, as local breweries struggled to brew enough to match demand. A simple solution to that problem was suggested:

"Mr Stikker proposes that in the forthcoming discussion with the authorities about the arrangements to be made, the Netherlands breweries can only cooperate if a definitive arrangement with regard to German beer imports has been reached. The speaker said that he was of the opinion that, if German imports continue to increase, to the extent that people are currently experiencing, it was better to do everything they can and for instance to reduce the gravity, than to limit their turnover themselves. If the government then deems measures necessary, it must prescribe them immediately.

The meeting unanimously declares that it agrees with Mr Stikker's proposal.

Mr Stikker asks the breweries present to make analyzes of German imported beer. At the laboratory of the H.B.M. some investigations have already been carried out, which showed that the gravity of the beer was approximately at the agreed level."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 237. 

I happen to have the analyses HBM (Heineken) carried out in early 1941:

German beer in WW II
Date Year Brewer Town Beer OG Plato FG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation Colour
6th Mar 1941 Dortmunder Union Dortmund Dortmunder 11.54 3.18 4.35 73.35% 0.52
6th Mar 1941 Dortmunder Union Dortmund Pilsener 10.03 2.83 3.73 72.59% 0.48
Rapporten van laboratoriumonderzoeken naar producten van Heinekenbrouwerijen in binnen- en buitenland en naar producten van andere brouwerijen held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 834 - 1794.

It seems that few publicans were tempted to buy German beer, despite everything:

"Mr Zylker remarks that in general the buyers do not buy German beer, despite the fact that Dutch breweries are often unable to serve them as required. If the breweries ensure by lowering the gravity that they can supply their customers with the largest possible quantity of beer, in the first place the buyers are given a weapon to oppose German beer, while on the other hand, the door which Mr. Louwes has opened has opened, is kept open."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 3rd April 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 197.

Still quite a bit more of this to come. Dutch brewers spent a lot of time fretting over the topic.

Saturday, 2 October 2021

Let's Brew - 1887 Fullers Brown Stout

Fullers other black beer was called BS in the brewhouse, which presumably stands for Brown Stout. That was, after all, the original name for Stout. A strong beer brewed from brown malt.

In terms of gravity, it’s pretty typical of a standard London Stout of the 1880s. A beer which would principally have been sold on draught. Though there would also have been a bottled version, unlike with Porter.

Confusingly, a price list from 1893 has two draught Stouts, Double Stout and Single Stout. Based on the price – 54 shillings and 44 shillings per barrel, respectively – Double Stout was this beer. My guess is that Single Stout was a blend of BS and Porter. To make things even more complicated, BS in its bottled form was called Extra Stout.  And Single Stout simply Stout.

For a discussion of the recipe, consult the Porter recipe. As you’ve probably already guessed, the two were parti-gyled together. There is one difference: only the Stout was dry-hopped.

1887 Fullers Brown Stout
pale malt 7.25 lb 50.88%
brown malt 3.00 lb 21.05%
black malt 1.00 lb 7.02%
No. 2 invert 3.00 lb 21.05%
Fuggles 90 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 1.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1068
FG 1027
ABV 5.42
Apparent attenuation 60.29%
IBU 47
SRM 39
Mash at 156º F
Sparge at 175º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Friday, 1 October 2021

German beer (part two)

It's odd how much time the CBK (the Dutch brewers' organisation) dedicated to discussing German beer imports. Especially when they could easily sell any beer they managed to produce. Their mindset was still in pre-war mode.

They were very keen that the import duty on German beer be raised so that it was taxed at the same level as Dutch beer.  It's a bit strange that goods being moved around areas under German control were being charged duty when they crossed the former borders. It doesn't seem very efficient. Then again, the Nazis were a bit of a disaster when it came to organisation.

 "8. Increase in excise duty and import duty.
A reduction in gravity for heavy beer to 9% and for lager to 7% means a reduction of about 10% compared to the current gravities, which will have to be offset by an increase in excise duty of about 11%. The excise duty is currently f 2.20 per H.L.º, so that it will have to be approximately f 2.45, which means per H.L. beer of 9.34% Balling. It may also be urged that the specific import duty on German beer be raised from f. 9.- to f. 9.40 per H.L., in order not to give imported beer an advantage over Dutch beer with regard to the excise duty. "
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 5th March 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 248.

They were also getting their knickers in a twist about the quantity of German beer being imported. Far more than the agreed 25,000 hl. At least that's what they thought. Weird when in Germany rivers of beer weren't exactly flowing.

"A fundamental decision must be made in a meeting with the authorities on March 27. The speaker will first state that the very large increase in the import of German beer, contrary to all agreements made for this purpose, must stop. If this does not happen, the Speaker is of the opinion that it is pointless to take measures regarding sales restrictions and the like. This point of principle will be discussed later, as well as the question of whether to keep the distribution to customers in one's own hands or whether it is preferable to have an official voucher system. However, decisions about this will have to be taken by the board."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 222.

It sounds like they were threatening the German authorities. Which, given their attitude to dissent, doesn't seem either very clever or safe. 

I'm still struggling with the idea of German brewers flooding the Dutch market.

"10. Importation of German beer.
With regard to the question of the import of German beer, the undertaking was repeated from both the German and the Dutch sides that it would not exceed 25,000 H.L. per calendar year. In this connection, the Speaker remarks that in recent weeks there has been a strong impression that these imports are increasing strongly. The speaker will therefore discuss this point in principle later in the meeting (see minutes of the 18th meeting, p.l, sub II.1.)

The speaker considers that there is no point in making further arrangements by the breweries if this matter is not adequately settled beforehand. You should be as strong as possible on this point. Furthermore, with regard to the sale of the German beer in the Netherlands, it has been promised that the same provisions will apply as for the Dutch beer, i.e. a proportional distribution with due observance of existing provisions, possibly also of Kundenschutz. Beer will be declared an import monopoly article for this purpose; on the basis of this, regulations can then be established for the imported beer."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 26th March 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 231.

No idea what "Kundenschutz" means in this context. Only that the CBK was dead against it. It literally means "customer protection".

Thursday, 30 September 2021

German beer

in Holland during WW II. My gob is well and truly smacked at that German beer was being imported. And not just for German troops stationed there.

The minutes of the CBK (the Dutch brewers' association) committee meetings are full of mentions of German beer. Which they saw as a competitor and a threat. How on earth German brewers were going to be able to produce enough beer to supply Holland doesn't seem to have occurred to them.

Dutch brewers had two main concerns: 

1. that German beer might be stronger than was allowed for Dutch-produced beer:;

2. that German beer might be taxed at a lower rate.

Reasonable concerns in peacetime, but all rather irrelevant during the middle of a war.

Both are addressed here:

Mr Stikker announces that the German authorities have promised during the above-mentioned discussion that the German beer, which from 15th January this year has been imported into the Netherlands will not have a higher gravity than 10.3%. The import of German beer will be in the same proportion to beer imports in 1939 as future Dutch beer output stands to output in 1939. This agreement has not yet been definitively confirmed.

It has also been discussed that the price of the German imported beer would be equal to the Dutch beer. (This is important now that the specific import duty on German beer has been reduced from NLG 7.50 to NLG 12.- per H.L.). No commitments could be made with regard to Pilsener Urquell, because it is not yet part of the Ausfuhrgemeinschaft.

The German side suggested that the Dutch brewing industry be relieved of the burden of supplying beer to the German canteens, which would then receive draught beer instead of bottled beer. This proposal has been accepted with the proviso that these deliveries will then be made via the German stage service, so that it will not enter the free trade via the importers."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 21st January 1941, held at the Amsterdam City Archives, document number 31121-1, page 267.

You can see that there aim was to have limited quantities of German beer imported which was no stronger than local beer and with the same tax burden.

The last paragraph shows the extent of Dutch brewers' paranoia. If the Germans were going to supply their own troops they'd have to do it directly, for fear of some leaking into the normal Dutch market.

Though it did seem that the CBK wanted to distribute this German beer themselves:

"Negotiations are currently underway with the German authorities as to whether it will be possible for the C.B.K. to make a distribution service available via the breweries for the distribution of, for example, 100,000 H.L. German beer for the German stage, canteens, hospitals, etc."
Minutes of the management of the CBK on 5th March 1941, held at the Amsterdamse Stadsarchief, document number 31121-1, page 246.

Loads more on this fascinating topic to come.