Sunday 31 January 2021

Boddington Bitter 1971 - 1987

This question came up on Twitter: when did Boddington Bitter turn to shit? And why? Sometime it the 1980s, most likely, for the time. As to why, well, having a pretty good set of brewing records for the period in question, I decided to try to answer both questions.

One slight problem. I may possess photos of the years in question, but I hadn't processed them. Not totally, I'd done a couple of beers. Quite a bit of work to pull out all the examples of Boddies Bitter I'd need. I was intrigued, though. And it's a change form WW II stuff.

Despite appearing quite straightforward, Boddington's records contain a few traps. I won't bore you with the details.Except that I had to revisit records I'd already transcribed after I realised I was misinterpreting some of the information. That's always so much fun, having to go back over records you thought you were done with.

After a day or so's work I've assembled what I wanted.  I hope it was worth it.

We'll begin with the basic specs.

Boddington Bitter 1971 - 1987
Date Year OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl barrels colour
4th Jan 1971 1035.5 1003 4.30 91.55% 5.52 0.88 113.5 12
28th Oct 1974 1034.5 1004 4.03 88.41% 5.19 0.75 113 13.5
28th Apr 1975 1034.5 1004.5 3.97 86.96% 5.85 0.81 111.75 13.04
29th Apr 1976 1034.5 1004 4.03 88.41% 5.91 0.74 228.5 17
18th Apr 1977 1034.5 1006.5 3.70 81.16% 5.22 0.79 227.75 15
30th Oct 1978 1040 1003 4.89 92.50% 5.59 1.37 41 18
17th Oct 1979 1034 1006.5 3.64 80.88% 5.29 0.82 440.75  
31st Dec 1979 1034 1008 3.44 76.47% 5.29 0.73 247.75 12
31st Mar 1980 1034 1007 3.57 79.41% 5.00 0.75 225.25 13
4th Jan 1982 1034 1005.5 3.77 83.82% 6.36 0.97 215.75 14.5
9th Jan 1984 1034 1007 3.57 79.41% 4.48 0.63 431.5 14
14th May 1984 1034 1005.5 3.77 83.82% 4.34 0.59 458.5 13
25th Mar 1985 1034 1007 3.57 79.41% 5.15 0.67 463.25 13.5
24th Feb 1986 1034 1005 3.84 85.29% 5.81 0.73 239.25 12.5
29th Dec 1987 1034 1006 3.70 82.35% 5.81 0.76 461.5 14
Sources:
Boddington brewing records held at Manchester Central Library, document numbers M693/405/134, M693/405/135 and M693/405/136.
Boddington brewing record held at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, document number 2006.4/Z/7/1 and 2006.4/Z/7/2.

Not much to report there.A slight whittling down of the gravity, a bit of variation in hopping rate, attenuation falling a bit. Nothing that would hugely alter the character of the beer.

The story is very different when you look at the recipe. That changed considerably a couple of times. First we'll look at the grains.

Boddington Bitter grists 1971 - 1987
Date Year pale malt lager malt enzymic malt wheat malt flaked maize flaked rice
4th Jan 1971 60.69% 13.79% 2.76% 2.76% 2.07%  
28th Oct 1974 58.02% 15.27% 3.05% 3.05%   2.29%
28th Apr 1975 55.28% 16.26% 3.25% 3.25% 2.44%  
29th Apr 1976 55.65% 13.91% 3.48% 3.48% 2.61%  
18th Apr 1977 68.12% 14.49%        
30th Oct 1978 70.59% 14.71% 2.94%      
17th Oct 1979 85.29%   2.94%      
31st Dec 1979 85.29%   2.94%      
31st Mar 1980 85.29%   2.94%      
4th Jan 1982 84.85%   3.03%      
9th Jan 1984 96.32%   3.32%      
14th May 1984 96.44%   3.21%      
25th Mar 1985 96.32%   3.32%      
24th Feb 1986 96.32%   3.32%      
29th Dec 1987 96.32%   3.32%      
Sources:
Boddington brewing records held at Manchester Central Library, document numbers M693/405/134, M693/405/135 and M693/405/136.
Boddington brewing record held at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, document number 2006.4/Z/7/1 and 2006.4/Z/7/2.

The grist changed drastically in 1977, with lager malt, wheat malt and unmalted grains being dropped. Enzymic malt briefly disappeared, too, soon to return. On the face of it, it's an improvement, with a higher malt content and no adjuncts.

At the same time, the sugars also were transformed.

Boddington Bitter sugars 1971 - 1987
Date Year malt extract glucose Flavex Br. FSI
4th Jan 1971 6.90%   5.52% 5.52%  
28th Oct 1974 6.11%   6.11% 6.11%  
28th Apr 1975 6.50%   6.50% 6.50%  
29th Apr 1976 6.96% 6.96% 6.96%    
18th Apr 1977 5.80% 5.80% 5.80%    
30th Oct 1978 7.35% 4.41%      
17th Oct 1979 7.35% 4.41%      
31st Dec 1979 7.35% 4.41%      
31st Mar 1980 7.35% 4.41%      
4th Jan 1982 7.58% 4.55%      
9th Jan 1984         0.36%
14th May 1984         0.34%
25th Mar 1985         0.36%
24th Feb 1986         0.36%
29th Dec 1987         0.36%
Sources:
Boddington brewing records held at Manchester Central Library, document numbers M693/405/134, M693/405/135 and M693/405/136.
Boddington brewing record held at the Science and Industry Museum, Manchester, document number 2006.4/Z/7/1 and 2006.4/Z/7/2.

In 1976 Br. - whatever that might be - was replaced by glucose. Two years late, Flavex, some sort of proprietary sugar, reached the end of the road, too.

Next change was in 1983, when both malt extract and glucose in turn were disposed of, making way for FSI. I've no great confidence in the quantity of FSI. 24 is what went in each batch. Usually, the sugar column listed hundredweights. 24 cwts would make sugar 21% of the grist, which is rather high. And it would also make the grist too rich, offering more extract than the gravity and brew length demanded. 

On the other hand, 24 lbs seems far too little. I'm genuinely stumped.

Do any of these recipe changes coincide with a decline in the quality of Boddington's Bitter? Let me know if you think it does.

Saturday 30 January 2021

Let's Brew - 1943 Truman P1 Bott.

It’s clear that the bottling version of P1 was a special beer for Truman. One brewed from the best ingredients they had.

I’m amazed that they had saved up enough Californian malt to still have some in 1943. It hadn’t featured in any of their other beers – unless they were parti-gyled with P1 Bott. – for several years. Sure enough, this is also the only brew without malt extract. I think it’s case proved on that point.

Also, in contrast to everything else Truman brewed at this point, there are no flaked oats. Special, indeed, to be brewed without any adjunct so far into the war.

The special treatment extended to the hops. Two types of English hops, all from the most recent season. And none of the “OP” hop extract, or whatever it was.

The hopping rate has increased, too, from 5.25 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) of malt to almost 6 lbs. Which is still below what you’d expect for a top-class Burton Pale Ale.

1943 Truman P1 Bott.
pale malt 8.75 lb 75.95%
high dried malt 2.25 lb 19.53%
black malt 0.02 lb 0.17%
No. 1 invert sugar 0.50 lb 4.34%
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1051
FG 1008
ABV 5.69
Apparent attenuation 84.31%
IBU 24
SRM 7
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 59.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1028 London Ale (Worthington White Shield)

Friday 29 January 2021

Some WW II tables

My new book has lots of tables. Too many, probably. But I do love a good table. Or a mediocre one. Even a bad one. I'm sure the book has some of those.

Here are a couple I added this week. relating to beer production straddling the years of WW II. Sadly, only for a small selection of countries.

World beer production 1938 - 1942 (1,000 barrels)
Country 1938 1939 1940 1941 1942
U.K. 24,035 25,532 25,499 29,101 29,170
Australasia 2,809 2,960 3,117 3,451 3,595
Canada 1,759 1,847 2,195 2,808 3,027
U.S.A. 40,393 38,623 39,355 39,586 45,682
Belgium 8,454 7,890 6,252 3,648 3,114
Czechoslovakia 3,839 4,054 3,659 3,818 3,833
France 14,102 11,140 11,089 9,106 2,676
Germany 29,395 31,326 29,774 28,733 25,976
Other 17,327 18,693 18,252 19,492 18,391
Total 142,611 142,064 139,192 139,742 135,465
Source:
Brewers' Almanack 1951-52, page 58.


World beer production 1943 - 1947 (1,000 barrels)
Country 1943 1944 1945 1946 1947
U.K. 29,956 31,472 32,667 30,580 29,802
Australasia 3,423 3,510 3,587 3,804 4,322
Canada 2,891 3,403 3,859 4,328 4,811
U.S.A. 50,916 58,593 62,091 60,925 62,989
Belgium 2,970 2,943 4,809 6,600 7,696
Czechoslovakia 3,512 3,413 4,534 4,538 5,405
France 8,657 7,970 5,656 6,768 7,373
Germany 26,496 10,743 10,785
Other 18,437 20,805 27,089
Total 147,258 149,091 160,273
Source:
Brewers' Almanack 1951-52, page 58.

Quite easy to spot which countries were on the winning side.

Thursday 28 January 2021

Finally migrants

Back in Amsterdam from Australia, it wasn't clear what would happen next. Which country would I be sent yo next?

Many would assume that a job where you get to travel around the world would be heaven. The reality is that it;s much less fun than it sounds. I moved six times internationally in as many years. After the first couple of times, the shine wears off. The hassle of shifting your belongings then finding somewhere to live in a country you've only been in for a few hours. Stress I can do without.

And, anyway, I wanted to live in Holland. Or, rather more specifically, in Amsterdam.There was no way I could guarantee that with the job I had. Time to move on. I found myself a job on The Hague. Close enough to Amsterdam. Especially as the office was just a few minutes' walk from a major railway station, Hollands Spoor.

We slowly filled our flat with furniture and I found a couple of pubs to frequent. Rick's Cafe to drink De Koninck and play pool during happy hour. Cafe Belgique to drink La Trappe Dubbel and, occasionally, Westvleteren 12. All Belgian beers, you'll note.

Dolores and I were the proud owners of a mortgage and jobs. You can't get much more settled than that.

I've been thinking recently about how long someone has to live in another country to become a lifer? After how many years is it near impossible that you'll return to your homeland? Five or six? Ten?

In the first post of this series I remarked that people fell into two categories: those intending to remain permanently and those intending to leave after a year or two. Often it transpires those intentions don't rhyme with reality. Some who intended staying leave, and some short-termers end up fixed for all eternity.

Wednesday 27 January 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1898 William Younger XXXX

Scottish X Ales can be problematic. Problematic in terms of placing them in a style box.

In England, it’s generally pretty easy. X’s usually indicate a Mild Ale. But it’s not always so clear cut in Scotland. Quite often X’s are used not for Mild Ale, but for Stock Ale. Younger XXXX is a case in point. The weaker X Ales of that year to look like Mild Ales. But, with a hopping rate of almost 11 lbs per quarter of malt, this looks more like a Stock Ale. That’s what I’m calling it, anyway.

The grist is typical for Younger’s beers of this period: pale malt, grits and sugar. Several different types of pale malt, of course. And two types of sugar, one described as “D”, the other “G”. Presumably dextrose and glucose. I’ve simplified it to just glucose. If you want to go for more authenticity, use 1 lb. of dextrose and 0.5 lb. of glucose.

The hops – listed as Pacific, American and Kent – were half from the 1898 and half from the 1897 season. And in sufficient quantities to leave the calculated bitterness at over 100 IBU.

1898 William Younger XXXX
pale malt 14.00 lb 82.35%
grits 1.50 lb 8.82%
glucose 1.50 lb 8.82%
Cluster 90 min 5.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 2.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 2.00 oz
OG 1076
FG 1020
ABV 7.41
Apparent attenuation 73.68%
IBU 126
SRM 5
Mash at 155º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 57º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

 


The above is an excerpt from my excellent book on Scottish brewing:



Which is also available in Kindle form:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07Q8XHBL2

Tuesday 26 January 2021

Barclay Perkins Lagers before WW II

Details of one brewery’s pre-WW II Lagers, my favourite Barclay Perkins.


Barclay Perkins Lagers in 1938
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp colour
Dark Dunkles 1057.5 1017.1 5.34 70.26% 4.68 1.09 48.5º 80
Export Export 1049.5 1008.5 5.42 82.83% 6.00 1.13 46º 13.5
Draught Lager 1043.5 1008.9 4.58 79.54% 5.47 0.93 48º 13.5
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/642.


Nice that they brewed more than one type of Lager. Especially that one was dark.

Even the weakest, Draught, is slightly above average OG. Export looks like has a continental-like strength. While Dark has a very reasonable gravity in the high 1050ºs.

Hopping, as you might expect, was on the low side compared to Barclay Perkins Ales. Still heavier than most Scottish Pale Ales.

Pretty simple recipes for all three.

Barclay Perkins Lager malts in 1938
Beer Style lager malt crystal malt grits roast barley
Dark Dunkles 61.76% 14.71%   1.47%
Export Export 85.29%   26.47%  
Draught Lager 100.00%      
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/642.


Hops now. Which are even less interesting.

Barclay Perkins Lager hops in 1938
Beer Style hop 1 hop 2
Dark Dunkles Saaz 1937 Saaz 1937
Export Export Saaz 1937 Saaz 1937
Draught Lager Saaz 1937 Saaz 1937
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/642.


All Saaz, all from the most recent season. Can’t get simpler than that. Except that there were two types of them. One costing 237/- per hundredweight, the other 315/-.

Monday 25 January 2021

Irish Porter after the Emergency

Just after the end of the war, Guinness was still producing more than a quarter of a million barrels of Porter annually. Making up almost a quarter of their Irish sales. That changed when the 1950s rolled around and Porter sales began to slip.

It all looks rather like what happened in London. At a certain point, Porter went into terminal decline in Ireland. In the early 1960s, it stopped being a mainstream beer. At least in the Republic of Ireland. It remained reasonably popular in Norther Ireland, particularly in Belfast. And that’s where the last Guinness Porter was served in the early 1970s.

Guinness sales in Ireland 1946 - 1955
Year Extra Stout Porter total % Porter
1946 987,051 289,512 1,276,563 22.68%
1947 882,284 257,973 1,140,257 22.62%
1948 998,086 284,511 1,282,597 22.18%
1949 1,074,492 290,411 1,364,903 21.28%
1950 1,104,564 268,486 1,373,050 19.55%
1951 1,168,162 243,484 1,411,646 17.25%
1952 1,046,983 228,841 1,275,824 17.94%
1953 1,076,367 210,613 1,286,980 16.36%
1954 1,104,830 175,397 1,280,227 13.70%
1955 1,157,655 138,842 1,296,497 10.71%
Source:
"A Bottle of Guinness please" by David Hughes, pages 276-279.