Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1945 Shepherd Neame AK

Even the biggest fan of Light Bitter must be getting fed up of AK by now. Not me. Once I get started on something, I find it hard to stop.

Here's another watery wartime recipe to enthrall you.  From a brewery that stuck brewing AK longer than most, Shepherd Neame.

I’m surprised that it survived this long. Down at the minimum practical (economically) since 1943, there was nowhere down for it to go. With another Pale Ale just a few degrees stronger, any further reduction in the IG of BB would spell doom for AK. Yet it manged to stumble on until the early 1950s.

As Shepherd Neame didn’t record primings, the effective OG could have been a little higher. Low-gravity draught beers were often primed to make sure there were enough fermentables to condition the cask.

Just one type of pale malt, flaked barley and a tiny bit of malt extract. Not exciting at all. The gravity also remains exactly the same as in the last two years.

There is a little excitement in the hopping, where American hops have made a comeback. Very few hops were imported after 1941, except for 1943 when 3,254 cwt. were brought in.  I’m guessing from the USA, most other prominent hop regions being under Nazi control. 10 lbs, out of a total of 242 lbs, were Oregon from the 1942 harvest. The quantity is so small, I haven’t included it in the recipe.

The remaining hops were all English, from the 1941, 1943 and 1944 seasons, 50% being from the earliest year. In response to which I’ve reduced the rate a fair bit in the recipe.

1945 Shepherd Neame AK
pale malt 6.50 lb 88.68%
flaked barley 0.75 lb 10.23%
malt extract 0.080 lb 1.09%
Fuggles 120 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1027
FG 1006
ABV 2.78
Apparent attenuation 77.78%
IBU 15
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 63º F
Yeast a Southern English Ale yeast


Neeall said...

I wonder if this could have been one of the beers flown to the allies, mounted underslung on planes? I've seen photos of this being done in some Shepherd Neame pubs, do you have any details about it?

Ron Pattinson said...


it's possible. The only identification I've been able to do is of a drop tank being filled from a barrel which has PA chalked on it. Signifying it was Pale Ale being filled.