Saturday 27 November 2021

Let's Brew - 1881 Whitbread FA

In 1865, Whitbread brewed up their first regular Pale Ale in Chiswell Street. It was followed in 1872 by a weaker version, wittily called “Family Ale”.

It was a deliberately lighter beer, intended for the domestic trade rather than pubs. That is, beer meant to be consumed at home with meals. Which is why it was one of Whitbread’s early bottled beers.

To modern eyes it might look like a Strong Bitter. A quick comparison with Whitbread’s Milds reveals that it was more like a 19th-century Session Ale. The high degree of attenuation achieved after primary fermentation indicates to me that this was a Running Beer, meant to be consumed no more than a couple of weeks after brewing.

Don’t expect any big surprises in the recipe. Whitbread’s Ales were all just base malt and sugar in the 1880s.

Fairly fresh English hops, from the 1880 and 1881 harvest graced the kettle. Who knows what the dry hops were, though I’m certain that they would have been present. Whitbread never did bother noting them in their brewing records.

1881 Whitbread FA
pale malt 9.25 lb 86.05%
No. 1 invert sugar 1.50 lb 13.95%
Fuggles 120 mins 3.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1051
FG 1007
ABV 5.82
Apparent attenuation 86.27%
IBU 84
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 58º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Phil said...

5.8% family ale! Different times.

"Mum, I've eaten nearly all my cabbage, can I get down?"
- Oh, all right then. Drink up your Orval and run along!

(OK, Orval's 6.2%, but it's in the same region strengthwise)

StuartP said...

Another solid beer - cheers! Where did the lovely picture come from? Whitbread advertising?

Ron Pattinson said...


I assume so.