Monday, 29 November 2021

London Semi-Stock Pale Ale 1880 - 1899

More pointless style descriptions from a book I probably won't finish for at least another couple of years. If ever.

Slightly weaker than full-strength PA is what I’m calling Semi-Stock Pale Ale. That was a real thing, being a weaker type aged for only 3 months rather than the 12 months of the stock version.  I’m not sure if that was really the case with these beers. It’s a convenient label rather than anything else.

Whatever you call it, this type of beer was the second-class type of Pale ale. Around 5º lower in gravity than the first-class type. As you would expect, the alcohol content is also lower, by about 0.5% ABV.

Even more scaled-down is the hopping. Down 13% in terms of per quarter (336 lbs) per quarter and 22% per barrel. It’s safe to assume that the bitterness levels would have been lower.  You’ll find this confirmed in the recipe section. For example, I calculated Barclays PA 75 IBU and XLK 56 IBU. 

London Semi-Stock Pale Ale 1880 - 1899
Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1886 Barclay Perkins XLK 1053.0 1011.1 5.55 79.09% 10.08 2.21
1900 Barclay Perkins XLK 1053.5 1012.5 5.43 76.70% 10.00 2.16
1887 Fullers XK 1057.1 1016.1 5.42 71.84% 11.58 2.84
1897 Fullers XK 1054.8 1015.5 5.20 71.72% 13.39 3.27
1890 Whitbread 2PA 1054.6 1011.0 5.76 79.84% 10.79 2.78
1890 Whitbread 2PA 1055.4 1010.0 6.01 81.95% 11.69 2.99
1895 Whitbread 2PA 1052.9 1012.0 5.41 77.32% 11.94 2.82
  Average   1054.5 1012.6 5.54 76.92% 11.35 2.73
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/593, ACC/2305/1/584.
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/055, LMA/4453/D/01/056, LMA/4453/D/01/061.


Michael Foster said...

Can I ask what is the AA% you're assuming here? I have to think the AA% was much lower back then--I can't imagine all of these 50-80 IBU pale ales were the norm in the 19th century in Britain--but maybe it was a necessity for stock ales? Still seems needlessly high to me.

Also, glad to hear you're getting a deserved holiday--looking forward to the posts (and pics) from Brazil.

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

4.5% for Fuggles and Goldings. I see no reason to assume they were any lower in the late 19th century. The oldest analyses I have - from the 1930s - have examples with 6% and 7% alpha acid.

English beer was known for being very bitter, especially Pale Ale.

Michael Foster said...

Ron, many thanks. Do you happen to have a post digging into when and why British beer styles went down to the 20-40ish IBU range of today? I assume it was WW1 and 2 related?

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

lower gravities, changing tastes.