Monday, 31 January 2022

London XX Ale malts and sugars 1880 - 1899

It’s an indication of many fewer ingredients were used relative to X Ale in that I can fit them all into a single table. All a bit dull, really. Most of the beers are just base malt and sugar. One from Fullers has a touch of crystal malt and another the unusual base of amber malt.

Frustratingly, the specific type of sugar wasn’t detailed in any of the records. Probably some sort of invert is the best guess I can make.

The lack of adjuncts can be explained by most examples being pre-1890, when they weren’t used so much. And the ones after 1890 are from Whitbread, who eschewed unmalted grains. 

London XX Ale malts and sugars 1880 - 1899
Year Brewer Beer pale malt amber malt crystal malt total malt other sugar
1880 Barclay Perkins XX 85.71%     85.71% 14.29%
1886 Barclay Perkins XX 100.00%     100.00%  
1881 Whitbread XL 91.84%     91.84% 8.16%
1885 Whitbread XL 92.31%     92.31% 7.69%
1890 Whitbread XK 89.29%     89.29% 10.71%
1895 Whitbread XK 93.85%     93.85% 6.15%
1899 Whitbread XK 91.16%     91.16% 8.84%
1887 Fullers XX   78.75%   78.75% 21.25%
1893 Fullers XX 75.25%   4.86% 80.11% 19.89%
1880 Truman 40/- Ale 73.15%     73.15% 26.85%
  Average         87.62% 13.76%
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/579 and ACC/2305/1/584.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/047, LMA/4453/D/01/050, LMA/4453/D/01/056, LMA/4453/D/01/061 and LMA/4453/D/01/065.
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/161.


Anonymous said...

Have you written much on the history of invert sugar in brewing? I'm awfully curious when brewers decided on using it instead of regular sugar, which I assume would have been cheaper and easier to procure. I realize there are yeast-related reasons for using inverts, but it's not clear to me whether brewers used them due to high level scientific understanding, or just trial and error.

Ron Pattinson said...


I'm always banging on about it.

Invert sugar is quite different to sucrose, especially No. 2 and No. 3. For one, it's easier to handle as it doesn't crystallise. But also brings a whole range of flavours to the table. No. 3 in particular has a lot of dark fruit flavours. I don't think yeast-related reasons were very important.