Monday 28 February 2022

Good Word

It's event day. I'm up pretty early and trundle down to the bistro to see what they offer for breakfast.

Yippee! They have fried stuff. I go for the usual eggs over easy, bacon and potatoes. Plus toast, of course. It's not bad at all.

I laze around in my room for a while before meeting up with Stan in the lobby. Good Word is only a few minutes away on foot. It's much warmer today and I'm feeling overdressed.

We find a door that's open and make our way to the brewery where we meet up with Todd. Amongst all the stainless-steel shiny things, he pulls some beers off the tanks. Including the Heineken Donker Lagerbier he brewed from a recipe I provided. It's a bit paler than I expected, but very tasty. With a pleasant Saaz hop character.

He double decocted it, despite his brewery not really being built for that. It sounded like a right palaver, including as it did buckets hand-filled with wort. I admire his commitment.

Todd brews quite a lot of Lagers and is another who spunds to get them to naturally carbonate. I've noticed quite a lot of interest around Atlanta in brewing and serving Lagers the traditional way. And in less fashionable Lager styles. As if to prove this, Todd gives us a Czech-style pale 4% Lager. Maybe a tad hoppier than one from Bohemia. Really tasty, though.

We move on into the pub and sit at the bar. Just as well. My crappy old legs can't take too much standing about.

Todd starts pulling us samples of the beers he has on tap. There are rather a lot of them. Soon I have a dozen half-filled glasses in front of me. As I taste them, I start to struggle to remember what they all are.

The pub is beautiful, with massive windows. It looks like a converted light industrial building, but I think it's a new build.

I dutifully finish off every glass. Stan is more retrained, just sampling each beer. Me, I hate beer going to waste and drink up every drop.

It's still quite early - only 13:30 - and things don't kick off until 17:00. I wander back to the hotel for a rest.

Slightly refreshed, I head back out again. To Truck and Tap, a bar I noticed earlier. I'm a bit early as it doesn't open until 14:30. I fill in the time sitting in the sun in the park outside City Hall. How the weather has changed. I was freezing my arse off in Atlanta.

I roll up to the bar 5 minutes after opening time and am surprised to see half a dozen drinkers already ensconced at the bar. I order a double Jack Daniels, no ice. Just to get me in the mood for this evening.

Two women around sixty come in. One orders a Chardonnay. And the other a hazy IPA. Now there's a surprise. They sit at a table and start playing cards.

I get back to Good Word a little after 16:00. Art Whitaker turns up and is soon setting up the gear to live stream me and Stan.

The event has only been advertised to brewers. Soon there are forty or fifty of them sitting in front of us. Pretty well every brewer we saw yesterday and many more.

There isn't a presentation, just a Q & A. Which suits me fine. I field questions about historic beer, Stan ones about hops. Two hours just fly by.


John Roberts has brought the beers Zebulon sent to him for me. I crack some open and share them around. People seem to like them. I know I do.

I flog a few books, which is always good. I wish I'd brought more copes of "Scotland! vol. 2" with me as the two I have disappear immediately.

While I’m sampling the Zebulon beers, Todd brings me a plate of fish and chips. Just what I need after a long day of drinking and only a sandwich since breakfast.

I don't leave it too late, heading back around 10:30. I rarely stay out very late nowadays. I appreciate my sleep too much. I don't have to be up crazy early tomorrow. Not that late either.

Whisky whisks me to oblivion.

Good Word Brewing & Public House
3085 Main St,
Duluth, GA 30096.

Truck & Tap Duluth

3137 Main St,
Duluth, GA 30096.

Sunday 27 February 2022

Hop growing regions between the wars

Hop-growing had been concentrated in a few areas of England for more than a century. By the 1930's, Hops were only cultivated in eight counties: Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire, Hereford, Worcester, Berkshire and Shropshire. More than half of the total crop was grown in Kent. Only a handful of farms grew hops in Berkshire and Shropshire. The Farnham region in Surrey was small but since the 18th century had been renowned for producing the best-quality hops.  

Kent was split into three hop-growing regions, based on the type of Soil. East Kent had light loam over brick earth, Mid Kent loam over ragstone and the Weald loam over clay. Hereford and Worcester had heavier, deeper soil than produced a smaller crop per acre. The aroma of hops from Hereford and Worcester, even when of the same variety, was quite different to those from Kent. Which one a brewer preferred to use was a matter of personal taste.   

Hop harvest by region 1936 (cwt)
Kent 150,800
Hereford 45,000
Sussex 24,200
Worcester 22,300
Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Shropshire 9,700
Total 252,000
"Brewing Science & Practice" H. Lloyd Hind, 1943, page 391

Hop varieties by region
Region main varieties
East Kent (Canterbury, Faversham) Goldings, Bramling, Cobb and Tutsham
Mid Kent (Medway valley, Maidstone to Tonbridge) Fuggle's, Bramling, Tutsham, Cobb, Goldings, Tolhurst
Weald of Kent (Tonbridge to Sussex) Fuggle's
Sussex Fuggle's
Hampshire, Surrey Fuggle's, Farnham Whitebine.
Hereford and Worcester Mathon, Bramling, Fuggle's
Berkshire and Shropshire Fuggle's, Goldings
"Brewing Science & Practice" H. Lloyd Hind, 1943, page 391

This is an excerpt from a book I published a while ago, "Peace!". You can get your copy here.


Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Saturday 26 February 2022

Let's Brew - 1881 Truman 40/- Ale

In the early 1870s Truman replaced their XX Ale with something called 40/- Ale. A name which clearly its price per barrel. Standard X Ale usually being sold for 36/- per barrel.

It wasn't around for very long, being dropped sometime between 1881 and 1885.

This batch was the junior partner of a parti-gyle with the X Ale above. With 120 barrels of 40/- Ale being paired with 590 barrels of X Ale. Where was it sold? Possibly in London. Brewers in the capital sometimes made stronger versions of beer for the local market. Though these usually included an “L” in the brewhouse name.

Not much else to say, as all the recipe details I’ve already discussed in the X Ale text.

1881 Truman 40/- Ale
pale malt 9.50 lb 73.08%
No. 2 invert sugar 3.50 lb 26.92%
Cluster 120 mins 2.50 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 2.50 oz
OG 1068
FG 1022
ABV 6.09
Apparent attenuation 67.65%
IBU 69
SRM 13
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 25 February 2022

Atlanta brewery crawl

Stan pulls up outside my hotel on the dot of 11 AM, as arranged. And off we go on our Atlanta brewery crawl.

First stop is Three Taverns, a brewery tap room in a former dairy. It's well before opening time, but we've arranged to meet brewer Neal Engleman.

They've an impressive range of beers on tap. 23 in all. And, more importantly, in a wide range of styles. Including many classic European ones.

We kick off with A Night on Ponce IPA. Which is a classic West Coast IPA. The type of beer I've rally started to get a taste for. And this is a pretty good example, packed with citrus and also packing a punch of bitterness. It's a good start.

Neal has been around a few breweries in Atlanta. His gig before this being at Bold Monk. I'm surprised to discover that one of his biggest sellers is a Doppelbock. Not the sort of beer you'd expect the hep young cats to go for. Pastry Stouts, hazy IPAs and fruited sours are more their thing. There are examples of those styles, but plenty of other stuff, too.

We rattle through a Belgian Double, Doppelbock, Czech Dark Lager and an Altbier. All good, solid examples of the styles. The traditional stuff out of the way, we sample a sour with Earl Grey tea and a NE IPA. The latter bursting with fruit and very soft in the mouth. It feels like we've been through 30 years of craft beer evolution in a few glasses.

I can't believe we've already been here two hours. It's time to move on.

Next on the list is Elsewhere Brewing. Again, it's well before opening time, but owners Sam and Sarah and brewer Josh are there to welcome us in. 

We start with a tour of the brewery. It doesn't take long, as it's very compact. A cute little stainless brewing kit, 6 horizontal fermenters and six horizontal bright tanks.

First beer is a Czech/German hybrid Pls served through a side pull tap. These seem to be getting very popular over here. Josh tells us how they've started sourcing their base malt from the US. From a craft maltster that sources their barley from nearby farmers.

Josh is very focused on the right ingredients. Especially yeast. He makes some mixed fermentation beers. The first he lets us try is inspired by Brasserie de la Senne's Taras Boulba. It's light, refreshing and very dry. Next is a Saison, funky from the Brett Bruxellensis and bone dry. Time is the secret ingredient, Josh says. We fish with a bottle of Lady Brett, a Lambic. It's packed with funky complexity. Another example of the wonders of patience in brewing. You can't rush a beer lie this.

Time is slipping away like a greased eel. We move on again. To Halfway Crooks.

It's in an old building close to where some of the Olympic games were held in the 1990s. Stan tells me that the area is gentrifying fast. In addition to the brewery, the same block has an artisan bakery and other middle-class frippery.

We enter through the brewhouse at the rear. It's another very compact affair.

Arriving before opening yet again, we meet brewers Joran Van Ginderachter and Shawn Bainbridge.

Once at the bar, we're presented with another side-pull Pils in a lovely Czech-looking handled mug. We adjourn upstairs, which is open to the air. It does have a covering that closes when it's raining.

There's a lot of Belgian influence. Lots of signs are in Dutch. They even sourced the quaintly old-fashioned wallpaper from there. It's a bit like being in your granny's house.

Would I like some food? It would probably be a good idea. All I had for breakfast was a coffee. I'm given a plate of frites topped with stoofvlees. That's do nicely. Hearty and simple.

We've one last brewery to visit. One quite different to the others.

There's been a lot of talk about diversity - or rather the lack of it - in the craft beer world. It's especially striking in a city like Atlanta, where a large percentage of the population is non-white. Which makes Atlantucky rather special. Because it's the city's first black-owned brewery.

It was set up by Fish Scales and Skinny DeVille, half of the hip hop group Nappy Roots. The contrast with the other breweries we've visited is enormous.

For a start, the premises are enormous. A huge hangar of a place that's more like a club than a bar. Something emphasised by the stage, where a female DJ is banging out tunes.

We head around to the back where they're just transferring today's brew on their tiny kit. It's just a single barrel. They've only recently got up and running and are still feeling their way.

At the bar, we try a couple of their beers. An old-school Pale Ale is first. It has all the citrussy American hops you'd expect in the style and is a pretty easy drinker. A NE IPA is next, with all the fruit you'd expect and perhaps a tad more bitterness than is usual. I save the powerful 8% ABV Imperial Stout until last. It’s full and warming, but could perhaps use a touch more roast.

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that they have a copy of my Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer Obviously, I sign it for them.

That's us done for breweries. Time to head for Decatur and the Brick Store's cask ale bar. I wouldn't want to miss out on that.

We sit at the bar, right in front of the handpulls. And both order a New Realm English Porter. It's in pretty good condition, with a wonderfully soft carbonation. When did I last drink a Cask beer? 2019, I think. That's far too long. Who knows wen I'll drink it again? Visiting the UK really isn't on at the moment.

Drinking done, it's time to drive up to Duluth. Where we've an event on tomorrow. I crash straight to bed. Well, after a little goodnight whisky.

Three Taverns Imaginarium
777 Memorial Dr SE Suite B103,
Atlanta, GA 30316.

Elsewhere Brewing
1039 Grant St SE Suite B34,
Atlanta, GA 30315.

Halfway Crooks Beer
60 Georgia Ave SE,
Atlanta, GA 30312.

Atlantucky Brewing
170 Northside Dr SW suite 96,
Atlanta, GA 30313.

Brick Store Pub
125 E Court Square,
Decatur, GA 30030.

Thursday 24 February 2022

A slow day in Atlanta

On my way to the liquor store yesterday I spotted another diner. I give that a whirl.

It's on the first floor. Well, the bar bit is. The diner section is further upstairs. I unimaginatively opt for two eggs, bacon and hash browns. And coffee, obviously.

It's pretty quiet. Being large you hardly even notice the handful of customers. There are about as many staff hovering around. Mmm, a bit stingy with the bacon. Just two skinny slices. The eggs are nice, mind.

I spend most of the day mooching around my room. Nothing even vaguely planned. Other than an afternoon walk to the STATS brewpub.

Thankfully, the walk is pretty flat. And takes me past the dismal Centennial Olympic Park. A park with, other than a few trees, no plants. What the fuck?

It's easy to spot STATS from a distance. It has ATLANTA painted on its side in colourful letters. That's s bit strange. There are chairs on the tables. And no lights on. Damn. It doesn't open on Monday or Tuesday.

Luckily, next door, Max's Coal Fired Pizza is open. I take a seat at the bar. It sells beer from the brewpub. I get myself an IPA.

Bushwood IPA
Bit cloudy-looking. Nice and grapefruity.

You might have noticed that I'm getting a taste for these new-fangled IPAs. It's about all I've drunk this trip.

It says much about the state of beer in the US that a random pizza place has 8 craft beers on tap. They don't have a printed menu, mind. Just a QR code you have to scan with your phone. Not that I really intend eating here. I don't fancy pizza.

They have sacks of Pennsylvania anthracite. Some of which is burning away in the oven. Is it safe to cook with coal like that? I guess it must be. Not for me.

I just have the one beer. Then start the walk back. Calling in on the Hudson Grille for a bite to eat.

I sit at the bar again. It's quite crowded and noisy. Time for an IPA

Sweetwater Goin' Coastal IPA
Crystal clear. IPAey.

My beer descriptions aren't getting any better, are they?

After some deliberation, I order Southern Fried Chicken. Seems appropriate enough, given my location. It's not bad at all. Smothered in that white stuff that they call gravy over here.

Again, just one beer then back out into the dark.

I finish off my six pack of Bell's two Hearted Ale and watch some TV.

Nothing else to report, save for surfing to sleep on a wave of whiskey.

Metro Café Diner and Bar
229 Peachtree St NE B17,
Atlanta, GA 30303.

STATS Brewpub
300 Marietta St NW Suite 101,
Atlanta, GA 30313.

Max's Coal Oven Pizzeria
300 Marietta St NW,
Atlanta, GA 30313.

Hudson Grille
120 Marietta St NW,
Atlanta, GA 30303.

Wednesday 23 February 2022

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1890 Truman Porter

Towards the end of the 19th century, while the style had been dropped by many provincial breweries, those in London were still churning out Porter in large quantities.

It was clearly still a very popular type of beer in the capital. Truman was still calling it Runner, despite the Keeping version not having been brewed for a couple of decades. This particular batch was of 656 barrels. A decent amount of beer in anyone’s book. Enough for it to be brewed single-gyle.

Despite this, the grist is near-identical to that of the parti-gyled Stouts. There’s a little less base malt and a little more brown malt and No. 3 invert, but nothing of real significance. It remained a decent strength, with an OG of 1058º and over 5% ABV. In contrast to the feeble versions brewed after WW I.

There were four different copper hops: Kent from the 1889 harvest, Burgundy from 1889, Bavarian from 1889 and illegible from 1889.

1890 Truman Porter
pale malt 8.25 lb 67.35%
brown malt 1.25 lb 10.20%
black malt 0.75 lb 6.12%
No. 3 invert sugar 2.00 lb 16.33%
Fuggles 120 mins 2.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Hallertau 30 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1058
FG 1016
ABV 5.56
Apparent attenuation 72.41%
IBU 69
SRM 32
Mash at 157º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale



Tuesday 22 February 2022

I visit two Atlanta breweries

I'm not spending $30 on breakfast again. Instead, I give the hotel breakfast a whirl.

The choice is rather disappointing. They don't do a full cooked breakfast. About the closest I can get is a hot muffin with bacon, egg and cheese. It isn't great. Not too expensive, mind. With a coffee it comes to $10.

I'm mostly just lazing around in my room. I do nip out to Sol's Liquor, which is a couple of blocks away, and pick up a six pack of Bell's Two Hearted. Not very local, I know. But it is a good beer. Unfortunately, Sol's is down a bit of a hill. Making the return journey less than fun. I'm so lucky I live somewhere nice and flat like Amsterdam.

At three, I trail my sorry arse down to the lobby. And try to order an Uber for the first time. It doesn't work for some reason. I give up and get the hotel to call me a taxi.

First stop is New Realm, Mitch Steele's place. I get myself an IPA while I wait for him. Very nice it is, too. An old-school, West Coast type. I'm really starting to get a taste for this style of beer. Probably because it's gone out of fashion. Doubtless I'll be getting into pastry Stouts in a decade or two. Should I still be alive.

It's good to see Mitch again. We chat about various beery stuff, whilst sharing a few beers.

We head off to Bold Monk, John Roberts' new place. Like New Realm, it's a production brewery with a large taproom. John quickly takes us around the brewery part. Full of shiny stainless steel. Much like every other new brewery in the world.

Given the name of the brewery, it seems appropriate to start with a Tripel. Very good it is, too. After a few more beers and some food, Mitch drives me back to my hotel. It's been good to meet up with old friends again. I just wish I could remember more of the evening.

A whisky chases me into my dreams.

New Realm Brewing Co.
550 Somerset Terrace NE Unit 101
Atlanta, GA 30306.

Bold Monk Brewing Co.
1737 Ellsworth Industrial Blvd NW suite d-1,
Atlanta, GA 30318.

Monday 21 February 2022

Lazy Sunday in Atlanta

I wake early, just as the sun is poking its head above the horizon.

Not that I need to be up for anything. I have absolutely nothing scheduled. It's a rare luxury to be able to start a trip so slowly.

I've already scouted for breakfast locations. Turns out there's a diner just around the corner. Perfect.

I wander down to the dine around 8:30. It's deserted, other than the staff. A classic breakfast is what I opt for: bacon, eggs, hash browns and toast. Plus a coffee and an orange juice.

People gradually trickle in. Many in running gear. Seems to have been a 5K run somewhere nearby. Almost no-one can be arsed to wear a mask, despite this place's website saying that they are mandatory. Quite a contrast with Brazil, where 99.9% of people were wearing a mask even on the street. Not sure what that says about the two countries.

Getting a coffee refill, I read Viz for a while. Issue 304. Which arrived last week. It's almost a year old. I took out a subscription in November 2020. I'm still waiting or half the issues. Turns out they cancelled my subscription after several issues were returned as undeliverable. Fucking Brexit.

With tax and tip, the breakfast comes to $32. What the fuck? That's a bit steep for a diner.

I laze around in my room for a while. I type up yesterday. I'm so diligent.

Around 1 PM I take the massive walk to Meehans. It must be all of 100 metres. I've been here before. It's an Irish pub which is sort pub-like. I sit at the bar. In addition to Guinness and the usual Irish pub stuff, they also have a few craft offerings. I spot a tap handle with a Stout and order that.

Dry County Old 41 Stout
Black and very roasty. Not bad.

It's pretty damn quiet. But it is Sunday and it's downtown. It was a lot busier last time I was here. But it was a weekday then. In London, I doubt a pub would bother opening for this level of trade.

The three other customers have left. Just me and the staff now. My enthusiastic server, Harley, keeps coming over to ask if I need anything.

Time for an IPA.

Scofflaw Basement IPA
Nice, old-school IPA. Very grapefruity. My god - is this style of IPA old hat even for me?

A few more customers have dribbled in. Feels less lonely. I may not be keen on packed pubs, but it is nice to have a little company.

Starting to feel a little peckish, I order a corned beef reuben. It comes with chips.

"Do you need any condiments?"

"Have you got vinegar?"


You can't have chips without vinegar. It's pleasing to see that providing vinegar is getting pretty standard. And the right sort - malt vinegar.

I don't manage to eat it all. I get the leftovers packed in a doggy bag. Well, doggy container, really.

Being dead modern, I have my phone with me. And use it to take some photos. Though I still take some with my camera. I haven’t totally abandoned the past.

I have another IPAs to fortify me for the long trek back to my hotel. The IPAs cost $8.32 a pop. That's less than 8 euros for around a half litre of 7.5% ABV beer. That's cheap compared to Amsterdam prices.

It's just me, the TV and my hotel whisky. Happy days.

I finish off my reuben. Still feeling hungry, I fancy another sandwich. But it's almost 9 PM. My options are limited. Basically, to the Landmark Diner. I pop down and order another Reuben. My breakfast waiter is still serving. How long are their shifts?

Me and my Tomatin glide smoothly into slumber.

Landmark Diner

60 Luckie St NW,
Atlanta, GA 30303.

Meehan's Public House Downtown
200 Peachtree St,
Atlanta, GA 30303.

Sunday 20 February 2022

Berliner Weisse (part seven)

Now it's time to look at the Francke method of souring. It's a radically different way of brewing Berliner Weisse.

Wort was run off the mash tun and cooled to just 45-47º C when it was pitched with a pure culture of lactobacillus delbruckii. Due to the warm temperature this quickly soured the wort. After five to seven hours the wort had reached a lactic acid content of 0.16-0.20%. This level of sourness was enough for the flavour, but not enough to interfere with the yeast fermentation, which could happen at higher concentrations. The wort was then boiled, cooled and pitched with yeast.  

After primary fermentation the beer was handled in the usual way. It was bottled and stored in cool cellars to allow bottle conditioning.

"Important Question for Breweries which produce Acid Beers of the Type of Berlin " Weiss" Beer. 0. Francke (Wochensch. Brau., 1907, 24, 621—624).—"Weiss" beer is prepared by fermenting wort with yeast and lactic acid bacteria. It is a very difficult matter, however, to acclimatise a mixture of lactic acid bacteria and pure yeast in constant proportions. The author recommends a process (which has been employed for two years with very satisfactory results) in which the lactic acid and yeast fermentations are carried out separately. The wort, as it runs off from the spent grains, is subjected to the action of pure culture lactic acid bacteria until the required degree of acidity is attained. The wort is then boiled, cooled, and fermented with pure culture yeast. The beer thus prepared has a pleasant acid taste, and does not require the aid of certain non-slime forming pediococci (see this Journal, 1907, 13, 626—630) to impart a pleasant flavour to it. If a mature, vinous " Weiss " beer is required, it is only necessary to treat the lactic acid-containing wort with ordinary bacteria-containing " Weiss " beer yeast. The presence of the lactic acid protects the fermenting wort against the attack of dangerous pediococci, and the beer acquires a sound, vinous taste. The beer prepared by the first method (i.e., that in which the lactic acid fermentation is followed by a pure yeast fermentation) only requires a short period of storage before it is ready for consumption. For the lactic acidification, the author employs distillery culture lactic acid bacillus Delbrucki, and for the alcoholic fermentation, top-fermentation pure yeast, Race B (high attenuating)."
"Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 14", 1908, pages 196 - 197.

So, rather than going to the trouble of keeping the mixed yeast/lactic acid bacteria culture in balance, you ferment first with the bacteria, then with the yeast.

The method was abandoned after 2 years because beer brewed this way didn’t acquire the typical Berliner Weisse flavour. The explanation was simple: no Brettanomyces was involved. At the time no-one was aware of its crucial role in the flavour development of the style.

Saturday 19 February 2022

Sao Paulo suggestions

 Can anyone suggest good beer places in Sao Paulo? Also, where is a good area in Sao Paolo to stay?

Let's Brew - 1928 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown

In the 1920s most London brewers, presumably in the response to the success of Mann's version, introduced Brown Ales of their own.

Many of these beers resembled the Mild Ales of time, with gravities in the low-1040ºs. Others, like Whitbread’s Double Brown, were rather stronger, being over 1050º. Doctor Brown falls somewhere inbetween these gravities. Though that isn’t so obvious when looking at the brewing record. As brewed, Doctor Brown was 1040.8º. But the addition of primings added almost 6º to the effective OG.

There’s quite a lot going on in the recipe, mostly in the form of sugar. In the kettle, that was something described as “B.S.”, which I assume stands for brown sugar. The No.3 sugar represents the primings, which are simply described as “sweet”. I do know that they were a sugar solution with an OG of 1150º.

The grist is quite simple, consisting of just base malt, crystal malt and flaked maize. In case you’re wondering, that’s pretty different to their Mild Ale, which contained pale, mild, SA, amber and crystal malt. At this point some brewers were brewing Brown Ales very much as their own beer. Though I know from the absence of Brown Ales from many brewers’ records (even when I know that they sold one) that this wasn’t the case everywhere.

Four types of hops were employed: Mid-Kent Fuggles from the 1927 crop, Mid-Kent Goldings from 1926, Mid-Kent Bramling from 1925 and Pacific from 1922. All had been cold stored.

1928 Barclay Perkins Doctor Brown
pale malt 5.25 lb 55.85%
crystal malt 60 L 1.00 lb 10.64%
flaked maize 1.25 lb 13.30%
No. 3 invert sugar 0.75 lb 7.98%
brown sugar 1.00 lb 10.64%
caramel 2000 SRM 0.15 lb 1.60%
Cluster 135 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 75 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1046.5
FG 1014
ABV 4.30
Apparent attenuation 69.89%
IBU 29
SRM 26
Mash at 153º F
Sparge at 168º F
Boil time 135 minutes
pitching temp 61.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday 18 February 2022

4d Ale between the wars

The restrictions of the latter years of WW I had created a new style of beer: 4d Ale or Ale. This was a cheap, weak version of Mild whose gravity and retail price was dictated by government decree. Surprisingly, it not only survived into the immediate post war period but hung around right into the early years of WW II. It was finally killed off when the gravity of standard Mild, or X Ale, dropped to a similar level.

Selling for just 4d a pint (X Ale was 5d, Bitter 7d or 8d and Stout 8d) it had an OG of 1027 to 1030º and an ABV of 2.5 to 3%. So just about alcoholic. It had the same grist as X Ale, with which it was usually party-gyled.

The survival of 4d Ale all through the interwar period meant that British brewers had a great deal of experience in brewing very low-gravity beers. This must have been very useful when, in WW II, the gravity of standard Mild was driven down to the level of 4d Ale. In many ways, 4d Ale is the direct ancestor of most modern Milds.

Given the small quantities Whitbread brewed of their Ales (MA in the 1920's, LA in the 1930's), it's a surprise that they them going right up until WW II. In 1933 they brewed just 3,225 barrels of LA, less than 1% of their total output. In the same year 150,000 barrels of their standard X Mild were brewed. LA was surely only economically viable because it was party-gyled with X.

Ale in the 1920's
Year Brewer Beer Price OG
1926 Barclay Perkins Ale 4d 1029.1
1926 Buddon Bigg Ale 4d 1030
1926 Cannon Ale 5d 1031.6
1930 Fremlins Ale 4d 1035.7
1927 Fullers Ale 4d 1036.5
1930 Hammerton Ale 5d 1033.7
1926 Isherwood Ale 4d 1026.7
1927 Isleworth Ale 4d 1033.1
1926 Leney & Co. Ale 4d 1027.2
1926 Mason Ale 4d 1030.6
1927 Meux Ale 4d 1028.7
1930 Shepherd Neame Ale 4d 1028.5
1930 Style & Winch Ale 4d 1028.2
1926 Truman Ale 4d 1030.7
1930 Wells Watford Ale 5d 1033.7
1926 Wenlock Ale 5d 1027.7
1927 Young & Co Ale 4d 1029.6
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252.

This is an excerpt from a book I published a while ago, "Peace!". You can get your copy here.


Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.

Thursday 17 February 2022

Out to Atlanta

I'm in no rush. My flight isn't until 16:45. Plenty of time to pack the last few bits and bobs and eat something. Though I plan on getting to the airport well ahead of time. Who knows what sort of delays I might endure there?

I check when the next 15 bus is due. As loads of staff are off sick with Covid, the GVB is running a reduced service. No need in hanging around unnecessarily at the bus stop.

I just miss a 397 at Haarlemmermeerstation. Luckily, I only have to wait a few minutes for the next.

Schiphol is like a ghost town. Almost no-one around. Which I don't mind, as it makes everything quicker and less stressful. Where is everyone? It was much busier than this when I went to Brazil in November. I thought things were supposed to be getting back to normal? Usually, the airport would be packed with winter holidaymakers at this time of year.

Fortunately, KLM twice extended my gold status during the lockdowns. I troll along to the lounge for some free scran and booze. I can have my pick of seats. Only a handful of other punters.

I don't go crazy. A couple of whiskies and a bit of food. Two orange juices, too. Want to keep the vitamins topped up.

Heading off to the gate early, I realise that they're boarding ahead of time.

Once seated, I've a while to wait before take-off. Best watch some rubbish on the entertainment system. Damn. The screen doesn't respond, no matter how frantically I tap on it. As the two seats to my left are unoccupied, I shuffle along to the next one. The screen does work here. But it's set in Russian. How the hell do I change the language setting?

I don't get chance to find out as someone sitting in the row behind is in the wrong seat. He comes and occupies the window seat and I scuttle back to the aisle. I'm not going to sit getting bored for forty minutes and whip out my laptop. Let's see what Dolores has loaded up for me.

There are a couple of episodes from Al Murray's last series I haven't seen yet. That'll do.

I pack away my laptop just before take-off. The seat belt sign hasn't even been switched off when the cunt in the seat in front of me goes full recline. What a total and utter selfish bastard. No way I can use my laptop with that cunt's seat in my lap.

Luckily, there are plenty of empty seats. I move across the aisle as soon as the fasten seatbelt sign goes out. No chance of being reclined on here. The seat in front is vacant. As is the seat to my right. Perfect for dumping all my crap on.

I struggle to find something to watch on the entertainment system. Either it's something I don't want to watch of I've already seen it. Eventually, I opt for Hall Pass. It's even more dreadful than I feared. It passes some time, that's the best I can say about it.

The flight drags a bit. I can only find one other film to watch: Two Weeks' Notice. Also, pretty bad, but time-passing. When that's done, I revert to my laptop.

We land on time, despite departure being a little delayed by a no-show whose bags had to be unloaded.

This is great. Not too much walking to immigration and not much of a queue. I’m through in just a few minutes. They don't even take my fingerprints. Why is that? Do they already have them on file? But how do they know that? This is the first time I've used this ESTA.

Soon I'm bouncing down the freeway in a taxi. My driver is Bangladeshi and we chat about cricket.

I'm at my hotel about an hour after landing. Pretty good going. I relax with some duty-free whisky. Not Islay. That’s got too fucking expensive. All over 70 euros now. Instead, I got a bottle of 37-euro Tominton. I'm not made of fucking money.

By midnight I'm ready for whisky-assisted lights out.

Wednesday 16 February 2022

London X Ale hops 1900 - 1915

With the UK’s hop producers unable to cope with brewers’ demands, no surprise that imports are well represented in the table. Though a large majority – 38 out of 52 – were English.

Breaking down the English hops, most were from Kent, with Mid-Kent dominating. Rather fewer from East Kent, but that’s to be expected. That was the source of the best-quality hops, which tended to be reserved for more expensive beers, such as Pale Ales. Second most popular were hops from Worcester, a region more analogous in quality to Mid-Kent. And, finally, a couple of examples from the relatively small district of Sussex.

Top dog amongst the foreign hops was the USA, with 8 examples. Bohemia and Germany managed a couple each. Followed by single examples from Alsace and Belgium. Though I suppose the former was technically part of Germany at the time.

As for age, most were reasonably fresh, never more than a couple of seasons old. With the one massive exception of 10-year-old Alsace hops in the 1906 Barclay Perkins X Ale. You have to wonder what the point was of using such ancient hops.

London X Ale hops 1900 - 1915
Year Brewer hop 1 hop 2 hop 3 hop 4 hop 5
1900 Barclay Perkins MK 1898 MK 1899 Bohemian 1899    
1906 Barclay Perkins MK 1905 US 1904 CS Worcs. 1904 Alsace 1896  
1909 Barclay Perkins US 1908 Sussex 1908 MK 1907 Worcs. 1905 CS  
1914 Barclay Perkins EK 1913 MK Fuggles 1912 CS MK Goldings 1913 Hallertau 1912 CS  
1900 Whitbread EK 1898 EK 1899 Worcs. 1897    
1905 Whitbread MK 1903 MK 1904 US 1904 Washington 1904 Worcs. 1903
1910 Whitbread MK 1909 MK 1909 MK 1909    
1914 Whitbread EK 1912 MK 1912 Kent 1912    
1902 Fullers English 1900 English 1901 Worcs. 1901    
1910 Fullers Oregon 1907 MK 1909 EK 1908    
1914 Fullers MK 1913 Poperinge 1913 Cobbs 1913 Cobbs 1914  
1914 Courage Hallertau 1912 English 1912 English 1914    
1900 Truman Kent 1899 Worcs. 1899      
1905 Truman Worcs. 1904 Worcs. 1904 Sussex 1904    
1910 Truman Worcz. 1908 Oregon 1908 Saaz 1908    
1915 Noakes California 1914 Oregon 1914      
Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/593, ACC/2305/1/599, ACC/2305/1/601 and ACC/2305/1/603.
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/065, LMA/4453/D/01/070, LMA/4453/D/01/076 and LMA/4453/D/01/079.
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/247.
Truman brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers B/THB/C/181, B/THB/C/186 and B/THB/C/190.
Noakes brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/17/34.