Thursday 9 November 2023

Boiling in the 1970s

Short, short, short. Often as little as 60 minutes. That describes most boils in the 1970s.

Boil times had been declining since the end of the 19th century. There were various reasons for this. The most obvious was simple economy: the shorter the boil, the less fuel used. Which brings us to the second reason: two world wars. Brewers were compelled to economise on their use of coal, leading to shorter boils.

You can see proof of the third reason in the table below. With the reduction in gravity, there was no real need for long boils to concentrate the worts. And which are the only beers with long boils?  Final Selection and Gold Label. Two unusually strong beers.

Other than that, there’s nothing really longer than 90 minutes. And most of Whitbread’s boils were little more than 60 minutes. 

Boil times 1968 - 1975
Year Brewer Beer Style boil 1 (hours) boil 2 (hours) boil 3 (hours) boil 4 (hours)
1972 Boddington Bitter IPA 1.5      
1971 Boddington Special Stout Stout 1.25      
1972 Whitbread Tankard Pale Ale 1.08 1    
1972 Whitbread Best Mild Mild 1 1    
1973 Whitbread Gold Label Barley Wine 3 3    
1973 Whitbread Extra Stout Stout 1 1    
1972 Whitbread Final Selection Strong Ale 2 2    
1975 Elgood Elgood Bitter Pale Ale 1.58      
1968 Fullers London Pride Pale Ale 1.25 1.25    
1968 Fullers Hock Mild 1.5 1.5    
1969 Truman London Mild Mild 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5
1969 Truman Stout Stout 1.5      
1969 Truman London Lager Lager 1.5      
Boddington brewing record held at Manchester Central Library, document number M693/405/134.
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/141.
Truman Ale book held by Derek Prentice.
Elgood brewing record held at the brewery
Fullers brewing record held at the brewery



1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious whether labor costs were a factor too. I'd think so, but I'm definitely too ignorant of the industrial scale brewing process and manpower utilization to know if that's true.