Thursday, 20 September 2007

Whitbread Ale Output Year ending July 1911

Remember the handy weekly summaries at the back of the Whitbread brewing logs I was telling you about yesterday? Here's what I found at the back of the 1911 edition.

The table below shows the amounts produced of all the Whitbread Ales in the brewing year ending July 1911.

X is Mild: FA, I guess,stands for Family Ale: PA and IPA are pretty self-explanatory; KK and KKK are strong Ales. Give me a few days and I'll dig out the logs and tell you exactly how strong they all were. And hopefully be able to give you some idea of their colour.


Document LMA/4453/D/01/076 in the London Metropolitan Archive


Knut Albert said...

Family Ale sounds interesting - somebody should pick up the name!

Ron Pattinson said...

Knut, take a look at my avatar on BeerAdvocate.

Family Ale would go down well today, wouldn't it? I can imagine the reaction of the authorities in the US.

I can remember in the late 1970's Tetley's still produced a beer called Family Ale which was a sort of bottled Dark Mild. I've added an image of the label to the post if you want to have a look.

I notice that Harvey's still make a Family Ale, a low-strength Bitter of just 2.2% ABV.

hey_kevin said...

I'm rather surprised what how big a percentage of output the X was. And that if the flavor was appreciated by the customers why they weren't making a stronger (more expensive) beer in the same family? Am I correct in reading that the mild is the only beer they were producing in the mild family? Unless, of course, the main reason for the popularity of the mild is that it was the cheapest regular draft beer. (Possibly excepting the family ale, I don't know about the relative strength of that one.)

Ron Pattinson said...

Kevin, the percentage made up by X was no surprise to me. It would have been their main draught beer. Though it should be borne in mind that this is just the Ale output. The Porter and Stout is in a different log. If I recall correctly, total production was around 800,000 barrels. Ale accounted for around 550,000, which leaves around 250,000 barrels (400,000 hl) of Porter/Stout.

You have to remember that Mild was a lot stronger then. Whitbread X was around 1050 in 1911. You only see breweries producing several draught Milds in London when the gravities started falling. The standard trick then was to drop the strength of the existing beer and introduce a "new" beer at the old strength.

The role of stronger "Mild" was probably taken by KK, which was about the same colour as the Mild. Assuming it was similar to The Barclay Perkins version, it would have had an OG of 1075-1080 in 1911.

From what I remember from quickly glancing at the logs while photographing them, The FA was like a weaker version of the X. The two were party-gyled.

After WW I they were producing 3 Milds - in ascending order of strength TA, FA, X. I think the TA was their Fourpenny Ale (a price-controlled beer introduced by governemt legislation during WW I).

You have to remember drinkers at the time thought very differently from us. Until WW I, beer prices had remained unchanged for 40 years or more. Most people had never experienced an increase in the price of a pint. That's why when the tax went up, brewers usually dropped the gravity. Drinkers wouldn't pay more than they were used to.

hey_kevin said...

I keep forgetting that Burton/KK type beers were in the same family as the milds. And that milds weren't necessarily that dark. I always think old ale when I think stronger mild. Burton wasn't typically hoppy, was it?

hey_kevin said...

Oh and one other question, which brewery did Barclay Perkins brew its lagers at? The Porter/Stout brewery or the ale one?

Ron Pattinson said...

Kevin, I think that Barclay Perkins KK was called Burton on draught and Old Ale when bottled. KK was hopped at a higher rate than Mild. Looking at the 1936 BP beers again:

OG 1053, FG 1012, 1.47 lb hops/barrel

OG 1056, FG 1013, 1.84 lb hops/barrel

OG 1043, FG 1019, 0.97 lb hops/barrel

Which I guess would make it fairly hoppy.

Barclay Perkins must have been serious about lager because they built a brewhouse specifically for it.

Ron Pattinson said...

That should be FG 1010 for the X.

hey_kevin said...

I saw the hopping rates right after I posted my last comment.

I'm still trying to get my head around the grists of these beers and how burton compared to pale ale tastewise.

One interesting bit is the 1914 and 1919 grists of X and KK (Barclay perkins) In 1914 the X was (at least for malts) only Amber and Pale malt. While the KK had 5% Crystal malt and no Amber. In 1919 the X had added Crystal malt (to make up for the loss of body due to lower gravity?) at the expense of dark sugar and pale malt. While KK made a similar gravity drop it actually gained pale malt at the expense of sugar. Its a bit less hoppy but the realative hoppiness was probably about the same.

Ron Pattinson said...

I would love to know exactly how Burton tasted at that time. I've only ever drunk one beer in the style - Young's Winter Warmer - and I'm not sure how typical that was.

It's difficult to know the exact colour of the beers before the 1920's because the logs don't indicate it. I've seen quite a few different KK grists. Many have just pale, crystal, sugar and caramel for colour. Others include amber malt, too. Especially during WW I there are lots of variations - I've seen brown malt used in Mild - which may have been dictated by what raw materials were available.

I had always assumed that crystal malt had been added to recipes around WW I to boost the body when the gravities dropped. I'm not so convinced now, as it doesn't appear where I had expected it - in the Pale Ales.

You've reminded me that there are still Barclay Perkins logs - 1926 and 1936 come to mind - I haven't gone through properly yet. The 1926 ones are important because by then there had been 4 or 5 years of stability after all the changes of the war years. Now where can I find a research assistant?

hey_kevin said...


I'd be happy to do some analysis/trawling through things. Especially if it is something I can print out and look at on paper. (it is much more compatible with parenting my 1 and 4 year old boys, which I seem to find myself doing alot of these days--my wife apparently needs to spend time "working" so she can get her "Ph.D." I guess they don't give those things away...) Go figure.

I can't promise anything in the way of timeliness, but what I lack in punctuality, I make up for in persistince...



hey_kevin said...

I'm also curious about mash temps as they relate to FGs of these beers that seem to me so high in adjuncts. I (probably incorrectly) always assumed single step infusion at 70C was typical mash procedure, but now I'm not so sure. Any ideas about that one?

Ron Pattinson said...

Kevin, I'm busy this evening (going to see Herbert Grönemeyer) but I can send you a couple of logs to have a look at tomorrow. Send me an email.

What I do with the info in the logs is quite complicated. I input it into a spreadsheet that does all sorts of calculations. I can send you an example of that, too, if you want to give it a try.

I can't claim to understand the mashing scheme totally. It looks to me as if Barclay Perkins usually mashed and sparged three times, all at different temperatures. It's easy enough to find in the log, it's just working out what it means that's dificult. I only understand at most 50% of what's on the logs.