"I discovered something really fascinating about the relative prices of malt, sugar and maize in WW I today, Dolores. . . . Dolores . . . Dolores!"
Apparently it isn't quite as fascinating as I'd imagined. The relative price thing. It's no wonder I hang around on the interweb so much. All the actual people around me, bizarrely, have no interest in discussing the price of brewing sugar in WW I. Philistines.
Right, so I've just trawled through Barclay Perkins WW I brewing logs noting down the prices of everything. Very nice of them to include the information. The results make fascinating reading. Maybe not to my family, but to me.
Between 1914 and 1920, the price of malt about trebled. The cost of maize increased a little more, by three and a half times. But the biggest jump was in the price of brewing sugar which, at its peak in late 1918-early 1919, was more than six times as expensive as it had been at the start of the war. Sugar went from costing a third less than malt per quarter to 50% more.
What's also striking is the complete disappearance of the more specialist types of malt - PA, SA and mild malt - in 1918 and 1919. No maize at all was used between October 1917 and October 1919. The reduction in the variety of brewing materials available inevitably had an impact on recipes and the character of finished beers.
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