"The brewing of ale has long constituted a principal, or rather, perhaps, we might say the principal, manufacturing employment carried on in Edinburgh, The best Edinburgh ale is of a pale colour, mild, glutinous, and adhesive. It is much stronger and more intoxicating than porter, from 4 to 5 bushels of malt being generally used in brewing a barrel of ale, with about 1 lb. of hops to a bushel of malt. At present (1843) the produce of the ale breweries of Edinburgh may be estimated at about 195,000 barrels a year. Very good ale is also made at Preston Pans, Alloa, and other Scotch towns. Considerable quantities of Edinburgh ale are sent to London; though this trade has latterly been decreasing. Very good ale may be produced by brewers on a small scale, but it is doubtful whether this be the case with porter; at all events the best porter is all produced in very large establishments.
Formerly it was not supposed that really good porter could be made any where except in London. Of late years, however, Dublin porter has attained to high and hot unmerited reputation; though we certainly are not of the number of those who ronsider it equal to the best London porter.
Large quantities of a light, pale, and highly-hopped variety of ale have been for some considerable time past exported to the East Indies, where it is in high estimation; and is now, also, rather extensively used in summer in this country."
"A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation" by John Ramsay McCulloch, 1844, page 9.
I'm particularly pleased to see a har figure put on the output of Edinburgh breweries. 195,000 barrels isn't a great deal, really. Not considering the fame of Edinburgh beer. Though it is a considerable percentage of the beer brewed in Scotland, which was around 500,000 barrrels a year in the 1840's.
Small beer indeed, compared to the big boys in London. The two largest each produced about the same as the whole of Scotland. Brewing was still on a relatively modest scale in Scotland in the first half of the 19th century. It was only in the latter decades that the big Edinburgh and Alloa brewers were able to rival the large London producers.
Here are the alrgest London brewers of the same period:
|Barrels of beer brewed used by the largest London brewers|
|Barclay & Co.||388,792||429,820||449,104||462,244||425,380||456,360||462,168|
|Truman & Co.||202,896||360,560||364,276||392,840||352,528||369,876||420,088|
|Whitbread & Co.||198,852||181,840||207,916||214,488||207,368||208,392||207,200|
|Reid & Co.||173,520||179,712||176,040||192,520||191,920||200,480||226,560|
|Combe & Co.||138,736||173,776||162,848||153,472||145,840||185,936||173,128|
|Calvert & Co.||122,100||126,116||124,112||123,488||122,460||122,640||114,552|
|Meux & Co.||97,356||140,260||153,860||163,148||158,332||161,360||238,468|
|Hoare & Co.||96,408||125,112||124,032||121,240||117,800||118,428||140,000|
|Elliott & Co.||77,776||88,000||91,960||101,020||101,100||108,200||118,232|
|Taylor & Co.||87,380||109,280||103,820||109,200||149,200||78,120||63,480|
|Goding & Co.||65,228||58,524||52,256|
|Charrington & Co.||42,120||81,160||74,752||73,312||73,312||81,692||84,064|
|Courage & Co.||32,464||42,892||41,824||46,128||46,128||52,064||57,876|
|Thorne & Co.||5,780||83,384||88,088|
|Mann & Co.||5,208||46,616||96,120|
|1831, 1841 and 1851:The food of London by George Dodd, 1856, page 463.|
|1838, 1839, 1840 and 1842: "A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation" by John Ramsay McCulloch, 1844, page 12.|
|Noumber of barrels brewed estimated from malt usage - I've assumed 4 barrels from a quarter of malt.|
The description of Edinburgh Ale isn't bad: "pale colour, mild, glutinous, and adhesive." Pretty gloopy stuff then. Not surprising when you see the final gravity of these beers.
Prestonpans is another of those obscure brewing towns. Its fame seems to have relies pretty much on a single brewer: Fowler. In a way, the memory of Prestonpans does remain. Fowler was, of course, the brewer of as certain beer called "Fowler's Wee Heavy". The beer that gave us that rather irritating beer style. Prestonpans beer, from the analyses I've seen, was even more syrupy than Edinburgh Ale.
I though I may as well continue the quote past the Scottish stuff because of the bit about IPA. And how it was drunk in Britian during the summer. Not particularly surprising, but I've not seen it mentioned before.