Showing posts with label London Stout. Show all posts
Showing posts with label London Stout. Show all posts

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Style League table

The season is finally at an end and the champion can be crowned. Who will it be?

I'll warn you that this isn't the end. There's still a detailed analysis by brewery to come. But I thought I'd put you out of your misery first. I know you've been waiting for these results.

You're going to have to wait a little longer for the brewery rankings. First we're going to compare the different styles. Even before putting together the table I had a pretty good idea of the winners and losers.

Burton comes out on top overall with an average score of 0.72. It's no surprise to me. There are a few things going for it. It was relatively strong and expensive. Plus reasonably popular - it made up around 9% of Whitbread's production in the 1920's. Their PA sold a little better, but not by a huge amount. An impressive two thirds had positive scores for flavour, though fewer than half were bright.

Next is PA. If 9d PA (Best Bitter) is split out, it comes above Burton with an average of 0.88. Though oddly it has the second fewest examples bright, after Burton. It's a clear indication that clarity and quality didn't necessarily go hand in hand. Even with 8d Ordinary Bitter mixed in, PA still comes second with an average of 0.62. And clarity crawls up to just over 50%.

I'm surprised Stout is so far behind in third place. It's another fairly strong one and it was even more popular than Burton. At Whitbread, London Stout and Country Stout accounted for around 18% of output in the 19320, though I don't know what proportion of that was draught. Being very dark, Whitbread didn't bother analysing its degree of clarity. On the other hand, almost three quarters of the samples had positive flavour scores. Which implies a large number of goodish, but few outstanding, examples.

Averages per beer type
beer type No. examples no. bright % bright no. good flavour % good flavour average score
9d PA 49 23 46.94% 33 67.35% 0.88
Burton 138 61 44.20% 92 66.67% 0.72
PA 167 85 50.90% 109 65.27% 0.62
8d PA 118 62 52.54% 76 64.41% 0.52
Stout 110 64 72.35% 0.29
X 170 104 61.18% 106 62.35% 0.23
Mild 188 112 59.57% 112 59.57% 0.16
MA 18 8 44.44% 6 33.33% -0.18
Porter 92 44 47.83% -0.42
Average 695 258 52.33% 421 60.58% 0.27
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Mild comes fourth, not that far behind Stout, especially if you strip out watery MA, the 1028º Mild. The stronger Milds may have an average of 0.23 with almost two thirds of examples with positive scores. MA, weak and not produced in huge quantities, does poorly in every respect: clarity, flavour and score.

It's no surprise that the season ends with relegation for Porter. It has a very poor average of -0.42 and fewer than half of the examples were good flavour-wise. It was going out of fashion and sales were collapsing.

On average, the time traveller has a 6 in 10 chance of getting a decent-tasting pint, but only a 1 in 2 chance of a clear one. Is that better or worse than your odds with cask beer in London today? My advice for those headed back to the 1920's is to develop a taste for Burton.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

League table of London Stouts in the 1920's

Almost time for a final look back at the overall results. But first it's the final style league table.

As a stronger style - it was usually the strongest draught beer in a pub - you'd expect Stout to score reasonably well. At least better than its sibling Porter, for which only five of the eleven breweries could muster a positive average score.

London seems to have been out of step with the rest of Britain in terms of styles. By the 1920's draught Porter had pretty much disappeared elsewhere and draught Stout was following a similar path to extinction. But in London it was still going strong through WW II and into the 1960's. Why was that? Probably simply because they were styles with their origins in the capital.

The vast majority of the Stouts analysed were of the 9d (8d after 1923) per pint type. The price implied a gravity in the low 1050's, which is where most of these beers are. Wenlock and Courage were the odd men out with a weaker 8d (7d after 1923) per pint Stout. They fared quite differently, though.  Wenlock's was one of the weakest, but scored surprisingly well. While Courage's was crap.

In the Mann and Meux samples, a few of the cheaper Stouts seem to be mixed in, but which were sold for the higher price. I would have been easy enough for a dodgy landlord to pass off a weaker Stout as a more expensive one, if the punters weren't paying too much attention. Some Charrington landlords went one better, passing off Porter as Stout, an old WW I trick. Gravities under 1040º are a dead giveaway.

I think it's time to look at that league table:

League table of 1920s London Stouts by score
Brewery FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation score
Whitbread 1014.8 1055.3 5.27 73.32% 2.00
Wenlock 1016.1 1045.7 3.83 64.56% 1.36
Watney 1013.4 1054.9 5.40 75.55% 1.13
Huggins 1018.5 1062.1 5.67 70.27% 1.09
Truman 1017.6 1053.5 4.66 67.20% 1.00
Mann 1012.0 1054.5 5.54 78.05% 0.43
Meux 1014.7 1054.9 5.23 73.29% 0.18
Hoare 1017.9 1054.2 4.70 67.06% 0.10
Cannon 1014.9 1049.5 4.49 70.05% 0
Charrington 9d only 1013.3 1052.5 5.10 74.70% -1.00
Charrington 1012.9 1049.7 4.78 73.73% -1.09
Barclay Perkins 1014.6 1055.4 5.31 73.72% -1.21
Courage 1011.6 1046.3 4.51 74.98% -1.67
all Stout 1014.8 1053.8 5.06 72.35% 0.29
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001


There are a couple of points of interest there. And a least one depressing one.

Only two of the traditional Porter breweries manage a top five finish: Whitbread and Truman. Oddly, the top three all have names beginning with a "W". And the bottom five all begin with  a "B" or a "C". The table is almost in reverse alphabetical order. At least eight breweries managed an average positive score, with one averaging zero and three negative scores.

The top five all did pretty well. Any average over 1 is good. Whitbread came out especially well, but the sample size - three - was very small. Once again, Watney is in the top three. They really do seem to have been one of the top breweries for quality before the war. Where (and when) did it all go wrong?

Charrington, Barclay Perkins and Courage are all dreadful. It saddens me to see how crap Barclay Perkins beer was. No wonder their sales fell off so much in the 1920's. As this table shows:

Barclay Perkins output 1920 - 1929
year barrels
1920 464,033
1921 393,045
1922 348,576
1923 293,728
1924 303,676
1925 329,464
1926 317,628
1927 306,682
1928 306,300
1929 300,569
Source:
Document ACC/2305/1/711/1 in the London Metropolitan Archives


Time for one final league table. This time ranked by the percentage with good flavour:

League table of 1920s London Stouts by good flavour
Brewery No. examples no. good flavour % good flavour score
Whitbread 3 3 100.00% 2.00
Huggins 11 9 81.82% 1.09
Wenlock 11 9 81.82% 1.36
Watney 16 13 81.25% 1.13
Truman 4 3 75.00% 1.00
Mann 14 9 64.29% 0.43
Hoare 10 6 60.00% 0.10
Meux 11 6 54.55% 0.18
Cannon 2 1 50.00% 0.00
Barclay Perkins 14 3 21.43% -1.21
Charrington 11 2 18.18% -1.09
Courage 3 0 0.00% -1.67
Total 110 64 58.18%
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001


Not that different from the other league table.

Just a few steps left now in our journey. I'll be finishing with a roundup of all the styles and a final definitive league table. I can't wait.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Whitbread Stout quality 1922

I just found myself subconsciously singing "My Way" in my head. Can't possibly think why

Finally we're there. At the final set of analyses. The very first part of this series, "Was Watney's Mild crap in the 1920's?" was on the 26th January 2014. So I've been at this for just about nine months. Scary to think it's taken as long to form as a baby.

But don't get too carried away yet. I've still a Stout roundup and then an overall league table to compile. There are still a few steps left in our journey.

How appropriate that Whitbread, the people we have to thank for this lovely information, comes last. Just an alphabetical coincidence, but still appropriate. I thought: "What extra crap, sorry background detail, can I stick in?" Why not something about the beers? The grists are an obvious one. But I know so much more about Whitbread beers. A great excuse for lots more tables.

For example, they very handily have tables at the back of their brewing books showing how much of each type of beer they brewed each week of the year, with monthly and annual totals. Which lets me put together tables like this:

Whitbread Porter and Stout output 1921 - 1929
P S CS LS ES Total
year barrels % barrels % barrels % barrels % barrels %
1921 15,688 6.57% 58,452 24.50% 133,563 55.97% 30,920 12.96% 238,623
1922 16,562 8.59% 47,530 24.66% 84,703 43.95% 15,340 7.96% 28,582 14.83% 192,717
1923 14,165 8.33% 39,960 23.51% 68,326 40.20% 20,866 12.28% 26,660 15.68% 169,977
1924 15,948 8.95% 37,834 21.23% 74,258 41.67% 23,442 13.16% 26,710 14.99% 178,192
1925 14,943 9.12% 35,396 21.59% 62,357 38.04% 22,262 13.58% 28,974 17.67% 163,932
1926 13,511 8.02% 34,567 20.51% 20,721 12.30% 69,724 41.38% 29,990 17.80% 168,513
1927 10,708 7.15% 30,087 20.09% 86,569 57.82% 22,361 14.93% 149,725
1928 10,105 7.11% 30,017 21.12% 85,992 60.49% 16,039 11.28% 142,153
1929 5,558 6.48% 17,284 20.15% 51,624 60.18% 11,313 13.19% 85,779
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/113, LMA/4453/D/09/114, LMA/4453/D/09/115, LMA/4453/D/09/116, LMA/4453/D/09/117, LMA/4453/D/09/118, LMA/4453/D/09/119, LMA/4453/D/09/120, LMA/4453/D/09/121, LMA/4453/D/09/122.

It tells us a few things. Like their Porter started its terminal decline in 1926. That Country Stout (CS) had a brief life, at first almost sucking the life out of London Stout (LS) then withering itself away. LS bounces back to over 90,000 barrels a year in 1930. Don't know what happened in 1929, but the following year total Porter and Stout production was over 150,000 barrels again. Overall, Whitbread's Stout sales were in decline in the 1920's. In the 1930's they stabilised at around 120,000 barrels.

Now details of the beers. On the face of it, there were 7 beers: P (Porter) CS (Country Stout), COS (Country Oatmeal Stout), LS (London Stout), LOS (London Oatmeal Stout), S (Stout) and ES (Extra Stout). In reality there just three. As this table shows:

Whitbread Porter and Stout in 1922
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp
12th Jun P Porter 1028.0 1007.0 2.78 74.98% 7.47 0.93 1.5 1.75 64º
12th Jun CS Stout 1045.7 1013.0 4.32 71.54% 7.47 1.52 1.5 1.75 61.5º
12th Jun COS Stout 1045.7 1013.0 4.32 71.54% 7.47 1.52 1.5 1.75 61.5º
6th Jun LS Stout 1054.6 1015.0 5.23 72.51% 7.44 1.77 1.75 2 61.5º
6th Jun LOS Stout 1054.6 1015.0 5.23 72.51% 7.44 1.77 1.75 2 61.5º
6th Jun S Stout 1054.6 1015.0 5.23 72.51% 7.44 1.77 1.75 2 61.5º
6th Jun ES Stout 1054.6 1015.0 5.23 72.51% 7.44 1.77 1.75 2 61.5º
Source:
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/115.

Now the grists:

Whitbread Porter and Stout grists in 1922
Date Beer Style OG pale malt brown malt black malt no. 3 sugar oats hops
12th Jun P Porter 1028.0 63.96% 14.15% 13.02% 8.30% 0.57% Oregon hops
12th Jun CS Stout 1045.7 63.96% 14.15% 13.02% 8.30% 0.57% Oregon hops
12th Jun COS Stout 1045.7 63.96% 14.15% 13.02% 8.30% 0.57% Oregon hops
6th Jun LS Stout 1054.6 64.69% 14.93% 12.09% 7.58% 0.71% Oregon hops
6th Jun LOS Stout 1054.6 64.69% 14.93% 12.09% 7.58% 0.71% Oregon hops
6th Jun S Stout 1054.6 64.69% 14.93% 12.09% 7.58% 0.71% Oregon hops
6th Jun ES Stout 1054.6 64.69% 14.93% 12.09% 7.58% 0.71% Oregon hops
Source:
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/115.

The recipes are elegantly simple: pale, brown and black malts, No. 3 invert sugar and a handful of oats for legal reasons. I should say recipe rather than recipes, because, though P, CS and COS were parti-gyled together, as were LS, LOS, S and ES, the same basic recipe was used for both sets. If I'm honest, Whitbread's records are terribly dull in this period.

One odd feature: 100% Oregon hops. It's really unusual to see all American hops in a beer. It implies to me that these are all early additions. They would normally use US hops for later additions. British brewers weren't keen on the flavour of American hops.

The ingredients are the same as they had been 50 years earlier. Look:

Whitbread Stout grists in 1870
Date Beer Style OG pale malt brown malt black malt Sugar
8th Aug SS Stout 1080.9 73.11% 13.71% 4.57% 8.61%
8th Aug SSS Stout 1098.3 73.11% 13.71% 4.57% 8.61%
4th Nov xp S Stout 1070.4 68.59% 18.29% 4.57% 8.55%
19th Jan K Porter 1055.6 70.00% 25.00% 5.00%
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/063 and LMA/4453/D/09/064.

A little more pale malt and less black malt, but not really that much different.

That was fun. Now finally to today's beer, Whitbread draught Stout. Or London Stout, as it clearly was. It terms of spec, it's a touch stronger than average. Oh, and it's the more expensive 9d type of Stout. But what about its performance?

Whitbread Stout quality 1922
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Stout 1011.9 1055 5.61 78.36% good 2 9
1922 Stout 1018.2 1055.7 4.86 67.32% good 2 9
1922 Stout 1014.2 1055.2 5.33 74.28% v . fair 2 9
Average  1014.8 1055.3 5.27 73.32%
2.00
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

We're ending on a high note. Only three samples, but all get an impressive 2 score. I could work out the average without the benefit of a computer.

Whitbread pubs will (or should that be were?) be full of time-travelling Stout lovers.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Watney Stout quality 1922 - 1925

I just noticed that I'd jumped over Watney. How on earth did I manage overlook them? Not to worry, that will all be put right now.

Since starting this series I've come to have a sneaking respect for Watney's beers. Their consistently high scores can't be a fluke. Yes they were the largest brewery in London and one of the largest in the country. The biggest brewery making the best beer. It's not a situation you'd find today.

I'd thought about publishing a whole load more financial stuff about Watney. But I can't be arsed to traipse through the newspaper archive looking for their annual results for the 1920's. Sorry, but I'm an intensely lazy person at heart. But this one I did find should give a good impression of the state of Watney's finances.

"Watney Combe.
It was announced Friday afternoon that the dividend on Watney Combe Reid stock was to be increased from 17 per cent, to 19 per cent, for the year to June 30 last. The report is now available, and shows trading profits of £1,365,483. This compares with £1,340,735 the year before.

Another £400,000 is placed to general reserve, but it is stated that a similar amount placed to reserve last year has been expended improving properties and converting leaseholds into freehold. The general reserve is £759,455.

The financial position is very sound. There are investments in Government securities for £532,879."
Dundee Courier - Monday 30 July 1928, page 2.

It looks like they were rolling in money. They probably brewed around ten times as much beer as Wenlock Brewery. So you'd expect their profits to be ten times higher. In 1927 and 1928 Wenlock's net profits were £119,201 and £122,047 respectively, meaning Watney's profits were indeed about ten times those of Wenlock.

That's it for the money stuff. I've decided to talk about Watney's other Stouts instead. Like many London brewers, they made several Stouts. They were: Family Stout, Oatmeal Stout, Special Stout and Special Stout for Belgium. All were in bottled form. In addition there was at least one, and possibly two, draught Stouts.

Watney Stouts 1921 - 1929
Year Beer Price size package Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1921 Family Stout 17d quart bottled 1046.3 1012.5 4.39 73.00%
1922 Family Stout 17d quart bottled 1043.9 1010.9 4.28 75.17%
1922 Family Stout 9d pint bottled 1044.3 1012.5 4.12 71.78%
1923 Family Stout bottled 1046.5 1011 4.61 76.34%
1921 Reids Family Stout 9d pint bottled 1045 1010.7 4.46 76.22%
1926 Reids Family Stout 8d pint bottled 1048.5
1927 Reids Family Stout bottled 1047.7 1012.3 4.60 74.21%
1928 Reids Family Stout 8d pint bottled 1050.2 1012.7 4.87 74.70%
1929 Reids Family Stout 8d pint bottled 0.18 1047.8 1007.3 5.28 84.73%
1921 Reids Oatmeal Stout 9d pint bottled 1045.5 1009.7 4.66 78.68%
1922 Oatmeal Stout bottled 1047.4 1009.3 4.96 80.38%
1928 Reids Oatmeal Stout 8d pint bottled 0.07 1050 1015.6 4.46 68.80%
1928 Reids Special Stout pint bottled 1056 1014.7 5.37 73.75%
1921 Special Stout 13d pint bottled 1059 1016.2 5.56 72.54%
1922 Special Stout bottled 1057.8 1015.9 5.44 72.49%
1923 Special Stout bottled 1054.3 1013.8 5.26 74.59%
1922 Special Stout (Belgian sample) 9d pint bottled 1067.1 1023.8 5.60 64.53%
1929 Stout 8d pint bottled 1047 1010.8 4.71 77.02%
1929 Stout 8d pint bottled 0.06 1046 1010.8 4.57 76.52%
1921 Stout 9d pint draught 1053.4 1014.8 5.01 72.28%
1921 Stout 9d pint draught 1054.5 1014.4 5.21 73.58%
1921 Stout 9d pint draught 1045.7 1009.8 4.67 78.56%
1926 Stout 8d pint draught 1053.9
1926 Stout 8d pint draught 1052.7
1926 Stout 8d pint draught 1053.6
1929 Stout 8d pint draught 0.08 1055.9 1014.5 5.38 74.06%
1929 Stout 8d pint draught 0.07 1052.9 1012.1 5.31 77.13%
Sources:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

It's not always made clear in the sources exactly how these beers were branded. Sometimes they are describes as Reid, but others not. Watney seemed to prefer to brand its bottled Stouts as Reid, presumably because, as an old Porter brewery, they would be associated with Stout. Watney's continued to use the Reid name for at least 30 years after the Griffin Brewery in Clerkenwell closed.

Doubtless Watney parti-gyled these Stouts in various combinations. Family Stout, Reids Family Stout, Oatmeal Stout and Reids Oatmeal Stout all look like the same beer to me. I bet they pulled the trick of throwing the odd pound of oats into the grist for all Stouts so they could legally describe some of it as Oatmeal Stout.

Special Stout and Reids Special Stout are probably the same beer as each other and the draught Stout. Though possible they've been slightly tweaked. The Belgian Special Stout probably resembles Watney's pre-war Stout. That's what most breweries did: kept brewing export versions at pre-war strength.

With a couple of exceptions, the rate of attenuation is high, with a couple even over 80%. Were they getting some extra conditioning before bottling?

Right, now on to their draught Stout. It's of the 9d (8d after 1923) type. It's a little stronger and more highly-attenuated than average, but not by a huge amount.  The sample that's only 1046.3 looks like it's a weaker 8d/7s Stout./ Unless it's been seriously watered. But it does look suspiciously like Family Stout. It's been sold at 9d a pint, which screams "cheating landlord" at me.

Will their Stout continue Watney's good run?

Watney Stout quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Stout 1014.7 1057.7 5.59 74.52% clean 1 9
1922 Stout 1012.4 1055.9 5.67 77.82% good 2 9
1922 Stout 1013.2 1056.2 5.60 76.51% good 2 9
1922 Stout 1012.8 1054.8 5.47 76.64% poor -1 9
1922 Stout 1013.7 1055.2 5.40 75.18% yeast bitter -1 9
1923 Stout 1013 1056.5 5.66 76.99% fair 1 9
1923 Stout 1013.6 1056.1 5.53 75.76% fair 1 9
1923 Stout 1015.2 1056.2 5.33 72.95% good 2 8
1923 Stout 1010.8 1046.3 4.61 76.67% only fair 1 9
1923 Stout 1012 1055 5.60 78.18% v fair 2 9
1923 Stout 1013.2 1055.2 5.46 76.09% v fair 2 8
1923 Stout 1013.8 1054.8 5.33 74.82% v fair 2 8
1923 Stout 1012.5 1054.5 5.47 77.06% very fair 2 9
1924 Stout 1015.4 1053.4 4.93 71.16% good 2 8
1924 Stout 1013.2 1054.9 5.43 75.96% v poor -2 8
1925 Stout 1015.4 1055.9 5.26 72.45% good 2 8
Average  1013.4 1054.9 5.40 75.55% 1.13
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Yes, it will. Thirteen from sixteen achieved positive scores, including 9 2's. The overall average is a very decent 1.13.

It'll feel weird seeking out Watney's pubs when I'm holidaying in the 1920's. But they're probably the safest bet.