Friday, 30 January 2015

American brewing in the 1930’s – tax and costs

You’re in for a real number fest today. The original text has several tables to which I’ve added a few more of my own. There aren’t going to be a great number or words. Personally, I think words are greatly overrated.

We’ll start with tax.

“The Internal Revenue receipts for malt liquor taxes for the calendar year 1935 were as follows:—


Dollars. £ Sterling.
Licence fees paid to the Government by brewers, wholesale and retail dealers 4,412,701.84 900,551
Tax paid by brewers to U.S. Government 226,119,065.81 44,105,932

230,531,767.65 45,006,483
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, page 416.

40-odd million quid sounds like a lot of tax. Until you put it into context. Guess how much tax British brewers paid in 1936? £55,451,926*. But they taxed the hell out of beer back then. Still do, now I come to think about it.

Now onto costs:

“Cost of Beer in America.—According to a study made by the United States Brewers' Association of costs at forty-four breweries, the following figures are typical but do not include State Revenue taxes, delivery costs, interest or discounts:—



Approximate per English barrel.

Dollars American barrel £ s. d.
Cost of production 3.932 1 2 6
Selling 1.440 8 3
Administration 0.834 5 0
Federal tax 5.0 1 8 6

11.206 £3 4 3

Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, pages 416 - 417.

One handy feature of brewing records of the interwar period is the inclusion of prices and costs. Courage lists costs particularly well, even calculating the cost per barrel:

Production cost (including tax) of Courage beers in January 1936
Beer OG cost
KKK 1072.8 £6 11s 7d
XXX 1053.1 £4 9s 10d
X 1031.1 £2 8s 11d
C 1027.8 £1 19s 6d
Source:
Courage brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/08/262.

The beer we need to concentrate on is XXX as that’s the closest in strength to American beers. If we just take the cost of production and tax for the American beer, it comes to a total of £2 11s. Or not much more than half the cost of XXX. The difference is even bigger as the Courage figures don’t include labour costs, just materials and tax. It’s clear that beer was far cheaper to produce in the USA.

Why? The materials costs may give us a clue

“The cost of the principal brewing materials are lower than in this country, figures from
market reports in December, 1935, being as follows, with approximate British equivalents:—


American prices. British equivalents.
Barley 60-80 c. per bushel, 48 lb. 23s.-30s. 448 lb.
Malt 1$ per bushel, 34 lb. 40s. per quarter
Hops (American) 10-20 c. per lb. 46s.-92s. cwt.
(imported) 50 c.- 1$ lb. £11-23 cwt.
Corn sugars 2.5-3.5 $ 100 lb. 11s. 6d.- 15s.6d.cwt
Grits 1.85-2.5 $ 100 lb. 8s.- 11s. 6d. cwt.
Rice 2.5$ 100 lb. 11s. 6d. cwt.
The import duty on hops is 24 cents per lb. or about £5 10s. per cwt., and that on
malt 14 cents per bushel of 34 lb. or about 6s. per quarter.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, page 417.

How much cheaper were raw materials in the US? Lots.

UK materials costs in 1936
PA malt 59s-68s per quarter
UK hops 225s - 261s per cwt
flaked maize 8s per cwt
invert sugar 29s - 30s per cwt
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/621.

Malt was 50% cheaper, sugar and hops less than half the price. Only maize was oddly slightly more expensive in the US. Don’t understand that one.

“A rough average price for beer is $15 per American barrel or about 80s. per British barrel, while beer retails in 12-oz. bottles at 3 bottles for 25 cents or about 1s.”
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 42, Issue 5, September-October 1936, page 417.

Let’s see how that stacks up with British prices:

Wholesale price of Whitbread draught beers in 1936
Beer gravity price
Porter 1029.9 94s
Stout 1046.9 134s
Light Ale 1028.4 76s
X Ale 1035.6 94s
Pale Ale 1048.2 134s
33 1060.6 140s
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/102 and LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Whitbread wholesale price list.

The closest in gravity to American beers are Stout, Pale Ale and 33 – which 56s to 60s more.

The retail prices of bottle beers show the exact opposite:

Retail price of Whitbread bottled beers in 1936
Beer gravity price 12 oz (cents)
London Stout 1046.9 8
India Pale Ale 1037.6 7
Double Brown 1053.3 9
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/102 and LMA/4453/D/09/125.
Whitbread wholesale price list.

Bizarrely, British bottled beer was only about a third of the price of US equivalents. Why should that be? I think it’s because the retailer’s profit margin in Britain was tiny.

Next time we’ll be looking at the beers being brewed in the US.





* 1955 Brewers' Almanack.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Adnams beers in 1878 – 1879

I told you there would be lots more Adnams stuff. Barely scratched the surface so far.

I realise that I’m doing this rather illogically. Chronologically would have been a better idea. Must remember to do that from here on in.

Adnams have only two logs from the 19th century, 1878-9 and 1890. The earlier one, which we’ll be looking at today, seems to have been the personal brewing book of E.U. Adnams, the company founder. At least he’s written his name at the start of the book. See:


E.U., or Ernest Adnams was one of the two brothers who bought the Sole Bay Brewery in 1872. Meaning this is from the very early days of the business. Clearly Ernest was involved on the brewing side.

At the time, is was a pretty tiny operation. The longest brew length in this book is just 11.25 barrels. My guess is that they were brewing 2,000 – 3,000 barrels per year. Not much bigger than a large brewpub. They couldn’t have been supplying more than a dozen or so pubs.

That’s a little background. Now on with the beers themselves:

Adnams beers 1878 - 1879
Date Year Beer Style OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp pale malt black malt saccharine
2nd Jul 1878 AK Pale Ale 1044.3 11.67 2.82 65º 67.74% 32.26%
6th May 1879 PA Pale Ale 1060.9 24.29 7.56 63º 66.67% 33.33%
23rd Oct 1878 SS Stout 1066.5 13.33 4.86 62º 67.79% 9.61% 22.60%
10th Jul 1878 SS Stout 1074.8 9.14 3.72 65º 66.08% 7.49% 26.43%
5th Mar 1879 X Mild Ale 1030.5 14.67 2.00 º 65.22% 34.78%
7th May 1879 X Mild Ale 1037.4 14.67 2.58 65º 67.74% 32.26%
16th Jul 1878 IA Mild Ale 1044.3 11.67 2.67 º 67.74% 32.26%
21st Aug 1878 IA Mild Ale 1052.6 12.50 3.12 º 67.74% 32.26%
17th Jul 1878 XX Mild Ale 1048.5 8.57 2.79 65º 69.23% 30.77%
29th Feb 1879 XX Mild Ale 1054.0 16.00 3.64 65º 69.23% 30.77%
2nd Jul 1878 XXXK Stock Ale 1063.7 11.67 4.06 64º 67.74% 32.26%
21st Aug 1878 XXXK Stock Ale 1072.0 12.50 4.27 64º 67.74% 32.26%
29th Oct 1878 XXXX Mild Ale 1065.1 11.25 4.09 63º 71.43% 28.57%
23rd Apr 1879 XXXX Mild Ale 1072.0 12.67 4.44 63º 67.74% 32.26%
11th Feb 1879 Tally Ho Old Ale 1090.0 12.67 5.80 65º 75.00% 25.00%
Source:
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery.

First some general observations. Adnams were brewing to a wider range of gravities: 1030º to 1090º. Wider than you would see in London, where the odd Table Beer excepted, nothing below 1050º was brewed. At least in the large breweries whose records I’ve looked at.

The next thing to strike me is the hopping. Pretty much everything is hopped at more than 10 lbs per quarter. Not so unusual for Stock Ales or Pale Ales, but a lot for Mild Ales. The weakest beer, an X Ale of just 1030º, has 2 lbs of hops per barrel. A shit load for such a weak beer. Their Pale Ale, with 24 lbs per quarter and 7.5 lbs per barrel is hopped like a Burton IPA.

Then there’s the sugar content. It averages about a third of the grist, which is very high. A maximum of 15% is more usual. I can’t help thinking that some of the weaker Milds must have been quite thin with all that sugar.

Now compare and contrast time, as usual using Whitbread as the benchmark. Why do I mostly use Whitbread, you may ask? Because I’ve brewing records of theirs for every year from 1805 to 1973.

Whitbread beers in 1878 - 1879
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
20th Sep 1879 FA Pale Ale 1055.1 1009.1 6.08 83.42% 11.09 2.96 58º
18th Oct 1879 PA Pale Ale 1060.1 1013.9 6.12 76.96% 14.41 4.16 58º
8th Aug 1879 P Porter 1056.5 1017.2 5.20 69.61% 7.86 2.01 61º
6th Mar 1879 XPS Stout 1071.1 1019.9 6.76 71.93% 14.13 5.01 56º
6th Aug 1879 SS Stout 1077.8 1024.9 7.00 67.97% 10.98 4.37 59º
3rd Dec 1879 SSS Stout 1095.3 1037.7 7.62 60.47% 8.60 4.33 59º
6th Jan 1879 X Mild 1062.3 1017.5 5.94 72.00% 6.08 1.69 61º
18th Mar 1879 XL Mild 1070.4 1015.8 7.22 77.56% 6.00 1.80 61º
17th Nov 1879 XX xpt Mild 1075.3 1023.0 6.93 69.49% 26.65 6.03 58º
4th Dec 1879 KK Stock Ale 1078.4 1027.7 6.71 64.66% 21.84 5.10 58º
28th Jan 1878 KKK Stock Ale 1085.6 1031.3 7.18 63.43% 15.04 6.11 57º
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/043, LMA/4453/D/01/044, LMA/4453/D/01/045, LMA/4453/D/09/073 and LMA/4453/D/09/074.

Whitbread grists in 1878 - 1879
Date Year Beer Style OG pale malt brown malt black malt sugar
20th Sep 1879 FA Pale Ale 1055.1 76.92% 23.08%
18th Oct 1879 PA Pale Ale 1060.1 75.58% 24.42%
8th Aug 1879 P Porter 1056.5 83.41% 10.62% 5.97%
6th Mar 1879 XPS Stout 1071.1 63.51% 17.40% 4.87% 14.22%
6th Aug 1879 SS Stout 1077.8 69.75% 18.83% 3.77% 7.65%
3rd Dec 1879 SSS Stout 1095.3 68.94% 18.61% 3.72% 8.72%
6th Jan 1879 X Mild 1062.3 99.24% 0.76%
18th Mar 1879 XL Mild 1070.4 100.00%
17th Nov 1879 XX xpt Mild 1075.3 75.05% 24.95%
4th Dec 1879 KK Stock Ale 1078.4 73.73% 26.27%
28th Jan 1878 KKK Stock Ale 1085.6 86.50% 13.50%
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/043, LMA/4453/D/01/044, LMA/4453/D/01/045, LMA/4453/D/09/073 and LMA/4453/D/09/074.

Let’s work our way through, starting with the Pale Ales. The two PAs are very similar in terms of gravity. But Adnams’ version has almost double the hops of Whitbread’s. Interestingly, Adnams’ running Pale Ale, AK, is hopped almost as heavily as Whitbread’s Family Ale (FA), despite being a good bit weaker. You’d expect a Pale Ale to have a fair amount of sugar in the grist to help keep the colour pale. Both have quite a lot, but Adnams’, at a third of the grist, is very high.

Note that even this early there was no Porter in Adnams’ lineup, just one Stout. Though that does closely resemble Whitbread’s SS in terms of gravity and hopping. The big difference is in the grist. Adnams got all their colour from black malt and there’s no brown malt in the grist. This what you tend to see, provincial brewers dropping brown malt and simplifying their Stout grists to just pale and brown malt. While London brewers remained faithful to brown malt until the bitter end. Whitbread still included it in their grists in 1973.

Adnams brewed a much larger variety of Mild Ales than Whitbread, especially in terms of gravity. I’m not so sure Whitbread XX Xpt is really a Mild Ale. The hopping looks way too high. Which leaves just X and XL, the L presumably standing for “London”. Adnams X, IA (I think it stands for Intermediate Ale) and XX are all considerably weaker than Whitbread X Ale. Even XXXX is only a little bit stronger and about the same as Whitbread XL.

The hopping shows a huge difference. Adnams’ Milds are hopped at about double the rate of Whitbread’s per quarter. This is reflected in the hops per barrel, which are higher than Whitbread’s despite some of the beers being considerably weaker.

Note that Whitbread’s Milds, along with Porter, are their only beers to contain no sugar. You may find that odd, these being their cheapest beers. But you have to remember that sugar wasn’t necessarily a cheap alternative to malt and that its use was often for flavouring or colouring purposes.

Finally the strong Ales. Tally Ho looks very similar to KKK, the strongest Ale in Whitbread’s portfolio. Though it does contain about double the proportion of sugar. For once it’s the Whitbread beer that’s more heavily hopped, even if it is by a fairly minimal amount.

That was tiring. Best I don’t think about how much more of this I’m going to put us through.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Unexpurgated in Hoofddorp

I've been so busy I almost forgot I'd a speaking engagement this weekend. And a special one, too.

Because it's the full Monty. The first time I've given the long version of Brewing up the Past. The wimps at the NHC insisted on no more than 45 minutes. I had to chop out lots of the best stuff.

But not on Friday. The handcuffs have been unlocked and I'll be waving my arms around for a full 90 minutes of unexpurgated historic brewing fun. Courtesy of homebrewing club 't Wort Wat, who were kind enough to invite me and not set a time limit. They'll live to regret that.

Come along. It may well be a once in a lifetime experience.

These are the details:

30th of January 2015, 20:00.
Wijkcentrum De Boerderij
Lutulistraat 139,
2131 TG Hoofddorp.







Copies of my book will be available:

The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.



10% off my Lulu print books

for something called Fun at Work Day. Every day is fun at my work.

Just type in this code to get a 10% discount until tomorrow (29th January):

MOREFUN

why not complete your Mega Book Series? Porter!, Mild! plus, Bitter! and Strong! could all be yours.


Barclay Perkins Bookstore

Meeting the ambassador

2015 has already been busy beer-wise. So busy, I haven’t been reporting hardly any of it properly. I’ve still not got around to telling you about my time in East Anglia. Barley, malt and brewing records in 3 days.

I hope I’ll get around to that, but while it’s still fresh in my mind I’m going to relate what happened this week. On Monday, to be precise. When I was invited to an American craft beer tasting at the US ambassador’s residence in Den Haag. Even though it meant taking a half day off work, it wasn’t an opportunity I was going to pass up.

The American ambassador’s gaff is a rather elegant villa close to the Vredes Paleis in one of the nicer parts of the city. The street seems to consist solely of embassies or their residences. Funnily enough, not a bit of Den Haag I’d been to before.

Easy enough to get to, mind. Just jump on a 17 tram at Centraal Station and it takes you right there. Or close enough. I was early. Very early. With an hour to give a good kicking to, there was only one thing I needed. A pub.

In the 19th-century bits of Amsterdam you’re never far from a pub. But that’s Amsterdam. I’d taken the precaution of checking on a map for nearby pubs. There didn’t seem to be a great deal. So I keep my eyes out for suitable candidates as the tram rumbled closer to where I needed to make my exit. Zilch.

Things weren’t looking good. So I set off on a ramble. I came across a couple of boozers. Ones I wouldn’t have gone into. Even if they had been open, which they weren’t. Just when I thought I’d be wandering the streets for an hour, I spotted an Eetcafé. And look, there’s a Duvel sign. I was saved.


I plonked myself at the bar and had a look at the taps. No need to resort to Duvel: Kompaan Bok was on draught. Not had a beer from them before. And they’re local to Den Haag. I spent a pleasant 40 minutes of so reading the paper and sipping my beer. Far better than walking the streets.

I got to the ambassador’s residence bang on time, at 3 PM. Things kicked off at 3:15 with an introduction from the ambassador followed by short presentations by the Brewers Association and Bier&co, the two sponsors of the event.

Thankfully, beer was served while the talking was going on: first a session IPA, then Anchor Liberty Ale. They tided me over until the main event, six beers paired with what the Dutch call “hapjes”: bite-sized bits of food.


I’d tell you what all the beers were. Except I can’t remember them all. Couldn’t be arsed to take notes. These are the ones I can:

Alaskan Smoked Porter
Old Rasputin
Shipyard Export
Anderson Valley Amber Ale
Rogue Chocolate Stout

One of the eaty bits quite impressed me. See if you can guess what it is:


Hard to see in my crappy photo. Fish, chips and mushy peas. How cool is that?

The beer servings were as bite-sized as the nibbles. But with encouragement the servers would bump that up to  a gulp or two. And towards the end I encamped next to the Old Rasputin and was merrily pouring myself full glasses. Very nice it was, too. Full of that alcohol thing I like so much.

Beer-flavour stuff as well, obviously.

There were a fair few people I know present. I must say that Peter van der Arend’s bomber jacket and jeans combination wasn’t really in the spirit off business casual, the dress code. I’m surprised they let him in. Especially as he wasn’t on the guest list.


I’m not totally sure why I was invited, but I’m not complaining. Some free beer and nosh, plus a chance to peek inside the world of diplomacy. I’d do it again, happily. I didn’t get to talk to the ambassador, just stand within a few feet. That’s close enough for me.




Eetcafé de Klap
Koningin Emmakade 118-A
2518 JJ Den Haag.
http://www.deklap.nl/

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Brewing in 1960’s Canada – fermentation


I’ve been asking myself one question as I plod through “Brewing in Canada”. Will I make it all the way through or get distracted by some new shiny thing? My enthusiasm and attention are still intact, so perhaps I will.

We’ve got as far as fermentation in the brewing process:

“Fermentation: The wort is now moved to the fermenting vessels, and yeast, the jealously guarded central mystery of the ancient brewer's art, is added on the way. It is the yeast, these living, single-cell plants, which takes the sugar in the wort and breaks it down to carbon dioxide and alcohol.

There are many kinds of yeast, but that used in making beer is the Saccharomyces Cerevisiae. The brewer uses two types of this yeast, and depending on which is chosen, he produces ale or lager. One yeast type which rises to the top of the liquid at the completion of fermentation is used in brewing ale and stout. The other, which drops to the bottom of the brewing vessel, is used in brewing lager.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 32.

I don’t there were any surprises for us there. Pretty basic stuff, really. Were they really always top-fermenting beers labelled as Ale? It wouldn’t surprise me if they were bottom-fermented at breweries whose main focus was Lager.

This tells us a couple of things:

“In all modern breweries, elaborate precautions are taken to ensure that the yeast remains pure and unchanged. Through the use of pure yeast culture plants a particular beer flavor can be maintained year after year.

During the fermentation, which usually lasts seven days, the yeast may multiply tenfold, and in the open tank fermenters used for brewing ale a creamy, frothy head may be seen on top of the brew. When the fermentation is over the yeast is removed — by skimming off when it is a top fermentation (ale) or by pumping off the beer when it is a bottom fermentation (lager). Now, for the first time, the liquid is called beer.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, pages 32 - 33.

Namely that brewers used pure yeast cultures. Something that even today isn’t always the case in Britain. Adnams, as I found out last week when I was at the brewery, pitch two strains, both of which are needed to get the right flavour profile and the right degree of attenuation.

Seven days doesn’t sound right for either top- or bottom-fermentation. It’s too long for an Ale and too short for a Lager. If they were fermenting it at the right temperature. A week implies it was being fermented quite warm.

Finally something about the Canadian tax system:

“It is at the end of fermentation that the Canadian government makes its "excise dip" to determine the number of gallons on which taxes must be paid. The beer still has some weeks to go before it reaches the market, but the taxes must be paid immediately.”
"Brewing in Canada", Brewers Association of Canada, 1965, page 33.

This looks like the US system – a flat rate based solely on quantity, not on strength.

The system is still in use, but with a sliding scale for the first 75,000 hl.:

Excise Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. E-14)

Duties
•    170. (1) There shall be imposed, levied and collected on every hectolitre of beer or malt liquor the duties of excise set out in Part II of the schedule, which duties shall be paid to the collector as provided in this Act.
•    Marginal note:Wastage allowance
(2) Notwithstanding subsection (1), where beer or malt liquor is produced by a person licensed under section 168 to carry on the trade or business of a brewer, an allowance prescribed by the regulations shall be made for loss in production based on the duty assessed on the beer or malt liquor produced, but the allowance shall not exceed five per cent thereof.
Marginal note:Reduced rates — production
•    170.1 (1) With respect to the first 75,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada per year by a licensed brewer and any person related or associated with the brewer, there shall be imposed, levied and collected on each of those hectolitres the duties of excise set out in Part II.1 of the schedule, which duties shall be paid to the collector as provided in this Act, and section 170 does not apply to those hectolitres.
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-14/page-50.html#h-34

These are the duty rates which currently apply:

II.1 CANADIAN BEER
•    1. On the first 2,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $3.122 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.561 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $0.2591 per hectolitre.
•    2. On the next 3,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $6.244 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $3.122 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $0.5182 per hectolitre.
•    3. On the next 10,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $12.488 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $6.244 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.0364 per hectolitre.
•    4. On the next 35,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $21.854 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $10.927 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $1.8137 per hectolitre.
•    5. On the next 25,000 hectolitres of beer and malt liquor brewed in Canada,
o    (a) if it contains more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $26.537 per hectolitre;
o    (b) if it contains more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume but not more than 2.5% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $13.269 per hectolitre; and
o    (c) if it contains not more than 1.2% absolute ethyl alcohol by volume, $2.2024 per hectolitre.
http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/acts/E-14/page-72.html#h-58

This is a big change from the system in place at the start of the 20th century, when tax was levied on malt, not beer.

Next time we’ll be in the cellar.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Adnams beers in 1890

I’m getting on with trudging through the muddy field of Adnams brewing records while I retain my enthusiasm. You never know how long it will last.

Their beers, in terms of styles brewed, aren’t a million miles away from those of London. Mild Ale, Pale Ale, Old Ale and Stout. You’ve probably spotted the big omission: Porter. That doesn’t surprise me as Porter was rapidly going out of fashion in the provinces. It was only in London that the style retained considerable popularity.

There are a couple of irritations with these particular records. The lack of a fermentation record being the biggest. Despite there being a place for it in the form. Just too damn lazy to fill it out.

At least the mashing details are recorded. Two mashes, then two sparges, if you’re interested. First mash with a strike heat of around 160º F, second at 180º F. The volume of water is much large for the first, so I doubt the second is a complete mash, more like some sort of underlet mash. Sparges at 160º F and 170º F. The volume of water is much larger for the sparges, around 27 barrels, while the two mashes between them were only 8 to 10 barrels.

I suppose I should get on with the beer details. Great to see an AK in there to add to my collection.

Here’s the table:

Adnams beers in 1890
Date Beer Style OG lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl hops
26th Mar SS Stout 1062.6 6.00 1.67 Altmark and Sussex
2nd Apr XX Mild Ale 1043.8 10.00 1.80 Altmark and Sussex
3rd Apr Tally Ho Old Ale 1082.5 11.05 4.16 Boornants?, Worcester and Burgundy
8th Apr XXXX Mild Ale 1059.8 9.29 2.39 Burgundy and Sussex
9th Apr SS Stout 1065.4 7.10 2.02 Altmark and Sussex
15th Apr XXXX Mild Ale 1061.5 7.86 2.06 Skinner Kent and Bavarians
17th Apr PA Pale Ale 1058.2 14.29 3.70 Worcester and Kent
21st Apr AK Pale Ale 1047.1 10.91 2.20 Worcester and Kent
23rd Apr Tally Ho Old Ale 1085.9 11.05 4.38 Worcester, Kent and Burgundy
30th Apr XX Mild Ale 1044.3 10.00 1.83 Altmark and Skinner
1st May PA Pale Ale 1060.4 14.29 3.81 Worcester and Kent
6th May XXXX Mild Ale 1060.4 7.86 2.00 Hants, Skinner and Bavarian
14th May AK Pale Ale 1046.5 10.91 2.20 Clifford Kent, Worcester
15th May SS Stout 1064.3 5.81 1.65 Altmark and Sussex
5th Jun Tally Ho Old Ale 1086.4 11.05 4.50 Worcester, Kent and Burgundy
15th Aug SS Stout 1061.5 7.32 2.26 Altmark, Clifford and Re, P.
Source:
Adnams brewing records held at the brewery.

They’re an odd set. Why? Because some have the gravity I would expect, while others are way off.

XX is very weak for an 1890’s Mild Ale. Even X Ale I’d expect to be at least 1050º. Adnams XXXX is only about the strength of a London X Ale. The Stout is very weak by London standards. Closer to a Porter, in fact.

Time for another table to show you what I mean:

Whitbread beers in 1890
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl Pitch temp
19th Jul XK Ale 1069.0 1019.0 6.61 72.45% 8.02 2.46 60º
19th Jul X Mild 1060.9 1015.0 6.08 75.39% 8.02 2.18 60º
20th Oct FA Pale Ale 1054.8 1012.0 5.67 78.12% 11.01 2.73 57º
16th Jul 2PA Pale Ale 1055.4 1010.0 6.01 81.95% 11.69 2.99 57º
16th Jul PA Pale Ale 1060.1 1013.0 6.23 78.37% 11.69 3.25 57º
7th Nov KK Stock Ale 1075.3 1026.0 6.53 65.49% 14.27 4.88 57º
10th Mar 2KKK Stock Ale 1078.7 1029.0 6.57 63.14% 13.99 5.13 57º
10th Nov KKK Stock Ale 1085.6 1030.0 7.35 64.95% 14.16 5.76 57º
25th Jan P Porter 1057.1 1012.0 5.96 78.97% 9.74 2.07 60.5º
29th Jan SS Stout 1083.1 1025.0 7.69 69.92% 10.63 4.76 57º
29th Jan SSS Stout 1095.6 1037.0 7.75 61.28% 10.63 5.47 57º
Sources:
Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/056 and LMA/4453/D/09/084.

Adnams SS is barely stronger than Whitbread Porter. Yet Tally Ho is stronger than any of Whitbread’s Stock Ales and the PAs have almost identical gravities.

There’s something really, really fascinating in this set of Adnams records. Which is another piece in a particularly puzzling puzzle: when did Mild turn to the dark side? Something like this appears in most logs:

Judging by its position in the record, it looks like it was being added in the copper. It’s added to all the beers except PA and AK, the beers you would expect to be quite pale. Obviously it’s intended to darken the colour of the finished beer. I think this is some of the earliest evidence I have of Mild being deliberately darkened.

I doubt it was enough to turn the Milds dark brown, but enough to make them noticeably darker than the Pale Ales. Like I said, fascinating stuff.

I’ve 100 years of their records, so lots more to come.