Friday, 31 May 2013

Export Pale Ale Brewing in 1903 (part one)

I'm so pleased to have access to the all the back issues of the Journal of the Institute of Brewing. There are so many useful articles. And not just about the two World Wars. There are also detailed descriptions of methods of brewing various types of beer: Belgian low-gravity stuff, Lager and, most interestingly, Export Pale Ale.

The date it was written is significant: 1903. That's just about when the Export markets from British Pale Ales were being swept away by a tide of Lager. And also before the drop in gravity caused by WW I and the massive changes to British brewing that entailed. It captures the tradition of brewing Export Pale Ale, just before it disappeared.

The article begins with some comments of clarity and fining.

"In the first place: In brewing for the class of ale referred to, the main point to be borne in mind is soundness. The question, which in the production of certain classes of beer is a very troublous one, namely, will this ale drop bright in twenty-four hours, need not here concern us. It will be found that if treated in the proper way subsequently, there need be no anxiety on the question of brightening. If a cablegram be received, "Delivery per such and such a vessel, all tart," the brewer cannot offer to see it or change it, and he will probably look up the records in the brewing room, but if confident of the soundness, he is not likely to be worried much, for export ale customers do not expect these ales to be like a fined ale, but give their ales in cask a reasonable time to brighten spontaneously, which they will do if there is no disease of greyness."
Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, Volume 9, Issue 2, 1903, page 147.

One of the big differences between Running Pale Ales and Stock Pale Ales was the use of finings. Running beers, which were meant to be consumed soon after racking, were fined so that they would drop bright quickly in the pub cellar. Basically these were beers like modern cask Ales, and were handled in a very similar way. Stock Pale Ales, which were left in trade casks for extended periods of time - possibly as long as 12 months - were expected to become crystal clear without the need for any finings. As the beer didn't need to be turned around quickly, giving it time to clear itself wasn't a problem.

Next best type of malt to use is discussed:

"In considering the question of the malt to be used, I must say, I prefer no substitutes for brewing the class of ale under consideration, and have proved to my own satisfaction that where the ale has to stand a severe test, such as a high temperature for a lengthened period, an all malt ale will certainly stand it better, given the right sort of malt, than that brewed with a proportion of substitutes. The malt I use I prefer to have seen malted myself, so that I may know its history on the floor, kiln, and store, and I think the best plan is to set aside as much as you may require in your best bins from those floors which, while tender, has gone to the kiln without any trace of mould. In the curing I like to go as high as the colour of the ale required will allow me to go. If you are brewing a light bulk export ale of 1050° you can, as you can readily see, go to a fairly high temperature, without much risk, but if it is to be for an ale of 1060º or so, you must watch your colour, at the same time I do not like any taste of rawness, and if the malt gets a full 48 hours, at a temperature of from 180º to 190º, with very little draught going, it should suffice."
Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, Volume 9, Issue 2, 1903, page 147 - 148.

In the 19th century it was fairly common for brewers to have their own maltings, but Pale Ale specialists like those in Burton invariably made their own malt. Partly for the reason mentioned: colour. Pale Ale brewers wanted a beer as pale as possible, which is why, despite the author's insistence on the superiority of an all-malt grist, most used a proportion of brewing sugar. Note the distinction made between light Pale Ale of 1050º and the stronger type at 1060º. In the lower-gravity type getting a pale enough colour wouldn't have been as much of a problem, due to the smaller quantity of malt used. It was only after WW I, when the gravity of most standard Bitters fell below 1050º that brewers started to darken them either with caramel colouring or crystal malt, though the latter wasn't common until after ww II.

"I like a blend of long foreign in the malt, but the amount will naturally vary with the quality of the home varieties one is using. This season one cannot find a great deal of choice English, but I think the Hungarian or Palatinate makes a good blend with a Californian or sound Smyrna malt."
Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing, Volume 9, Issue 2, 1903, page 148 - 149.

This sort of mix of malt from home-grown and foreign barley was typical of pretty much all British beers, but was especially true of Pale Ales. The reason was simple: brewers thought that foreign barley, especially Californian helped produce a clear beer. It was all to do with the amount of permanently soluble nitrogen, which was around 50% lower in malt from Californian barley.

I've found a really good example, albeit a few years earlier, of the difference between a domestic and an export Pale Ale. It's from Truman's brewery in Burton. In 1887, just a few days apart, they brewed P2 and P2 Export.

1887 Truman P2 and P2 Export
Date Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl pale malt sugar malt hops
24th Jan 1887 P2 1062.0 1017.7 5.86 71.43% 14.63 4.00 96.69% 3.31% various English Californian, Kent and Worcester hops
27th Jan 1887 P2 export 1057.9 1018.3 5.24 68.42% 20.27 4.84 100.00% 0.00% "own make" Kent and Worcester hops
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number B/THB/BUR/11

You can see that there are some clear differences between the two beers. The Export is not just all malt, all the malt was made by Truman themselves. The domestic P2 has malt from three different English maltsters (including Gilstrap of Newark). The hopping was different, too, with more and better-quality hops in the export version. All the hops it used were from the 1886 season, while the domestic version had 50% from the 1885 season, including some cheaper Californian hops.

You may be surprised that the export version had a lower OG. That wasn't unusual pre-WW I. It's only after the war, when the gravity of beers for domestic consumption had been drastically reduced, the export beers became stronger. Not that their strength had changed, it hadn't. They remained at their pre-war gravity.

Thursday, 30 May 2013

How bitter was early Kölsch?

Someone asked me the other day if Kölsch had become less bitter over the years. My guess was that it had, but that's all it was, a guess. At the weekend, purely by chance, I stumbled on some evidence to back up my guess.

It comes from a very odd source: a report of a trip of British brewers to the Brewers' Exhibition in Berlin in 1908. It seems that on their way back, the party called in Cologne and visited a couple of breweries. The date is very important as it's about the time Kölsch first appreared.

This definitely sounds like a description of a Kölsch Brauhaus:

"On our arrival at Cologne, the friends who met us there informed us that they could not offer us the inspection of large breweries such as we should have soon in Berlin and other parts, but they had many small breweries, and, if of interest, they would arrange for us to look over any of them.

We were taken to a small brewery, known as the Obergahriges Restaurant Brewery, which had been working about two years, and whose beers at the moment were exceedingly popular in the town. It was a large restaurant brewing its own beer; behind the restaurant was a model brewing plant, with everything nicely arranged, covering a space of 100 feet square; the whole plant had been erected at a cost of £2000.

The beer was produced on the top-fermenting system: it was fermented for four days, then run into the lagers and stored for eight weeks, afterwards chilled and filtered, and served up in the usual way. Its gravity was 17 lb., and we again noticed the pronounced hop flavour which finds such ready appreciation with Germans. The whole of the brewery production was sold in the restaurant (at the time of our visit, about 12.30 in the day, we found 200 customers there), and, as far as I could ascertain, their trade was not less than 100 English barrels per week, to us a large and remarkable trade for one restaurant. We were told, much to our surprise, that the majority of the restaurants brewed their own beer."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 14, Issue 1, January-February 1908, pages 50-51.
 Top-fermented, then lagered cold. That's spot on for Kölsch. 17 lbs per barrel is 1047º - which also sounds right for Kölsch. 100 barrels a week is around 50,000 5,000 barrels a year. A pretty impressive amount for a single pub. "Served up in the usual way" implies some sort of pressure dispense rather than directly from the barrel by gravity. Odd, as every Brauhaus I know in modern Cologne serves from the barrel.

Note how the restaurant had only been open two years. Bang on when Kölsch was born. Just a shame he didn't tell us its real name. Obergahriges Restaurant Brewery is clearly just a description of what the place was, not its actual name.

Thankfully, there's a description of how the beer tasted: "pronounced hop flavour". Sounds to me that Kölsch was definitely bitterer back then.

Strange that the author should be so surprised at restaurants brewing their own beer when there were still thousands of British pubs that brewed. In 1912 there were 2,663 publican brewers*.

The other brewery sounds particularly odd:

"We also visited a still smaller brewery, connected with a small restaurant resembling the home brewery attached to the licensed house, frequently found in this country. The proprietor informed us that he was only able to brew during the winter months, but he brewed sufficient then to carry him through the summer. In his case he brewed with bottom-yeast, and he was able to carry through his fermentation successfully at about 50° F. When the beer had gone through its course of fermentation, it was filled into lagers of 12 to 15 English barrel capacity, and removed to the town cellars, where large quantities of beer were stored for small brewers, and the casks were taken out one at a time as required.

It will be noticed that the small brewer was maturing his lager at cellar temperature, viz., 52° (a high temperature in comparison with the large breweries), and I was astonished to find he was able to do without an expensive ice plant, and still produce a beer which I considered equal to any lager I had tasted; it had the pronounced hop flavour, and was very pleasant and refreshing, although perhaps a little too bitter. His trade, he informed me, was from 10 to 15 barrels per week. This was also the only case where I found the boiling of wort done by fire in place of steam."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 14, Issue 1, January-February 1908, page 51.
I'm very surprised that a small pub brewery was using bottom-fermenting yeast. Especially with the relatively high fermentation temperature of 50º F.  And didn't Cologne have a Reinheitsgebot that forbad bottom fermentation?

I'd never heard of beer being stored in town cellars in Cologne. I wonder when that died out?

If a British brewer complained about a beer being too bitter, it must have been damned bitter. All British beers were hopped like crazy before WW I. I would claim this as more proof of Kölsch once being bitterer, except this obviously wasn't a Kölsch, being bottom-fermented. What would you call this beer? A Lager?

* 1928 Brewers' Almanack, page 118.

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

War damage (part two)

Southwark on the south bank of the river in London was badly hit by air raids in 1940. The damage they caused had a big impact on the brewing industry, mostly indirectly.

Southwark was home to two large breweries, Barclay Perkins and Courage, and several smaller ones. In September, right at the start of the bombing campaign against London, The Barclay Perkins brewery was hit several times, causing considerable damage to brewing equipment. These entries are found on the first page of the brewing book then in use:

Sept. 11th 1940 Bomb in Park St. outside Engineers Office. Boiler House closed. No Liquor.
Sept. 16th/17th 1940 Bomb through Porter Side No. 1 ?? M.T.
Sept. 29th/30th 1940 Bomb through Ale Side No.'s 3, 4, 5 & 6 M.T.s, No's 3, 4, & 5 Cop., Ale side Hop Back all destroyed.
Source: Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/01/623.
M.T. presumably stands for mash tun and Cop for copper. Which means on September 29th/30th 1940 3 mash tuns, 3 coppers and a hop back were destroyed. They must have been both difficult and expensive to replace.

So much for direct damage. Southwark's role in the hop trade led to the most indirect impact of the bombing on brewing. It was the centre of hop trading and a large percentage of the Kent crop was warehoused there. Why were the hops stored in London when it was known that it was liable to attack? As the following quote shows, there was no other realistic option at the time:

"Great efforts were made to distribute the pockets of the 1940 crop which had been sent to London and stocks of brewers hops which were lying in London, but so many obstacles stood in the way that a comparatively small quantity was despatched to the breweries and many were destroyed by enemy raids which culminated in the great attack on 29th December, 1940. It is calculated that over 60,000 pockets of the new crop, that is, over a third of the crop, were destroyed. In addition, large quantities of hops of all dates waiting order in London shared the same fate. Moreover, some hops were destroyed in the breweries that were bombed. Naturally, there was great indignation against the powers-that-be for allowing so many pockets to be brought up to London. In fairness to them it should be stated that the only place where a large quantity of hops could be properly dealt with was London. There, only, were to be found adequate warehouses, warehouse staffs, showrooms and office staffs who have been trained for the work."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 48, Issue 1, January-February 1942, Page 13.
A hop pocket weighs between 1.5 and 3 cwts, making the quantity destroyed 90,000 - 120,000 cwt. In 1940 the British harvest was 270,500 cwts.*, meaning there really was at least a third of the crop destroyed. Coupled with a ban on the importation of hops, this left a huge shortfall in the supply of hops.

But not every brewery was affected. What followed was the type of cooperation that typified Britain's war effort:

"The loss of hops fell unevenly, some brewers did not lose a single pocket, others in varying degrees had hops on which they had the call, destroyed. Some brewers had only a few weeks stock left. To deal with this situation the Brewers' Society, on the 27th January, issued a form at the request of the Minister of Food requiring brewers to make a return of hops held by them or at their disposal, on the 1st February. On the returns submitted a redistribution of stocks was made. Brewers with over twelve months stock were asked to give up hops to those who were short, so that everyone would have enough to carry on until 31st December, 1941. The most needy brewers were dealt with first. No less than 9,207 pockets were transferred and the whole transfer was carried out by the Brewers' Society in an excellent manner. Special thanks are due to those brewers who gave up part of their valued stocks to help those who had suffered."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 48, Issue 1, January-February 1942, Page 13.

This is just one example of how breweries cooperated to ease wartime difficulties. The pooling of beer - supplying the pubs of rival brewers - is another. This helped save on transport by sending beer shorter distances.

* Brewers' Almanack 1955, page 63.

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

War damage

As well as the indirect effects of the war - shortages in raw materials, lack of manpower, limits in the amount of fuel available - there were rather more direct ones in the form of German bombs.

It's hard to imagine now, but the centre and East of London used to contain many large breweries. Some of the largest in the country, in fact. Only Burton had larger establishments. In 1940 London breweries were bang in the firing line when the Luftwaffe began its bombing campaign against the capital in September 1940.

There was good and bad news for breweries. On the down side, they were full of things like hops and barrels that would burn really nicely. But, the larger ones, precisely because they were so full of flammable stuff, had their own fire brigades.

Whitbread lost most of their cask staves and hops in one raid:

"The porter tun room is dated "S.W. Jnr. 1774." This building, although hit several times by incendiary bombs, still survives. The hop loft was dated 1790, but this and several adjacent buildings were completely gutted by enemy action. During a particularly heavy air raid the hops got alight and the adjoining cask timber staves caught fire as well. Both burned furiously, and we lost forty-six thousand pounds' worth of hops and eleven thousand pounds' worth of staves."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 49, Issue 1, January-February 1943, Page 3.
One of the reasons Britain was comparatively well-prepared for air attack was that it had already endured one bombing campaign. It's often forgotten how much damage Zeppelins and Gotha bombers caused during WW I.

"During the air raids of 1914-18 our neighbours were admitted to the cellars, but only when the official warning was given and no sleeping accommodation was provided."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 49, Issue 1, January-February 1943, Page 3.
Of course, the WW II bombing campaign was of a different magnitude. December 1940 seems to have been particularly bad. Whitbread's Chiswell Street brewery was hit again:

"During this war more elaborate accommodation has been made. Many of our own employees whose homes had been bombed made this their temporarily permanent sleeping quarters for their families as well as themselves. On more than one occasion these men responded to the call for volunteers to help our own fire brigade. On the night of 29th December, 1940, we experienced our worst raid, and the following morning telephone, gas and electric current were cut off, and the water supply reduced to a trickle. The premises were isolated, and access to the brewery could only be made by a track up Whitecross Street, which itself ended in a large bomb crater. No beer was sent out on that black Monday. On the Tuesday we sent out 682 barrels. On the Wednesday normal deliveries had been resumed. On Thursday we were able to mash once more, but our anxieties were not over because a fire was discovered to have started in a malt bin which contained over a thousand quarters, and for several days—while the hops smouldered on the north side—a thousand quarters of malt were burning on the south side. The fire was prevented from spreading to the other bins. So far we have lost no lives, and in spite of numerous rumours to the contrary, all the horses were saved."
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 49, Issue 1, January-February 1943, Page 3.
You can imagine the disruption caused by utilities being cut off. A brewery can't operate without large supplies of water. Then there's the damage to the buildings and equipment and the destruction of raw materials. The combination of all those factors must have made life very difficult.

Then there's the financial loss. £46,000 in hops, £11,000 in staves and about £3,000 in malt (a quarter of malt cost around £3). That's £60,000 in total, quite a sum of money when a pint of beer cost less than a shilling (5p).

The Whitbread Porter log has this entry on the 9th September 1940 brew:

Air Raid Warnings: 5:15 pm to 6:25 pm And 8:40 pm to 5:45 am.
It shows bombs didn't need to actually fall on a brewery for its operations to be interrupted.

I think I should give Whitbread's brewing books for 1940 another look to see if there's anything else mentioned about the bombing.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Twenty five years ago today

I got married in Eisenach. I can remember the day like it was twenty four years and eleven months ago.

Where's the beer angle? We'll get to that.

I'll tell you a little about the day first.

The ceremony was all a bit of a mystery to me. Seeing as it was in German a languge which, at the time, I didn't understand. I have some nice photos of the cermony somewhere. Taken by a photographer we hadn't ordered. That's the sort of thoughtful people the DDR authorities were, making sure there was someone there to record the event for posterity

The ride from registry office to the receptionwas particularly swanky, in a saggy bendy bus. At least it had room for the whole party inside. Party being the right word. Little Dave had thoughfully nipped to a kiosk while we were waiting for the bus and came back with a handful of impulse schnapps.

A half dozen of my friends and family were staying at my in-laws house for a few days around the wedding. My father-in-law had bought in a barrel of Wartburg Pils, but was worried that we would never get through it. Early in the evening of the wedding day, we finished off the second barrel of Wartburg,ordered in emergency after the first ran out in just two days.

Lindenhof (see photo above) was just over the road and the only pub in the district open at that time of day. Great idea - we nip over there and buy a couple of crates of beer. After all, this is the DDR and the price of a crate in a pub is the same as in a supermarket. Even in a country where I had learnt to love the charming drabness of the surroundings, Lindenhof was drably charmless. The landlord - a scruffy, miserable git in the best tradition of publicans totally unsuited for their profession - soon disappointed us: they had no bottled beer. About the only drinks available were draught pils and doppelkorn (and I suppose tap water, though I wouldn't have bet my left shoe on them having running water that was drinkable). What a dilemna: beer a mere 50 metres away from a happy group of revellers, but nothing to transport it in. Suddenly someone - I can't remember who, but he was a man of genius - suggested we fetch a bucket and put 10 litres of draught beer in it.

Bar staff could be a fickle bunch in the DDR. Moving a chair from one table to another could be considered as a capital offence. I was once scolded by a waitress for reading a book at the table. Yet being asked to pull 20 beers and tip them into a bucket was seen as a perfectly reasonable request. If you want to appreciate what I mean by this, try doing the same in your local pub. Go in with a bucket and ask them to fill it with beer. I bet you that they won't act as nonchalantly as this bloke did.

We polished off those 10 litres pretty sharpish. Long before even the notoriously unstable Wartburg Pils could go flat or sour. Happy memories. And not just of buckets of beer.

UK barley production 1857 - 1927

Here's a new topic for me: barley. I've written plenty about malt before, but not about the stuff it's made from.

I was going to try to see what percentage of the malt used in Britain was made from foreign barley. Then I remembered something rather important: barley wasn't just used for making beer. A fair amount of the barley available in Britain was used for animal feed. Working out how much imported barley was used in malting is impossible using the figures I have.

What got me thinking about barley was a quote from the Journal of the Institute of Brewing that I published a few days ago. Written in 1917, it pointed out how the price for barley in Scotland was 20 shillings a quarter higher than the highest price of the previous 100 years.

This is that information in table form, with years of peak prices from the 19th century along with 1916-1917:

The price of barley in Scotland
year price per quarter
1818 54s. 11d.
1824 41s.
1846 41s. 4d.
1850 40s. 6d.
1860 40s. 5d.
1873 42s. 1d.
Sept. 1916 62s.
Dec. 1916 78s.
Feb. 1917 74s. to 76s.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 23, Issue 3, May-June 1917, pages 180-181.

The table below covers rather more years, straddling WW I. It shows that UK barley production peaked in 1890 at over 36 million cwts., declining to around 30 million cwts. on the eve of WW I. During the war, production dropped to under 25 million cwts. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this fall in UK production, coupled with a big drop in imports would cause a shortage of barley. You can see that in 1914 barley imports were about 50% lower than in 1910.

If you're wondering why I've two different sets of figures for 1915, it's because they come from different sources. The rows with price columns are taken from the Brewers' Almanack, those without from the Journal of the Institute of Brewing. I've no idea why the numbers are so different from the two sources.

By 1920 domestic barley production was back up to its pre-war level of around 30 million cwts., the rise presumably due to the increase in acreage dedicated to barley. Later in the 1920's output fell to just over 20 million cwts.

The 89 shilling per quarter barley cost in 1920 shows how the price continued to rise through the war.  The price fell back again later in the 1920's to 30-40 shillings per quarter, but that was higher than the immediate pre-war price of under 25 shillings.

Barley imports were a bit up and down in the 1920's, but I know from other figures that they stabilised at around 20 million cwts. in the 1930's.

These fluctuations in price and quantity available must have made life very difficult for maltsters and brewers during WW I and just after.

UK barley acreage, produce, price and imports 1857 - 1927
Year ended Dec. 31. Acreage. Estimated Product Quarters (400 lbs.). Estimated Product cwts. Average Price per Quarter.  Average Price per cwt.  Barley. Imports.
s. d. s. d. Cwts.
1857 -- -- 42 1 11 9 6,076,679
1860 -- -- 36 7 10 3 7,545,932
1870 2,371,739 -- 34 7 9 8 7,217,369
1880 2,695,000 5,408,376 19,315,629 33 1 9 3 11,705,290
1890 2,300,994 10,099,190 36,068,536 28 8 8 0 16,677,988
1900 2,172,129 8,568,286 30,601,021 24 11 7 0 17,189,358
1910 1,899,130 7,880,562 28,144,864 23 3 6 6 18,281,500
1913 1,980,046 8,204,066 29,300,236
1914 1,871,166 8,066,678 28,809,564
1915 1,624,816 5,862,244 20,936,586 37 2 10 5 12,291,685
1915 1,522,646 6,802,244 24,293,729
1916 1,651,874 6,612,660 23,616,643
1920 2,049,306 8,212,000 29,328,571 89 3 25 0 12,667,700
1922 1,691,007 6,664,350 23,801,250 39 11 11 2 12,703,275
1923a 1,485,604 6,154,400 21,980,000 33 8 9 5 18,129,280
1924a 1,465,660 6,400,800 22,860,000 46 9 13 1 21,656,359
1925a 1,470,731 6,456,800 23,060,000 42 0 11 9 15,779,162
1926a 1,269,959 5,740,000 20,500,000 36 11 10 4 11,550,617
1927a 1,166,295 5,353,600 19,120,000 42 0 11 9 16,502,710
a Great Britain only.
Journal of the Institute of Brewing, Volume 23, Issue 3, May-June 1917, page 182.
1928 Brewers' Almanack, page 119.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Hop usage in WW II

I can't help checking things, when I have the information available. There's something from yesterday's post that I just had to check.

I'll remind you, in case you've forgotten already:

"Consumption of hops by brewers was cut in June, 1941, under instructions of the Ministry of Food, by 20% of the rate used per standard barrel."
1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.

I've enough WW II brewing records to be able to check this easily enough.Through the medium of Whitbread and Barclay Perkins.

Let's start with Whitbread. There's something you wouldn't expect. Taking into account its lower gravity, their Mild was more heavily hopped than their Bitter. Now isn't that weird? Even after the hopping rate had been knocked down by 26%, the Mild was still more heavily hopped than the Bitter.

It looks to me as if Whitbread has reduced its overall hop usage by 20%, but not evenly across all their beers.  In 1939, Whitbread brewed 232,453 barrels of Mild and 51,643 barrels of Bitter. That's a ratio of more than four to one. If you take into account the different quantity of each brewed, the reduction comes out to almost bang on 20%. As this table demonstrates:

beer barrels hops lb/brl lbs hops used total hops used PA and XX % decrease in hops used
PA 50,740 1.11 56,321
XX 232,453 0.98 227,804 284,125
PA 50,740 1 50,740
XX 232,453 0.76 176,664 227,404 19.96%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/107 and LMA/4453/D/01/108

Now let's turn our attention to Barclay Perkins. I'll be honest. I can make no sense out of their numbers. For four of their beers - A, BS, LS and X - the hopping rate increased. Only IPA and KK and the rate decreased. As their biggest seller, X Ale, had its rate go up by almost 30%, I can see no way it could have been compensated for by a big drop in another beer. I have no explanation for this.

Whitbread hopping rates
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl hops lb. standard barrel % decrease lb/standard brl
6th Feb 1941 PA Pale Ale 1042.9 1015.0 3.69 65.03% 6.54 1.11 1.43
11th Oct 1941 PA Pale Ale 1042.5 1011.5 4.10 72.94% 5.62 1.00 1.29 9.76%
1st Feb 1941 XX Mild 1029.7 1008.5 2.80 71.38% 8.10 0.98 1.82
10th Oct 1941 XX Mild 1031.2 1009.0 2.94 71.15% 6.38 0.76 1.34 26.26%
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number LMA/4453/D/01/108

Barclay Perkins hopping rates
Date Year Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl hops lb. standard barrel % decrease lb/ standard brl
11th Apr 1941 A Mild 1028.7 1008.0 2.74 72.12% 5.00 0.56 1.08
13th Jul 1942 A Mild 1027.3 1007.0 2.69 74.36% 5.62 0.67 1.34 -24.09%
4th Jun 1941 BS Stout 1044.7 1015.0 3.92 66.41% 6.00 1.04 1.28
25th Jun 1942 BS Stout 1041.4 1015.0 3.49 63.77% 6.40 1.26 1.68 -30.86%
1st May 1941 IPA (bottling) IPA 1036.9 1007.5 3.89 79.69% 6.00 1.00 1.49
7th May 1942 IPA (bottling) IPA 1031.3 1007.0 3.21 77.64% 5.61 0.74 1.31 12.23%
17th Apr 1941 KK (trade) Strong Ale 1051.4 1015.0 4.81 70.80% 7.50 2.07 2.22
11th May 1942 KK (trade) Strong Ale 1043.3 1012.0 4.14 72.29% 6.76 1.22 1.55 29.81%
8th Apr 1941 LS Stout 1040.5 1015.0 3.37 62.97% 6.00 0.97 1.32
13th May 1942 LS Stout 1033.5 1012.0 2.84 64.18% 6.00 0.88 1.45 -9.70%
10th Apr 1941 X Mild 1031.8 1007.0 3.28 77.96% 5.00 0.63 1.09
11th Jul 1942 X Mild 1028.7 1007.5 2.80 73.87% 5.60 0.73 1.39 -28.05%
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number ACC/2305/1/624.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Mild! plus Kindle version

May is almost over. I'd best grasp the last chance to push my book about Mild before the month is done.

As I'm sure you already know, the niftily-titled "Mild! plus" is the definitive guide to all things Mild, pissing on the chips of any other tome on the topic. It's packed full of all the fun stuff I specialise in: numbers, tables, historic beer recipes and even a few original words. It's the book ever Mild lover has to own.

An now it's available in Kindle form. Honestly, after the all the pissing about it took get the bloody thing loaded into Kindle, I'd have though a few of you would have been polite enough to buy it.

So go on, buy "Mild! plus", you bastards. Idon't want to have gone to all that trouble for nothing.

Hop imports 1926 - 1954

In my last post about hop imports, Martyn Cornell commented about the import duty placed on hops after WW I. I just stumbled upon a few more details about the duty and thought I'd share them with you.

The background to this is that the changes in brewing caused by WW I - in particular the reduction in beer gravity - greatly depressed the demand for hops. Meaning that for the first time in 60 or 70 years Britain could grow almost enough hops for its own needs.

Another drop in gravity caused by WW II left Britain effectively self-sufficient in hops. Quite a turnaround from the situation before WW I.

"A duty of £4 per cwt. on imported Hops, with a preference of one-third to Dominion hops, was imposed as from 16th August, 1925, for four years, in order to tide the hop industry over a difficult period at the end of Hop Control, and in 1929, 1933, 1937, 1941, 1945, 1949 and 1953 the duty was reimposed for further like periods. In 1929, the duty on hop oil, which was previously charged on the quantity of hops used in its manufacture, was altered to a fixed rate of £ per oz.

In order not to handicap the home brewer, a countervailing duty was placed on imported beer. Since 1933 this has been at the rate of 10d. per bulk barrel, and is included in the rate of duty on imported beer. There is also a Customs drawback at the rate of 10d. per bulk barrel on beer exported.

During the war of 1939-45 the production of hops was restricted to the 1939 acreage until in 1943 a permissive increase was made to 20,000 acres and in 1945 to 22,500 acres. It will be seen that in fact this total was reached in 1948. Consumption of hops by brewers was cut in June, 1941, under instructions of the Ministry of Food, by 20%. of the rate used per standard barrel. This cut ceased to operate in 1947, and given a good crop the English production is sufficient to cover 12 months' requirements without imported hops, under present circumstances. The quantity of foreign hops entered for home consumption and the total net receipts from this duty, as shown by the Customs and Excise Report, have been as follows, for years ending 31st March :"
1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.
"Home brewer" doesn't mean someone brewing in his kitchen in this context. It refers to commercial breweries in Britain, as opposed to foreign ones.

Here's the table that followed the text:

Hop and hop product imports 1926 - 1954
Year ended 31st March Hops Hop Oil Hop Extracts. Essences, and similar Preparations Net Receipts from Duty
Cwt. Oz. Oz. £
1926 29,599 t 1,951 117,507
1927 44,547 t 175 173,558
1928 82,307 t 56 317,135
1929 74,023 t 1,391 290,039
1930 52,310 14 4,364 206,010
1931 40,228 8 668 159,432
1932 53,184 32 379 210,827
1933 11,004 10 5,762 42,848
1934 44,281 72 169,325
1935 42,411 212 163,499
1936 35,554 88 138,349
1937 29,839 105 600 115,437
1938 45,336 125 487 177,660
1939 44,056 101 170,930
1940 2,024 72 7,860
1941 11,055 32 42,009
1942 171 161 24,392 883
1943 3,254 684 7,712 13,669
1944 134 100 209,152 1,479
1945 30 967,061 4,413
1946 563 3,558,892 18,118
1947 26,928 1,424,748 113,937
1948 7,766 30,710
1949 §174 —738
1950 198 798
1951 §295 -1,172
1952 439 1,749
1953 418 656 1,675
1954 1,560 6,230
t Included under Hop Extracts in these years
§ Excess of Drawbacks.
1955 Brewers' Almanack, page 64.

It's revealing to have hop extract included, as there was a sudden surge in imports of it around the end of WW II. Not sure why that was. But I guess hop oil extract took up far less room on ships.