Thursday, 24 April 2014

Hoare Porter 1870 - 1930

I realise that I've never paid that much attention to one of the great London Porter breweries: the Red Lion Brewery. It operated under several different names, but ended its days as Hoare & Co.

I think I understand some of the reasons why. First and foremost is that, unlike its 18th-century rivals Barclay Perkins, Whitbread and Truman, none of its brewing records survive. Fortunately, the brewery did hang around until the 1930's, which means I have details of plenty of their beers, courtesy of the Whitbread and Truman Gravity Books. Enough for several posts like this.

I'm going to start with the beer that made the Red Lion Brewery famous: Porter. It seems logical enough.

I'm lucky to have one analysis from the 19th-century. It looks pretty standard for that era: a gravity of 1050-something and about 75% attenuation.

Moving on to the 20th-century, I'm a bit surprised at how up and down the gravity is, ranging from 1031.9º to 1039.8º. Most Porter of the time were about in the middle of that, at 1034-37º.

For most of its life, Porter had about 75% attenuation. In the 18th century that was a pretty high rate of attenuation, better than most types of beer. It remained around that level through the 19th century, when other styles caught it up or even overtook it. That's why I'm shocked to see how poorly attenuated some of these samples are. Under 65% is lower than I would expect. In a couple of cases it looks like it's an attempt to compensate for a low OG.

Given the lowish degree of attenuation and modest gravity, it's only logical that the ABV hovers around the just about intoxicating level.

Hoare Porter 1870 - 1930
Year Beer Style Price size package Acidity FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation
1870 Porter Porter 1.5d pint draught 0.18 1013 1052.42 5.23 75.22%
1922 Porter Porter pint draught 1039.8
1922 Porter Porter pint draught 1036
1922 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1009.7 1033.7 3.11 71.22%
1922 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1011 1037.3 3.41 70.51%
1922 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1010.5 1035 3.17 70.00%
1922 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1010.8 1033.8 2.98 68.05%
1923 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1010.2 1034.2 3.11 70.18%
1923 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1011.7 1033.2 2.78 64.76%
1923 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1011.6 1032.6 2.71 64.42%
1923 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1009.8 1034.5 3.20 71.59%
1923 Porter Porter 6d pint draught 1008.4 1031.9 3.05 73.67%
1926 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 1039.8
1928 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 1013.4 1037.9 3.17 64.64%
1929 Porter Porter pint draught 1038.3
1929 Porter Porter pint draught 1038.2
1929 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 0.06 1009.2 1038.3 3.78 75.98%
1929 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 0.08 1009.6 1038.2 3.71 74.87%
1930 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 1010.8 1035 3.13 69.14%
1930 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 1009 1037 3.63 75.68%
1930 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 0.07 1006.6 1034 3.56 80.59%
1930 Porter Porter 5d pint draught 1010.2 1037 3.47 72.43%
Sources:
British Medical Journal June 25th 1870, page 658.
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

What Next? Stout, perhaps.

2 comments:

Chap said...

The brewery was owned between 1802 and 1933 by C. Hoare & Co, the private bank based since 1690 in Fleet Street, at the sign of the Golden Bottle (still above the door). The bank was founded in 1672 by Richard Hoare and is still owned and managed by his descendants, who recently published a book about the brewery. You probably knew all this anyway, but I noticed this invitation on the bank's website: “If you wish to request access to support historical research, please contact: archivist@hoaresbank.co.uk” It might make a change from the London Metropolitan Archives, and Fleet Street has a few reasonable pubs.

Ron Pattinson said...

Chap,

the ownership is a bit more complicated than that. The bank and the brewery were separate companies, though there were lots of links between the two in terms of loans and family relationships. I knew the bank was very old, if not quite matching the Red Lion Brewery.

That's interesting about the bank's archive. They must have some stuff relating to the brewery, if only about loans.

I've drunk on Fleet Street often. Ah for the days when the Wig and Pen Club had cask Truman's Mild!