Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1918 Kidd DA

Brewers got up to some weird shit during WW I. Especially when it came to extremely low-gravity beer.

Brewers were restricted both with regards to how much they could brew, and its strength. For them the Holy Grail was higher gravity beer, on which there were no price controls and was consequently more profitable.

This beer was originally brewed 5th April 1918, just a few days after new harsh regulations were introduce on 1st April:

“average gravity of all beer brewed shall not exceed 1030º for great Britain and 1045º for Ireland, and that no beer shall be brewed below 1010º: and prices fixed at 4d. per pint below 1030º, and 5d. per pint for 1030º to 1034º.”
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The goal was to brew enough beer below 1030º so that you could brew some above 1034º. This set of regulations were the first to specify a minimum OG for beer. That they bothered to set a limit as low as 1010º implies that brewers had been making weaker beers, incredible as that might sound.

The 145 barrels Kidd brewed of DA meant that they could brew 145 barrels of beer at 1045º, or a larger quantity at, say, 1036º.

Whitbread brewed a version of their GA that was even weaker than this, just 1011º. But that was a very weak parti-gyle of conventionally-brewed GA. Whereas I wouldn’t really count Kidd DA as a beer as it contains no malt, being brewed from just sugar and hops.

It’s a bit of a weird devil. It’s hardly fermented, which I guess was deliberate to leave some body. They achieved the low attenuation, I believe, by keeping the fermentation cool. It was pitched at 59º and the temperature dropped a little to 58.5º F. Believe it or not, it fermented for 5 days. It was also massively underpitched. Kidd usually pitched 70-80 lbs of yeast for a brew of this size. DA received just 12 lbs.

1918 Kidd DA
glucose 2.00 lb 91.95%
cane sugar 0.13 lb 5.75%
caramel 2000 L 0.05 lb 2.30%
Fuggles 30 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.01 oz
OG 1015
FG 1012
ABV 0.40
Apparent attenuation 20.00%
IBU 15
Mash at n/a
Sparge at n/a
Boil time 30 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


StuartP said...

That's just cruel.

Chris said...

Wow, could they even call that beer? No malt at all?

A Brew Rat said...

I like it. Near beer for the gluten intolerant.

John said...

Interesting. My brewing knowledge is tiny bit I've got it in my head that the malt played an important part in extracting the bitterness from the hops. Also, with malt DMS to drive off, and only hop additions at 30 mins the boil time is a mystery to me.

Not that I'm saying I would turn it down if it was the only thing on offer at the bar!

Barm said...

It might possibly have been profitable to brew some “beer” at 1.002 or something and give it away or pour it down the drain, if that allowed you to brew more at a higher gravity. I think that is probably the reason for the ban on brewing anything below 1.010.

CD said...

I predict this will become the next trendy beer style. The BJCP had better add a category for 'partially fermented sugar water'.

DryLion said...

What's the point in the 90 minute boil if there is no malt and the first hop addition is at 30 minutes? Surely they would have got the same product for a lower cost with a 30 minute boil and less water?

Ron Pattinson said...


that's a mistake. I don't really know anything about the boil. I assume that they must have boiled, otherwise why have the hops?

J. Karanka said...

As barn mentions, I think the 1.010 is more to avoid brewers playing the system. This beer looks like a cheat as well. With no malt you don't need to mash, boil for long or dispose of grains. You save time and fuel and still meet the quota to brew stronger beer. They should have specified a minimum malt quota!