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05-11-2013, 08:38
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I've told you many times what a deeply lazy person I am. Here's proof. I've chosen to do the simplest of Whitbread's other styles first. The Strong Ales, because there are only a hadnful of examples.

Here's a funny thing. in the 1940's and 1950's Burton was one of the standard draught beers in London pubs. Whitbread was a very London brewery. But unless I've missed them in the logs, Whitbread didn't brew one for much of that period. Let me just check something . . .

Just taken a look at what I could find in my table of beer details from varous Gravity Books. Sure enough, there are examples of Whitbread's KKKK from years where I didn't find any in the brewing records. There are two explanations: either I missed them in the brewing records or they were brewed somewwhere other than Chiswell Street. My guess is that I missed them. I think it's fair to say that KKKK was probably brewed until at least 1960.

We're looking at two different beers: draught Burton (XXXX and KKKK) and a bottled Strong Ale Final Selection (FSA). Sometime around 1950 Whitbread bumped up the gravity of XXXX and changed its name to KKKK. Strange that. It should really be KK. Though they weren't the only Londone brewer to call their Burton. Mann and Watney did, too.




Whitbread Strong Ales 1946 - 1973


Date
Year
Beer
OG
FG
ABV
App. Atten-uation
lbs hops/ qtr
hops lb/brl
boil time (hours)
boil time (hours)
Pitch temp
length of fermentation (days)
colour


25th Jan
1946
XXXX
1043.3
1008.5
4.60
80.37%
5.75
1.07
1
1
62º
6
15 + 40


1st Feb
1946
XXXX
1043.3
1010.0
4.41
76.91%
5.75
1.08
1
1.25
62º
7
21 + 40


14th Nov
1958
KKKK
1050.5
1011.5
5.16
77.23%
7.75
1.68
1
1.5
62º
7
125


4th Feb
1959
KKKK
1051.9
1014.5
4.95
72.06%
7.50
1.56
1
0.75
62º
6
130


2nd Mar
1960
KKKK
1051.8
1016.0
4.74
69.11%
7.50
1.56
1
1.25
62º
7
135


30th Jul
1968
FSA
1079.6
1012.4
8.89
84.42%
6.88
2.35
1.25

58º
8
105


6th Aug
1968
FSA
1079.6
1013.4
8.76
83.17%
6.74
2.22
1.75

58º
8
100


3rd Jun
1970
FSA
1079.1
1009.7
9.18
87.74%
4.81
1.67
1
1.5
64º
8
110


20th May
1970
FSA
1079.8
1009.8
9.26
87.72%
4.78
1.69
2.75

64º
8
115


24th Jun
1970
FSA
1079.8
1007.8
9.53
90.23%
4.78
1.66
3

64º
8
110


15th Dec
1971
FSA
1079.8
1011.0
9.10
86.22%
4.48
1.55
2.25

64º
8
115


12th Jul
1972
FSA
1079.8
1011.3
9.06
85.84%
4.44
1.50
2
2
64º
8
115


27th Jun
1973
FSA
1079.6
1011.8
8.97
85.18%
4.69
1.58
2
2
64º
8
110


Sources:


Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/113, LMA/4453/D/01/126, LMA/4453/D/01/127, LMA/4453/D/01/137, LMA/4453/D/09/140 and LMA/4453/D/09/141.



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Whitbread Strong Ales 1948 - 1954


Year
Beer
Price
size
package
Acidity
FG
OG
colour
ABV
App. Atte-nuation


1948
Strong Ale

pint
bottled

1012
1045.5

4.35
73.63%


1949
Strong Ale
20d
pint
draught


1046.67
104




1951
KKKK
1/11d
pint
draught


1053.5





1951
KKKK
1/11d
pint
draught


1053.5





1951
KKKK
1/11d
pint
draught


1053.5





1953
Strong Ale
23d
pint
draught


1052.06
104




1954
KKKK
1/11d
pint
draught
0.06
1011.9
1051.2
15 R + 40 B
5.11
76.76%


Sources:


Thomas Usher Gravity Book document TU/6/11


Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252


Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002



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Whitbread Strong Ale grists 1946 - 1973


Date
Year
Beer
OG
comments
pale malt
brown malt
choc. Malt
crystal malt
PA malt
no. 1 sugar
no. 3 sugar
Hay M
WSM
LP5
flaked barley


25th Jan
1946
XXXX
1043.3
MK and EK hops. Hopulon.

1.58%
1.98%
2.37%
63.72%

16.89%
0.79%


12.66%


1st Feb
1946
XXXX
1043.3
MK and EK hops. Hopulon.


3.17%

66.49%

16.89%
0.79%


12.66%


14th Nov
1958
KKKK
1050.5
MK and EK hops.


0.90%

82.23%

14.46%
2.41%





4th Feb
1959
KKKK
1051.9
MK, EK and Worcester hops.


0.87%

82.85%

13.95%
2.33%





2nd Mar
1960
KKKK
1051.8
MK and Worcester hops.


0.87%

82.85%

13.95%
2.33%





30th Jul
1968
FSA
1079.6
EK hops.
87.86%

3.47%


8.67%







6th Aug
1968
FSA
1079.6
EK hops.
87.80%

3.66%


8.54%







3rd Jun
1970
FSA
1079.1
EK hops.
79.75%

2.80%


17.45%







20th May
1970
FSA
1079.8
EK hops.
80.00%

2.77%


17.23%







24th Jun
1970
FSA
1079.8
EK Goldings and hop extract
80.00%

2.77%


17.23%







15th Dec
1971
FSA
1079.8
EK hops.
70.40%

3.11%
5.38%




21.12%




12th Jul
1972
FSA
1079.8
EK hops.
87.85%

3.07%






9.08%



27th Jun
1973
FSA
1079.6
EK hops.
87.44%

3.26%






9.30%



Sources:


Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/113, LMA/4453/D/01/126, LMA/4453/D/01/127, LMA/4453/D/01/137, LMA/4453/D/09/140 and LMA/4453/D/09/141.



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Whitbread's KKKK looks like a typical 1950's Burton. A gravity in the low 1050's, dark brown colour and a reasonably high rate of hopping. The attenuation is a little higher than in their Mild leaving a finished beeer of around 5% ABV. Which wa pretty strong for a draught beer in that period.

Moving on to the grist, that's pretty simple being just pale ale malt, a touch of chocolate malt No. 34 sugar and Hay M. Though you have to wonder what the point is in using less than 1% chocolate malt. Brown malt and crystal malt show up in small quantites in the very first example. The flaked barley in the two examples from 1946 is a hangover from wartime regulations. Brewers were forced to used flaked barley. The idea was that it saved the energy that would need to be used to malt it.

The hops are, as you should be expecting by now, all English. Apart from that hopulon stuff in the 1940's.

Moving on to FSA, it's intriguing to see Whitbread introduce this in the 1960's. Especially one so dark. By that time the fashion had definitely moved to paler strong beers. Also intriguing is the very high degree of attenuation, averaging around 85%. Which is why it's pushing a heady 9% ABV. Note also the much longer boil time than for their other beers - more than two hours. Presumably this was to concentrate the wort. The pitching temperature is high for such a strong beer, but Whitbread seemed to pitch all their beers at the same temperature in those years.

Note that the hopping rate after 1968 falls by about 25%. After that date it only had as many hops per barrrel as KKKK, a much weaker beer. If we look at the amount of hops per quarter - a way of taking the gravity of the beer out of the equation - at around 4.75 lbs, it's about 50% less than the 7.5 lbs of KKKK. Look back at the last set of Whitread Mild. You'll see that had 4.75 lbs of hops per quarter in 1966. Despite being fairly dry, this couldn't have been a very bitter beer.

Though they were using good-quality hops, EK or EK Goldings. They were probably all really EK Goldings, they just didn't always note it down.

FSA had a simple grist: lots of pale malt, a little chocolate malt and sugar. In the beginning No. 1, later proprietary stuff. I assume there was a colour adjustment with caramel. No way it would get a dark brown colour from such a small amount of chocolate malt.

You can see that Whitbread ditched numbered invert sugars after 1970 and moved to using proprietary sugars in all their beers.

One other small point. See how FSA contained to adjuncts. All their other beers at this time, PA excepted, contained some.

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