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28-03-2015, 07:26
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Seeing as we’ve looked at the handling of draught beer in the 1950’s at great length, I thought you might like to take a look at some of the beers themselves. And it’s a good excuse for loads more tables.

I’ve taken everything in my mega gravity spreadsheet that’s British, draught and is dated between 1950 and 1959. There will be posts on other styles later, but I’m going to kick off with Bitter, a style that was very much on the up in this period. On its way to becoming, albeit briefly, the nation’s favourite.

I’ve split them into four groups: Boys Bitter (OG < 1036), Ordinary Bitter (OG 1036 – 1037.9), Best Bitter (OG > 1038) and Keg Bitter. It’s a fairly arbitrary division. As would any be, really. I could easily have extended Ordinary Bitter by a gravity point or two at either end.

I’m thinking of assembling a new book covering 1945 to 1960. It’s an interesting period in British brewing, if only for its relative lack of dynamism. After the chaotic changes of the previous decades, it was a period of surprising calm. But it was also when British beer styles solidified into their modern forms.

On with the tables. Beginning with Boys Bitter:



Draught Bitter in the 1950's - Boys Bitter


Year
Brewer
Beer
Price per pint (d)
Acidity
OG
FG
ABV
App. Attenua-tion
colour


1953
Steel Coulson
Edinburgh Ale P. 60/-
14

1030






1959
Wm. Younger
XXP Bitter
22
0.04
1030.4
1005.7
3.21
81.25%
21


1958
Bernard
No. 3 (Pale 1/1)
13

1031
1010
2.72
67.74%



1959
Fuller
Bitter
14
0.05
1031.6
1004.1
3.58
87.03%
23


1959
Charrington
BBB
17
0.04
1032.8
1007.8
3.24
76.22%
14


1954
Barclay Perkins
XLK
15
0.06
1032.9
1004.5
3.70
86.32%



1954
Meux
PA
17
0.04
1033.2
1005.3
3.63
84.04%
20


1954
Meux
PA
17
0.06
1033.7
1007.3
3.43
78.34%
24


1954
Barclay Perkins
XLK
15
0.04
1033.8
1006.9
3.49
79.59%
19


1953
Steel Coulson
PXA P. 70/-
19

1034






1954
Taylor Walker
EPA
17
0.06
1034
1008.6
3.29
74.71%
23


1958
Vaux & Co
Bitter Ale
17
0.05
1034.2
1007.8
3.43
77.19%
26


1953
Whitbread
Pale Ale
16

1035.1



22


1957
Ind Coope
Best Bitter
17
0.06
1035.2
1008
3.53
77.27%
19


1954
Mann Crossman
KK
17
0.04
1035.3
1007.7
3.58
78.19%
19


1957
Charrington
PA
15
0.06
1035.5
1004.9
3.98
86.20%
23


1959
Whitaker
Bitter
14
0.04
1035.6
1010.2
3.17
71.35%
22



Average

16.2

1033.4
1007.1
3.43
79.0%
21.3


Sources:


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.


document from the Steel Coulson archive held at the Scottish Brewing Archives


T & J Bernard's brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive



Spot anything interesting there? Average attenuation is pretty high at 79%. The only exception is Bernard’s No. 3. Not even sure that should really be in there. Or, for that matter, the two other Scottish beers above it. As they are all 60/-. Which I usually consider to be Mild. Even though I know it was parti-gyled with 70/- and 80/-.

That reminds me. Kristen suggested we write another Beer Style Guide for a different year. I had been thinking of 1927, but I’m tempted to go for a year in the 1950’s. What do you reckon? Any preference for a year? It’s all a bit academic, as currently lack the time to write it.

Getting back to the beers, the relatively high attenuation means that the average ABV comes out at almost 3.5%. Not bad, but it might have left the beers a bit thin.

Next it’s the turn of Ordinary Bitter.



Draught Bitter in the 1950's - Ordinary Bitter


Year
Brewer
Beer
Price per pint (d)
Acidity
OG
FG
ABV
App. Attenua-tion
colour


1958
Bernard
No. 2 (Pale 1/2)
14

1036
1011
3.24
69.44%



1954
Watney
PA
17
0.04
1036.1
1009.7
3.42
73.13%
25


1957
Ind Coope
PA
17
0.05
1036.3
1006.5
3.88
82.09%
19


1953
Taylor Walker
Pale Ale
18

1036.3



27


1953
Truman
Pale Ale
17

1036.7



16


1954
Truman
PA
17
0.04
1036.7
1006.4
3.94
82.56%
18


1954
Watney
IPA
17
0.06
1036.7
1008.4
3.67
77.11%
23


1953
Meux
Pale Ale
17

1036.8



27


1954
Charrington
BBB
15
0.06
1036.8
1008.9
3.62
75.82%
26


1957
Watney
PA
17
0.06
1036.8
1006.9
3.89
81.25%
26


1953
Young & Co
Pale Ale
16

1036.8



20


1954
Truman
PA
17
0.05
1036.9
1006.8
3.91
81.57%
19


1953
Whitbread
Pale Ale
17

1037.0



24


1959
Websters
Bitter
15
0.07
1037
1005.4
3.95
85.41%
20


1953
Wenlock
Pale Ale
16

1037



24


1957
Truman
PA
17
0.07
1037.2
1007.1
3.91
80.91%
18


1953
Benskins
Pale Ale
16

1037.2



18


1953
Tetley
Pale Ale
16

1037.3



20


1953
Younger
Pale Ale
17

1037.4



30


1959
Ind Coope
Red Hand
22
0.04
1037.5
1011.5
3.37
69.33%
18


1953
Mann Crossman
Pale Ale
17

1037.5



25


1954
Courage
Alton PA
18
0.04
1037.7
1008.1
3.84
78.51%
24


1955
Truman
PA Burton Brewed
17
0.05
1037.7
1005.9
4.14
84.35%
17


1954
Whitbread
PA
17
0.06
1037.9
1004.8
4.31
87.34%
24



Average

16.8

1037.0
1007.7
3.79
79.2%
22.1


Sources:


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.


T & J Bernard's brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive



I’m surprised that there’s so little difference between the average price of these first two classes of Bitter. There’s a fair bit of price uniformity – 18 of the 24 cost either 16d or 17d a pint. The one outlier is Ind Coope Red Hand which I suspect might have been a keg beer.

There’s a very heavy London slant in this set. Only Bernard, Younger and Tetley are exceptions. Unsurprising, as the majority of the analyses come from Truman and Whitbread.

Once again, there are some very highly-attenuated examples – eight are over 80%, and the average isn’t far off 80%.

Now Best Bitter:



Draught Bitter in the 1950's - Best Bitter


Year
Brewer
Beer
Price per pint (d)
Acidity
OG
FG
ABV
App. Attenua-tion
colour


1954
Taylor Walker
PA
17
0.04
1038
1009.9
3.64
73.95%
23


1959
Websters
Bitter
16
0.06
1038
1004.7
4.16
87.63%
22


1954
Courage
PA
18
0.06
1038.4
1006.4
4.16
83.33%
28


1954
Charrington
PA
15
0.04
1038.6
1008.1
3.96
79.02%
20


1957
Whitbread
PA
19
0.06
1038.6
1010
3.71
74.09%
20


1957
Whitbread
PA
19
0.06
1038.6
1010
3.71
74.09%
20


1957
Taylor Walker
PA
17
0.06
1038.8
1009.3
3.83
76.03%
19


1959
Ramsdens
Bitter
16
0.05
1038.9
1006
4.28
84.58%
16


1955
Hancock, Cardiff
HB


1039






1957
Barclay Perkins
PA
18
0.05
1039.5
1005.9
4.38
85.06%
26


1959
Bentleys
Bitter
16
0.04
1039.5
1010.2
3.66
74.18%
19


1954
Whitbread
PA
17

1039.5






1957
Courage
PA
18
0.08
1039.8
1005.4
4.48
86.43%
27


1954
Barclay Perkins
Best Bitter
18
0.06
1040.4
1007.5
4.28
81.44%
22


1959
Ramsdens
Bitter
16
0.05
1040.7
1006.2
4.31
84.77%
18


1959
Courage & Barclay
Bitter
22
0.04
1040.9
1009.8
4.04
76.04%
23


1959
Fuller
Best Bitter
19
0.05
1041.4
1006.1
4.60
85.27%
32


1953
Watney
Pale Ale
19

1042.8



27


1957
Ind Coope
Double Diamond
20
0.05
1043.8
1008.1
4.65
81.51%
20


1957
Watney
Best PA
21
0.06
1044
1014.2
3.86
67.73%
20


1957
Bass, Burton
Pale Ale
21
0.04
1044.6
1005.4
5.12
87.89%
21


1953
Bass, Burton
Pale Ale
19

1044.7



26


1953
Watney
Special Bitter
20
0.06
1044.9
1009.6
4.59
78.62%
28


1954
Watney
Special Bitter
20
0.04
1045.5
1013.7
4.12
69.89%
23


1954
Bass, Burton
Pale Ale
19
0.04
1046
1008.7
4.86
81.09%
20


1958
Bernard
Special No. 1 (Pale 1/4)
16

1046
1013
4.28
71.74%



1953
Charrington
Pale Ale
17

1046.4



29


1959
Charrington
Toby Ale
15
0.04
1046.6
1009.4
4.84
79.83%
20



Average

18.1

1041.6
1008.6
4.52
76.68%
22.7


Sources:


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.


“Cardiff Pubs and Breweries” by Brian Glover, 2005. pages 97-101


T & J Bernard's brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive




I’m wondering what to say about this lot. The attenuation is all over the place – 68% to 88% - but averages a little lower than the previous two sets.

I’m slightly surprised that Draught Bass was one of the paler examples. Though it’s also one of the strongest, at around 5% ABV. As a relatively expensive beer, it maintained its gravity better than most.

Again, it’s a very London-heavy set. Weird, isn’t it, to think how many big breweries used to have their home in London?

Finally, the geek’s favourite, nice expensive keg beer:



Draught Bitter in the 1950's - Keg Bitter


Year
Brewer
Beer
Price per pint (d)
Acidity
OG
FG
ABV
App. Attenua-tion
colour


1959
Simonds
Keg Bitter
22
0.04
1037.4
1007.3
3.76
80.48%
19


1959
South London Brewery
Golden Keg
18
0.07
1037.9
1005.7
4.03
84.96%
19


1959
Watney
Red Barrel
22
0.04
1038.5
1010
3.70
74.03%
24


1959
Flowers
Keg Bitter
22
0.04
1039
1010.7
3.54
72.56%
23


1959
Whitbread
Tankard Bitter
22
0.05
1039.1
1011.9
3.52
69.57%
22


1957
Watney
Keg Bitter
24
0.06
1039.4
1007.6
4.14
80.71%
23


1959
Truman
Keg Bitter
22
0.04
1040.5
1008.8
4.12
78.27%
22


1957
Courage & Barclay
Keg Bitter
22
0.06
1042.8
1006.6
4.72
84.58%
22


1959
Wm. Younger
Keg Bitter
19
0.04
1043.7
1007.8
4.68
82.15%
55



Average

21.4

1039.8
1008.5
4.02
78.6%
25.4



Without Younger







21.75


Sources:


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




As you can see, they’re all at Ordinary or Best Bitter strength. Except priced at a few pence more per pint.

The William Younger example is very dark for a Bitter. In fact it’s getting close to Dark Mile territory. But you know the Scots – they loved colouring up their beer. And in loads of different shades. Doubtless in some markets that beer was much paler.

Probably Mild next time.

More... (http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2015/03/draught-bitter-in-1950s.html)