View Full Version : Shut up about Barclay Perkins - Let's Brew Wednesday - 1959 Watneys Brown Ale

Blog Tracker
29-04-2015, 07:11
Visit the Shut up about Barclay Perkins site (http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2015/04/lets-brew-wednesday-1959-watneys-xx.html)

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-oshNhKzuFTE/VTpGl31apfI/AAAAAAAAXDw/B6bTCKtgTac/s1600/Watneys_Brown_Ale_2.JPG (http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-oshNhKzuFTE/VTpGl31apfI/AAAAAAAAXDw/B6bTCKtgTac/s1600/Watneys_Brown_Ale_2.JPG)
Now here's a special treat: a beer from the legendary Watneys. Unfortunately, they're legendary for all the wrong reasons. Maybe notorious would be a better word.

I thought I'd never get to write any Watney recipes. Because their brewing records don't appear to have been preserved. However those of one of the breweries they took over, Usher's of Trowbridge, have. And they brewed some Watney brands in addition to their own beers.

Watney acquired a terrible reputation in the 1970's for producing crap beer. Their name got so bad, that they eventually removed it from the exterior of their pubs. As a brand, Watney became unusable.

CAMRA was to a great part responsible. Watney produced no cask beer for many years and were an obvious target. Grotney was what they called them. And with good reason: their beer was crap.

John Keeling told me how when he worked at Wilson's, another Watney subsidiary, the Cream Stout they produced was for a large part made up of ullage - returned beer - pasteurised and coloured up with caramel. It sounded disgusting. I now realise that this wasn't an isolated example.

Because the Watney's Dairy Maid Stout, Brown Ale and XX Mild brewed at Ushers are exactly the same. There's all sorts of drecky beer added at racking time to the stuff that was brewed and fermented.

In the case of Brown Ale, this was added to the 734 barrels brewed the normal way:

BB 30 barrels
Bottoms 40 barrels
RB 93 barrels
finings 9 barrels

That's 172 barrels, in total. Bottoms is the sludgy stuff left behind in vessels. RB I assume stands for returned beer, or ullage. Not sure what BB is, but it's definitely not Best Bitter.

I can't imagine that lot improved the quality of the finished beer.

The recipe below is for the beer as brewed. If you want to go all authentic, I suggest collecting dregs and the gunk left after racking, filtering it, boiling it for a while to kill any bugs, then add it to the beer when you rack. Not that I would recommend such scummy practice.

The recipe itself doesn't look too bad. A mild malt base, a bit of crystal for body and roast barley for colour. At about the standard gravity for Brown Ale back then, around 1030º.

Time to pass you over to me (again - though Kristen will be back in a couple of weeks) . . .

1959 Watneys Brown Ale

MA malt
5.50 lb

crystal malt
0.33 lb

flaked maize
0.33 lb

roast barley
0.25 lb

No. 2 invert
0.25 lb

0.125 lb


Fuggles 45 min
1.00 oz




Apparent attenuation



Mash at
152º F

Sparge at
170º F

Boil time
45 minutes

pitching temp
60º F

WLP023 Burton Ale

More... (http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2015/04/lets-brew-wednesday-1959-watneys-xx.html)