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15-07-2015, 08:25
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We’ve just about finished off the set of Strong’s beers from the 1950’s. Quite an interesting set.

This time it’s their, er, strong Pale ale. A beer that was sold in bottled format only. Bottled beer was on the rise again in the 1950’s after being beaten down by wartime restrictions. Less popular styles like Stout retreated from draught, but other beers were designed to be bottled only. Things like Brown Ale and Light Ale.

This gives a flavour of the shift in consumer preference from cask to bottled beer:


“A CONTINUOUS and growing demand for bottled was reported by H.W. Lake, MC. the chairman of directors at the Annual General Meeting of Cheltenham and Hereford Breweries, Ltd which was held the Fleece Hotel, Cheltenham. yesterday.

In his remarks amplifying his statement circulated to shareholders, he said "In this part of the world people are changing. They like beer out of a bottle and not out of a cask.

"While this is proceeding here to such an extent, I want to tell you that this Company is prepared for this change.

"Under the direction of the brewers helped by Mr Hopcraft, we have a bottling plant which can cope with all the present demands and it is up to us to thank the management and the brewers that they have able to design improvements in our bottle store, by which we ran cope with this extraordinary demand for bottled beer which increases every year, and looks like increasing."

. . . .

“The outstanding feature this year is that although the output of beer in cask declines, the demand for bottled beer continually increases. We are, however, now able to meet all demands for bottled goods, having concentrated our bottling at Cheltenham with a complete range of modern plant running smoothly and economically.””
Gloucester Citizen - Saturday 16 December 1950, page 2.
Getting back to the beer in question, it has one notable feature: it’s very pale. At 13.5 on the old Lovibond scale, it’s only a tad darker than the 12.5 of their Golden Ale. It’d got me thinking about the colour of Pale Ale. I’ve often wondered just how pale 19th-century versions were. What was a typical colour in the early 1950’s?

So I had a look at other Pale Ales of the same era. I’ve plenty of analyses. And I’ve arranged them nicely in a table:



Pale Ale colour in 1952


Year
Brewer
Spotlight
Price
size
package
OG
colour


1952
Ansell
Pale Ale
10d
half pint
bottled
1038.3
19


1952
Cobbs Brewery
Pale Ale
10d
half pint
bottled
1031.5
26


1952
Barclay Perkins
Pale Ale
15d
pint
draught
1034.6
19


1952
Barclay Perkins
Pale Ale
16d
pint
draught
1033.22
24


1952
Barclay Perkins
H & O Pale Ale
16d
pint
draught
1032.78
23


1952
Bass
Pale Ale

half
bottled
1036.7
20


1952
Bass
Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1044.81
22


1952
Bass
Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1046.44
24


1952
Beasley
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.18
30


1952
Benskins
Pale Ale
18d
pint
draught
1038.98
23


1952
Charrington
Pale Ale
15d
pint
draught
1034.06
18


1952
Courage
Pale Ale
16d
pint
draught
1037.47
24


1952
Courage
Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1039.99
26


1952
Courage
Pale Ale
18d
pint
draught
1039.04
32


1952
Ind Coope
Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1044.08
26


1952
Ind Coope
Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1043.7
23


1952
Ind Coope
Coronet Pale Ale
19d
pint
draught
1044.86
23


1952
Ind Coope
Pale Ale
11d
half pint
bottled
1035.6
22


1952
Lacons
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.98
30


1952
Lacons
Pale Ale
18d
pint
draught
1037.93
25


1952
Lacons
Bitter
17d
pint
draught
1037.36
28


1952
Lees
Bitter



1040.0
20


1952
Lees
Pale Ale



1040.0
20


1952
Mann
Macs No.1 Pale Ale
20d
pint
draught
1044.91
20


1952
McMullen
Pale Ale
10.5d
half
bottled
1038.2
30


1952
Meux
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1036.04
20


1952
Taylor Walker
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.65
24


1952
Tetley
Pale Ale
16d
pint
draught
1036.27
20


1952
Tollemache
Resch's Bitter Ale
18d
pint
draught
1035.96
23


1952
Tooth & Co
Pale Ale

half
bottled
1043.1
13


1952
Truman
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.15
20


1952
Truman
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.14
24


1952
Truman
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1036.72
20


1952
Truman
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1036.52
24


1952
Watney
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1037.42
24


1952
Watney
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1035.72
26


1952
Wenlock
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1036.09
32


1952
Wenlock
Pale Ale
16d
pint
draught
1036.69
27


1952
Whitbread
Pale Ale
17d
pint
draught
1038.12
28


1952
Younger
"Monk" Export
17d
pint
draught
1035.92
26


1952
Wm.Younger

1/1d
half
bottled
1046.9
24



Average




1038.4
23.7


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/02/001.


Lees brewing recods




The only one that’s paler is from Australia. Only a handful have a colour of less than 20. It’s clear that SPA was unusually pale.

The table also tells us that SPA was up at the top end of the strength scale for Pale Ales. Only two are stronger and one of those is Bass.

The recipe is extremely simple: pale malt, sugar and English hops. Attenuation is relatively low, meaning the finished beer should have plenty of body, probably drinking stronger than it really is. A beer I’d really like to taste.




That’s me done, so over to me for the recipe . . .






1952 Strong SPA


pale malt
6.75 lb
74.34%


no. 1 sugar
1.00 lb
11.01%


glucose
0.75 lb
8.26%


candy sugar
0.25 lb
2.75%


malt extract
0.33 lb
3.63%


Fuggles 90 min
0.75 oz



Goldings 60 min
0.75 oz



Goldings 30 min
0.75 oz



Goldings dry hops
0.25 oz



OG
1045.4



FG
1015.2



ABV
4.00



Apparent attenuation
66.52%



IBU
31



SRM
4.5



Mash at
152º F



Sparge at
160º F



Boil time
90 minutes



pitching temp
62º F



Yeast
WLP007 Dry English Ale







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