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02-12-2018, 08:18
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The First World War had a cleansing effect on Scottish beer, especially amongst the stronger Ales, which were transformed in character.

Before WW I, Scotch Ale mostly consisted of the top-end Shilling Ales. Things like 100/-, 120/-, 140/- and 160/-. These were characterised by a low degree of attenuation and a low level of hopping. Usually, except at William Younger, they were parti-gyled with weaker Shilling Ales. Younger brewed almost exclusively single-gyle.

In the interwar period, most breweries in Scotland heavily rationalised their beer ranges. Shilling Ales mostly disappeared and breweries constructed most of their beers from a Pale Ale parti-gyle. Including Strong Ales, which were just the strongest of the bunch. Much the same way as Golden Pride is the strongest beer from Fullers Pale Ale parti-gyle.

William Younger ploughed a different furrow. Before WW I, they had two parallel ranges of Strong Ales, 120/-, 140/- and 160/- was one, the other the Burton-inspired No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3. Only the latter survived the war, in the form of No. 1 and No. 3.

They were usually labelled Scotch Ale in England and Strong Ale North of the border. A typically OG was 1080-1090ยบ, though there were stronger examples. The strongest were about as strong as beer could get and had pre-WW I type gravities.

William Younger, who always were a bit different from other Scottish breweries, had two different strength Strong Ales. No. 1 had a similar profile to those from rival breweries. But it also had a weaker version, No. 3, which was also available on draught. In London, it filled the draught Burton Ale slot. Both No. 1 and No. 3 were brewed single-gyle.

Despite being dark in colour, there was no coloured malt in any of these beers. The colour all came from caramel added post-fermentation.




Bottled Scotch Ale before WW II


Year
Brewer
Beer
OG
FG
ABV
App. Atten-uation


1933
Ballingall
Strong Dundee Ale
1083.5
1023
7.89
72.46%


1933
Fowler
Strong Ale
1108
1034
9.68
68.52%


1934
Jeffrey
No. 1 Strong Ale
1059.5
1016.5
5.59
72.27%


1933
McEwan
Strong Ale
1084.5
1027
7.48
68.05%


1933
Usher
Old Scotch Ale
1096
1022
9.72
77.08%


1935
Younger, Wm.
No. 3 Strong Ale
1053.5
1010
5.67
81.31%


1932
Younger, Wm.
No. 1 Strong Ale
1080
1026.5
6.95
66.88%


1933
Younger, Wm.
No. 1 Strong Ale
1082
1023
7.69
71.95%


Source:


Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document TU/6/11.




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