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26-08-2011, 08:34
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I'm just going through a handy little notebook I'd completely forgotten about. It's from the Scottish Brewing Archive. One of the items in the Thomas Usher archive.

It appears to be the notebook of a lab technician. I grabbed it becuase it contains analyses of competitors' beers. I love that sort of thing. But they aren't the only contents. There are analyses of batches of malt and different brands of invert sugar, too. And something else. Something that initially puzzled me. Why would they have done these anlyses? Then it clicked: they didn't trust publicans.

Some of the most freqent entries are analyses of returned beer. Its FG and calculated OG. They were checking that the returned beer - for which the publican would be paid - was what it said it was. And hadn't been messed with. It many cases, it clearly had been tampered with.

Take a look at the examples in the table below. For purposes of comparison, I've included the details of a 60/- PA, as brewed.




Thomas Usher returns


Date
Beer
FG
OG


26th Jan 1925
60/- PA
1003
1037


2nd Feb 1925
60/- PA
1006
1025


17th Feb 1925

1010
1020


23rd Apr 1925
60/- PA
1006
1040


12th May 1925
60/- PA
1000
1040


4th Jan 1926

1003
1015


24th Sep 1926

1004
1027


Beer as brewed


3rd Jan 1928
60/- PA
1014
1041


Source:


Document TU/6/11 held at the Scottish Brewing Archive.




Admittedly, I'm not sure which exact beer some of the returns were. But, Usher's weakest beer had an OG of 1035ยบ. There are many returns to weak even to be that. There's obviously been quite a lot of water added. Let's take the second example with an OG of 1025. To get to that from the real OG of 1041, you'd need to add 14 gallons of water to a 36 gallon barrel.

What does this tell us? That publicans were a shifty bunch. And that breweries weren't daft enough to trust them.https://blogger.googleusercontent.com/tracker/5445569787371915337-4925545412058726739?l=barclayperkins.blogspot.com


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