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Having their beers start the war pretty weak had one advantage for Adnams: they were very little affected by it, at least in terms of strength. In many ways, Adnams beers in 1939 already looked like post-war versions.

PA and DS both dropped 3º during the war, X just 2º. But the latter, kicking off the war already at a meagre 1029º really didn’t have very far to go in terms of gravity reduction. Because of the way the tax system worked – a minimum rate, the equivalent of that for a beer of 1027º, was charged whatever the strength of a beer. Making a beer weaker than 1027º very financially unattractive.

The table below shows the percentage change in OG and hopping rate.

Falls in gravity of just 7% were very much below the average. Fullers gravities, for example, fell between 9.5% and 42% between 1939 and 1945. Those numbers are much more typical of the changes to strength wrought by the war.

There’s a similarly small change in the hopping rates. Despite breweries being compelled by the government in June 1941 brewers to reduce their hopping rates by 20%. I’m not sure how Adnams were able to effect such a small reduction in the amount of hops they used.

In a way, this is a good demonstration of the evening out of local strength differences during the war. Adnams beers were considerably weaker than those brewed in London in 1939. By 1946 they were roughly similar.

Adnams beers in 1946
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1st Jan PA Pale Ale 1036 1008.9 3.59 75.38% 7.20 1.02
2nd Jan XX Mild Ale 1027 1005.5 2.84 79.48% 4.63 0.50
10th Jan DS Stout 1039 1012.7 3.47 67.33% 5.78 0.92
Adnams brewing record Book 33 held at the brewery.

Adnams beers 1939 - 1946
Beer Style OG in 1939 OG in 1946 % fall lbs hops/ qtr in 1939 lbs hops/ qtr in 1946 % fall
PA Pale Ale 1039 1036 7.69% 8.00 7.20 10.00%
XX Mild Ale 1029 1027 6.90% 4.93 4.63 6.14%
DS Stout 1042 1039 7.14% 5.78 5.78 -0.04%
Adnams brewing records Book 26 and 33 held at the brewery.