Monday, 22 January 2018

Consumption of beer liely to decrease

The story usually told is that everyone expected WW I to be over by Christmas. But it looks as if the brewing trade had a more realistic view.


The ultimate effects upon the brewing industry are difficult estimate, states the Allied Brewery Traders' Circular. The consumption of beer in the country must almost certainly diminish as money is spent on the war. There will probably be no sudden drop, but the heavy national expenditure and the increased prices of food must be reflected in a decreased barrelage.

The Excise returns the output of beer for the first three months of the current financial year show an increase for the United Kingdom of 324,403 barrels, equal to 3.6 per cent., as compared with the output the corresponding quarter of the previous year.

In the world production of beer Germany ranks second to the United States, and the United Kingdom takes a third place. According to a Viennese calculation, 5,552,000 more hectolitres were produced throughout the world last year than in 1912, an increase which exceeded by 4,119,000 hectolitres, the production of 1911. The total figures for 1913 are:— 336,630,000 hectolitres of 22 gallons each, equal 205,718,000 English barrels, a quantity which is nearly six times as great as the production of the United Kingdom.

The taxes or duties levied the beer produced are estimated at £60,000,000, and this points to an average about of about 6s per barrel, which seems to be an over-estimate, says the circular.

It is claimed behalf of the brewing industry that it has contributed more men to the forces in the field than any other single industry. One Midland firm has sent 300 employes on service. In every case situations are kept open, and the difference between army pay and the usual wages have been made up to dependents at an annual cost to the firm of £13,000."
Newcastle Journal - Saturday 03 October 1914, page 7.
Quite prescient. As beer production did gradually decreas during the course of the war. As these figures show:

Beer production 1913 - 1921 (hl)
Year Austria Belgium Czecho-slovakia Denmark France Germany UK
1913 21,082,000 16,727,000 2,466,000 12,844,000 69,200,000 56,960,947
1914 20,076,000 - 2,527,000 9,056,000 59,373,000 61,467,176
1915 16,040,000 8,139,000 2,425,000 5,824,000 45,820,000 56,896,285
1916 11,910,000 7,086,000 2,581,000 7,705,000 36,835,000 52,550,937
1917 - 5,391,000 2,306,000 7,115,000 23,837,000 49,365,176
1918 1,179,000 4,930,000 1,669,000 6,375,000 24,825,000 31,233,818
1919 - 9,488,000 4,420,000 2,374,000 10,785,000 29,458,000 38,073,804
1920 3,049,000 10,408,000 5,889,000 2,662,000 11,548,000 23,438,000 57,358,068
1921 3,040,000 12,536,000 6,554,000 2,471,000 12,254,000 33,993,000 56,468,799
European Statistics 1750-1970 by B. R. Mitchell, 1978, page 285.
Brewers' Almanack 1928, p. 110

Beer production declined everywhere in Europ. Even in countries not involved in the war like Denmark. Why was that? Because internatioinal trade was disrupted and importing raw materials became difficult.

You can see that UK beer production got back to its 1913 level by 1921. That's slightly deceptive, as tthe beer in 1921 was much weaker. If you look at Standard barrels, there was a 23% decline.

There's a big variation amongst other countries. France seems to have recovered quite quickly. Which is impressive, given that the part of France occupied by the Germans had by far the densest concentration of breweries. The recovery in Belgium is equally surprising. Most breweries there had all their copper vessels looted by the Germans.

When looking at the German numbers, it's important to remember that Germany was considerably smaller after the war,Though that doesn't account for beer output being less than half of the pre=war level.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

2018 here I come

I take a pre-prandial stroll every evering. In the vain hope it may delay my death by a day or two. But it's also good for thinking.

Just me, the pavement and the clip clop of my footsteps. Obviously cars, trams, buses, scooters, bicycles and people, too. Those I can shut out. And let my thoughts run free.

On Friday's walk, I realised which book I wanted to write this year. A "proper" book. One written as a whole rather than crudely selotaped together blog posts.

I intend writing at least one "proper" book a year. Not just any old crap, but the books I really want to write. I like to think of myself as a realist. Well aware of how much time I have left. No point in putting shit off since I passed sixty. Now might be my last chance. I intend using my remaining time well..

Home from my walk, I laid down the keel of the book. Today I welded on a shitload of the hull. I plan launching before the end of March.

What's it about? I'll tell you that later. When it's more fully-formed. And able to float unaided.

The economics of hop growing

3429. Chairman.] Do you generally send your hops to the Weyhill market? -Generally, I have sent them to the London market occasionally.

3430. Are hops grown in your district generally sent to the Weyhill fair? — The hops grown in our district are generally sent to Weyhill.

3431. Do those grown in the Isle of Wight go there ? —That is in our district.

3432. Sir Edward Dering.] Do you think that the price of the white bine hops, with the best description of farming, does not amount to as much as that of the Kent Goldings? —I do not know. I have been told that the Goldings will fetch more money than the best Farnham hops; that I have been told for a fact.

3433. Chairman.] What is the rent of hop land in your neighbourhood? — I should think from 40s. to £4, or £5 an acre. I put my own at 40s. compared with the rest of my land.

3434. Mr. Bass.] Are you speaking of the country district exclusively? —Exclusively; I do not know the rent of any other lands.

3435. Are there any lands set at £4 10s. an acre in the country district? —Not less. I should say that it would be worth that, supposing the whole land to be in hops; I should not think it is separately let at that. I am taking Binstead, and some of those districts upon the marl land, where they grow large crops, and good. They grow three or four times as much as I can.

3436. Sir Edward Dering.] You do not know of any instances of that? —I do not. Generally speaking, the farmers of our neighbourhood all occupy it with other land, as well as hop land, and it is all let together.

3437. Chairman.] What is the extraordinary tithe rentcharge ? —It is 10s. in my parish; 13s. 4d. in several of the neighbouring parishes.

3438. Have you none higher than that? —I do not know of any higher.

3439. Is hop growing considered a less profitable business than other kinds of farming in your neighbourhood? —I have never found it so profitable; I have found it the reverse, I think.

3440. Is that your experience, when there is a good crop? —It is not a profitable business at all.

3441. Is that the general opinion of the farmers? —I think not. I think, in the best hop districts, that they grow them at an advantage.

3442. Chairman.] Do you consider your land as some of the best hop growing land? —I do not.

3443. Mr. Bass.] Do you consider it some of the worst? —As far as regards hops I do.

3444. Then your land is not an average specimen of the growth of the country? —Not in quantity, and probably not in quality. The quality I think is not equal to some Farnham hops.

3445. Chairman.] How long does a hop garden last in your district? —I have some that have been in hops this 40 years or thereabouts.

3446. Do you know of any that have been in existence longer than that? —Yes, no doubt there are lands which have been in hops longer than that in our neighbourhood. The principal land that I have, has been in hops from 8 to 11 years.

3447. To what circumstance then do you attribute the fact, that hop growing has not been a profitable business, except with men who have particularly good land? —We do not grow a quantity sufficient, according to the prices, to pay our expenses.

3448. Do those who occupy the best lands grow larger crops? —Yes, they do undoubtedly grow larger crops.

3449. How much do they grow on the best lands? —It depends upon the year. I have heard of as much as 25 cwt. being grown to the acre ; but I can not answer for that; I only have it by hearsay; a ton to the acre is sometimes grown.

3450. From your own experience, how much have you grown an acre? —I have grown 18 cwt. an acre.

3451. Mr. Bass.] How much do you grow? — Something about four or five cwt.; I do not like to say I always do. I think that the year before last I was particularly lucky in my crop; but upon the average of years I have farmed my hops in a different way to which I have farmed lately, for I have neglected it very much before.

3452. Chairman.] Do you consider that it is only because you cannot grow such large crops as your neighbours that hop growing has not been a profitable business to you ?— I do not consider that ; I cannot consider that it will be profitable to anyone at the price that hops have sold at last year. I know many hops that sold at from 60s. to 70s. generally, and the expense of bringing them to market, the drying and picking, and the duty, amounts to 50 s.

3453. Do you think that it would be a benefit to the farmers if there were no Excise duty upon hops? —Yes, I do.

Saturday, 20 January 2018

1918 Kidd XXXX (16th Jan)

It’s always a surprise to find late WW I with a decent gravity. A pleasant surprise. All the sub-1035º beers can get a bit boring.

Though they don’t show up very often. I’ve only got a couple of examples of XXXX, but loads of X, GA and Porter. It’s clear that these stronger beers were being brewed in very small quantities. They can’t have been very easy to find and would have been pricey. But money wasn’t as much a problem as supply. The war had pushed up wages and many workers had plenty of disposable cash.

The grist has been simplified since the 1917 example. Out go No. 1 invert and cane sugars. The sugar content has remained at around, but now it’s all in the form of No. 3 invert. The hops have also been simplified, from Farnham and Kent to just Farnham. Odd that, despite the brewery being located in Kent, the hops are from Surrey.

All the hops were from the 1917 season, accordingly I’ve left the amount unadjusted. Which is why it comes out at over 100 calculated IBUs.

Almost forgot to tell you what this is: a Burton Ale. Quite likely sold on draught. Perfect for a cold January evening.

1918 Kidd XXXX (16th Jan)
pale malt 11.00 lb 78.24%
no. 3 sugar 2.75 lb 19.56%
caramel 2000 L 0.06 lb 0.43%
malt extract 0.25 lb 1.78%
Goldings 150 mins 5.00 oz
Goldings 60 mins 2.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1070
FG 1029
ABV 5.42
Apparent attenuation 58.57%
IBU 116
SRM 22
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 150 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 19 January 2018

The economics of growing Farnham hops in the 1850's

The select committee report has some very detailed information on hop growing. Including the economics of the business.

They're still questioning Mr . Harris, a farmer from Hampshire. First, the ask him about cost of growing hops.

"3421. Chairman.] Will you state to the Committee what you consider the expense of cultivating an acre of hop land ? — I never took that into consider ation, being a small grower. I was not aware that I should be called here to-day. In taking that point into calculation, I should think it is something, like £22 or £25 an acre. If I had known that I should have been called upon, I would have looked a little into it.

3422. Mr. Bass.] Is that exclusive of the expenses of the picking and the duty ? —Yes.

3423. Chairman.] What do you set the other expenses at ? — Picking, drying, and duty we generally consider at something like 50s. a cwt. ; from 40s. to 50s. a cwt.

3424. Mr. Bass.] Does not that include the selling ? —Yes.

3425. Chairman.] What do you consider a good crop ? —We grow very little; I was looking back to my previous crops since I received the orders the other day to come here, and I find that my crop for seven years previous to 1855 was 4.5 cwt.; but 1855 was something more. In 1855 it was 18 cwt.; but last year it was a little over half a ton; I never grew more than half a ton on my own land the whole of the time, since I have been a farmer, until 1855.

3426. How do your hops compare in the market with Kent Goldings? —The Kent Goldings are worth considerably more than our hops as we are told; it is a very difficult matter to get at what they are worth.

3427. What do the white bine hops, such as you grow, fetch? —Last year we made from 65s. to 70s. The year before, I calculated that I sold in the early part of August at 1s. a pound, and it was not a bad speculation. They would have been sold at four guineas, or something of the kind, if I had taken them to market.

3428. Mr. Brand.] When white bines are worth 70s., what would the Goldings be worth? —I have seen very little of Goldings. I have seen Mr. Payne's growth of Farnham and at Weyhill."
Report from the Select Committee on Hop Duties, 1857, pages 179 - 180.
Those numbers just don't add up. It looks to me as if Mr. Harris were losing money by growing hops. He had 12 acres under hops, so taking the higher value of £25 an acre, that makes £300. In addition, Picking, drying, and duty amounted to 50s (£2.5) per cwt. Taking a good year, where the yield was 10 cwt. an acre, that comes to an additional £25 an acre, making £600 in total expenses.

Now let's take a look at how much Mr. Harris could sell his hops for. Taking the higher amount of 70s a cwt., his total receipts for 12 acres come to just £420. Leaving him with a loss of £180. Only in 1855, when he had an exceptionally good crop of 18 cwt. per acre, would he appear to have made a profit. That would have netted him £720, a profit of £120.

The price of hops, however, was highly variable. As this table shows:

London hop prices
Year. £ s. d.
1842 4 8 10
1843 6 0 9
1844 7 3 0
1845 6 10 0
1846 5 0 0
1847 3 10 0
1848 2 15 0
1849 7 10 0
1850 3 10 0
1851 6 10 0
1852 4 5 0
1853 11 11 0
1854 20 0 0
"A Practical Treatise on Malting and Brewing" by William Ford, 1862, page 289.

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Farnham hops in the 1850's

Something really about hops this time. Taken again from the report of the Parliamentary Select Committee into the hop duty.

I've learnt a few things from this excerpt of an interview with a Franham hop grower.

"Mr. James Harris, called in ; and Examined.

3399. Chairman.] YOU are a Hop Grower, in Hampshire ?— I am, to a small extent.

3400. To what extent ? — I farm about a dozen acres.

3401. Have you been long a hop grower ? —I have been a grower 21 years; I have always been upon the same land.

3402. In what part of Hampshire is your farm ?—At Sutton ; it is about six miles from Farnham.

3403. Are there any larger hop growers in the neighbourhood ? —Yes ; in Alton, and Farnham, and Binstead, and that district.

3404. How many acres do the farms consist of? —From 15 to 100 acres ; Sir Thomas Miller's is from 50 to 60 acres.

3405. Are the hop growers owners of large farms? —A good many of them are ; some are very large.

3406. You farm yourself about a dozen acres of hops ?— Yes.

3407. How much other land do you farm ? — I farm about 520 acres altogether.

3408. What proportion of hop land to other land do any of those other, farms possess ?— It is different ; near Binstead and Alton there is a larger proportion of hop land to the other farms ; that is in the immediate neighbour hood of Alton.

3409. Have any of them as much as a quarter of their farms in hops ?—No, I do not think so, where they farm to any extent ; but some of them have nearly that.

3410. What sort of hops do you grow ? —White bines principally; I have one acre of green bines, but mine are principally white bines.

3411. What kind of soil is it that you grow your hops upon ? —The soil that I grow my hops on is principally clay, with a chalk sub-soil ; as you get to Binstead you get a marl land, and all that side of Alton.

3412. What depth do you go before you get to the chalk ? —We vary from two to four feet.

3413. Is not the white bine a fine quality of hop ? —Yes.

3414. Is not that what is known as the Farnham hop ? —Yes, principally. There is not quite so much white bine as there used to be, but there is a great deal.

3415. Mr. Brand.] Is it grown in any other district but the one in which you reside ? —I am not acquainted with any other hop district besides my own.

3416. Are there any other kinds of hops besides the white bine grown there ? —The green bines and other hops. I have heard of some few Colegates and Goldings.

3417. Sir John Shelley.] Is the white bine of the same quality as the Golding ? —No; it is a different quality from the Golding.

3418. Mr. Bass.] Is it like the Canterbury white bine? — I do not know; it is, perhaps, the same I have seen, the Kent hops and the Sussex hops.

3419. Are you in the Farnham branch, or in the country branch? —I am in the Farnham country branch."
Report from the Select Committee on Hop Duties, 1857, page 179.
What did I learn from that? For a start, that much of the Farnham hop district wasn't in Surrey, but in neighbouring Hampshire, as was Mr. Harris's farm. Looking on a map, I see that Farnham is right in the southeast corner of  Surrey. In fact it looks like the county boundary bulges so that it includes the town.

I'm surprised that there were so many hop farms in this region. Especially in Binstead, which is on the Isle of Wight. Quite a way from Farnham. I assume by Sutton, Mr. Harris actually means Long Sutton, which is about six miles due East of Farnham.

Though the quantities of hops grown in Surrey and Hampshire were tiny compared to Sussex and Kent:

Hop duty by district 1819
district duty lbs hops % of total
£ s d
Canterbury 90,153 1 4 10,818,368 21.19%
Essex 4,088 13 4 490,640 0.96%
Hants 1,083 9 11 130,020 0.25%
Hereford 34,943 14 6 4,193,247 8.21%
Lincoln 8,647 15 8 1,037,734 2.03%
Rochester 127,668 2 2 15,320,173 30.01%
Surrey 107 6 2 12,877 0.03%
Sussex 136,563 13 2 16,387,639 32.10%
Worcester 7,897 17 8 947,746 1.86%
(Source: "The Spirit, Wine Dealer's and Publican's Guide", by Edward Palmer, London, 1824 page 247-249.)
Weight of hops calculated assuming duty of 2d per pound

The numbers are a few years earlier, but demonstrate how concentrated hop growing was. I've left out most of the districts where very few hops were grown before you start telling me my numbers don't add up. Lincoln, not exactly a renowned hop-growing district, produced more than 8 times as many hops as Surrey and Hampshire combined.

Note how small a percentage of the land was used for hops in the Farnham district. In Mr. Harris's case, just 12 out of 520 acres. The largest hop farm in the area was only around 100 acres, according to Mr. Harris. Compare this to the endless vista of hop poles you see in parts of Bavaria.

Finally something I already knew: that Farnham hops were a type of white bine.  Well, most of them were.

Lots more hops-related stuff to come.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1918 Courage Double Stout

A surprisingly strong Stout for this phase of the war. Very little beer of this strength was being brewed in 1918.

In May 1918, when this beer was brewed, the average OG of everything made in a brewery could only be 1030º. To brew something of this strength, you’d need to brew a lot of sub-1030º beer. Why did brewers bother, then? Because anything over 1034º didn’t fall under government price controls. Brewers could charge what they wanted, making such beers very profitable.

I used to think that WW I had been a disaster for British brewing. In fact, despite all the restrictions, the opposite was true. Many breweries had struggled in the years leading up to the war, increased licence duties in the 1909 budget had greatly reduced the value of pubs. Many breweries saw the value of their assets so reduced that they had to reduce the value of their share capital. Few brewers were making much money. The war changed all that. Despite brewing far less beer, brewery profits were up.

1918 Courage Double Stout
pale malt 10.00 lb 68.97%
brown malt 1.25 lb 8.62%
black malt 1.75 lb 12.07%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.25 lb 8.62%
caramel 0.25 lb 1.72%
Strisselspalt 120 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 0.75 oz
OG 1064
FG 1021
ABV 5.69
Apparent attenuation 67.19%
IBU 29
SRM 62
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Scotland's Brewing Industry in 1938

Another copout post as I can't be arsed to write anything properly. Damn being ill.

This is a nice little overview of Scottish brewing on the eve of WW II. Its not a bad article.

High Reputation for "Quality"

POPULAR conception of Scotland and its products is very apt to identify the country with distilling of whisky, ignoring what, after all, is a very stable and important industry — the brewing of beer — which has contributed to Scotland's social and industrial life since the time of the great abbeys and monasteries of years ago.

A specialised industry such as this does not, as rule, establish itself without special reasons and advantages, and brewing centres in Scotland (Edinburgh, Alloa, &c.) are particularly favoured by the type of water which is available from their special wells, which provide naturally perfect water for the production of the first quality of beers. In addition, the broad acres of farm land in the Lowlands of Scotland provide barleys of the high grade essential for the production of malt liquors.

As the centuries rolled on breweries were enlarged and modernised. The somewhat slipshod methods of old were replaced by highly specialised technical methods assisted by the most meticulous scientific control, with the object, of not only maintaining quality but also of improving the stability, flavour and character of the product. This, combined with modern transport, has enabled Scotland to send its ales broadcast throughout the world and the reputation once purely local is now not only national but world-wide. As an example of the progress made in this industry, it is estimated that between £5,000,000 and £6,000,000 is paid annually in duty to the Exchequer.

The Local Trade
Trade in Scotland may be termed "local trade" inasmuch as it is trade competed for by Scottish brewers only for all practical purposes. The main sale here is for beer sold to the public on draught, and naturally the largest output is in the industrial areas such as the coalfields of the Lothians, Fife, and West of Scotland, and the engineering and shipbuilding districts of the Clyde. This trade is dependent on volume of wages very largely and, therefore, fluctuates considerably with the trade barometer, and as this barometer has been rising of late so sales have been recovering from the low levels of recent years in these districts . During the last few years there has been a very important development in the practice of brewers bottling their own article and this has, to a certain extent, displaced the sale of beer bottled by independent bottlers. This has only been to a certain degree, however, as there is no doubt that the sale of bottled beer has increased very materially of recent years. This is especially true of the present time as, with increased spending power, the sale of bottled beer has shown a marked rise, which seems to point to the fact that this class of trade will tend to show extreme fluctuations, depending upon the relative prosperity. There is, of course, a very important trade still done in beers bottled by outside bottlers, especially in districts at a distance from the source of supply.

In England
The trade here consists almost entirely of bulk beer — either to be consumed as draught beer or to be  bottled by outside bottlers, the exception to this being lager beer. While beer is sent to every district, even to the extreme South, the great volume is despatched to the North of England with its vast population employed in the heavy and other industries, and this district may be termed a veritable "cockpit", for brewers as it is open to intensive competition by Scottish, Burton, and local brewers.

While a certain number of licensed premises are owned by brewers, as is allowed by the Licensing Laws of England, there is nevertheless a large volume of trade which is at most competitive prices, and the rapidly rising costs may have a very important bearing on the financial results of this trading. So far as output is concerned, however, the prosperous conditions in heavy industries have played their part and, with the large share they hold of this trade, proportionate benefit has accrued to Scotland.

Export Trade
This is of special concern to Scotland as over 50 per cent of Great Britain's beer exports, and practically the whole of the bulk beer consumed by our troops abroad, is exported from Scotland.

Conditions have changed materially during recent years, local breweries have been established in many countries, and this, combined with adverse tariffs, has curtailed opportunities of profitable trade, Australia and South Africa — at one time our largest customers — have practically ceased to import, and local breweries in the Straits Settlements, Egypt, India, &c. are all combining to diminish the trade done in the various markets. In addition, there is a very intensive competition from other countries, especially in the case of lager beer. Notwithstanding this, the improvement in world conditions and spending power have their effect on the consumption of bottled beer and, with plentiful money, the extra cost of imported beer is overlooked, and what may be in the nature of a luxury is indulged in more freely.

The Outlook
The future is more difficult to forecast; the conditions referred to will continue to exist and, in the case of export, competition will increase rather than decrease. One serious problem is the increase of costs, which have risen consistently of late, and even now the full effect of this has not yet been felt and unfortunately there is no sign of any decreasebut on the contrary, every likelihood of further continued increases. As outstanding examples peculiar to brewing, the cost of barley has risen 80 per cent and of casks 60 per cent; these, combined with rising freights, carriage, coal, &c, all mean the profitable margin being reduced, and, in certain cases where heavy carriage is involved, may even mean the impossibility of doing business on a profitable basis. In view of this it is the more essential that output should be kept up and, given favourable conditions, it is hoped that this will be achieved, though probably at a sacrifice of profit for out-turn. Certainly no effort will be spared to ensure that the high reputation of the product will be maintained and that "quality" will be the watchword."
The Scotsman - Friday 29 April 1938, page 60.
It's weird how often the availability of good Scottish barley is mentioned as a reason for there to be ea big brewing industry in Scotland. Yet I don't see a great amount of it in brewing records. Edinburgh brewers got a lot of theirs from East Anglia. It's not uncommon to find beers in the breweing records where the only Scottish ingredients are the yeast and water.

Bottled beer certainly boomed in popularity between the wars. Not always for positive reasons. After the WW I gravity drop, publicans often struggled to keep the new, weaker beers in good condition. In response, drinkers became wary of draught beer and drank either bottled beer or draught and bottled mixed.

The Northeast of England was a hugely important market for Scottish brewers, whi tended to look more aggressively for export markets than their Englsih counterparts. It made sense. Brewers in London, for example, had an emormous market on their doorstep.

Scottish brewers had sold enormous a,ounts of beer to Australia. Around 1900 almost all the beer being imported into Australia came from Scotland. The only exexceptions being the odd London Stout an Burton Pale Ale. Heavy important duties introduced after confederation to protect Australian brewers totally destroyed this trade.

It's true that 50% - or even more - of British exports came from Scotland between the wars. Considering Scotland only accounts for about 10% of the UK population, that was enormously out of proportion.

The future was certainly difficult to forecast. Another World War and the loss of Empire would have a hige impact on the Scottish brewing industry. No-one could really see them coming in 1938.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Hops in the 1850's

Thanks to qq for pointing me in the direction of this.

It's taken from the report of a parliamentary committee into the workins of the hop duty. These reports are great sources. Because they asked people really involved in the trade about its workins. And those witnesses see mto have answered pretty honestly.

This section provides an overview of the hop growing regions and what types of hops were grown there. The man being questioned was a hop merchant.
"1492. Mr. B. Blakemore.] I think in Sussex they grow there principally the grape and the Colegate hops? —Yes.

1493. Are those the coarser sorts or the finer sort? —They are the coarser sorts.

1494. Could you give any idea of the average produce of that land per acre? —I think it is reported at 11.5 cwt.

1495. Mr. Brande.] Are you speaking of one year? —One year, 1856.

1496. Mr. B. Blakemore.] What are the sorts grown in the Weald of Kent? —Generally grapes, and some Jones's, and some Colegates.

1497. Sir John Shelley.] Are those the same sorts that are grown in the Wealds of Sussex? —Yes, I think they are, precisely.

1498. Then when you say the Sussex hops are of a coarser sort than the Kent hops, do you mean that the Colegate hop, and the grape hop, or Jones hop
grown in Sussex is a coarser hop than those of the same kind grown in the Weald of Kent? —There is a little difference in the Sussex hop compared with
the Weald of Kent ; they are, I think, in most instances rather a coarser hop.

1499. Are the same hops coarser in Sussex than in Kent? —Yes; it is brought on by the soil.

1500. Mr. B. Blakemore.] In Mid-Kent what are the sorts grown? —In Mid-Kent they have the Goldings, and they have a superior kind of grape hops
called the Canterbury hop.

1501. Are you a general hop merchant ?—I have been.

1502. Do you buy Worcestershire and Herefordshire hops? —No.

1503. You know nothing of their quality? —No. My traveller has bought them when he has been on his journeys, occasionally.

1504. How do you rank them? — Not below Sussex ; I have seen them of a higher quality.

1505. Are they generally coarser? —From what I have seen of them, they are of great variety ; I have seen Worcestershire hops equal to anything grown
in Kent ; but I have seen some no better than Sussex hops.

1506. Do you know much of them from your own experience? —Very little.

1507. Sir Edward Dering.] What do you consider would be the average yield per acre in ordinary years of the Weald of Kent for the last seven years? —I should think 8 cwt., taking blights and large crops together.

1508. What should you think was the average of the Mid-Kent Goldings? — Mr. R. Tooth. There are different sorts ; there is no distinct part Golding hops only ; they have a mixture. of Mid-Kent which grows Golding hops only; they have a mixture.

1509. What should you say was the fair average growth of the hops of Mid-Kent? —I should think 6 cwt. for the period of seven years.

1510. Do you know anything of the East Kent hops? —Yes.

1511. What sorts are grown principally in East Kent?—They have produced great quantities of the Jones's hops lately ; I should think there are onethird
Jones's, one-third Golding's hops, and the other third grapes.

1512. Have the Jones's been introduced into the best districts of East Kent? — It is an additional plantation. I may mention that there has been a greater
demand for the best sorts of hops than there has been a supply for the few last years; so that the best hops really have not been supplied in the quantity the brewers have stood in need of; and hence it has occurred that the East Kent planters, as well as some of the Mid-Kent planters, have introduced the
Jones's hop.

1513. Have the East Kent planters generally diminished or increased their gardens during the last seven years? —I should think rather increased.

1514. Mr. Bass.] That is to say, they have increased generally, but not the fine hops? —Yes.
1515. Have not they increased generally, but diminished the growth of fine hops? —They have not diminished the finer sort. I think they have increased
the produce of the other hops.

1516. Sir Edward Dering.] Do you think there are as many good sorts of East Kent hops grown as there were years ago? —There may be as many, but
the increase of consumption is very considerable ; therefore they require a greater supply."
Report from the Select Committee on Hop Duties, 1857, pages 75-76.
 I'm surprised that the dealer wasn't that impressed by Farnham hops. They seem to have been highly regarded by brewers, who valued them more even that the best Goldings.

Sunday, 14 January 2018


The fate of East German breweries after reunification was pretty random. Some famous names disappeared almost without trace. Some continued on much as before. Then there's Hasseröder. Whose sales have boomed.

Not that they're independent. They're part of AB Inbev. But they're way bigger that they were before. I can't remember seeing their beer in the good old days. And I did spend a fair amount of time in Saxony, where the brewery is located.

The branding after reunification is surprisingly similar to the old labels.

Still feeling shit, hence the post full of pretty labels.

Saturday, 13 January 2018

1917 Kidd Porter (24th July)

The changes in the Beer Orders at the beginning of July 1917 had an impact on all Kidd’s beers. Quite a simple change, really. They all had their gravities cut. Unsurprisingly, to 1036º or less.

Other than the drop in strength, not much changed with Kidd’s Porter. There’s a slight change in the hopping, which went from Kent and Sussex to just Sussex. Fairly old ones, too, as they were from the 1914 and 1915 harvest.

The grist retains the classic pale, brown, black malt backbone. The oats are clearly a token amount, presumably so some could be sold as Oatmeal Stout. There’s also a tiny amount of Spanish juice: 1 pound for 75 barrels. Which works out to 0.03 oz. for a batch of this size.

But this wasn’t where it ended. 1918 was an even tougher year for brewers with increasingly draconian restrictions.

1917 Kidd Porter (24th July)
pale malt 4.75 lb 62.91%
brown malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
black malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
crystal malt 0.33 lb 4.37%
oats 0.06 lb 0.79%
No. 4 invert sugar 1.25 lb 16.56%
caramel 1000 L 0.50 lb 6.62%
Fuggles 135 mins 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.25 oz
OG 1035
FG 1009
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 74.29%
IBU 32
SRM 48
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 135 minutes
pitching temp 60.25º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale

Friday, 12 January 2018

How Lager is brewed

I couldn't help thinking of the regular feature in Viz when I stumbled across this image.You know the one wher they show the workings of a TV studio and the like.

That very popular type of light beer generally called Lager is a favourite alcoholic beverage practically all over the world. Among the hundreds of different kinds of brews it holds a high place in popular esteem, both in the beer-drinking countries and in the Latin world. In English beer (other than lager), a kind of yeast is used that comes to the top after fermentation, whereas in lager the yeast settles to the bottom the fermenting-vessels. That is the difference between the two. Lager, it is claimed, was brewed by the ancient Egyptians, but, of course, its real birthplace, as we know it to-day, was Germany, whose methods of brewing have been copied all over the world. Beer has played very important part in the political history of many countries, and only recently the extra taxation of lager led to political crisis in Bavaria. Lager differs from other beers inasmuch as the maturing period is much longer, for, whereas the type of beer most native to England remains in the cellars for one week only in many cases, and three weeks at the most, lager remains maturing from four to six months, which, it is claimed, tends to make it highly digestible. This lengthy conditioning or maturing period during manufacture gave the beer its name, for lager is the German word for storage,” In Messrs. Barclay Perkins and Co.’s brewery the brew remains untouched by hand throughout each process, and everywhere scrupulous cleanliness is observed. Even the yeast used for fermentation is cultivated from the original cell in a wonderful machine, so that the yeast that goes into the fermenting-vessels is absolutely pure and free from disease."
Illustrated London News - Saturday 28 June 1930, page 38.

Lager, the 1930's and Barclay Perkins. How could I resist?

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Publicans and Bottled Beer Prices

Wartime restrictions and regulation of the brewing trade didn’t end with the Armistice. In particular, price control continued until 1921.

That the authorities took the regulations seriously is clear from this report of prosecutions for selling beer at too high a price.

Publicans and Bottled Beer Prices. — Three cases of overcharging for bottled beer were dealt with by Sheriff-Substitute Orr at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday. James Archibald, spirit merchant, 94 High Street, Fisherrow, pleaded guilty to selling to a Food Inspector a bottle of "Bass" of the original gravity of 1054 degrees containing 15 fluid ounces at 10d., which was in excess of the maximum price of 7.5d. and also that he had failed to post a notice in his shop showing the retail price of beer. Mr H. Millar, solicitor, stated that prior to 1st March last publicans were entitled to sell Bass and other bottled beer at 11d., and that the general practice was to charge 10d. Under the new Order the control charges were based on imperial measurement. The authorities, however, did not appear to be cognisant of the way beer was sold in Scotland — namely, by reputed pints. The imperial pint was defined as 20 fluid ounces, and the half-pint 10 fluid ounces, whereas the Scottish reputed pint came out to between 12 and 13 ounces. In Scotland the bottles were all of different sizes, and to comply with the regulations the publicans would require to measure every bottle to arrive at a correct price according to the schedule. The Procurator-Fiscal stated that the trouble arose out of the difficulty caused by the reputed pint bottle. But the Local Authorities had agreed with the trade that bottles containing 12.3 ounces could be sold at 8d., which left a slight margin in favour of the trader. Unfortunately certain publicans were selling at a higher figure. His Lordship imposed a fine of £1. Fred A. Lumley, Imperial Hotel, 143 Leith Street, Edinburgh, pleaded guilty through an agent to selling by the hands of a servant a bottle of stout of the original gravity of 1054 degrees containing 11.5 fluid ounces at 10d., the maximum price being 7d. The agent explained his client was unaware of the new Order. The licence-holders were disputing with the Food Controller the question of the new schedule. His Lordship observed that Scotland seemed to be, as usual, ignorant of the passing of the new Order. A fine of £3 was imposed. This fine was also imposed upon Malcolm Urquhart, Waterloo Bar, Waterloo Place, Edinburgh, who had sold through a servant two bottles of lager beer of 1046 degrees, each containing 13 fluid ounces, at the price of 10d., the maximum being 7d. He had also failed to exhibit a notice showing the retail price of beer.”
The Scotsman - Tuesday 27 April 1920, page 4.

I really don’t get the defence of not knowing about the new Orders, because they raised the maximum prices in April 1920.

The reputed pint defence is a more interesting one. Reputed pints and reputed quarts had been common bottle sizes in the 19th century, not just in Scotland but in England, too. And even further afield than that: the reputed pint was also in use in Australia and lives on in the Victorian schooner. By the time of WW I, Imperial measures seem to have been the norm in England.

Claiming that every bottle was a different size is also an interesting line to take. How the hell did they know how to price anything if that were the case?

The Imperial Hotel was demolished in 1973. In its later days it seems to have sold William Younger’s beers. Its site is now occupied by John Lewis. The Waterloo Bar is still going strong.

This is the final incarnation of the Beer Price Orders, which was in force when the offences were committed:

Sales of Beer by Retail in a Public Bar or for Consumption off the Premises.
Beer by gravity  Non-bottled Bottled Price per
price per pint half pint pint  quart
Under 1020º 3d. 3d. 6d. 10d.
1020º - 1027º 4d. 3.5d. 7d. 11d.
1027º - 1033º 5d. 4d. 7.5d. 1/1d
1033º - 1039º 6d. 4.5d. 8d. 1/3d
1039º - 1046º 7d. 5.5d. 9d. 1/5d
1046º 1054º 8d. 6.5d. 11d. 1/7d
above 1054º 9d. 7d. 1/1d 1/9d
 "The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101. 

The maximum prices given in the article do seem to be taking into account the the bottle size was a reputed, rather than an Imperial, pint.

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1918 Kidd DA

Brewers got up to some weird shit during WW I. Especially when it came to extremely low-gravity beer.

Brewers were restricted both with regards to how much they could brew, and its strength. For them the Holy Grail was higher gravity beer, on which there were no price controls and was consequently more profitable.

This beer was originally brewed 5th April 1918, just a few days after new harsh regulations were introduce on 1st April:

“average gravity of all beer brewed shall not exceed 1030º for great Britain and 1045º for Ireland, and that no beer shall be brewed below 1010º: and prices fixed at 4d. per pint below 1030º, and 5d. per pint for 1030º to 1034º.”
"The Brewers' Almanack 1928" pages 100 - 101.

The goal was to brew enough beer below 1030º so that you could brew some above 1034º. This set of regulations were the first to specify a minimum OG for beer. That they bothered to set a limit as low as 1010º implies that brewers had been making weaker beers, incredible as that might sound.

The 145 barrels Kidd brewed of DA meant that they could brew 145 barrels of beer at 1045º, or a larger quantity at, say, 1036º.

Whitbread brewed a version of their GA that was even weaker than this, just 1011º. But that was a very weak parti-gyle of conventionally-brewed GA. Whereas I wouldn’t really count Kidd DA as a beer as it contains no malt, being brewed from just sugar and hops.

It’s a bit of a weird devil. It’s hardly fermented, which I guess was deliberate to leave some body. They achieved the low attenuation, I believe, by keeping the fermentation cool. It was pitched at 59º and the temperature dropped a little to 58.5º F. Believe it or not, it fermented for 5 days. It was also massively underpitched. Kidd usually pitched 70-80 lbs of yeast for a brew of this size. DA received just 12 lbs.

1918 Kidd DA
glucose 2.00 lb 91.95%
cane sugar 0.13 lb 5.75%
caramel 2000 L 0.05 lb 2.30%
Fuggles 30 mins 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.01 oz
OG 1015
FG 1012
ABV 0.40
Apparent attenuation 20.00%
IBU 15
Mash at n/a
Sparge at n/a
Boil time 30 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale