Friday, 5 June 2009

Getting poetic

Here's another poignant comment. Brewing logs often contain details of the weather. Air temperature, rain, thunderstorms. That sort of thing. This is rather more poetic description.

"Black fog all day. And like a ball enshrouded us."

It's scribbled in pencil on the log of a batch of Barclay Perkins X Ale brewed December 16th 1916.

Note that there no longer seems to be a shortage of amber malt. This brew contains both amber and crystal malt. Look closely and you might see something else of interest. Can you spot it? Here's a clue, it's to do with the prices.

OK, I'll tell you. The crystal malt was 58 shillings a quarter and the maize 62 shillings. That's right. The maize was dearer than some of the malt. In 1914, maize had been just 26 shillings a quarter and crystal malt 32 shillings.

It's a world gone mad, when adjuncts are more expensive than malt. There will be more about the price of ingredients in WW I soon. Is that a threat or a promise?


Bill in Oregon said...

Ron, could this be further proof that brewers where using adjuncts and sugar because of the qualities they added to the beer and not to increase the bottom line? Or is it because with the shortages they were willing to pay a premium for adjuncts because malt was scarce (ie, even though malt was less money than maize, it wasn't as readily available)? Interesting post in any event.

Ron Pattinson said...

Bill, I think everything was in short supply. However, in the summer of 1917 Barclay Perkins stopped using maize altogether. It didn't reappear until two years later.

Gary Gillman said...

The black fog comment would be apt, too, of over-indulgence in the employer's star product! Used in this sense I would add further lines: "Black dog second day. Wages of time ill-spent".


Anonymous said...

Couldn't that be "pall"? It would make more sense with "enshrouded".

Ron Pattinson said...

I wondered whether it was "pall" or "ball".