Sunday, 31 March 2013

London Porter in the 1850's

I collect so much material that I often forget to use some. Like this rather good chapter about beer in George Dodd's "Food of London". I was so surprised that I'd not used it that I checked the blog a couple of times. Just in case I'd written something and forgotten about it (that does happen). No. Unless my searching skills are shot, I've never mentioned the book, save as a source for some numbers.

Time to put that right with a series of posts. Starting with some general bumpf about the big London breweries. And a few numbers.

"The great brewing firms have become almost 'household words' in London. A few of the breweries are carried on by descendants of the same families which established them in the last century. The following table presents the trade of these great houses in a curious light: the trade of a brewer being measured by the quantity of malt used by him, the following were the quantities, in quarters, supplied to fifteen of the principal brewers in the metropolis in three different years, at intervals of ten years apart: —

1831 1841 1851
qtrs qtrs qtrs
Barclay & Co. 97,198 106,345 115,542
Truman & Co. 50,724 88,132 105,022
Whitbread & Co. 49,713 51,842 51,800
Reid & Co. 43,380 47,980 56,640
Combe & Co. 34,684 36,460 43,282
Calvert & Co. 30,525 30,615 28,638
Meux & Co. 24,339 39,583 59,617
Hoare & Co. 24,102 29,450 35,000
Elliott & Co. 19,444 25,275 29,558
Taylor & Co. 21,845 37,300 15,870
Goding & Co. 16,307 14,631 13,064
Charrington & Co. 10,530 18,328 21,016
Courage & Co. 8,116 11,532 14,469
Thorne & Co. 1,445 20,846 22,022
Mann & Co. 1,302 11,654 24,030
"The food of London" by George Dodd, 1856, pages 462 - 463.

Multiply the number of quarters by four and you get something close to the number of barrels that represents. Alternatively, here some actual numbers in barrels:

Output (barrels) of large London breweries
1831 1841 1851
Barclay & Co. 330,528 382,047 419,430
Whitbread & Co. 191,040 185,084 173,311
Truman & Co. 199,486 314,474 401,863
Reid & Co. 154,631 187,722 215,255
Mann & Co. 101,899
“The British Brewing Industry 1830-1980”. T R Gourvish & R G Wilson, 1994, pages 610-612
Whitbread brewing log, document LMA/4453/D/09/024

There's one thing those numbers show - the rise of London's Ale brewers. The top nine were all still Porter brewers, but Charrington and Mann, both Ale brewers, were starting to move up the rankings and overtake some of the second division Porter brewers like Courage. By the 1870's Mann had almost caught the third largest Porter brewer, Whitbread, who themselves trailed quite a way behind Barclay Perkins and Truman*.

"When it is considered that two of the great breweries consume more than a hundred thousand quarters of malt each in a year, it may well be conceived that the working operations must be on a gigantic scale. These two are Barclay and Perkins's in Southwark, and Truman and Hanbury's in Spitalfields. The malt, the water, the hops, the fuel, the vessels — all are vast. For instance, Barclay's premises cover an area of ten or twelve acres, and have a boundary nearly a third of a mile in circuit; they require a hundred thousand gallons of water per day ; they have twenty or thirty malt-bins, each as large as a moderately-sized house; they have a porter-brewing room or brewhouse very little smaller than Westminster Hall; they have five copper boilers, each of which will contain twelve thousand gallons of wort or malt extract; they require six or seven hundred tons of coals in a year; they have many thousand square feet of flooring, on which the beer is cooled ; they have several square wooden vessels for the fermenting process, each of which will contain fifteen hundred barrels of beer; there is a tank, for containing the beer before barrelling, that, when full, would float a large barge; there are nearly two hundred store vats, the average capacity of which is thirty thousand gallons, and of some of them more than a hundred thousand — a quantity that reduces the celebrated Heidelberg tun to insignificance; they have seventythousand butts and barrels and other vessels, wherein the beer and ale are conveyed from the establishment; and lastly, they have two hundred of the finest horses in the world, to drag the clumsy butts upon the clumsy drays through the streets of the metropolis — horses, draymen, butts, and drays, being worthy of each other. If the working details at Truman and Hanbury's, or at Reid's or Meux's, were similarly noticed, we should probably find some of the items still more extraordinary than those here given. Messrs. Truman are said to possess four vats that will contain 80,000 gallons each, and store-vats altogether for 3,500,000 gallons. The store in spring has even reached 4,000,000 gallons at one of these vast establishments."
"The food of London" by George Dodd, 1856, pages 464 - 465.

London brewing was performed on a massive scale in the 1850's. But it's just when that scale was ceasing to be unique to London. Burton's largest - Burton and Allsopp - were rapidly approaching the size of the biggest the capital could offer. Neither would those massive Porter vats be around much longer. The mid-1850's is when Whitbread's output of Keeping Porter - the stuff - aged in vats - fell into steep decline. It dropped from 53 brews in 1851 to just 13 in 1859, or 30% of all Porter brewed to 6%**. They brewed their last Keeping Porter in 1870 and the Porter vats were ripped out.

"'Thirsty Soul,' and other writers to the editor of the 'Times,' maintained an animated controversy in 1853 concerning the price of London porter. Malt was plentiful and cheap, and yet the great brewers charged as highly for their beverages as in less favourable years. It was obviously a departure from the ordinary laws that regulate price; and there can be little doubt that it resulted from the enormous power possessed by about a dozen firms which monopolise the trade. The London masses will have London porter; the London porter is associated with the names of only a small number of brewers; and thus the brewers have a formidable hold on the beer-drinkers. It offers a curious example — analogous to that of the 'Times' itself — of the growth of a mighty power, something akin to monopoly in aspect, yet all the time open to the influence of Free Trade."
"The food of London" by George Dodd, 1856, pages 466 - 467.

The big London breweries - whether Ale or Porter was their main trade - continued to dominate London pubs until the 1980's, when the Big Six - three of which (Whitbread, Watney and Courage) bore the names of London brewers - dissolved into mist

I was intrigued by this "Thirsty Soul". It seems he was a frequent writer of letters to the press in the 1850's. I've managed to unearth some in the newspaper archive. Doubtless I'll reproduce some of them soon.

* "The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980" T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611.
** Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/09/044 and LMA/4453/D/09/052.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

Why I've been busy

You may have noticed that, over the last 3 months, my blog posts haven't been quite as expansive or frequent as usual. There's a good reason for that. I've been busy with something else.

I've not mentioned my other project because, well, I didn't want to be premature. Rather wait until it was done and dusted, in case it all went tits up. I know, I'm paranoid.

Now that the manuscript has been sent in and all the images are sorted out, I feel comfortable telling you about my proper book, The Homewbrewer's Guide to Vintage Beers, due out sometime this year.

It covers British beer styles 1800 to 1950. There's a history of each style, followed buy a series of historical recipes. I'm not sure how many recipes will make the final cut, but probably at least 50 or 60.

I almost forgot the tables. Plenty of those, too. You can't have a book without numbers.

I'll let you know more as the publication date approaches.

Potato Broyhan again

This probably what you've really been waiting for: how to brew with whole potatoes.

The description of the brewing process isn't specific to Broyhan. It's a general description of how to brew with whole potatoes. The author suggests any type of beer can be made using this method. Who will be the first to brew a Potato IPA or Spud Stout, I wonder?

To brew 24 - 26 barrels of 100 Berlin quarts [2,748 - 2,977 litres] at a gravity of 1045 - 1050º

12 bushels [346 lbs] pale malt
12 bushels [445 lbs] good, mealy potatoes which haven't sprouted
0.5 pound Irish moss

The earth is washed off the potatoes by repeatedly pouring cold water over them.
The potatoes are mashed to a pulp using a potato rubbing machine.
While this is going on, bring 960 Berlin quarts [1099 litres] of water to the boil in the kettle.
As soon as the potatoes have been pulped, mix the 12 bushels of malt into a thick paste with 360 [412 litres] Berlin quarts of cold water.
The paste is thinned slowly with another 840 [962 litres] quarts of cold water and then left to stand for an hour.
Meanwhile add the finely pulped potatoes slowly to the boiling water, stirring constantly.
After half an hour all the pototoes should be in the water.
Boil the water for a further half hour, stirring all the time to avoid the potatoes burning on the bottom of the kettle, until it becomes a thin paste.
Transfer the malt mash and the potato paste as quickly as possible to the brew kettle, stirring all the time, and leave for an hour at a temperature of 50-55º.
Bring the whole of the mash to the boil and boil for 10 minutes.
Transfer the mash to the Zapfbottich, stirring with mashing paddles.
Draw off the wort, returning it to the top of the mash until it runs clear.
Transfer the clear wort to the kettle, add the Irish moss and boil until the wort breaks.
Sparge the grain bed with hot water to remove the last of the extract.
"Der Bier-Brauer als Meister in seinem Fache" by A.F. Zimmermann, 1842, pages 63-65 and 105-106.

I assume the rest of the process is the same as for the potato-starch syrup version. The first stage where the potatoes are boiled to a paste sounds a bit like a cereal mash.

I'm not sure where you'd get a  potato rubbing machine from. A large hammer might be a substitute.

Please let me know how it turns out, if you give it a try. Though, with the lack of hops and all those potatoes, it looks more like a recipe for soup than beer.

We still aren't ausgebroyhand yet. There's still Nordhäuser Broyhan to go. A bit dull, though, that one. No potatoes of any type in it.

Friday, 29 March 2013

Tetley Milds in 1878 (part two)

No, I hadn't forgotten about finishing this off. Just got a bit distracted. The last 10 days I've been doing something rather important. But more of that at a later date.

It's time to look at the grists of Tetley's Milds in 1878 and those of similar London beers. Not that its going to be very exciting. Grists were, in general, pretty dull before 1880 for everything except Porter and Stout. Just loads of pale malt and the occasional dash of sugar.

Right, let's try and drag at least something out of the grists. Tetley's really are dead simple: pale malt with some colour added to a couple. I assume that's some sort of caramel colouring. Whitbread's go one step further down the simplicity path and are 100% pale malt.

Truman's and Barclay Perkins' are a bit more complex, including sugar as well. 19% in Truman's case, 14% in Barclay's. It doesn't specify which sugar, but my guess would be No. 2 invert. Both brewers also used white malt. As the name implies, it's a very pale sort of pale malt.

As there was so little to be gleaned from that particular field of grain, let's move on to the hops. Which are much more fun. What's the first thing you notice? Every single beer contains foreign hops. In the case of Tetley, it's always Bavarian hops, along with hops from various British districts. Mostly Kent, but also Worcester and Hampshire.

Bavarian hops also turn up in a couple of the London beers. Before I forget, Bavarian usually means Spalt. And in all but one Truman Mild, there are American hops in every London beer. Interesting, that. The other Truman Mild also contains Poperinge, that is Belgian, hops. Brewers liked those because they were dead cheap. Not the best quality, but cheap. As this table confirms:

UK hop imports 1864
source lbs Value.  Average  price per cwt 
Schleswig and Holstein 129,024 £5,472 £4 15 0 
Hanover  79,184 £4,408 £6 4 8 
Hamburg 981,456 £54,202 £6 3 8 
Bremen  690,928 £33,141 £5 7 5 
Holland 1,043,616 £60,155 £6 9 1 
Belgium   1,611,568 £66,198 £4 12 0 
France  1,132,208 £56,380 £5 11 3 
United States 5,334,000 £267,364 £5 12 7 
Other countries 47,600 £2,543 £5 19 8 
totals 11,049,472 £549,863
Kentish Gazette - Tuesday 06 March 1866, page 3.

Isn't this your lucky day? Three tables. You can see that the average price was lowest for hops from Belgium. I'm not sure why hops from Holland were the most expensive. My guess is that they were German-grown hops being shipped through a Dutch port. Note that American hops were fairly expensive.

How does that compare with the price of British hops? Make that four tables. I just happen to have details of that, too. And for the same year.

Price of hops per cwt. at Borough Market May 1864
East Kents £7 0 to £9 0
Mid Kents £6 10 to £8 10
Weald of Kent £6 9 to £7 0
Sussex £5 10 to £6 6
1862's £3 0 to £4 0
Olds £1 5 to £2 0
Essex Standard - Wednesday 25 May 1864, page 4.

The best-quality East Kents cost almost double the price of Belgian hops.

Of course, as a relatively cheap beer, Mild used cheaper hops than Pale Ales.  They tended to have a high proportion of Kent and Worcester hops.

What next? Why the 1880's, of course.

Tetley Mild grists in 1878
Date Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation pale malt colour hops
7th Oct 1878 X 1044.3 1012.7 4.18 71.25% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
4th Oct 1878 X1 1048.5 1011.1 4.95 77.14% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
7th Oct 1878 X1 1048.5 1011.6 4.87 76.00% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
13th Dec 1878 X1 1048.5 1019.4 3.85 60.00% 100% Hampshire, Kent, Worcester and Bavarian 
13th Dec 1878 X1 1051.2 1021.1 3.99 58.92% 100% Hampshire, Kent, Worcester and Bavarian 
7th Oct 1878 X1 1052.1 1011.1 5.42 78.72% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
4th Oct 1878 X1 1052.6 1011.1 5.50 78.95% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
10th Dec 1878 X2 1056.8 1018.8 5.02 66.83% 100% 19 gallons Bavarian and Kent hops
9th Jan 1878 X2 1060.4 1015.5 5.94 74.31% 100% Bavarian and Kent hops
10th Dec 1878 X2 1060.9 1018.8 5.57 69.09% 100% 19 gallons Bavarian and Kent hops
9th Oct 1878 X3 1069.3 1016.6 6.96 76.00% 100% Kent, Worcester and Bavarian 
7th Oct 1878 XX 1073.1 1023.3 6.60 68.18% 100% Bavarian, Kent and Worcester hops
3rd Oct 1878 XX 1077.6 1017.7 7.92 77.14% 100% Bavarian, Kent and Worcester hops
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service document number WYL756/25/ACC1903

London Mild grists 1875 - 1880
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation pale malt white malt sugar hops
16th Jul 1878 Whitbread X 1060.7 1015.8 5.94 73.97% 100.00% English and American hops
16th Jul 1878 Whitbread XL 1069.3 1018.3 6.74 73.60% 100.00% English and American hops
17th Jan 1876 Truman X Ale 1062.0 1013.9 6.38 77.68% 81.09% 18.91% English and Bavarian hops
31st Mar 1876 Truman 40/- Ale 1068.1 1012.5 7.37 81.71% 80.80% 19.20% English, Poperinge and Californian hops
31st Aug 1880 Barclay Perkins X 1060.7 1013.6 6.23 77.63% 85.99% 14.01% Mid Kent, American and Bavarian hops
14th Feb 1880 Barclay Perkins XX 1079.5 1024.1 7.33 69.69% 85.71% 14.29% Mid Kent and American hops
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number LMA/4453/D/01/044
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number B/THB/C/156
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number ACC/2305/1/579

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bollocky beer history

It's nothing new, fantasy parading as beer history. This article is worthy of the worst beer history bullshitters (I'll name no names).

It's to do with the origin of X to denote Mild Ale. Imagination and conjecture seem to have been used in place of research and reason in coming up with the various theories expounded below.

A few weeks back the "Daily Chronicle" made a reference to the sign of X which by long custom has become the mark universally employed by the brewers of this country to distinguish a certain popular type of ale. The suggestion was made that the sign originated among the monks of Burton, who are said to have marked their casks with the sign of the cross as an indication of the origin and  superiority of their ales. Mr. Matthew J. Cannon, F.C.S., in the "Brewers' Gazette," rather inclined to doubt this theory. He says:—"It is doubtful whether the theory that the monks of Burton employed the Christian emblem to mark their barrels would prove entirely sound on analysis. We know that in early English times the true cross form and the crossed diagonals both did duty for the same letter. But among the monks, who, far from being illiterate, were expert in the art of writing, the transition from one form to the other is not satisfactorily explained. If we are led astray by mere similarity in form or corruption of sign, other explanations of the derivation of X could be I found with facility. In mediaeval times the citizens of London were much exercised regarding the quality their ales. What would be more natural the brewers of those days than that they should demonstrate the quality of their ales by marking their casks with a representation of Walworth's dagger, the chief device upon the civic shield. Although these explanations may be incorrect, they convey a hint that the sign of X originated in the Middle Ages. If the antiquarian pursued his studies with assiduity, it is not unlikely that he would discover the origin of the sign among the wealth of writings which describe the domestic life of the early civilised peoples of antiquity."

"The brewing of beer did not originate in Burton, it was brewed throughout the land early Saxon times; indeed, the brewing of barley wine ante-dates the Christian era. There was corn in Egypt, and beer too, for the office of brewmaster was an honoured position in the King's household. Even in remote Babylonia it is yet to be proved that barley wine was unknown, nay, may have graced the board at Belshazzar's feast. The brewery clerk of those days might have found it easy to make two crossed impressions of his stylus upon the clay tablets, which then did duty as an invoice, for every measure of beer delivered. Or, in later days, when cuneiform gave place to the pictorial, the head of an ox, the aleph, the alpha, or beginning, would be a fitting symbol. The letters A and X are so far apart to-day that it is a purely fanciful speculation to attempt to trace any resemblance between them. But accomplished palaeographists are able to trace the transition from one form to another even in the most unlike symbols. Herein is ample field for study by the scientific inquirer into the antiquity of the mysterious sign of X. But it is probable that with much learning he must be led astray. After all, the sign may be comparatively modern, having its origin some common-place practice in the cellar, simple marks placed upon the casks showing different stages of the beer before it was ready to send out. But whatever explanation may be offered as to its derivation, it will still remain a puzzle why this distinctive symbol has become the representative mark of mild ale."
Derby Daily Telegraph - Tuesday 28 May 1912, page 2.

Two things are quite important here:

- I've never found X's used for beer names before 1800;
- X was used for other types of beer than Mild in the 19th century.

I'm pretty sure that X wasn't used until several centuries after the last monks had been driven from Burton. And as to it originating in London in reference to a dagger on the city's coat of arms, well, that's such obvious rubbish, I won't waste any more words on it.

Unless, of course, Mr. Cannon is taking the piss. I'm tempted to believe that when he talks about it possibly originating in Babylon. Based on what evidence? That they had writing of some sort.

I'm quite shocked by the final sentences. Yes, he said the term might be of comparatively recent origin. But as to it being a mark showing how close the beer was to being ready, surely someone in the industry must have known better. Afterall, there were still beers called XX, XXX and XXXX when he wrote the piece. It's obvious that the X's are an indication of strength, not readiness.

What is the origin of X's? I don't know for certain, but I suspect it comes from the period before 1830 where there were two tax categories for beer, Table Beer and Strong Beer. I know that barrels of Table Beer had (on orders of the Excise) to be marked with a T. X seems to have been the mark for Strong Beer. It could possibly come from the rate of tax - 10 shillings per barrel - on Strong Beer. Or it could just be an easy mark to make with a piece of chalk.

As I keep telling you, nothing's new. Not even crap beer history.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Potato Broyhan

By popular demand, here's the recipe for potato Broyhan. Or at least Broyhan using starch syrup derived from potatoes. You'll have to wait a little longer for the one brewed from raw potatoes.

Let's start off with the author's description of Broyhan:

"The Kingdom of Hannover and the province of Saxony have been famous since the days of old for an unhopped Weissbier, whose inventor called it after his own name of Broyhan and this name has stayed with the drink to our days.

Broyhan (sometimes also written Broihan) belongs to the pale, cooling, thirst-quenching, sweet-sourish tasting, non-intoxicating malt drinks. It is seldom clear, cannot be kept long, turns quickly sour in the summer . . . . ."
"Der Bier-Brauer als Meister in seinem Fache"by A.F. Zimmermann, 1842, page 91.
Interesting that he describes it as unhopped. That wasn't always true. There were some versions with a small amount of hops.

Here he discusses the grist:

"For brewing Broyhan are variously used one part wheat malt to two parts barley malt, the opposite proportions, equally in other breweries a third raw wheat and two thirds barley malt. In times when wheat is expensive, it is often left out and barley malt alone used, and in the present day, where starch syrup is available and cheap, this is also used along with barley malt and it produces a stable sweetness, which doesn't change so quickly, as does malt sugar, through fermentation into a wine flavour, so mostly replaces the wheat flavour. I've even succeeded in producing, using my own brewing process which I have demonstrated on pages 123 to 136, a wort from half raw potatoes and half barley malt from which Broyhan as well as other famous beers of extraordinary beauty and stability could be made and I will try in this treatise to give the necessary instructions to this purpose and thereby highlight a greater profit for the brewing industry."
"Der Bier-Brauer als Meister in seinem Fache" by A.F. Zimmermann, 1842, page 92.

Note that this is one of those Weissbiers that wasn't necessarily made from wheat. This is the older meaning of Weissbier, where it means a beer made from air-dried, pale-coloured malt.

Now for the recipe itself. The text doesn't specify which temperature scale is being used, but, based on the pitching temperature, it looks like celsius to me.

To brew 30 to 32 barrels (of 100 Berlin quarts) [3425 to 3664 litres] of Broyhan with a specific gravity of 1045 to 1050º from barley malt and starch syrup.

24 Berlin bushels of barley malt [+-690 kg]
220 Berlin pounds of yellow starch syrup [102 kg]
0.5 pound of Irish moss

Bring 720 Berlin quarts [824 litres] of water to the boil.
Let the water cool in the mash tun to 30º, then add the malt and stir well with brewing paddles.
While mashing, bring more water to boil in the kettle.
Once the mashing is completed slowly add 1680 Berlin quarts [1924 litres] of boiling water to the mash, mixing in well.
When this is complete, the mash should be 50 to 55º.
Transfer the entire mash to the kettle and bring to the boil.
Simmer for a few minutes then transfer back to the mash tun.
Leave to stand for half an hour then run off the wort into the mash kettle along with the potato syrup.
When the grain bed appears, add boiling water to cover it to a depth of 6 inches.
Continue to run off the wort and to cover the grain bed with 6 inches of water every time it appears.
When half the sparge water has been added this way, the remaining half can be added at once, taking care not to disturb the grain bed.
Boil until the wort breaks. Add the Irish moss to the boiling wort.
Quickly cool the wort in a shallow cooler.
Pitch the yeast at 15º in the summer, 17-18º in the winter.
Paraphrased from "Der Bier-Brauer als Meister in seinem Fache" by A.F. Zimmermann, 1842, pages 98 - 104.

That's quite a high gravity for Broyhan. It's another of the watery Northern German styles, that rarely poked its head above 2% ABV. It must be a Doppel-Broyhan.

I suppose that's a sort of simple decoction mash. It sounds fiddly to me.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

William Younger's Porter 1851 - 1869

I'm not sure why I've never examined William Younger's Porter closely. Because there are some odd things about it. Very odd things.

First, that they couldn't decide on the brewhouse name, calling it both P and BS. The latter name, presumably short for Brown Stout, would imply it was a Stout. Then why sometimes call it P? And in terms of gravity, it's definitely in Porter rather than Stout territory.

The level of attenuation is very patchy, varying from 57% to 73%. The top end is what I would have expected. In the 1850's and 1860's, London Porter was 70-75% attenuated.

In some ways these Porters are very unlike Younger's other beers. The boils - especially in the 1850's - were longer. Their other beers were boiled for 90 minutes at most. The difference wasn't as big in the 1860's, but was still there. The pitching temperature of the Porters was higher - other beers were pitched at 56-60º F, as was the maximum fermentation temperature, which for other styles didn't exceed 70º F. Unsurprisingly given the higher temperature, the fermentation was also shorter, by one to three days.

In the 1850's, the hopping levels were similar to in London: 2.75-3 lbs per barrel. By the 1860's, they'd fallen to about half the level in London, where the hopping rate had remained constant.

I've been saving the oddest until the last: the grists. The percentage of brown malt is very high in the examples from the 1850's. So high that they must have been using diastatic brown malt, something that I thought had disappeared before this date. The pale malt percentage was more normal-looking in the 1860's, but the percentage of amber malt is very high in some examples. Note that brown malt had been dropped by then.

Other than the single example that's just pale and black malt, none of the grists look like English ones. It's all very odd.

William Younger Porter 1851 - 1869
Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days) pale malt brown malt black malt amber malt
1851 BS 1057 1017 5.29 70.18% 21.75 3.08 2.25 64º 73º 3 + 2 42.92% 32.45% 24.63%
1851 BS 1056 1015 5.42 73.21% 23.87 2.86 2.25 63º 72º 4 + 1 24.73% 56.08% 19.19%
1851 BS 1060 1022 5.03 63.33% 23.46 2.61 2.25 63º 72º 3 + 2 24.32% 55.16% 20.52%
1851 BS 1060 1021 5.16 65.00% 25.26 2.93 2.5 64º 73º 3 + 2 26.08% 59.14% 14.78%
1851 BS 1060 1024 4.76 60.00% 27.37 3.17 2.25 64º 71º 3 + 2 26.08% 59.14% 14.78%
1851 BS 1063 1023 5.29 63.49% 7.50 0.91 2 64º 72º 3 + 1 30.60% 69.40%
1852 BS 1057 1018 5.16 68.42% 23.87 2.93 2.25 64º 72º 3 + 3 24.73% 56.08% 19.19%
1858 BS 1052 1022 3.97 57.69% 18.33 2.75 2 61º 72º 3 + 3 56.95% 14.35% 14.35% 14.35%
1858 BS 1054 1022 4.23 59.26% 16.67 2.22 2.33 62º 72º 3 + 2 56.95% 14.35% 28.70%
1868 Bg 1046 1020 3.44 56.52% 8.00 1.45 3 61º 69º 3 + 2 92.25% 7.75%
1869 BS 1041 1017 3.18 58.54% 7.69 1.18 2.5 3 61º 66º 2 + 3 45.26% 13.69% 41.06%
1869 P 1048 1018 3.97 62.50% 2.75 62º 67º 2 + 1 68.80% 10.40% 20.80%
1869 BS 1042 1018 3.18 57.14% 7.50 1.46 2.5 3 61º 67º 2 + 3 68.80% 10.40% 20.80%
William Younger brewing records held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document numbers WY/6/1/2/5, WY/6/1/2/14 and WY/6/1/2/21.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Water Splash Tragedy (corrected)

Martyn Cornell pointed out that I dentified the wrong brewery as owning the Lord Nelson in Barnet. It should have been the Cannon Brewery, not Taylor Walker. Taylor Walker did buy the Cannon Brewery, but after 1929.

Here is the corrected version of the post.

No, not the tragedy of water splashing into your beer. A real tragedy, one invloving two deaths.

People come up with all sorts of excuses to get off a drunk driving charge. This one is particularly weird.


The recent water splash motor tragedy near Shenley, Hertfordshire, where two men were found dead in a motor car, had sequel at Barnet Police Court to-day, when the driver the car, Victor Alphonso Mercihant, a general dealer, of Barnet, appeared on remand charged with being drunk charge of the car.

A verdict of "Death from misadventure" was returned at the inquest last week on the two men — George Smith and William Soul — after Dr. G. B. Egerton had attributed death to heart failure following exposure accentuated by alcohol.

Lord Strafford was tho presiding magistrate to-day, and the Bench included two women. Merchant pleaded not guilty.

Mr. Levy, prosecuting for the police, said that the culminating tragedy of this motoring and drinking expedition, ending as it did in the death of two men, should be a lesson to all drivers to abstain from alcohol. On November 16th, 2.45 p.m., Mr. J. Stirling, garage proprietor, was at the water splash on the Shenley and Arkley roads, and saw a car coming towards him. He put his hand up to stop it, but no notice was taken. The driver, after various manoeuvres, went into the water splash, and it seemed to nose dive into it. The men were all laughing and joking. When a police officer arrived later he shouted to those the car, but as there was no reply he waded into water. The men all appeared to be in a drunken state, were snoring loudly, and were fast asleep.

When Merchant awoke he said to the officer: "We can pull in here for sleep, can't we?" He got out of the car, tried to run away and fell. When taken to Shenley police-station the divisional surgeon certified that Merchant was recovering from the effects of drink.

He understood defence that would be put forward would be that these men died from carbon monoxide poisoning, and that Merchant was suffering from carbon monoxide. He was drank at 3 o'clock, and recovering from the effects of too much alcohol 6.20 p.m. In a statement he made at the police station Merchant said that he and his brother intended going on a fishing expedition, but it was pouring with rain, they remained the Arkley Hotel, where two old friends — the dead men — joined them. He had two bitters there. Then they went to the Lord Nelson, where they had some more drink.

"I paid for four pints of mild ale," the statement continued, "and another man paid for four more pints of beer. After a time we all commenced to play darts, and I had no further drinks, but I think my brother and the two other men had some more. At 2.30 p.m., all left the public-house together, and to my knowledge my mates were all quite sensible and sober.

"At the water splash I saw a big car stuck in the water, and tried to pass it on the left. I left the road, and got up on the grass, which was all under water. My brother started the car several times, but the back wheels skidded. While I was endeavouring to drive the car out I collapsed over the wheel, and the next thing I remember was being pulled out of the car by a constable, who said, 'I have been trying to wake you up an hour ago.' So far as I can recollect both side windows in front of the car were open. In my opinion, my friends were not drunk when we left the Lord Nelson. As a matter fact. I have never seen them drunk, and have seen them drink gallons."

When the plans of the scene of tho accident were produced, Mr. Vyvyan Wells, for the defence, challenged their accuracy.

Mr. Weymann, the landlord of the Lord Nelson, said the men were all jolly and lively when they left his house. "They were quite sober, he added.

Mr. Levy's application to treat Weymann as a hostile witness was refused.

Professor J. S. Haldane, whose evidence for the defence was interposed, said that after reading the report of the inquest he communicated with the defence, and agreed to give evidence. He had read a statement concerning a test made by Dr. Walters, of Middlesex Hospital. "It absolutely conclusive," he said, "that these men died of carbon monoxide poisoning. There is not the smallest shadow of doubt on the subject."

Questioned on tho comparative effects of alcohol and carbon monoxide poisoning, he said: "I don't think I have ever been drunk, but I have been under the influence of carbon monoxide." (Laughter.)

Professor Leonard Hill, whose voluntary evidence was also interposed, agreed entirely with Professor Haldane.

The charge was dismissed.

Mr. Wells applied for costs, but these were not allowed."
Nottingham Evening Post - Wednesday 27 November 1929, page 9.

I'm not sure what to make of that. Did the men really die of carbon monoxide poisoning?  It seems unlikely, given that the car windows were open and the engine wasn't running. Sounds like a pretty pathetic excuse to me.

Even based on what he admitted to drinking, the driver would have been over the limit today. Two pints and Bitter and two of Mild is a fair bit, especially when you consider beer was a bit stronger then. The Bitters were probably at least 4.5% ABV and the Milds 3.6% ABV.

The Lord Nelson and Arkley Arms both seem to still exist. Here's the Lord Nelson:

Do you see what's above the first floor windows? Two cannons. Isn't that interesting. It must have been a Cannon Brewery pub? I have details of their beers from the 1920's. Want to take a look? Sure you do.

Cannon Brewery beers 1924-1925
Year Beer Style Price size package OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1924 PA Pale Ale 7d pint draught 1044.5
1924 KK Strong Ale 8d pint draught 1051.3 1011.7 5.15 77.19%
1924 X Mild 6d pint draught 1038 1008.9 3.78 76.58%
1924 Stout Stout 8d pint draught 1047.1 1013.6 4.34 71.13%
1924 KK Strong Ale 8d pint draught 1050.4 1012.7 4.90 74.80%
1924 X Mild 6d pint draught 1039 1010.5 3.69 73.08%
1924 Stout Stout 8d pint draught 1051.9 1016.1 4.64 68.98%
1925 Stout Stout quart bottled 1047.2 1009.2 4.95 80.51%
1925 X Mild 6d pint draught 1039.8 1010.4 3.81 73.87%
1925 PA Pale Ale 7d pint draught 1045.2 1010.2 4.55 77.43%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

The Pale Ale would be their Bitter. So my guess of  4.5% ABV wasn't far out. Neither was my guess of 3.6% for Mild.