Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Westphalian and Hessian Lagerbier 1879 - 1893

Had my obsessive side passed you by, the current flood of Lager might have surprised. A regular reader would expect the unrelenting tsunami of tables. If such a beast as a regular reader exists.

Let's begin with doubt. I'm not sure what these analyses teach us. Just as well that's not my main reason for publishing them. It's mostly to do with identifying the regional groupings.

In the source, there's a heading to identify beers of a certain region. I don't have that luxury. Each beer is a row in a spreadsheet that I sort into all sorts of different orders. You can forget headers. The rows get shuffled all over the place.

Sorry to bother you with this. Me finding handy places to park stuff I don't want to lose.

When you have as much crap as I do - writings, research material, photos - you have to keep in some sort of order. To be able to find it back. That's why my self-published books exist. So I can keep track of what I've written.

Now I've got that out of the way, on with the beers. First those from Westphalia. As you can see, they're mostly from Dortmund.

Westphalian Lagerbiers 1879 - 1893
Year Brewer Beer Style Acidity OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation
1879 Unknown Dortmund Dortmunder Lagerbier 1049.1 1015.1 12.21 4.40 69.25%
1884 Unknown Marienborn bei Sigen Lagerbier 2 bis 3 Monat alt Lagerbier 0.184 1051.0 1011.3 12.66 5.16 77.84%
1884 Barmer Aktien-Brauerei Barmen-Rittershausen Lagerbier Lagerbier 0.161 1053.0 1019 13.13 4.40 64.15%
1887 Westfalia-Brauerei Münster Lagerbier Dunkel Dunkles 0.317 1053.0 1015 13.13 4.94 71.70%
1893 Löwenbräu Dortmund Lagerbier Lagerbier 0.27 1055.0 1012.0 13.60 5.60 78.18%
1884 Gebr. Meininghaus Dortmund Lagerbier Lagerbier 0.02 1056.0 1013.8 13.84 5.49 75.36%
1887 Westfalia-Brauerei Münster Lagerbier Hell Helles 0.302 1056.8 1013 14.03 5.70 77.11%
1884 Victoria-Brauerei Dortmund nach bömisches Art Lagerbier 0.118 1059.0 1017.5 14.54 5.39 70.34%
1884 Victoria-Brauerei Dortmund goldfarbig Lagerbier Helles 0.152 1062.3 1019 15.31 5.62 69.50%
Average 0.191 1055.0 1015.1 13.61 5.19 72.60%
Source:
Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pages 1102 - 1156

My guess would be that most were pale in colour. The one described as "nach böhmisches Art" almost certainly is.

In terms of gravity, they mostly look right for Export, though the source describes them as Lagerbier. I'd expect 13º to 14º Plato, which is what most of them are, with the average 13.6º Plato. At 72%, the attenuation is better than for most of the Lagerbiers we've looked at. Odd, because you'd expect attenuation to be worse in the stronger Export. The high gravity and relatively high level of attenuation mean that the average ABV is the highest so far, 5.19%

At almost 0.2%, the level of lactic acid is again rather high. Two samples have acidity over 0.3%. That's the sort of level you'd expect in a Stock Ale or aged Stout. I'm still trying to get my head around levels like that being in Lager.

Now the Hessian Lagerbiers. They're sort of from Hessen. Or they were back in the 1890's. But today Schmalkalden is in Thuringia. I must confess that I didn't notice. Dolores pointed it out to me when I asked if she knew where it was. She does, because she grew up not that far away. It's weird that so many samples are from Schmalkalden. It's not a huge town - the population now is only 20,000. Yet from the much larger Kassel, there's only one.

Hessian Lagerbiers in 1893
Year Brewer town Style Acidity OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation
1893 Bühner Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.211 1044.5 1012 11.11 4.21 73.03%
1893 H. Wiegand Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.137 1045.1 1013.2 11.26 4.14 70.73%
1893 Messerschmidt Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.262 1045.4 1012.5 11.33 4.26 72.47%
1893 Kaufmann Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.271 1045.5 1012.0 11.35 4.35 73.63%
1893 C. Wolff Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.137 1045.9 1014 11.45 4.14 69.50%
1893 Falk Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.218 1046.0 1013.3 11.47 4.24 71.09%
1893 Cramer Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.232 1046.3 1013.7 11.54 4.23 70.41%
1893 Wwe. Köhler Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.152 1047.1 1014 11.74 4.29 70.28%
1893 Ritter Sauer Hersfeld Lagerbier 1048.1 1011.3 11.97 4.79 76.51%
1893 G. Wolff Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.270 1048.3 1011.0 12.02 4.85 77.23%
1893 Hessische Aktien-Brauerei Cassel Lagerbier 0.185 1048.3 1012 12.02 4.71 75.16%
1893 Rückert-Siemen Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.179 1050.0 1018 12.42 4.14 64.00%
1893 Lederer Marburg Lagerbier 0.14 1051.4 1015.5 12.76 4.65 69.84%
1893 Wwe. Lesser Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.232 1051.5 1014.2 12.78 4.84 72.43%
1893 A. Wiegand Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.148 1051.7 1009.8 12.83 5.46 81.04%
1893 W. Engelhardt Hersfeld Lagerbier 0.179 1052.6 1015.7 13.04 4.79 70.15%
1893 Missomelius Marburg Lagerbier 0.21 1057.0 1013.2 14.07 5.70 76.84%
1893 Kühn Schmalkalden Lagerbier 0.137 1060.3 1017 14.84 5.63 71.81%
1893 Missomelius Marburg Lagerbier 0.097 1060.6 1015.0 14.91 5.94 75.25%
Average 0.189 1049.8 1013.5 12.36 4.70 72.70%
Source:
Chemie der menschlichen Nahrungs- und Genussmittel by Joseph König, 1903, pages 1102 - 1156

The Hessian Lagerbiers have a much lower average gravity than the Westphalian ones - more than 5 points lower. Though they share a similar degree of attenuation, about 72%. Though the average seems about right for Lagerbier, some at the bottom end are a bit weak and the top two far too strong. Again, the average acidity is on the high side.

The table fun just doesn't end today. I've put together a table to compare the average values for Lagerbiers from different areas.

Bohemian, German and Austrian Lagerbiers
Beer OG FG OG Plato ABV App. Atten-uation lactic acid %
Bohemian Dark Lagers 1890 - 1895 1044.4 1014.2 11.09 3.91 68.13% 0.172
Bohemian Lagerbier 1876 1046.2 1013.3 11.51 4.26 71.25% 0.130
Bohemian Pilsener 1880-1890 1049.0 1013.6 12.18 4.59 72.09% 0.212
Bohemian Pale Lagerbier 1880-1890 1049.2 1014.9 12.22 4.44 70.06% 0.140
Hessian Lagerbiers in 1893 1049.8 1013.5 12.36 4.70 72.70% 0.189
Dresden Lagerbiers 1878 - 1880 1052.0 1013.4 12.90 5.01 74.37%
Lower Austrian Lagerbier 1876 1053.3 1017.0 13.20 4.70 68.17% 0.140
Hannover region Lagerbier 1878 - 1891 1053.4 1015.6 13.22 4.90 70.81% 0.134
Nürnberg Winterbier 1887 1053.6 1016.4 13.28 4.82 69.30% 0.232
Westphalian Lagerbiers 1879 - 1893 1055.0 1015.1 13.61 5.19 72.60% 0.191

You can see that the Hessian ones slot in just above the Bohemian ones. They're quite a bit weaker than any of the other German ones. While Westphalian Lagerbiers are, on average, the strongest. Not sure what the table tells us, other than that gravities were low in Bohemia.

Not sure what's next. erfurt, maybe.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Wenlock Stout quality 1922 - 1925

I have to admit that this marathon swim through the Whitbread Gravity Book has been very instructive. Particularly with regard to the finances of brewing companies.

The Wenlock Brewery emerged from the difficult decade leading up to WW I in pretty good shape. Many breweries had to revalue their shares after 1910 when the value of their assets, principally pubs, fell after extra burdens were put on the trade in the 1909/1910 budget. They found themselves in the unenviable position of not having enough assets to cover their capital. A decline in pub values was kicked off by an earlier Licensing Act which made it easier for magistrates to refuse licence renewals.

That didn't stop the brewery chairman having a good moan. It's a common feature of Edwardian annual brewery meetings, the chairman complaining about government policy driving them towards ruin.

"WENLOCK BREWERY.
Sir John Bell, presiding at meeting in London of the Wenlock Brewery, spoke of the great difficulties the trade laboured under owing the very heavy rates, and he hoped this would be borne in mind when the new London County Council came to be elected next year. He also complained of the war tax being still kept on. The effect of the war tax, the tax on sugar, and the compensation claims was to take an account which would be sufficient to pay 4 per cent on the capital of the company. Referring to the deputation of the trade which waited upon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Chairman stated that the Prime Minister, who was present, said he would not lift his hand against clubs. He also said he would not interfere with teetotalers sitting on the Licensing Committees, but he would not allow the brewing interest to be represented. This he (the Chairman) considered most unjust. He did not think that Government would dare confiscate their property as had been threatened."
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 07 December 1906, page 9.

If you're wondering why the hostility to clubs, brewers saw them as unfair competition for their own tied houses. He does have a point about temperance campaigners being allowed to be part of Licensing Committees but no-one connected with the brewing trade.

He was still moaning two years later. Though he did let slip one really handy piece of information:

"WENLOCK BREWERY COMPANY.
Presiding at the annual meeting the Wenlock Brewery Company in London yesterday. Sir John Bell complained of the 1s. a barrel war tax, which made a difference them during the past year of £4,337. Malt had been exceedingly high in price, while rates and taxes were a very heavy item.  The brewers, he said, would always lend their support furthering real temperance, but the Licensing Bill was mere confiscation. He advocated dealing drastically with grooers and clubs. The most gratifying feature of the year was the increase in the barrelage, and the improvement had continued since the end of October. Malt was not likely to fall in price, but their hop position was favourable. The report was adopted."
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Wednesday 16 December 1908, page 12.

Did you spot it? He let slip the barrelage of the brewery. An extra shilling a barrel tax had cost them £4,337. Just multiply that by 20 and you have how many barrels they brewed in 1908: 86,740. Which puts Wenlock somewhere in the Second Division of London brewers, quite a way behind First Division outfits like Barclay Perkins, Whitbread, Truman and Watney. This is how much they brewed that year:

Largest London breweries in 1908
Brewery barrels
Barclay Perkins 527,716
Whitbread 808,237
Truman 355,110
Mann 625,130
Watney 906,026
Sources:
The British Brewing Industry, 1830-1980 T. R. Gourvish & R.G. Wilson, pages 610-611
Reid archive

Let's take a look at Wenlock Brewery's financial results from 1899 to 1939:

Wenlock Brewery profits and dividends 1899 - 1939
Year net profit brought in carried forward dividend Ordinary shares to reserve reserve fund write down properties and loan account
1899 £6,089 10% 15,000
1900 £51,857 £6,089 £4,357 10% £20,000 £110,000
1901 £50,055 £4,356 £2,555 10% £20,000 £130,000
1902 £46,851 10% £15,000
1903 £4,416 10%
1904 £36,673 £4,416 £4,173 10% £130,000
1905 £2,101
1906 £32,515 £2,101 £2,015 10% £3,000
1907
1908 £970
1909 £23,993 £970 £2,494 5% £4,000
1910
1911
1912
1913 £22,726 £2,696 £2,922 5% £5,000
1914 £30,100 £2,921 £10,521 5% £5,000
1915 £29,650 £10,521 £15,671 6%
1916 £29,489 £15,671 £11,660 8%
1917
1918 £45,358 £17,858 10%
1919
1920 £46,882 £16,569 £14,382 10%
1921 10%
1922 10%
1923 £62,365 £36,478 10% £15,000
1924 £72,105 £36,478 £51,083 10% £25,000
1925 £84,198 £51,083 £52,731 10% £50,000
1926 £112,986 £52,731 £83,267 10% £50,000
1927 £119,201 £73,267 £97,469 15% £50,000
1928 £122,047 £97,469 £118,266 17.5% £50,000
1929 £109,343 £118,266 £126,359 17.5% £50,000 £475,000
1930 £109,649 £126,359 £134,758 17.5% -£50,000
1931 £90,527 £134,758 £127,388 15% £45,397
1932 12.5%
1933 £58,108 £118,649 £112,842 14% £13,166
1934 £75,179 £122,841 £110,120 15% £25,401
1935 £88,437 £110,120 £113,321 17.5% £25,236
1936 £87,049 17.5%
1937 17.5%
1938 £76,105 16.25%
1939 £113,904 15% £22,640
Sources:
Aberdeen Journal - Tuesday 08 December 1925, page 11.
Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 07 December 1927, page 10.
Aberdeen Journal - Wednesday 10 December 1924, page 11.
Birmingham Daily Post - Thursday 07 December 1916, page 7.
Derby Daily Telegraph - Monday 09 December 1929, page 9.
Dundee Courier - Friday 18 July 1930, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Monday 09 December 1935, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Monday 11 December 1939, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Monday 19 November 1900, page 3.
Dundee Courier - Saturday 10 December 1938, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Saturday 27 November 1937, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Thursday 06 December 1928, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Thursday 06 December 1934, page 4.
Dundee Courier - Thursday 08 December 1932, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Thursday 23 November 1899, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Tuesday 08 December 1936, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Tuesday 19 November 1901, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Wednesday 10 December 1924, page 2.
Dundee Courier - Wednesday 26 November 1902, page 3.
Gloucester Citizen - Wednesday 22 December 1920, page 6.
Hull Daily Mail - Thursday 10 December 1931, page 8.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Thursday 16 December 1915, page 2.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Tuesday 08 December 1914, page 3.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Tuesday 09 December 1913, page 4.
Manchester Courier and Lancashire General Advertiser - Tuesday 14 December 1909, page 5.
Sheffield Daily Telegraph - Thursday 26 November 1903, page 11.
Western Daily Press - Thursday 10 December 1931, page 9.
Western Daily Press - Wednesday 08 December 1926, page 10.
Western Morning News - Monday 09 December 1935, page 9.
Western Morning News - Thursday 08 December 1921, page 6.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Friday 25 November 1904, page 10.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Monday 26 November 1906, page 18.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 11 December 1930, page 14.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Thursday 12 December 1918, page 9.
Yorkshire Post and Leeds Intelligencer - Tuesday 19 November 1901, page 10.

It's a shame that a few years are missing, but you can see the general trends. The profits fell up until 1913, after which they started to pick up. The dividend started to fall sometime after 1906, which is what you'd expect. It only started rising after the outbreak of the war. In 1916 things were going so well that they retrospectively issued a 2.5% dividend for each of the years 1914 and 1915.

After 1901 they weren't able to add to their reserve, instead starting to write down the properties and loans account. This could be the reason they didn't get into real trouble in 1911 - 1913. They'd started early, before the trade really started to be hit by government legislation. Added to this, at £250,000, their capital was relatively modest.

Which has got me thinking. I always saw WW I as being a disaster for the brewing trade. Whereas in reality it was the saviour of many brewers. After a decade or so of falling profits, brewers started to make decent profits again. Without it, many would surely have gone bankrupt.

By 1918, the dividend was back to the 10% level of before 1906. The 1920's, were very good for the Wenlock Brewery with net profit rising to over £100,000 and the dividend hitting 17.5% by the end of the decade. With large surpluses, they were able to stack away a considerable sum in reserve, with it reaching almost half a million by 1929.

Though profits were lower in the 1930's, Wenlock still managed to pay a dividend greater than 10% every year. Even Snowden's disastrous emergency budget of 1931 didn't reduce the dividend by much, 12.5% being the lowest paid. It's clear that while the 1930's were challenging times for brewers, they were nothing like as bad as the period 1904-1914.

Time to look at Wenlock's draught Stout. All but one example is of the weaker 8d (7d after 1923) type of Stout. Which makes it difficult to compare with most of the other breweries examples. It does have one very obvious feature: a low degree of attenuation. Were they leaving the FG deliberately high to give it more body? The low OG and high FG leave it with an average ABV of less than 4%. Not very Stout at all.

Let's see how the scores went:

Wenlock Stout quality 1922 - 1925
Year Beer FG OG ABV App. Atten-uation Flavour score Price
1922 Stout 1018.2 1044.2 3.35 58.82% fair 1 9
1922 Stout 1017.9 1044.9 3.48 60.13% good 2 8
1922 Stout 1014.2 1055.2 5.33 74.28% poor -1 8
1922 Stout 1017 1046 3.75 63.04% v good for price 3 8
1923 Stout 1015.6 1045.6 3.88 65.79% compares well with the others at 9d 2 8
1923 Stout 1013.4 1041.4 3.62 67.63% fair 1 8
1923 Stout 1015 1046 4.01 67.39% good 2 7
1923 Stout 1018.2 1045.7 3.55 60.18% good compared with others @ 9d pint 2 8
1923 Stout 1016.1 1043.6 3.55 63.07% v fair 2 7
1923 Stout 1017.6 1045.1 3.55 60.98% v good for the money 3 8
1925 Stout 1014 1045 4.01 68.89% poor & thin -2 7
Average  1016.1 1045.7 3.83 64.56% 1.36
Source:
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001

Nine of the eleven examples get positive scores, which is pretty good. Ironically one of the two bad scores is for the stronger 9d type of Stout. Two 3's and 5 2's leave it with the very respectable average score of 1.36.

Stout-drinking time-travellers should head directly to a Wenlock pub. They just need to remember to order the cheaper Stout.