Sunday, 11 December 2016

Beer in 1958 (part four)

It’s time to look at the financial aspect of the brewing industry. And by that I mostly mean tax.

For centuries, the tax on beer has formed a considerable part of its price. And, conversely, the tax on beer has been a vital source of revenue for the government. This was even more the case during the first half of the twentieth century, with two expensive World Wars that needed to be paid for.

“More efficient methods - the brewing industry invests from £8m. to £10m. a year in new plant, buildings, and vehicles, roughly a tenth of its net output — have kept the rise in the cost of making beer to below the rise in the prices of its main constituents and below the rise of prices in general. But prices of beer do not fully reflect this because of the great increase in excise duty, which averaged just over 2d. a pint before the war and now averages about 8d. In the cheapest mild (1s. 2d. a pint now. compared with 4d. until almost the eve of war in 1939) the duty represents almost half the price. According to the Census of Production, in 1951 it represented nearly two-thirds of the value of beer when dispatched from the brewery. The duty is based on the gravity of the malt extract before it is fermented.”
"Beer in Britain", 1960, pages 5 - 6.

Consolidation was responsible for some of the fall in the cost of production. We’ve already seen how average output per brewery rose by around 50% during the 1950’s.

Want to see if they’ve got their numbers right on the tax per pint? I have the odd number or two:

Beer tax 1939 - 1960
Year Bulk Barrels Std. Barrels Tax/Std. Brl Total Tax £ Tax/Bulk Brl. Av. sg tax pint
1939 24,674,992 18,364,156 80s 62,370,034 50s 7d 1040.9 2.11d
1940 25,366,782 18,738,619 80s / 104s 75,157,022 59s 3d 1040.6 2.47d
1940 104s /135s / 165s
1941 26,203,803 18,351,113 135s / 165s 133,450,205 101s 10d 1038.5 4.24d
1942 29,860,798 19,294,605 165s /240s 7.5d 157,254,430 105s 4d 1035.5 4.39d
1943 29,296,672 18,293,919 240s 7.5d / 281s 10.5d 209,584,343 143s 1d 1034.3 5.96d
1944 30,478,289 19,193,773 281s 10.5d / 286s 5.5d 263,170,703 172s 8d 1034.6 7.20d
1945 31,332,852 19,678,449 286s 5.5d 278,876,870 178s 1034.5 7.42d
1946 32,650,200 20,612,225 286s 5.5d 295,305,369 180s 11d 1034.7 7.54d
1947 29,261,398 17,343,690 286s 5.5d 250,350,829 171s 1d 1032.6 7.13d
1948 30,408,634 18,061,390 325s 5d 264,112,043 173s 9d 1032.7 7.24d
1949 26,990,144 16,409,937 364s 4.5d / 343s 4.5d 294,678,035 218s 4d 1033.4 9.10d
1950 26,513,997 16,337,315 343s 4.5d 263,088,673 198s 5d 1033.9 8.27d
1951 24,891,746 16,739,464 321s 249,146,244 200s 2d 1037 8.34d
1952 25,156,489 16,958,628 321s 248,165,812 197s 4d 1037.1 8.22d
1953 24,883,227 16,681,119 321s 243,372,425 195s 7d 1036.9 8.15d
1954 24,582,303 16,525,316 321s 242,031,712 196s 11d 1037 8.20d
1955 23,934,215 16,161,698 321s 237,452,121 198s 5d 1037.1 8.27d
1956 24,551,158 16,618,162 321s 243,682,807 198s 6d 1037.2 8.27d
1957 24,506,524 16,674,001 321s 245,374,441 200s 3d 1037.4 8.34d
1958 24,647,978 16,799,108 321s 246,077,234 199s 8d 1037.5 8.32d
1959 23,783,833 16,226,433 321s 238,722,997 200s 9d 1037.5 8.36d
1960 26,115,012 17,688,007 277s 5d 206,221,271 157s 11d 1037.3 6.58d
Sources:
1955 Brewers' Almanack
1971 Brewers' Almanack
Brewers' Society Statistical Handbook 1988, p.7
Brewers' Society Statistical Handbook 1973, p.11


You can see that the tax did, indeed, come to about 8d per pint. Though this is for a beer of average strength, around 1037º. Ordinary Mild was around 1030-1032º and the tax on it would have been a little less.

Average tax per pint was 2d in 1939. But the cheapest 4d Milds had an OG well below the average of 1041º, usually around 1027º. The tax on a beer of that strength was 1.67d, still a considerable percentage of the retail price.

The rate of tax was remarkably stable: 321s from 1951 to 1959. And then something really unusual happened. Tax fell by almost 2d per pint.

“The scale of tax—which contributed £260m. to the Exchequer last year—is such that the tax rises steeply as beer is made stronger. Some brewers complain that this discourages the sale of the belter beers. But it is likely that the better beers nevertheless usually get a larger percentage of profit, and people do not seem as sensitive about their prices as they are about the price of the successor to the 4d. mild. If the tax is in its form and perhaps in its weight anomalous, it does not dismay the brewers or daunt the enterprise and initiative of this vigorous industry with its 3,000 brands of mild and bitter, pale ale and brown ale, lager, stout and stingo.”
"Beer in Britain", 1960, page 6.

A word of explanation. Tax was levied per standard barrel. A standard barrel being 36 gallons of beer with an OG of 1055º.  Stronger or weaker beers were taxed in proportion to that, so one of 1100º would be double the standard barrel rate, while one of 1027.5º would pay half. It makes strong beers expensive to brew, as the article says. Though before WW I, when the same tax system was in place, there were lots of strong beer about.

More about beer and money next.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Let's Brew - 1912 Thomas Usher 48/- Stout

It’s fascinating to see how Scottish Stout gradually diverged from English versions. In particular, from London Stouts which were, after all, the originals.

By the eve of WW I, English and Scottish had split wide apart. As the 20th century progressed, that gap became even wider.

Thomas Usher vs London Porter and Stout 1909 - 1912
Year Brewer Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
1912 Whitbread P Porter 1054.3 1013.0 5.47 76.08% 4.92 1.16
1912 Whitbread LS Stout 1055.3 1013.0 5.60 76.50% 4.92 1.18
1912 Whitbread Exp S Stout 1068.4 1020.0 6.41 70.77% 13.05 4.24
1912 Whitbread SS Stout 1079.9 1030.0 6.60 62.43% 8.48 3.12
1912 Whitbread SSS Stout 1095.8 1039.0 7.51 59.28% 8.48 3.74
1910 Barclay Perkins OMS Stout 1053.2 1016.5 4.86 68.98% 7.50 1.82
1910 Barclay Perkins BS Ex Stout 1076.0 1022.5 7.08 70.39% 12.00 4.12
1910 Barclay Perkins EIP Ex Porter 1063.5 1020.0 5.75 68.50% 12.00 3.40
1911 Barclay Perkins RDP Porter 1068.2 1023.5 5.91 65.54% 8.00 2.52
1909 Truman Imperial Stout Stout 1094.2 5.6 2.72
1909 Truman SS? Stout 1072.0 5.6 2.08
1909 Truman Runner L & C Porter 1054.3 6.1 1.38
1909 Truman Country Runner Porter 1058.2 7.5 2.01
1909 Truman Bottling Porter 1052.6 7.5 1.82
1909 Truman Export Stout Stout 1069.3 9.9 3.35
1909 Truman Runner Porter 1058.2 8.2 2.31
1909 Truman Keeping Stout Stout 1069.3 9.5 3.29
1912 Thomas Usher 48/- Stout 1046 1023 3.04 50.00% 6.50 1.36
1912 Thomas Usher 54/- Stout 1054 1026 3.70 51.85% 6.50 1.60
1912 Thomas Usher Stt Stout 1070 1029 5.42 58.57% 6.50 2.07
Sources:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/602
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/106
Truman  brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/112
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/1/5.


What were those differences? Scottish Stouts generally had lower gravities and a poorer degree of attenuation. Not even London Porter had a gravity under 1050º. 1046º is very low for a pre-WW I Stout. Usher’s strongest Stout, Stt, is only about the same strength as the weakest London Stouts.

Note that the degree of attenuation increases with the OG. Leaving the FGs of the three Stouts very similar. This is a trick I’ve seen before in Scottish beers. Maclay did something similar with their three Pale Ales. I guess the point is to have a similar level of body and sweetness in all three.

Interestingly, one area where there is no real difference is the level of hopping. Contrary to what some would tell you about Scottish beers. Usher’s Stouts have similar levels of hopping as London beers of a similar gravity. The only exceptions being the London Export Stouts which naturally would have been more heavily hopped.

The biggest change in the grist compared to their 19th-century Stouts is the absence of black malt, which has been replaced by chocolate malt. Before WW I, London brewers stuck with black malt, but Whitbread also swapped over to chocolate malt in 1922.

The original recipe contains six types of sugar: 4 cwt. CDA, 1 cwt. Maltosan, 2 cwt. oatine, 3 cwt. DL, 10 cwt Penang. I assume oatine contained oats in some form, so feel free to throw in some flaked oats if you fancy. CDA is some sort of proprietary dark sugar. No idea what Maltosan and DL are, but Penang will be some type of cane sugar. I’ve simplified it to just No. 3 invert.

The very long boil is probably because 48/- was parti-gyled with the stronger Stout. Or maybe they wanted to darken the wort. I won’t get angry if you stick to a more conventional, shorter boil.


1912 Thomas Usher 48/- Stout
pale malt 6.75 lb 69.23%
brown malt 0.50 lb 5.13%
choc. Malt 0.50 lb 5.13%
crystal malt 60L 0.50 lb 5.13%
No. 3 invert 1.50 lb 15.38%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 60 min 1.00 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.00 oz
OG 1046
FG 1023
ABV 3.04
Apparent attenuation 50.00%
IBU 37
SRM 24
Mash at 148º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 240 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday, 9 December 2016

Scottish vs London Porter and Stout grists 1909 – 1913

Tables. Everyone loves them. If you don’t why the hell are you reading this? You’re well aware that I’ve been Table Man of the Year for seven consecutive years.

It’s not just any old table I’ve got for you. I’s a wildly impractical one, with way too many columns. But that it itself tells a story. One about the wide range of ingredients used by breweries in their Black Beers. Because the three London and three Scottish breweries managed to use 12 malts or adjuncts between them. And that’s ignoring all the different sugars they used. I’ve left those out because they just make things too damn confusing.

The 25 beers listed don’t have a single ingredient in common. Not even pale malt, because one of the Barclay Perkins examples used SA malt as base. After pale malt, the second most common ingredient is black malt, found in all but the Thomas Usher Stouts. Next is brown malt, present in more than half of the examples.

I was quite surprised to see that three of the breweries - two London, one Scottish – were still using amber malt. The fad for Oatmeal Stout is reflected in all the London and one of the Scottish breweries using it in some of their beers. Though there’s a huge difference in the quantities employed.  For Maclay, it made up around 30% of the grist, while none of the London brewers used more than 3%.

You may have heard the old wives’ tale about roast barley being used in Stout and black malt in Porter and that that’s what differentiates the two styles. Only one of the breweries used any. And, just to muddy things, not only used it in both Porter and Stout, but also used it in combination with black malt. Hadn’t the Truman brewers read the BJCP guidelines? Using two roasts like that is very unusual. Mostly brewers used one or the other.

There’s surprisingly little crystal malt used. Yes, three brewers used some, but only Usher put it in all their Stouts. Chocolate malt only appears in beers from two of the Scottish breweries. Though I must point out that Whitbread moved from black to chocolate malt a little later, in 1922.

Interestingly, every beer contains at least two dark malts. Though I know that some English breweries had used a simplified grist of just pale and black malt since the middle of the 19th century.

There weren’t a huge amount of unmalted grains employed, other than by Truman and, of course, William Younger. The latter using a ridiculous proportion of grits.

Every beer contained sugar, averaging around 13%. Though the percentage ranges from 6% to almost 20%. There’s no correlation between how expensive the beer was and the size of the sugar content. Whitbread’s two cheapest beers, Porter and London Stout, contained the lowest percentage. In total, twelve different types of sugar were used by the six breweries.

As I said at the beginning, a very diverse bunch of ingredients.


Scottish vs London Porter and Stout grists 1909 - 1913
Year Brewer Beer Style OG pale malt brown malt black malt amber malt choc. Malt crystal malt SA malt oats flaked maize grits roast barley malted oats sugar
1912 Whitbread P Porter 1054.3 68.99% 12.66% 9.81% 0.32% 8.23%
1912 Whitbread LS Stout 1055.3 68.99% 12.66% 9.81% 0.32% 8.23%
1912 Whitbread Exp S Stout 1068.4 49.18% 9.84% 7.38% 17.21% 16.39%
1912 Whitbread SS Stout 1079.9 49.22% 12.18% 10.62% 16.06% 11.92%
1912 Whitbread SSS Stout 1095.8 49.22% 12.18% 10.62% 16.06% 11.92%
1910 Barclay Perkins OMS Stout 1053.2 21.27% 12.61% 10.93% 10.93% 21.27% 3.36% 19.62%
1910 Barclay Perkins BS Ex Stout 1076.0 8.67% 8.67% 12.41% 53.36% 2.67% 14.23%
1910 Barclay Perkins EIP Ex Porter 1063.5 56.04% 12.30% 8.88% 5.47% 2.73% 14.58%
1911 Barclay Perkins RDP Porter 1068.2 47.39% 8.65% 7.83% 11.13% 7.42% 17.58%
1909 Truman Imperial Stout Stout 1094.2 76.76% 2.93% 4.10% 2.93% 13.28%
1909 Truman SS Stout 1072.0 76.76% 2.93% 4.10% 2.93% 13.28%
1909 Truman Runner L & C Porter 1054.3 68.66% 4.61% 7.37% 4.61% 14.75%
1909 Truman Country Runner Porter 1058.2 67.82% 5.59% 2.39% 5.59% 2.39% 2.39% 1.60% 12.23%
1909 Truman Bottling Porter 1052.6 67.82% 5.59% 2.39% 5.59% 2.39% 2.39% 1.60% 12.23%
1909 Truman Export Stout Stout 1069.3 69.90% 8.74% 8.74% 12.62%
1909 Truman Runner Porter 1058.2 65.87% 6.35% 6.35% 6.35% 1.59% 2.38% 11.11%
1909 Truman Keeping Stout Stout 1069.3 69.90% 8.74% 8.74% 12.62%
1912 Thomas Usher 48/- Stout 1046 66.39% 4.92% 6.15% 6.15% 16.39%
1912 Thomas Usher 54/- Stout 1054 66.39% 4.92% 6.15% 6.15% 16.39%
1912 Thomas Usher Stt Stout 1070 66.39% 4.92% 6.15% 6.15% 16.39%
1909 Maclay OMS 63/- Stout 1062 47.62% 9.52% 3.17% 28.57% 11.11%
1909 Maclay DBS 54/- Stout 1044 50.28% 10.06% 3.35% 30.17% 6.15%
1913 Wm. Younger S2 Stout 1059 42.86% 6.59% 6.59% 32.97% 10.99%
1913 Wm. Younger DBS Stout 1065 42.42% 6.06% 6.06% 33.33% 12.12%
1913 Wm. Younger MBS Stout 1065 49.09% 5.45% 5.45% 32.73% 7.27%
Sources:
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number ACC/2305/1/602
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/09/106
Truman  brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/112
Thomas Usher brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number TU/6/1/5.
Maclay brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number M/6/1/1/2.
William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/58.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

Save a child this Christmas

I'm dreading Christmas. Now the kids are both of drinking age, we'll need an ocean of booze to tide us over the holidays. How can I possibly afford it?

The money has to come from somewhere. My books are the answer.

Every book you buy will get Andrew a slab of Amstel or Alexei a bottle of bargain vodka. Just imagine their happy, smiling faces on Christmas morning - after they've knocked it all back. Every book you buy will get a kid through one day of the holidays - and remember there are twelve days of Christmas.

Make a boy happy. Buy my books!

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.