Not every brewer was keen to embrace the exhilarating freedom of a free mash tun. Whitbread continued on much as before. Though they did eventually submit to the temptation of sugar.
At least in their Porter. Because from the 1860s, sugar was popping up almost universally in Whitbread’s Stouts. It may seem odd that the cheapest beer was sugar-free. But that’s to misunderstand 19th-century brewing. Sugar was employed for specific purposes. Not as a way of lowering costs.
When sugar does appear in Whitbread’s Porter just after 1900, it doesn’t appear to be a deliberate choice. But simply a result of falling Porter sales. Which meant it was mostly brewed as part of a parti-gyle with Stout. The recipe of which already contained sugar. There was always only going to be one loser in a clash of recipes.
It was a sign of the fading fortunes of Porter before the war that it was rarely brewed single-gyle. In 1900, it was still very much the boss of the parti-gyle. And that it was becoming the junior partner in parti-gyles. The brews from 1902-1903 are about five barrels of Porter to one of Stout. But in 1907, there’s a parti-gyle with almost twice as much Stout as Porter.
The hopping rate, as measured per quarter, continued to drop. From around 8 lbs before 1900, to around 5lbs after 1910. Unless they were using hops with more alpha acid – which is unlikely as Whitbread mostly sourced their hops from Kent and had done for a long while – this change must have impacted the character of the beer.
|Whitbread Running Porter grists 1880 - 1914|
|Year||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||pale malt||brown malt||black malt|| sugar|