Friday, 9 July 2010

McEwan's grists and colours in 1947/48

Disaster in the archive the other day. I accidentally switched on timestamping on my camera so all my photographs have a timestamp. How embarrassing. Never mind.

Here are details of McEwan's beers in the late 1940s. You know what's interesting about these grists? No speciality malts. It all seems to just be pale malt, adjuncts, and sugar or roast barley for colour. McEwan's had weird names for their beers too — P.A. and P.70/– look vaguely recognisable as typical beer names, but what are 4/C or E5/B?

I dunno what 5/a was. Possibly some sort of Mild? Look at them making a darker version for Glasgow. 

BreweryBeerTypeOGCleansing gravityColour in LovibondYear
Wm. McEwanBL?1027
Wm. McEwanPAPale Ale10281011251947
Wm. McEwan5/a?10321012251947
Wm. McEwanB 5/a?10321012371947
Wm. McEwanG 5/a?10321012461947
Wm. McEwanP.70/–Pale Ale10371013251947
Wm. McEwan4/C?10401010461947
Wm. McEwanB4/C?1040
Wm. McEwanP.80/–Pale Ale1043101320.51947
Wm. McEwan5/B?10471010
Wm. McEwanE5/B?10501008201947
Wm. McEwan2/BStrong Ale1076
Wm. McEwanE2/BScotch Ale1088
Wm. McEwan4/BRegal11051025561947

A word of caution; this is not a primary source, but notes made by someone who's been through the primary sources. Very handy, they've done a better job than I would have done. Someone who knows what they're dealing with too; a layman would have explained what the hell "CM" or "Husks" are.

There are three very strong beers: 2/B, 4/B and E2/B. I know what E2/B was — Scotch Ale. A memoir of retired employees states: "Prior to Gordons Scotch Ales being made for Belgium after the relationship with Clark Doull McEwans had exported E/2B of 1088 gravity as Scotch Ale." The same memoir also tells us what 4/B was: Regal, McEwan's second attempt at a lager. Legend has it that the name was "Lager" backwards. It was brewed to 1105 and watered down to about 1050. High gravity brewing back then, who'd have thought that? That only leaves 2/B which must have been the regular Strong Ale.


  1. Looking at the grain bill there, I wonder what the difference between Scotch Malt and English Malt is? Was Scotch malt darker than English, or is it a reference to the kind of peated malt used in the production of whisky?

  2. Definitely not peated malt. Stop reading so many American homebrewing books.

    Scotch or English are, I think, just literal notes of the source, not different kinds. Maybe I do need to look at the actual logs.

  3. Just a thought. On the homebrew thing, I have no ambition to start making India 90/- and chucking obscene amounts of Cascade into my ales.

  4. Sometimes I miss the most obvious things. "BL" was probably Blue Label. That was still about when I started drinking in the late 1980s.