In the last two posts, I’ve discussed the 1903 Report of the Committee, presided by Albert Grey 1st Earl Roberts, that recommended improvements to the Army Canteen and Regimental Institutes system.
I’ll return to this subject later, in particular regarding the importance of Lord Frederick Roberts in this history, and the recommendations the Committee made.
For now, I want to bring forward the chart included in the Report on how to treat malt liquors. This was a formal way to describe how the canteens cellared their cask-conditioned beers. All draught beers then were cask beers, the type which the Campaign for Real Ale (founded 1971) later defended ardently from the onset of filtered and pasteurized beers as well as lager.
I’d like to solicit commentary, from CAMRA members or others interested, how the recommendations in this chart relate to current best cellaring practice.
Comment generally by all means, but some questions I have: why was mild ale treated differently than bitter? Why is there no (apparent) reference to hard pegging, but just a soft or porous peg? Why were porter and stout not vented?
To the extent it matters, bear in mind that under Queen’s Regulations mild ale for the army was OG 1045,* bitter, 1053, porter 1053 but 1058 in Ireland, and stout 1065. These were minimums that sometimes were exceeded by two or three degrees by brewers careful to ensure they didn’t miss the target mark (although some did when tests were done).
Cellaring has been addressed in British beer history in various ways since the 1700s but I can’t recall seeing anything this detailed that early, certainly.
N.B. See the Comments for further discussion, as well as our next post.
*It appears a few years earlier the rules enacted under the Regulation had different minimums for porter and mild ale, see here in 1898.