Articles – S


“Samuel Allsopp & Sons” at pages 712-713 says: “In 1807 Samuel Allsopp bought out the Wilsons and turned Samuel Allsopp & Sons into a public company.” Allsopp’s did not become a public company until its flotation in 1887. In addition, Samuel Allsopp only had one son in 1807, and he was aged two. It states: “Help came to Burton when a small London brewer George Hodgson used the East India and West India docks in the capital to export a new, paler beer to India.” Pale ale had been exported to India for decades before Allsopp’s began doing so, and was not “new” when Hodgson’s beer started being sold in India. Hodgson did not, at first, export himself, instead selling his beer to the commanders of the East Indiamen: and the West and East India Docks were not built until 1802/03, decades after pale ales were first exported to India. It states: “Hodgson’s ‘India beer’ proved popular but the brewer fell out with his agents in India by not paying his bills.” Hodgson fell out with the East India Company by trying to monopolise the selling of his beer in India, and by undercutting the prices of any other exporter. In any case, what bills would Hodgson have with his agents that needed paying? The comment also implies that Hodgson brewed something at the time called “India beer”. Until the 1830s it was only called “pale ale”. It states: “Allsopp took a bottle of Hodgson’s India beer back to Burton …” The generally accepted story, as told by John Bushnan in the 1850s, is that Campbell Marjoribanks of the East India Company sent a hamper containing a dozen bottles of Hodgson’s ale to Samuel Allsopp in Burton. It states: “The spring waters of the Trent Valley …” this should be “well waters”. It states: “India pale ales were strong, between 7% and 8% alcohol” – studies of price lists and brewing records suggest Victorian IPAs were between 6 and 6.5 per cent abv. In any case, 7 to 8 per cent was not “strong” in Victorian terms. It states: “Allsopp’s … went into receivership in 1913 and was only rescued by a merger with Ind Coope …” The merger with Ind Coope happened in 1934, two decades after Allsopp’s receivership. It states: “The beer was based on an Ind Coope & Allsopp’s recipe from the 1920s.” From the 1930s, in fact.

“Scotch ale” entry at pages 719-20 is very flawed. It fails to say that Scotch Ale was the Scottish equivalent of Burton Ale, a style of sweetish dark ale. It invents a type of beer called “Scottish ales”. It claims that “[t]raditionally] the different versions of Scotch ale” were named according to the “shilling system”, though Youngers’ Scotch ales, to name just one, never used the shilling system, their most popular Scotch ales being called No 1 and No 3. In addition, the shilling system was used for other beers than Scotch ales, including stouts and milds. It fails to understand the parti-gyle system, which was a system of mixing different mashes, not brewing different beers from different mashes. It seems to think that strong Scotch ales were called “heavies” (Heavy is the equivalent in Scotland to the English “ordinary bitter”.) It completely misunderstands what “two-penny ales” were. It repeats the now-debunked idea that, because hops supposedly did not grow in Scotland (in fact Scotland had hop gardens in the 19th century), Scots beers generally had little hop character. Evidence from 19th century brewing books fails to back this assertion up. It claims that Scottish fermentation temperatures were cooler than those of the south: again, evidence from 19th century brewing books fails to back this assertion up. It claims that the use of heather in Scottish brewing was “once quite common”, though as far as commercial brewing is concerned, therev is no evidence for this. It apparently fails to understand that “wee heavy” is a name for very strong ale that only seems to have appeared in the 1960s.

“Scottish & Newcastle Brewery” at page 722 says: “Scottish & Newcastle Brewery is an international brewer …” The name of the company was Scottish & Newcastle Breweries, later Scottish & Newcastle plc. It is no longer a brewer, as the company no longer exists following the 2008 takeover by Carlsberg and Heineken. It also states: “… the William Younger brewing business, founded in 1749 …” Although Younger’s claimed in the 19th century to have been founded in 1749, William Younger was only 16 that year. There is, in fact, no evidence he was ever a brewer. The first brewer in the family appears to have been his widow, Grisel.

“Sedlmayr, Gabriel the Elder” on page 724 this entry states that the Dukes of Wttelsbach were the ruling Bavarian Dynasty until 1818, in fact it was 1918.

“sheet filter” this entry says: “Larger breweries tend to prefer membrane candle filters instead.” Candle filters use filter aids like diatomaceous earth, not membranes.

“shive” there is a typo in this entry, “tutmade” should be “tut made”.

“shilling system” at page 730 is very problematic. See extensive corrections at Shut Up About Barclay Perkins at post “Classic Horst”

“singel”on page 733 begins: “is the name given to the relatively light types of beer that Trappist monks brew for their own tables.” The beers brewed by monks for their own consumption is called “patersbier” or “refterbier.” Belgian sources define a singel as the basic beer or recipe for the range produced by a monastery. The beers consumed by the monks are not “relatively light” they are light (often 3 percent abv or lower). The second next sentence reads: “Most Trappist beers are quite strong…” Certainly there are strong Trappist beers, however, dubbels are not strong and some tripels are also not strong, so the sentence would be better expressed as “Many Trappist beers…” The author then writes “Although these beers cannot necessarily be said to constitute a style per se…” he then describes in detail this non-existant style. Then, the author writes: “Singels probably originally developed as ‘small beers’ brewed from further steepings of the mash after the heavier wort has already been collected for stronger beers.” First of all, it is unclear whether the author is referring to singels, as he wrote, or patersbier, which is what he means. Nevertheless, this sentence has a very serious problem: the Trappists began brewing starting in the first half of the 19th century. However, the “stronger beers” did not come until many years later. As the patersbier was often about 3 percent alcohol, a “stronger beer” could be as little as 4-5 percent, however, OTOH, he could be referring to tripels, which came almost 100 years later. Nevertheless, in no case did the monks begin brew “stronger beers” “originally.” (Source: “In het Spoor van de Trappisten” by Geert van Lierde, et al and “Trappist: Het Bier en de Monniken”, by Jef van den Steen).

“South African Breweries Ltd.” this entry repeats a lot of the information in the earlier entry SABMiller.

“Spain.” in this entry it states that “Damm and Moritz were run by the anarcho-syndicalist Confederación Nacional del Trabajo (CNT) from June 1936 until the end of the war in 1939.” As the Spanish Civil War and associated revolution in Republican areas did not start until July 1936 it seems unlikely that the anarchists had collectivised any breweries before then.

“sparging” in this entry the parti-gyle sytems is described as something carried out historically by filling and draining a mash tun a number of times. However the parti-gyling system can be used to produce worts of different strengths by continuous sparging and still is at some breweries, e.g. Fullers.

“spices” at pp755-757 misses out long pepper and rosemary, both important medieval beer flavourings

“staling” there is a typo in this entry so the word “currantlike” appears.

“sterols” this entry talks of “the aerobic phase of the fermentation cycle” but fermentation is by definition anaerobic.

“St Gallen” at pp767-8 is fatally flawed because it assumes the “plan of St Gall” is an accurate representation of what was on the ground, whereas in fact it was simply a map of the ideal monastery. (see here )There is no evidence at all of three breweries being in operation at St Gall. There is no evidence that, even if there were, they would have made three different types of beer. While “celia” and “cervisa” are mentioned on the plan, there is no evidence for what sorts of beers these were, no evidence at all for recipes for those beers and no evidence that St Gall brewed a beer called “conventus”. It is entirely wrong to say that “St Gallen’s three breweries represented the first truly large scale brewing operation in Europe”, first because we have no actual evidence for three breweries at St Gall and second because we have no evidence of the scale of brewing operations anywhere else at the time to compare St Gall with.

“stock ale” at pp768-9 says: “Stock ale is one of three related traditional British strong fruity ale styles, the others being old ale and barley wine.” But (1) no meaningful difference can be drawn between stock ale, old ale and barley wine; (2) “barley wine” as a descriptor is almost entirely a 20th century invention; and (3) the entry ignores stock bitter, which was hoppier than stock ale and an important style in its own right. Instead the entry claims that the difference between “stock ale” and “old ale” was that the former was hoppier. There is no evidence for this, and it ignores the fact that for a very long time “ale” specifically indicated a less hopped malt liquor. The entry claims that “three-threads” was “a way for publicans to get rid of unpalatably oxidised cask residues”. There is no evidence for this at all. The entry claims that barley wine “developed as a house beer for the British aristocracy”, for which there is no evidence at all, and “only reached the commercial market place at the end of the 19th century … In fact the first beer marketed as a barley wine was released as late as 1903, by Bass, under the brand name of ‘Bass #1’.” In fact Bass No 1 had been around since at least the 1840s, and was occasionally referred to as a “barley wine” long before 1903. It is referred to as such in “A dictionary of chemistry and the allied branches of other sciences”, by Henry Watts, published in 1872, page 256. Nor was it the first beer to be specifically marketed as a barley wine. See here.

“stouts” at pp 770-1 says: “In the late 1800s regular porter fell out of favor and the designation stout porter was eventually simplified to stout.” The term “stout porter” was effectively obsolete by the 1850s, replaced either by “brown stout” or “stout”. “Brown stout” itself as a descriptor slowly disappeared during the early years of the 20th century. In the entry at page 771 it states “Imperial stout, first brewed in England for Emperor Peter the Great of Russia, has become popular amongst craft brewers, particularly in the United States.” Peter the Great died in 1725, before Ralph Thrale had even taken over the Anchor Brewery. The strong style of stout that became known as Imperial stout was associated with the Empress Catherine II (reigned 1761-1796). In other articles in the OCB the correct Russian monarch is associated with Imperial Stout.

“Stroh Brewery Company” entry page 773 states “…brands were sold to Pabst and Miller in 2000.” Contemporary news reports and AP wire service stories put the deal’s date as February, 1999.The OCB entry also states that the brands Pabst Blue Ribbon and Olympia were in Stroh’s portfolio. The Pabst Brewing Co. bought the Olympia Brewing Co. and its brands in 1982 and (of course) never sold PBR. Stroh, like Heileman before it, did brew some Pabst-owned brands under contract for certain regional markets where Pabst no longer maintained breweries but those two brands were always owned by Pabst, not Stroh.

“stuck mash” on p 773, last line on the page, contains a typo: “sh occurs”.

“sucrose” in this entry the molecular forumula of sucrose is given as C12H24O12 when in fact it isC12H22O11. .

“Sumer” entry at page 776 should be considered now augmented and enhanced by the web-published article “Sumerian Beer: The Origins of Brewing Technology in Ancient Mesopotamia” by Peter Damerow of the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin described 28 November 2011 by Jay Brooks. While the entry, supported by references to Dr. Solomon Katz, suggests that Sumer was the location of beer’s origins, Damerow states that the “technique of brewing beer was, in fact, an early technological achievement which presumably predates considerably the advent of the Sumerians in the lowlands of the Mesopotamian alluvial plane.”

“Switzerland” on pp779-80 says that “the Swiss brewing tradition dates back to at least 754AD, the earliest documentary mention of brewing at the monastery of St Gallen …” it seems very unlikely that any precisely dated document survives from 754AD. The entry goes on to repeat the same errors about the Plan of St Gall as are found in the entry on St Gallen, and adds some extra: there is no evidence at all that “More than 100 monks and an even larger number of their pupils worked in the monastery’s breweries.” The implication that more than 200 people would be making beer in a medieval monastery is nonsense.