Old beer

The Homebrew Forum

Help Support The Homebrew Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.


Staff member
Mar 17, 2013
Reaction score
Ulverston Cumbria.
But that still doesn't show Red Barrel, it shows its (much dumbed down successor) Watney Red, which was released in 1971, the year before Carry on Abroad was filmed.
Not my choice of pic, squire. One of the mods must have put it in. As for the stuff in the Party 7s (party 4s in my case as I was always skint) it was truly ghastly and always seemed to have a metallic twang, which I doubt had anything to do with rust.
Red stripe. Mackeson (is that how the milk stout was spelled ?).
Yes. Both of those two are very much around, now owned by Heineken and ABI respectively. Red Stripe is still big in the Caribbean community (obviously) but has also kept its particular association with music venues. You can still get Mackeson in most supermarkets, even if it's a long way from the days when it was the biggest-selling beer in Britain - I still think it's one of the bigger missed opportunities by ABI.

I've also had a Labatt's recently, on an Air Canada flight - it's also ABI now.

It's notable how many of the answers are for beers that were big in the 80s/90s before being bought by one of the big multinationals, who not surprisingly only want to sell so many different lagers in each territory, there's no point for ABI taking sales away from Bud or Stella by selling Labatt's. We're now in an era of a few truly international megabrands and then regional ones, it's the ones in between that have been squeezed.
Harp lager. Red stripe. Mackeson (is that how the milk stout was spelled ?). Bass (you knew about it in the morning, as did anyone down-wind of you).

(Never liked Boddingtons)
Hey, I still drink Mackeson. It's a lovely beer. Costs an arm and a leg for what it is. I must ask Elsie and Minnie for some advice on how to make my own.
It shows Watneys Red Barrel which is what An Ankoù said in his post (i added the picture)
No - it shows Watney's Red, which was a different product (and successor) to Watney's Red Barrel.

People forget that Red Barrel was originally a premium product when it was introduced in 1931, perhaps equivalent to the premium lagers or "craft" beer of today. But then in 1971 they reformulated it to be cheaper and more universally appealing (ie sweeter and less bitter), and renamed it "Red" with a corny Soviet-themed advertising campaign. Per an internal training film at the time :
What we’ve done is to give the beer a new smooth pleasant taste. We’ve also given it a much better head and altogether a more attractive appearance. Gone is any suggestion of bitter after palate; instead, there is a pleasant malty mealiness.… We’ve studied flavour, studied people’s reaction to flavour, and produced experimental beers, testing out all the variations we can think of in such things of sweetness or bitterness.

It's one of those weird things, that people think of Red Barrel as being the really awful one, but Red was so awful that they've forgotten the actual name of the thing. Yes as this still shows, they still used barrels in their marketing (as the red barrel was the corporate symbol of Watney), but the actual product at the time of the film was called just "Red".
Last edited:
Does anybody remember Whitbread Gauntlet? I remember getting excited about it when it was first advertised. I even had a few pints. Can't remember a thing about it, though. I don't think it lasted very long.

I remember when I was about 16 my pal Charlie and I found 5 tins of special brew in a hedge and got completely blootered on it.
About 30 years later I was in an off licence and they had special brew in cans, so for reasons of nostalgia I bought a 6 pack...

I drank one of them and threw the rest in a hedge.
Last edited:

Latest posts