The Great Watney's debate

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Arcs

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My dad actually asked if I could brew him some Watney's Red Barrel, apparently he loved it back in the day... Saying that his other fave was Newcastle Brown Ale, until he tried a bottle recently and discovered that they made it even nastier. lol

I said I'd try to brew him a decent brown ale instead. lol

The worst I have ever had (ignoring cans of John Smiths and Boddingtons creamflow), was pints of Toby bitter in a pub in Greenwich! It was keg not cask, and as fizzy as a can of pop! Coming from the midlands the idea of a fizzy bitter was utterly bizarre too me... I've since had some of the Meantime ones in another pub down there whilst visiting with my wife and they were quite nice, even though still fizzy....
Must admit, there are still some rather lousy commercial brews being sold. I will never, ever bloody ever touch a pint of stone's bitter ever again from a pub. Worthy's eww. Most lager's nope. There's even been some real ales I've had in the past couple of years where the barmaid has missold me it. I've had a couple of gulps and stood up immediately and thought, 'right, next pub please' lol
 

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I was just doing some reading, and read that allegedly it was Watney's Red that was awful as it was towards the end of the decline of Red Barrel that that came out. Red Barrel supposedly started out quite good (95% malt, fairly decent hopping), apart from been killed then kegged, but declined over time as malt got decreased, sugar increased. Heck we've seen the same thing happen to modern beers as they use less or cheaper hops, or switch to isomerised hop extract, to save money in order to make more profit...

This could be why some folks have good memories of Watney's Red Barrel, whilst others remember it as been awful, whilst those who had Watney's Red only remember it as been absolutely awful... lol
This is possibly where the beginnings of where cane sugar got its bad name for brewing ale. Although my first recollection of it was during the 80's, everyone mostly in poverty, thousands of homebrew kits and using cane sugar as a cheap way of brewing beer. Ironically, it wasn't the sugar that was bad, it was the recipe. I also read that red barrel in its beginnings was a good beer. As I said earlier to Ank, I bet most of us given the recipe, could get any of those Watney beers brewed at home to a fairly decent standard if not whelly breaker standard ;) Would be a good competition imo xD
 

An Ankoù

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Prior to 1960, Watney's were actually known for a quality beer for a couple of decades at least. And as one anecdote said in one of the articles about the brewery, surely they didn't brew their ale to taste that bad. Well the proof is in the pudding on that one from what the ancedotes I have read here and from other articles. Rather a mixed bag but also known for clumsy take over of pubs and using a rather chav decor inside and outside their pubs. But I wonder Ankou, I bet you'd brew a great Watney's beer. It would be a fun excercise too. I'd like to see the look on your face knowing you'd aced it miles better and then sorta screwing up your face knowing you hadn't replicated it to the ***** it allegedly was lol!!! Some peeps down soouf actually liked Watney's as I recall reading =) I bet you'd brew a kick ass Watney's=)
In fact I haven't tried to brew Watneys; believe me I drank enough of it to refloat the Titanic when I was a nipper and I really don't want another drop. Must confess that Starlight was all I could afford or the stuff that came in Party 4s or Party 7s. I have had a go at brewing Trophy, though or Pale. It's a bit confusing when Pale morphed into Trophy and, as has been said earlier, Whitbread kept a number of breweries going around the country and the beers of the same name were very different to each other. I brewed two versions of Trophy / Pale and neither of them are stunning, let alone kick ass. They are, at least, drinkable.
 

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I was just doing some reading, and read that allegedly it was Watney's Red that was awful as it was towards the end of the decline of Red Barrel that that came out. Red Barrel supposedly started out quite good (95% malt, fairly decent hopping), apart from been killed then kegged, but declined over time as malt got decreased, sugar increased. Heck we've seen the same thing happen to modern beers as they use less or cheaper hops, or switch to isomerised hop extract, to save money in order to make more profit...

This could be why some folks have good memories of Watney's Red Barrel, whilst others remember it as been awful, whilst those who had Watney's Red only remember it as been absolutely awful... lol
Certainly think there is a lot of truth there I may be an old fart but for some reason I seem to have a good recollection of beers.
As for the party 7 I can remember a friend and I drinking a whole can each at one of the Reading music festivals and feeling quite sober. It was only years later I discovered it was only around 2%.
 

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In fact I haven't tried to brew Watneys; believe me I drank enough of it to refloat the Titanic when I was a nipper and I really don't want another drop. Must confess that Starlight was all I could afford or the stuff that came in Party 4s or Party 7s. I have had a go at brewing Trophy, though or Pale. It's a bit confusing when Pale morphed into Trophy and, as has been said earlier, Whitbread kept a number of breweries going around the country and the beers of the same name were very different to each other. I brewed two versions of Trophy / Pale and neither of them are stunning, let alone kick ass. They are, at least, drinkable.
The prevalent thing that comes to mind about Trophy. It was very much a session ale so to speak. You could easily quaff 9 pints and walk home only with hiccups and a mild feeling of being pished. Nice to know you tried brewing that. I would try brewing a Trophy with more abv to see how well it quaffs with a bit more malty taste. It started out being a quite nice beer when I first tasted it and then it's taste, just like guinness it appeared to me to be diminished to suit a more youthful, more commercial approach - somewhat less offensive in a way. Perhaps in a way that produced less beer breath in the morning.
Funnily enough, the recipe for Guinness is in that book. That I am certain to try. I remember Guinness breath. I remember the really heavy drink that it was, now more like lager :c It is a very handy book of its age. There's a good start there for me to make my beginnings into all grain.

I'd like to get my hands on the Cream stout recipe or is that misinterpreted in Dave Line's Book as Watney's Cream? Obviously I am a noob at this possibly historical interpretation. You have bad memories of Watney's that is to be certain, but why not give (not the Starlight) another of their brews a go at home. I'd gladly scan the book for yer and send yer a jpeg of the recipes. I am sure you are put off enough to know that you would say thanks but no thanks. Change yer mind though, holler me =)
 

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In fact I haven't tried to brew Watneys; believe me I drank enough of it to refloat the Titanic when I was a nipper and I really don't want another drop. Must confess that Starlight was all I could afford or the stuff that came in Party 4s or Party 7s. I have had a go at brewing Trophy, though or Pale. It's a bit confusing when Pale morphed into Trophy and, as has been said earlier, Whitbread kept a number of breweries going around the country and the beers of the same name were very different to each other. I brewed two versions of Trophy / Pale and neither of them are stunning, let alone kick ass. They are, at least, drinkable.
Yea I also note in this book a Whitbread's Tankard Ale. I've never heard of it hmm
 

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The prevalent thing that comes to mind about Trophy. It was very much a session ale so to speak. You could easily quaff 9 pints and walk home only with hiccups and a mild feeling of being pished. Nice to know you tried brewing that. I would try brewing a Trophy with more abv to see how well it quaffs with a bit more malty taste. It started out being a quite nice beer when I first tasted it and then it's taste, just like guinness it appeared to me to be diminished to suit a more youthful, more commercial approach - somewhat less offensive in a way. Perhaps in a way that produced less beer breath in the morning.
Funnily enough, the recipe for Guinness is in that book. That I am certain to try. I remember Guinness breath. I remember the really heavy drink that it was, now more like lager :c It is a very handy book of its age. There's a good start there for me to make my beginnings into all grain.

I'd like to get my hands on the Cream stout recipe or is that misinterpreted in Dave Line's Book as Watney's Cream? Obviously I am a noob at this possibly historical interpretation. You have bad memories of Watney's that is to be certain, but why not give (not the Starlight) another of their brews a go at home. I'd gladly scan the book for yer and send yer a jpeg of the recipes. I am sure you are put off enough to know that you would say thanks but no thanks. Change yer mind though, holler me =)
You're so keen that a bit of your enthusiasm has rubbed off. So if you've got a recipe for Star Light, I'll certainly have a look at it. Thanks.
 

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Weren't watneys notorious for reusing ullage?

Edit- seems they were, up to almost 20%.

 
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Heh, Trophy bitter did have its rough times. I was a student in the University of Northumbria back in 1992. In the bigg market there were so-called cheap student pubs selling Trophy at 90p a pint. It certainly tasted like it was worth much less - euch. Drank it nonetheless to get hell out of halls and see other people =)
Maybe you should have gone to the proper Uni just for it’s student union bars...
personally I avoided the bigg market and preferred either the union or the quayside.
I fell off the dance floor in the boat a few times too in the 90s
 

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You're so keen that a bit of your enthusiasm has rubbed off. So if you've got a recipe for Star Light, I'll certainly have a look at it. Thanks.
Watney Mann (type font is too small to scan for good reading)
so I have typed this directly from the book and checked it.
Starlight bitter

Well balanced light gravity keg beer.

Stage 5 Gallons Original Gravity 1032 25 litres
1 4lb Crushed Pale Malt 2000gm
1 8oz Flaked Maize 250gm
1 4oz Flaked Barley 125gm
1 2.5Gallons Water for 'bitter' brewing 12 litres
3 1tsp Irish Moss 5ml
3 1 lb Glucose Chips 500gm
3 1oz Fuggles hops 30 gm
5 1 oz Hop extract 30 gm
5 2 oz Brewers Yeast 60 gm
5 1/2 oz Gelatine (I assume this is finings) 15 gm
6 2 oz White sugar 60 gm


Brewing Stages


1 Raising the temperature up to 60 C and stir in the crushed malt, flakes and grain. Stir continuously, raise the mash temperature to 66 C. Leave it for 1 1/2 hours, occasionally raising the temperature back to this value.
2 Contain the mash grain in a grain bag to retrieve the sweet wort. Using a slightly hotter water than the mash, rinse the grains to collect 4 gallons (20 litres) of extract.
3 Boil the extract with the Fuggles hops for 1 1/2 hours. Dissolve the glucose chips in a little hot water and add this during the boil. Also pitch the Irish moss as directed in the instructions (eh wtf doesn't make sense)
4 Strain off the clear wort into a fermenting bucket and top up with the final quantity of cold water.
5 When cool to room temperature, add the yeast and hop extract. Ferment for 4-5 days until the gravity falls to 1010 and rack into gallon jars or a 25 litre polythene cube.
6 Leave for 7 days before racking the beer from the sediment into a primed pressure barrel. Allow 3 days conditioning before sampling.
 

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Maybe you should have gone to the proper Uni just for it’s student union bars...
personally I avoided the bigg market and preferred either the union or the quayside.
I fell off the dance floor in the boat a few times too in the 90s
That was mostly on the days out with the girly puffs. Mostly I was in the Farmer's, Percy, Broken doll and the mayfair to be honest =) Looking forward to taking a trip up there later this year xD
 

An Ankoù

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Watney Mann (type font is too small to scan for good reading)
so I have typed this directly from the book and checked it.
Starlight bitter

Well balanced light gravity keg beer.

Stage 5 Gallons Original Gravity 1032 25 litres
1 4lb Crushed Pale Malt 2000gm
1 8oz Flaked Maize 250gm
1 4oz Flaked Barley 125gm
1 2.5Gallons Water for 'bitter' brewing 12 litres
3 1tsp Irish Moss 5ml
3 1 lb Glucose Chips 500gm
3 1oz Fuggles hops 30 gm
5 1 oz Hop extract 30 gm
5 2 oz Brewers Yeast 60 gm
5 1/2 oz Gelatine (I assume this is finings) 15 gm
6 2 oz White sugar 60 gm


Brewing Stages


1 Raising the temperature up to 60 C and stir in the crushed malt, flakes and grain. Stir continuously, raise the mash temperature to 66 C. Leave it for 1 1/2 hours, occasionally raising the temperature back to this value.
2 Contain the mash grain in a grain bag to retrieve the sweet wort. Using a slightly hotter water than the mash, rinse the grains to collect 4 gallons (20 litres) of extract.
3 Boil the extract with the Fuggles hops for 1 1/2 hours. Dissolve the glucose chips in a little hot water and add this during the boil. Also pitch the Irish moss as directed in the instructions (eh wtf doesn't make sense)
4 Strain off the clear wort into a fermenting bucket and top up with the final quantity of cold water.
5 When cool to room temperature, add the yeast and hop extract. Ferment for 4-5 days until the gravity falls to 1010 and rack into gallon jars or a 25 litre polythene cube.
6 Leave for 7 days before racking the beer from the sediment into a primed pressure barrel. Allow 3 days conditioning before sampling.
Thank you.
This is the Dave Line recipe from Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy. I well remember the stage numbers next to the ingredients list. I also recall that his brewhouse efficiency is better than anything else in the world and I might need to increase the pale malt a bit.
I've got all the ingredients so I'll give it a go after twusing a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave aneaking the recipe a bit. He must be using a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave an FG of 1010 unless that's just his racking gravity. I'll have to think about that one.
I'll post my recipe back for you to see any tweaks I make.
Are you going to have a go at it?
 

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Thank you.
This is the Dave Line recipe from Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy. I well remember the stage numbers next to the ingredients list. I also recall that his brewhouse efficiency is better than anything else in the world and I might need to increase the pale malt a bit.
I've got all the ingredients so I'll give it a go after twusing a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave aneaking the recipe a bit. He must be using a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave an FG of 1010 unless that's just his racking gravity. I'll have to think about that one.
I'll post my recipe back for you to see any tweaks I make.
Are you going to have a go at it?
Yep it's directly from the book. Well failing to find the cream stout, I am probably going to have a stab at the Watney's Special Bitter to be honest. After doing much reading about Watney's over the past day or so, no one mentions that beer at all. So that does intrigue me as to why. So that first I think =)
 

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Thank you.
This is the Dave Line recipe from Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy. I well remember the stage numbers next to the ingredients list. I also recall that his brewhouse efficiency is better than anything else in the world and I might need to increase the pale malt a bit.
I've got all the ingredients so I'll give it a go after twusing a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave aneaking the recipe a bit. He must be using a low attenuating yeast for a 66C mash and glucose chips to leave an FG of 1010 unless that's just his racking gravity. I'll have to think about that one.
I'll post my recipe back for you to see any tweaks I make.
Are you going to have a go at it?
Yea, that yeast content does seem rather alot by today's standards.
 

An Ankoù

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I think 1010 is his racking gravity and it must drop down to about 1007 or 1006 otherwise Starlight would only be 2.9% abv and I know it was a tad stronger than that. I'm reckoning on 3.4%.
You're right about Special Bitter, a quick googling throws up nearly zilch!
If I find a recipe for the Cream Stout, I'll post it here.
@Arcs It's on page 69 of Dave Line's book. It's called Cream Label.
 

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I think 1010 is his racking gravity and it must drop down to about 1007 or 1006 otherwise Starlight would only be 2.9% abv and I know it was a tad stronger than that. I'm reckoning on 3.4%.
You're right about Special Bitter, a quick googling throws up nearly zilch!
If I find a recipe for the Cream Stout, I'll post it here.
Thanks mate!
 

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Yep it's directly from the book. Well failing to find the cream stout, I am probably going to have a stab at the Watney's Special Bitter to be honest. After doing much reading about Watney's over the past day or so, no one mentions that beer at all. So that does intrigue me as to why. So that first I think =)
As I said in my first post Red was Bad, special worse and starlight even worst. Reading on here about the various practices carried out at the brewery and the pubs whatever you brew will never be as bad as what we drank back in the day.
 
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