The Great Watney's debate

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Arcs

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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.
I am certain that is the case. The only ullage in my house is the yeast left at the bottom of the keg - long after I have harvested my yeast - which is then disposed of pronti pronti (I sugar carbonate my brews). I have vinegar in my kitchen ty, no need for harvesting dead ale hehe. I do pity you in that sense, but I blame mostly the unscrupulous landlords for most of it and taking the **** so to speak by using their waste in other beers. Thinking their punters were effin stupid. I am pretty sure most of the time, the brewery was on point with alot of the beer. It's not to say that Watney's were not to blame in anyway what so ever. I am sure there were mistakes, some honest, some not so honest. But I saw a review of a brewer using the recipe from Watney archives. The review and brewer tasted it and found it to be just fine if not better than fine. But which landlord is honestly going to say they cooked their books and treated their ale and customers like *****? They will always blame the brewer. I've caught so many pub landlords tampering with their beer not knowing what they are doing. For me the blame is firmly in their corner. And I bet if I gave you a recipe from this book and you brewed it. It would pretty much confirm your ale house knob job landlord was doing the dirty on his punters. If that wasn't the case, then why the variance from region to region throughout the country. I sincerely hope the new brewer gets his break as he's trying to use a bad name but bad name or no name. He's chosen it as one people would remember and one that new drinkers would be at least giving it a try because it's 'new' to them. So much variance in the anecdotes. I am gonna brew the special ale, with a tweak prolly to raise the abv - not fond of session ales. But I bet I was right. And you suffered a t double u a t of a landlord in your pub :C
 

An Ankoù

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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.
You're right there. Not least because it won't be pasteurised. Nevertheless, Unpasterised Star Light- Straight From The Cow here we come.
I'm so easily led!
 

Arcs

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You're right there. Not least because it won't be pasteurised. Nevertheless, Unpasterised Star Light- Straight From The Cow here we come.
I'm so easily led!
Louis Pasteur, you have much to answer for ;d
 

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My wife worked in in a pub in those days, an Ind Coope house, and she said after each session, lunchtime and evening, the contents of all the drip trays were emptied into the mild barrel.
 

Arcs

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My wife worked in in a pub in those days, an Ind Coope house, and she said after each session, lunchtime and evening, the contents of all the drip trays were emptied into the mild barrel.
I can just imagine it now. All the blue collar workers clocking when the new delivery of ale was due in and then piling in because they knew it was gonna be a decent nights beer rofl.
 

Arcs

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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.
Aha, ok that's fair enuff. But Special first. I think i have enough money to buy a fair bit this week after I buy my peco boiler, mash bag and muslin bag =)
 

Arcs

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And yea, for a first time brew at all grain. I think some would see this as ahem a rather large gamble, enough for some to put me off for life as the first try allegedly being so bad - I'd give up brewing. Not a chance when I can have mi old guinness from 1988 back ;D
 

Seghes

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I started drinking as a 17 year old student in the early 70s. The student bar sold Watneys Starlight @ 12p a pint and Special @ 14p. Both thin, weedy keg beers with the only advantage of being able to quaff a tanker load per evening. I have to thank the dreadful Watneys brand for prompting me to discover what “real ale” was (thanks to CAMRA). That joyous road led to Youngs, Fullers, Courage Directors etc. I also had a dog-eared copy of Dave Lines “Brewing beers like those you buy” and god bless him for his pioneering work for home brewers. The hatred and revulsion of Watneys has led us to these heady days of a vast selection of quality beers. So cheers, Watneys!
 

An Ankoù

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I started drinking as a 17 year old student in the early 70s. The student bar sold Watneys Starlight @ 12p a pint and Special @ 14p. Both thin, weedy keg beers with the only advantage of being able to quaff a tanker load per evening. I have to thank the dreadful Watneys brand for prompting me to discover what “real ale” was (thanks to CAMRA). That joyous road led to Youngs, Fullers, Courage Directors etc. I also had a dog-eared copy of Dave Lines “Brewing beers like those you buy” and god bless him for his pioneering work for home brewers. The hatred and revulsion of Watneys has led us to these heady days of a vast selection of quality beers. So cheers, Watneys!
A bit like saying "thanks Covid for reminding us to live life to the full before it's snuffed out", but I take your point, :hat:
 

Seghes

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My wife worked in in a pub in those days, an Ind Coope house, and she said after each session, lunchtime and evening, the contents of all the drip trays were emptied into the mild barrel.
Yup, I worked in a well known Worthing pub which did the same thing, ALSO adding in unfinished beers from all round the tables. The whole lot was filtered to get rid of the fag ends 😳
 

BarnBrian

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Out of interest, my mum's first job was below stairs maid for the Watneys. My dad grew up nearby in Plaxtol in a house that my grandad rented from the Golding's.
 

Tim Wilkes

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Watneys Party 7 was a staple of teen parties back when God were a lad. It was bloody awful but we didn’t care back then. I’ve poured better home brew away!
I remember someone piercing a "keg" of this in someone's kitchen. Given he'd walked there with it under his arm it was lively to say the least and left a memorable stain on the ceiling. If I recall rightly, you had to pierce them on opposite sides at the same time to equalise the pressure and stop the fountain. Dreadful stuff.
 

Arcs

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Ok so who runs the monthly competitions on here? Obviously, first time grain brewer so that's not been my brewing focus in the past. Quite happy to type out the recipes to give people a choice of which one they would like to brew. Rules could be a clone or an improvement or some transmogrification of the original to do it better justice. Would be good to see this beer redeem in a modern or replication way to see what we could come up with. I for one have changed my mind and want to do the Watney's cream but deffo more body, more abv with perhaps a twist. I think this would be a cool thing to do as a competition. I'd be happy to send 6 bottles of my version to the lucky or may be not so lucky taster. Who is up for it and who can organise it? xD
 

Arcs

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I am really glad I made this thread as throughout is has been an education in brewing =)
 

Arcs

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I started drinking as a 17 year old student in the early 70s. The student bar sold Watneys Starlight @ 12p a pint and Special @ 14p. Both thin, weedy keg beers with the only advantage of being able to quaff a tanker load per evening. I have to thank the dreadful Watneys brand for prompting me to discover what “real ale” was (thanks to CAMRA). That joyous road led to Youngs, Fullers, Courage Directors etc. I also had a dog-eared copy of Dave Lines “Brewing beers like those you buy” and god bless him for his pioneering work for home brewers. The hatred and revulsion of Watneys has led us to these heady days of a vast selection of quality beers. So cheers, Watneys!
I think when I began having a pint, I was actually working as head barman in a place named the Crows in Crosby, Liverpool - a Higsons pub in those days. I think the price of a pint of Guinness in 1988 was like 89p a pint. A damned steal in those days imo =) No Watney's though heh
 

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It is etched on my memory that in Spring 1972 when I was almost skint I walked off and left the last third of a pint of Watney's Red Barrell at the Swan in Bayswater. Not surprisingly I then became a bit of a real ale nerd!
 

An Ankoù

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It is etched on my memory that in Spring 1972 when I was almost skint I walked off and left the last third of a pint of Watney's Red Barrell at the Swan in Bayswater. Not surprisingly I then became a bit of a real ale nerd!
As it would have been almost certainly "recycled", I wonder who got the rest of your beer. :laugh8:
 

Hop_it

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The most appropriate recommendation of Watney's beer that I have ever came across was some graffiti on the wall of the Gents toilet in a pub not far from Hatfield where I was living at the time (early 1970s). It showed a large arrow next to the drain from the urinal with directions to the "Watney's Brewery" sick...

PS - It's the 50th anniversary of CAMRA this year . . . . . We owe them a lot clapa
 
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