The 1965 Watney’s quality control manual we’ve borrowed contains recipes for two brown ales: Watney’s and Mann’s.
Both have rather different recipes, perhaps surprisingly, given their similar specifications: for example, Watney’s contained black malt for colour, while Mann’s got most of its from caramel. The water was also treated very differently.
(And, by the way, bottled Watney’s Brown was also quite distinct from their draught mild.)*
Because Mann’s is still in production, we’re a bit twitchy about sharing the details, but the following information should enable you to produce at home something resembling Watney’s Brown as it was in 1965.
Watney’s Brown Ale (bottled) 1965
|Malt||Percentage of brewing materials|
|Mild ale malt||72.5|
|Roasted malt (black)||4.5|
(added to the mash tun during mashing)
|No. 3 Invert||3
(added to the copper)
(added to the copper)
Hops are 90% Fuggles (from three growths) and 10% Goldings (two growths) all added for the entirety of the hour-long boil, to achieve target IBU.
Water (all water used in the process) – treat to achieve 25 grains per gallon sulphates; 45 grains per gallon chlorides.
MASH at 158F (70c) for 1½ hrs; 1st sparge 175F (79.5c); 2nd sparge 160F (71c).
BOIL for 1h with Invert 3 sugar, caramel and Fuggles hops. Add Irish Moss (for home-brewing purposes, a teaspoon) 10 minutes from the end.
Pitch yeast at 60.5F (15.8c) — Mortlake 114, or a blend of 114 and 118, at a rate of 0.75 lbs per barrel, in case you happen to have any handy. (Here’s a thought…) Alternatively, a fairly neutral English ale yeast is probably best. They added Watney’s Yeast Food, so consider using a yeast nutrient of your choice.
During fermentation, keep temperature below 69F (20.5c).
Under Excise supervision there was some monkeying about. First, ‘primings’ (unfermented beer, we think) at 1114.7 was added to bring the gravity down, at which point its strength was declared for tax purposes, then ‘breakings’ were added to bring it back up to 1030. (UPDATE 13:13 14/11/14: see commments below.) Though they don’t give much detail, assuming the term is being used in its traditional sense, ‘breakings’ were spoiled or returned beer. After 12 hours, it was pumped to the filters via ‘the carbonators’, and then bottled.
As well as using up old stock, and enabling a tax fiddle, this may also have given the beer a bit more complexity. It might well be a good way for homebrewers to get shot of a bottle or two from a previous duff batch.
Suggested corrections and queries are welcome, as are memories of drinking Watney’s Brown.
* Correction #1: by us, and quite a big one – WBA (brown ale) and WSM (special mild)seem to have been the same beer after all.