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1926 Barclay Perkins London Dark Lager

Ron Pattinson explores the development of lager brewing in Britain and provides a modern-day version of a classic dark lager.

Ron Pattinson Jan 24, 2016 - 6 min read

1926 Barclay Perkins London Dark Lager Primary Image

Lager brewing had a stuttering start in Britain. Many new lager breweries of the final decades of the nineteenth century had a lifespan measured in months, not years. Only a couple of the pioneers were able to forge a long-term business. Many lost their shirts.

So it’s odd that one of London’s big porter breweries would invest in such an uncertain venture. But in the early 1920s, Barclay Perkins built a shiny new lager brewhouse and brought in a Danish brewer to run it.

Barclay Perkins seems to have gotten the idea a few years earlier during World War I, when foreign supplies of lager were cut off, not just from Germany and Austria-Hungary, but also from Denmark and Holland. The war at sea made exporting a highly risky business, even for neutral countries. In 1915 and 1916, Barclay Perkins experimented with decoction mashing in their pilot brewhouse, brewing lager and mild with this mashing technique.

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