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Welcome to Amazing Tap Handles - The Tap Handle Museum. Here you will find photos of the Museum's collection of beer taps, along with brewery info. Have a look around the Museum, and use the contact form in sidebar to leave me feedback about the site, talk about taps, or if you have a rare tap handle you'd like to sell to the Museum. I'd love to hear from you! Please, no inquires about buying taps - they're not for sale.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Tap Handle #441: Wells & Young's - Young's Double Chocolate Stout

Tap size:  7.25"
Rarity:  Very Rare
Mounting:  internal 3/8" nut

Though a little on the small side, thanks to a golden metallic paint that has been polished to a bright sheen, this tap is a real beauty. It is made to appear as a dark glass of beer inside of a chocolate candy bar wrapper. The front and back are mirror images to each other, and the sides appear to be identical to each other. The words "Pure Luxury" appear above the name of the brewery and the beer. Although it appears now and then on the secondary market, it's desirability and foreign scarcity make it sought after and expensive.

Click through to read more about Young's Brewing, their Double Chocolate Stout, and to see more photos of this brilliant tap...

Young's was founded as a brewery in Wandsworth (South London), Great Britain, in 1831 by Charles Young and Anthony Bainbridge, but traces its origins to a much earlier time. Brewing began at the Ram Brewery (initially called the "Rame" Brewery) sometime around 1576 by Humprey Langridge. Later the brewery was run by the Draper family, before passing into the hands of the Trittons in the 18th century. Young and Bainbridge purchased the brewery in 1831, and it has been associated with the Young family ever since. Over the years, the Young family opened or acquired pubs, as many as 220. The brewery would make cask ale and distribute it through its network of pubs. In later years it also sold to many other pubs and supermarkets, and exported to many European countries, Canada, the United States and Japan.

By 2006, the brewery was a mix of an ancient and an ultra-modern plant, including a steam engine which had been installed in 1835 and had been in regular use until the 1980s. A number of animals were resident in the brewery, including a ram, a number of geese and about a dozen working draught horses, usually a shire horse. The horses and drays were still used for local deliveries of beer to locations within a mile or two of the brewery. The company produced three regular varieties and a series of seasonal and occasional cask ales, keg lagers, and several filtered and pasteurized bottled beers. Young's also contract-brewed several beers for InBev, such as Courage Best and Mackeson Stout.

Investors had long argued for splitting brewing and retailing operations - notably activist shareholder Guinness Peat - but was this was resisted for generations by the Young family. The heady mix of beer and shareholder disagreements led to some heated annual shareholder meetings. Despite being in his 80s, chairman John Young, the great-great-grandson of the founder, used stunts such as brandishing a megaphone, donning a beekeeping outfit and appearing in boxing gloves to underline his resistance to Guinness Peat ideas. But in 2006 Young's finally bowed to pressure. The company issued a press release announcing that the Ram Brewery was to close and brewing was to be moved to the Eagle Brewery in Bedford, then owned by Charles Wells. Wells & Young's Brewing, with Charles Wells having a 60% stake, and Young & Co 40%, went into operation later that year. Wells & Young's were then responsible for brewing, distributing and marketing Charles Wells' and Young & Co's brands at the jointly owned Eagle Brewery in Bedford. The company was operated at arms length from both Young's and Charles Wells. However a combination of directors from both companies sat on the Wells & Young's Board.

Chairman John Young died days before the closure of the brewery, when the final brew was being run at the Ram brewery, and that beer was served at his funeral. Young & Co were still based in the offices at the Ram Brewery, but in 2007 they moved into their new Head Office, around the corner from the former brewery site. In 2008, the vacated Ram Brewery was approved for redevelopment into a new shopping & business center. The new owner of the site hired one of the former Young's brewers, John Hatch, as site manager. One of his jobs was to keep brewing going on the site via a nanobrewery set up in the old Young's laboratory. Hatch's new Ram Brewery brewed at least once a week in order to maintain the "oldest British brewery" claim. In 2011, Young's issued a press release announcing the sale of their entire stake in Wells & Young's Brewing Company Ltd to Charles Wells. Young's still exists as a pub chain.

Young's Double Chocolate Stout uses pale ale and crystal malt, chocolate malt, a special blend of sugars, Fuggle and Goldings hops, real dark chocolate, and chocolate essence. Chocolate malt and real dark chocolate are combined with Young's award winning rich, full flavored dark beer to craft a satisfyingly indulgent, but never overly sweet experience.

Ratebeer weighted average:  3.75 out of 5
Beer Advocate:  90 out of 100 (outstanding)

Wells & Young's Official Website
(Young's website, which is separate, is about their pubs, not beer)

Wells & Young's Brewery
Havelock Street
MK40 4LU
United Kingdom

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