Friday, 7 August 2009

Beer code update

Here are more details of the Fullers beer code beers.

Look at the different water treatments. What does that tell us? Why are some beers dry-hopped and others not? (This is getting to sound like a BHCP exam paper.) You brewers can probably explain it better than me.

The X grists caught my eye. Amber and crystal.

Tell me if you can spot any patterns.


IPA 13th April 1887
all gypsum liquor
39 pale malt
12 sugar
Kent hops
GK hops
Hopped down on Tuesday April 26th with Marton's E. Kent
1886 hops, att 6.5, Heat of store 52, bright and of good colour & flavour


X 15th April 1887
22 PA malt
can't see any water treatment
12 amber
5 crystal
13 sugar
Kent hops
GK hops
1/2 Pumped over Thursday 21st April Att 4.9
& remainder Friday evening Broke in 10 barrels Vat beer
4 barrels Porter & 2 barrels T.B.


XXK for vatting 19th April 1887
all soft liquor run over gypsum
64 pale malt
2 crystal
22 sugar
Worcester hops
GK hops
Poperinge hops
Pumped over into bottling batch Tuesday Morning 26th April
and run into No. 13 vat next day



AK 21st April 1887
all soft liquor run over gypsum
32 pale malt
10 sugar
Worcester hops
GK hops
Hopped down on Tuesday May 3rd with Atkinson's Worcester 1886
hops, att. 5.1, Heat of store 51, bright and of good colour and flavour


X and XX 23rd April 1887
22 PA malt
all soft liquor
30 amber
13 sugar
Worcester hops
GK hops
XX
Hopped down on Wednesday May 4th with Atkinson's Worcester 1886
hops, att. 8.4, Heat of store 49.5, bright and of good colour and flavour


XKK 4th May 1887
all gypsum liquor
28 pale malt Chilean
9 sugar
Worcester hops
GK hops
Hopped down on Tuesday May 17th with Marton's EK 1886
hops, att. 5.5, Heat of store 55, bright and of good colour and flavour


XK and AK 8th August 1887
all gypsum liquor
28 pale malt Chilean
6 sugar
Worcester hops
GK hops
XK
Hopped down on Saturday Aug 20th with Worcester 1886 hops,
att. 5.8, Heat of store 63, bright and of good colour and flavour
AK
Hopped down on Aug 20th with Worcester 1886 hops,
att. 5.3, bright and of good colour and flavour

7 comments:

Gary Gillman said...

All the beers with K in them, and IPA, are treated with gypsum for their liquor. This is to harden the water and achieve a Burton-like effect. Also, all their grists are pale malt or mostly. Classic pale ale.

The beers just with X in them use soft water, they aren't pale ale. They won't be hopped as much as the corresponding K beer in strength.

All the K beers get a period of warm conditioning, probably less than in earlier decades, but reflecting their origin in the season brewing tradition. Even the XX gets some store time - not the X though - but the period appears somewhat shorter than for the K beers.

Some of the X beer appears to have been mixed with some aged porter and table beer, no doubt to form a balanced-palate porter for the trade since the grists are darker than was formerly the case for X beers. Maybe this is why some people say that porter ended up being dark mild, maybe dark mild was made originally to vat with aged porter (true porter using some brown malt), and ended as a style unto itself.

The X where it appears in the K beers does seem partly to denote strength although it is difficult to rationalize the three 1887-1888 XXK and XK beers except on the basis of batch variations, but I accept that the ones with more X's in the K's appear stronger.

It is using the same term, X, in two different senses I think.

But what does K mean? :)

Gary

Gary Gillman said...

I meant (sorry) it is hard to rationalize the XK and XKK of 1887-1888 - generally the XKK was meant to be higher ABV it seems but it did not always work out that way.

XXK, the strong ale, is clearly a strong beer made for long keeping. Keeping is assured by a combination of high alcohol and reasonable strong hopping.

So once again, it seems to me X is being used in two senses here: to denote a traditional, low-hopped running beer and also to denote strength. This was always so in a sense, in that a brewer's XX vs. its X meant that both were mild but one stronger than the other.

Of the hundreds of references we have seen though, none defines K.

It must mean keut as Zythophile has theorized.

Gary

Joe said...

Gypsum and dark malts both lower the mash pH. The more of one you have, the less of the other you need.

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, in the lower OG beers - AK, AKK, XK - K is used to denote a "Pale Ale" type of beer.

X is purely used as a strength indication. In ascending order, the strength indicators go:

A
X
XX

In XXK, the K is used more traditoinally, to indicate a "keeping" or vatting version.

So it's the K - meaning Keeping - that is used inconsistently, not the X.

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, in my view, in XX, X is used to mean two things, a non-stock beer and a stronger one than normal. In XXK, X is used to mean a strong (but not super-hopped - that should be XXKK) beer, thus X is being used here in one of its two senses. This isn't a contradictory, but rather a multiple, use.

Gary

Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, have to disagree. X is being used in the totally standard way of denoting strength. XXK is the vatted version of XX.

You can see beers like this all over the Truman's logs of the middle of the 19th century. They Had XX and XXK, XXX and XXXK, XXXX and XXXXK. The Fullers XX and XXK seem to be adhering to this

What surprised me the most about these beers was that the Mild grists were quite different from the PA grists. At the other London brewers it was pretty much all pale malt still at this time.

Fullers XXK looks to me very much like a Burton.

Zythophile said...

Fascinating - but it doesn't completely explain Watney's pre-Second World War KKKK "strong ale" and KKK "Burton", or XXXX Burton as brewed by, for example, Lovibond of Greenwich or Friary Holroyd and Healy of Guildford in Surrey, which should, by the nature of strong Burton, have been a "keeping" beer, but doesn't have any Ks in its name ... and we're still no closer to finding out what the "A" stands for.