Thursday, 6 August 2009

Beer codes - a partial explanation

In all the excitement of going to Franconia I almost forgot about this. My life is just too full.

In a moment of boredom, I browsed the oldest Fullers logs I have. From 1887. Plucking out the OG, FG and hopping rate for my mega-gravity table.

It's something I'd been meaning to do for a long while. But I'd been put off by all the handwriting. The early Fullers logs aren't on a preprinted form. Just a plain sheet of paper. With squiggly writing. Where half the ink has disappeared. I'll show you one sometime. but not today.

If I had bothered to give them more than a cursory glance, I'd have noticed something dead handy. I'd seen the AK. But I'd been looking for that. XK, AKK, XXK and XKK. Those I'd overlooked. A whole set of beers with funny codes. And because they're in brewing logs, even though I've no extra clues to the origins of the codes, I can at least see what the beers were like.

Let's take a look at the beers, shall we? In this table, I've sorted them by the amount of hops per barrel.

One thing is immediately apparent: the more K's the heavier the hopping. Except for the IPA, which has no K's.

Now let's look at them sorted by OG:

The progression of strength goes AK, AKK, X , XKK, XK, IPA, XX, XXK. So allowing for slight variations from batch to batch, The A's and X's definitely indicate gravity. With A below X and XX above X. Is it starting to make sense yet?

I'd love to hear your opinions.


Gary Gillman said...

I see this interpretation but it seems partial only Ron in that X surely also denoted mild beers. And AK and anything with K, stocked beers. X were running beers in another term of the day.

Thus, this reading would seem particular at least to Fuller.

Why though the names combining X and K? I surmise, mixtures of stock and mild beer.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, it's not as simple as that.

Give me some type to look through the logs.

Ron Pattinson said...

Done it. Look at the next post.