Thursday, 3 June 2010


Little time. No. Done that one. Can't be arsed. No. Done that, too. Rest . . . yes. That's what I need.

Ever get pissed off with Shakespear using words the wrong way? Those bastards in the past. How dare they attach a different meaning to words we know and love? The bastards. total bastards.

I was ill a couple of weeks ago. Self-pity and Rab C. Nesbit got me through.

[Just explaining the bout of Tourettes.]

Rest. It sounds like what I should be doing now. But you know what those bastards did? Do you really want to know? Those bastards in the past. They used our word "rest" to mean something completely different.

Now me being a didactic sort of twat - and one fascinated by language -  you're probably expecting me to explain exactly what "rest" meant in this context. Normally, I'd be only too happy fulfil your clichéd expectations. But Andrew sucked out all my energy with Scar Stories*. Martyn Cornell. He's a clever chap with a much better etymological dictionary than me. He'll explain it, I'm sure.

Rest. That's what I should be getting, not explaining. So here it is. Barclay Perkins rest from 1840 For their Ale brewery. (They also had Park Street and Stoney Lane.) 

Lovely handwriting they had back then. Unprescient use of language. But lovely handwriting. And an idiosyncratic way of spelling gyle.

I would explain what this tells us about trends in 19th century brewing. But I need my rest.

* A game where I tell the stories behind the scars on my body.


Gary Gillman said...

E.I.A must mean Export India Ale. We know Barclay's made an India Ale: Peter Mathias states in his landmark study that Barclay's started making it in 1799. The hop rates appear to be per barrel, which ties into the high rate for the E.I.A. I think this particular rest book, which I gather means record book, supports TT meaning three threads. Evidently two types of porter are listed, ordinary, and the stout which uses three times the hops. Below TT is mentioned table beer, so perhaps TT was a higher grade table beer, but here it seems to me to point to porter/three threads.

I am puzzled why the porters were made at an ale brewery though.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, I don't think for a minute that TT stands for Three Threads. Not sure what it does stand for, other than double T. T being their Table Beers, which was also a form of Porter.

BP brewed a whole raft of different Porters: TT, Hhd, EI, FSt, BSt, BSt Export, BSt K, IBSt.

Why did they brew Porter in the Ale brewery? Probably because they didn't have the necessary capacity in the Porter brewery. It's only a few odd gyles.

EIA is an interesting one. Assuming it means Export India Ale, it's a bit confusing. As it's listed next to the Porters. The Porter version is called just EI in the brewing records. I need to check to see if I can find EIA in the Ale brewing books.

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, the K beers are included with the mild beers for the purpose of toting-up that section of the table, so the classification is more or less arbitrary. This may explain, if TT does mean a stronger table beer, why it is not included in the solo table beer section. But by the same token, someone saw fit to put the EIA over the best brown stout... Perhaps it was the longest stocked.

The origin of the term TT is one of the remaining mysteries. I have a feeling it must mean three threads, and seeing the beer bracketed with best stout makes me think this must be so. But I could be wrong and the classification is not consistent. Hopefully further rest book analysis will tell the tale.

Sorry to hear you were under the weather, I hope things are better now.


Gary Gillman said...

Here is an extract from a statute (1700's) requiring that a T of at least four inches size be marked on casks containing table beer. If not so marked, the beer was considered dutiable as strong beer:

It is conceivable that casks marked TT were meant to signal a stronger form of table beer, although the statute appears not to authorize this. But it might have been a tolerated practice.

I think somewhere in the BP rest books the answer must appear.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, the K Ales (Keeping Ales) and X Ales are listed together. Nothing at all arbitrary about that. The K Ales were pretty much the same as the X Ales, except for the hopping.

I wouldn't read too much into how the non-Ales are lumped together. They just represent odd brews at the Ale brewery. One of the other breweries brewed almost nothing but TT at this time.

Gary Gillman said...

But many 1800's ads show the K range as bracketed with pale ales or intermediate between those and mild ales. They show them separate from mild ales in other words, often in separate boxes or parts of the ads.

You could as easily have separated them in that rest book as not. Anyway my point is that the table is not consistent - if it was, and if TT was stronger table beer, the two would have been shown together.


Gary Gillman said...

Ron, quick emendation: E.I.A. must surely mean in fact East India Ale, not Export India Ale. Thanks.


Ron Pattinson said...

Gary, you could be right. I don't know for certain EI means Export India in the name of the Porter. It could be East India, too.