Tuesday, 22 January 2013

A Stronger Quality of Bitter Ale

AK - Bitter or Mild? This is advert from Rogers of Bristol seems very sure that it was the latter:


"THE NEW SEASON'S BREWINGS OF 

ROGERS'S

AK and AKK

ARE NOW BEING DELIVERED IN FINE CONDITION.

ROGERS'S AK BITTER ALE,
1s 2d PER GALLON,
AT THE JACOB STREET BREWERY, BRISTOL.


WJ. ROGERS begs to introduce to the notice of his Customers a stronger quality of BITTER ALE, called "AKK," at 1s 4d per Gallon, to meet the requirements of those who may prefer a more invigorating Ale than the "AK," which is a light, wholesome, palatable, tonic Beverage, alike enjoyable by the Family, the Delicate Constitution, or the Invalid, many eminent Medical Men having given it their high approval. It is peculiarly free from the "heady" quality so much complained of in Ales generally, and leaves the Consumer's palate as clean as the finest Wine.
THE JACOB STREET BREWERY. BRISTOL.
Western Daily Press - Saturday 18 January 1868, page 1.

See? AKK was a more invigorating version of AK. I take it that by "invigorating" they really mean "intoxicating". Though they also say that it isn't "heady", a word which I would also have taken to mean "strong". Who complains about Ale being too strong? Certainly not me. At least not usually.

This is the business end of the advertisement:



That's an interesting selection of beers. Mild, Bitter and Stout. Odd that there's no Porter in there. The 1860's is early for a brewery to have dropped Porter. Especially one like Rogers who got into the Porter trade early. 

Though it's the most expensive beer in the list, I doubt that the IPA was the strongest. There's a good chance that it was weaker than the XXX Ale. In the 19th century all types of Pale Ale were sold at a premium price and were more expensive than beers of a similar strength in other styles.

There you have it. AKK: a stronger qualityof Bitter Ale.

2 comments:

Gary Gillman said...

Nice ad, classic in its simplicity. Not all the Victorian style was elaborate and baroque so to speak.

IMO, they use the term ale in the introduction just as it used in the term pale ale, i.e., to mean beer. The neat division observed between the X beers, on the one hand, and AKs, IPA and stouts, on the other, confirms so. So do the more or less contemporary comments I mentioned yesterday from Moritz, who indicated that intermediate beers, clearly AKs, received a longer conditioning than X ales but not as long as pale ale (IPA here, probably). I would think too, if you could look at Rogers's records, that AK was more highly hopped than the equivalent gravity X ales.

There can no doubt though that the distinction between different gravity pale bitter beers and mild ales was starting to fade. This explains the looser terminology which started to be used but it is also true that the seed was planted in the euphonious but devilish term, pale ale.

A theory: mild became dark to enable the distinction to remain between the two classes of malt liquor. Attenuation and hopping rates, due to their variation, with non-long-stored beers, were not enough to found a basic division, either for the brewers or certainly the tenants and customers. But a colour change (often illusory as to the real nature) was a clearer demarcation.

Gary

ealusceop said...

If you have access to gravities tables, maybe its a "drier" beer? Some things seems to point in that direction.