Sunday 30 December 2018

Fullers beers in 1939

When war broke out, Fullers had a decent-sized range of beers. Though it was a slightly unusual one for a London brewer. The oddest feature being the lack of a draught Stout, which was pretty bog standard in the capital.

At the core of the range were three Pale Ale, two Milds and two Strong Ales. Then there was P. That obviously stood for Porter, at least originally. But by the late 1930s it was no longer sold as that. Fullers had discontinued draught Porter, but P lived on, marketed as a bottled beer called Nourishing Stout.

A couple of the beers were very marginal, being brewed in tiny batches. AK and OBE were usually brewed no more than 10 barrels at a time. Minute quantities when you consider Fullers brew length was 400-500 barrels. Such small batches were only practical because Fullers parti-gyled.

PA and AK were both well-established products dating back to at least the 1880s. XK had also been around in the late 1880s but was dropped around 1900. It reappeared again just after the end of WW I, in 1919. PA had come through WW I pretty well intact, and between the wars was only 3º weaker than it had been in 1914. The next was wouldn’t be so kind to it.

XK and PA filled the Ordinary and Best Bitter slots, and retailed at 6d and 8d per pint, respectively. Many London brewers had similar beers. For example, Barclay Perkins with their XLK and PA.

Before WW I, Fullers brewed a single Mild, X Ale, at around 1050º. The war left X Ale’s gravity greatly reduced, at a little over 1030º. In the summer of 1919 they introduced a new, stronger Mild called XX. While not as much as X Ale, XX was brewed in quite large quantities.

Fullers two Burton Ales, BO (Burton Old) and OBE (Old Burton Extra) were both parti-gyled with the Milds. BO was a pretty typical draught Burton Ale, with an OG in the mid-1050ºs. OBE was more unusual. Also a draught beer, it had an exceptionally high gravity. The only similar beer I’ve come across is Barclay Perkins KKKK, which was a winter special.

The war years would see a massive reshaping of Fuller’s range.

Fullers beers in 1939
Date Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
30th Oct X Mild 1032.7 1007.5 3.33 77.12% 6.96011 0.95
6th Nov XX Mild 1042.7 1010.5 4.25 75.32% 6.9326 1.22
24th Oct AK Pale Ale 1033.4 1006.6 3.53 80.07% 9.19208 1.25
17th Oct XK Pale Ale 1039.4 1010.0 3.89 74.67% 9.20783 1.45
24th Oct PA Pale Ale 1051.1 1013.0 5.04 74.53% 9.19208 1.91
9th Nov P Porter 1038.5 1013.0 3.37 66.19% 7.62353 1.35
18th Oct BO Strong Ale 1055.5 1015.2 5.32 72.54% 7.0126 1.63
8th Nov OBE Strong Ale 1069.6 1013.3 7.45 80.90% 7.28653 2.00
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery


Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

They were quite late in brewing porter, I think either the 1840s or 50s or even later when they first made one

Anonymous said...

Still got some OBE from the Fuller's Past Masters series a few years ago. Think it's 7 point something so I assume it's pretty much the same beer you mention here, Ron? Lovely stuff, wish they'd brew some more...

Anonymous said...

Do you have a sense why Fullers survived to the present day when so many others at their scale did not?

Obviously, good beer is a part of the equation, but that can only take a brewer so far.