Saturday 2 March 2019

Busy day

I've dropped down to working 80%. Giving me every Friday off. When I'm not gallivanting off wasting money, as Dolores puts it, Friday is my day for research.

No, not going on a day-long pub crawl. Attractive as that sounds. The dull sort of research. Stuff that entails endless peering at scribbly handwriting and often blurry photographs. Like this:

Extracting information from photographs of brewing records. Only slightluy more fun than taking the photos in the first place. Which is torture. Imagine standing, slightly hunched, over mouldy old books for five hours, taking a photo every 5 seconds. I'm amazed I can still stand up straight.

My backlog of brewing record photos is enormous. Not sure of the number. Probably best not to think about it. Targetted processing is my current approach. Transcribe the ones I need for my current book.The others can wait until later.

Fullers records were today's task. 1944/1945. I've loads of them. Mostly because the photgraphed that particular brewing book on three different visits. Unlike when I was collecting the set of Whitbread records from the London Metropolitan Archives, I didn't always take a list of what I'd already collected when I visited Fullers. 145 photos I have of that log.

There's little variation in the recipes. And the gravities are the same all the way through. The vintage of the hops change, and there's sometimes this stuff called Hopulon. Lots of duplication, really. Why transcribe them all? Because I'm some sort of labellable compulsive, obviously.

When I spotted a couple of oddities, I felt vindicated. Things I only captured because I had seemingly superfluous data. Two parti-gyled brews of PA.

Why did they stand out so much? Because they are so much stronger than the brews around them.

The one from 9th September 1941 had an OG of 1056º, when the standard version was 1046.3º. That from 20th July 1944 was 1045.5, the normal version parti-gyled with it, 1034.5º.

Having quite a few photos from both years, I can be pretty sure these weren't regular brews. And they also aren't mentioned at the top left of the record, where all the beers in the parti-gyle are listed (in the box where P 71 is above). Both were also batches of 9.75 barrels. Though that could just be determined by the size of available fermenting vessels.

Who were these beers meant for? The tiny volumes are reminiscent of Fullers pre-war strong Burton Ale, OBE. But that was brewed more frequently. These beers look like one-offs.

An insight, I hope, into the white-knuckle ride that beer historianism is. I'm going for a lie-down now. Too much excitement for one day. Dolores - is my cocoa ready yet?

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