Monday, 21 January 2013

Ind Coope AKK

This has all been inspired by a label that I found. You can it there to the right. Ind Coope AKK Ale.

It's beer names like this that have left me doubting Martyn Cornell's explanation of AK standing for Ankel Koyt. If it did, then what does the extra K stand for in AKK? To me names like this confirm my explanation of AK. That the AK and the K both stand for something.

Though I'll be honest that the usual meaning of K - Keeping - on the face of it makes little sense for the type of Light Bitter that was called AK. It being one of the classic types of 19th-century Running Beers. Let me think a bit more about that one.

I've a few examples of AKK from old brewery price lists. Always alongside an AK. Interesting that. There are plenty of examples of AK without AKK, but not the other way around. I think that makes clear which came first: AK. AKK is usually one step up in price and strength from AK.

Sometimes, like at Fuller's, the strength slot one up from AK is filled by XK. Which works with my explanation of AK. A being an indication of strength, just like X. In the late 19th-century, X implies a gravity of about 1055º, A 1050º. K specifying that it's a Pale Ale rather than a Mild Ale.

Tables. I don't like to leave you without one or two. Some examples from price lists would seem appropriate.

First Ind Coope themselves:

Brewery Place year beer price per barrel (shillings) price per gallon (pence)
Ind Coope & Co Romford 1865 AKK 44 14.6667
Ind Coope & Co Romford 1865 AK 46 15.3333
Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 03 November 1865, page 8

This one shows where AK and AKK fitted into a range of Pale Ales:

Brewery Place year beer price per barrel (shillings) price per gallon (pence)
Rogers' Ales Bristol 1900 AK Bitter Ale 36 12
Rogers' Ales Bristol 1900 AKK Bitter Ale 42 14
Rogers' Ales Bristol 1900 PA Pale Ale 48 16
Rogers' Ales Bristol 1900 IPA India Pale Ale 54 18
Western Daily Press - Saturday 15 December 1900, page 3

And so does this one, except I've included the brewery's whole set of beers:

Brewery Place year beer price per barrel (shillings) price per gallon (pence)
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 X Mild Ale 30 10d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 XX Mild Ale 36 1s
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 XXXX Mild Ale 48 1s 4d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 XXX Old Ale 48 1s 4d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 IPA India Pale Ale 54 1s 6d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 AK Light Dinner Ale 36 1s
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 AKK Bitter Ale 42 1s 2d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 AB Pale Ale 48 1s 4d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 A1 Strong Ale 54 1s 6d
Godsell & Sons Stroud, Gloucs 1909 XXX Extra Stout 48 1s 4d

You may have spotted something odd. And illogical. Ind Coope's AKK was weaker than its AK. Don't ask me why. It makes absolutely no sense. The more letters, the stronger the beer is the usual rule.


The Beer Nut said...

Isn't it possible that AK originally stood for Ankel Koyt, but the derivation was lost and later brewers simply followed the convention of repeating letters to indicate higher strength?

Ron Pattinson said...

Beer Nut, that's a possibility.

I've also recently noticed that the trade mark of Rogers of Bristol seems to be AK.

Martyn Cornell said...

I've gone right off the "Ankel Koyt" theory in the past couple of years,not least because I can't find any evidence of the use of the term before about 1855, so there's a big gap between the Fleming brewer immigrants to England and the early Victorians. And, of course, and more importantly, there's no evidence for it at all - since I slag others for putting up theories with no evidence to back them, I can hardly support an evidence-free theory myself.

Yes, Rogers used AK as its trademark - IIRC, Barnard talks about Rogers' AK in his write-up of his visit there.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, any idea when Rogers started using the trademark AK? The one on the adverts of theirs I've seen looks like a cask brand.

Anonymous said...

I've just looked at Martyn's blog re AK.He mentioned that Hardy's and Hanson's brewed a keg bitter called KK.I would be surprised if it didn't simply signify "Kimberley Keg" as of course their brewery was in the town of Kimberley and their standard beers were Kimberley Best Bitter and Kimberley Mild.

Gary Gillman said...

[Ron, I submitted this comment earlier but must have typed it under your penultimate posting since it went there and not here, so I repeat it below, with a few emendations. Thanks. Gary].

I can't explain the AKK anomaly. Maybe it was a mix of an AK and an aged (K) beer that had become weaker through part of the alcohol consumed by bacterial action. The Rogers example would seem to contradict this but perhaps in that case the K beer was strong enough so that its AKK was stronger than the AK.

Perhaps it was one of those summer refreshers you read about that were partly sour, mixes of a fresh beer and a hopped aged one.

The ankel koyt explanation is interesting but I doubt it is true since AK is a classic 1800's designation. I can't recall ever seeing the term AK used in this sense in any 1700's book or other source. So why would it pop up all of a sudden in the 1800's? Doesn't make sense to me (although you never know and it cannot be ruled out).

I have a number of times here mentioned the only 1800's explanation I have ever seen of the term AK, by a brewer writing in one of those mechanics arts publications. He explains in parentheses that it meant keeping ale. Until a better contemporary or earlier source is found, this is good evidence of the keeping meaning since it is the oldest known explanation so far.

While it is true that AK was not long-stored, it was conditioned for a longer period than running X ales. That is the important point.

Look here how Moritz, in A Text-book of the Science of Brewing, explains this at pp 233-234.

Even Moritz trips up on terminology since for his "intermediate" beers or AKs - they are clearly that - he calls them mild ales! But his overall meaning is clear.

The term keeping and its cognate kept, do not need to imply a storage of months on end. To this day, we use the expression "well-kept" to describe a cask ale that is well-served no matter what the style, and no beer today is stored for very long except by some eccentric American craft brewers. :)

Kept meant processed over the required period and AK was often, at least in Moritz's time, kept for longer than X ales before being sent out and served. That meets a test of keeping in English brewing terminology.


Martyn Cornell said...

Marquis, since other brewers made beers called KK, I can't see Hardy's & Hanson's picking KK and forcing it to mean Kimberley Keg: though I suppose they might have ...

Martyn Cornell said...

Ron - I've seen a Rogers matchstriker with the AK brand on it, which suggests before the First World War, but I have no further info about when they adopted AK as a tm than that.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I've seen newspaper ads with it on much older than that. I'll have to check how old.

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, I've a price list from 1889 with the AK trademark on it.