Thursday, 22 April 2021

Fullers AK grists in WW I

Not sure when I'm going to get bored with AK. Probably not until another shiny thing distracts me.

What immediately strikes me is how no new ingredients were added during the war years. And that the exact same five ingredients were being used in 1920 as in 1914. Though during the war some of these elements were dropped for a while. Only pale malt and No. 2 invert sugar were omnipresent.

Pale malt bubbled along at around 80% of the grist for most of the war. Other than in 1917 and part of 1920, when it was 90%. This coincided with absence of maize and a reduction in the sugar content.

It's easy to understand why maize was removed from the recipe in the later war years. Being an ingredient which could only be imported, supplies of it were going to restricted and even nonexistent. Interesting that when it was freely available in 1920, rather more of it was used than had been pre-war.

Getting a grip on what was happening with the sugars is trickier. There's a sudden surge in the quantity of No. 2 invert used in 1918, at one point reaching almost 20% of the grist. It seems odd at a time when sugar for food uses was in short supply. By 1919 the sugar content was much the same as in 1914, but in 1920 it was halved. I'm struggling to make any sense of that.

Fullers AK grists in WW I
Date Year pale malt flaked maize no. 2 sugar glucose intense
20th Nov 1914 81.67% 6.05% 6.05% 6.05% 0.18%
2nd Jul 1915 80.08% 6.36% 6.78% 6.78%  
1st Jun 1916 81.36% 5.08% 6.78% 6.78%  
3rd Nov 1916 82.35% 5.88% 5.88% 5.88%  
20th Jun 1917 90.00%   4.00% 6.00%  
2nd Jan 1918 93.81%   6.05%   0.14%
11th Apr 1918 74.94%   12.49% 12.49% 0.08%
7th Nov 1918 80.72%   19.09%   0.19%
19th Jun 1919 79.20% 6.89% 6.89% 6.89% 0.14%
11th Feb 1920 79.78% 13.50% 3.27% 3.27% 0.17%
fall   2.31% -123.18% 45.90% 45.90% 6.67%
Fullers brewing records held at the brewery.




PeeBee said...

"There's a sudden surge in the quantity of No. 2 invert used in 1918, at one point reaching almost 20% of the grist. It seems odd at a time when sugar for food uses was in short supply."

Continuing my barrage of posts concerning "Invert Syrup": Could this be because the "number" is referring to "quality" not "colour"? If that's the case "No.1" would be in short supply, but not the lower quality "No.2". If "No.2" referred to "colour" (like now, e.g. Ragus No.2 Invert) why is there no change to "Intense" which is caramel colouring isn't it?

I promise to stop blagging on about Invert Sugar numbers for a while (I might be wrong!).

Ron Pattinson said...


as far as I'm aware, Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4 have always referred to the colour, not the quality.

PeeBee said...

Humm ...

Remember this?

"Invert sugar
This was created by the hydrolosis of cane sugar, which was transformed into equal parts of glucose and fructose. Depending on the degree of purification, three grades of brewing sugar were made: No.1, No.2 and No.3. It was sold either as a syrup or in solid form. Invert sugar was used both in the copper and as primings. No.1 and No.2 were used in Pale Ale, No.2 and No.3 in Mild Ale and No.3 in Porter and Stout."

From "Purification", not "colour".

For some serious reading there's Invert‐sugar. (Part I.) - Heron - 1896 - Journal of the Federated Institutes of Brewing - Wiley Online Library (


Ron Pattinson said...


they're still different fucking colours.

PeeBee said...


Thank you, I'll take that ("they're still different colours") as a, reluctant, okay? Couldn't find the (arcane?) colour units you're using though ("fu...etc.") but made for an entertaining evening searching them on Int-net.