Thursday, 29 January 2009

K's, X's, A's, B's, C's and numbers.

I'm an idiot. Have I said that already? Just in case you missed it first or two hundred and thirtyseventh time around: I'm an idiot.

I hoofed the rugby ball blindly away before anyone could use the excuse of a "tackle" to hammer me into the frozen ground. But neglected to provide the information that's reduced me to a metaphoring imbecile. So here they are:

loads of cryptic beer names from price lists

There's a CC in there. Other weird ones, too. From Godsell & Sons: AK, AKK, AB, A1.

If others want to contribute to my table, that would be great. I don't have time to look through all the online directories and other sources. I'll make the results public. The more examples there are, the . . . I was going to say "the patterns are to identify". In reality, it'll most likely just get more confusing.

Just remember this:

Mild = young.

Mild Bitter might sound weird today, but you have to remember that it just means a beer sold young, nothing else. Mild Ale, Mild Porter, Mild Bitter. It's the second half of the name that's important.


Tim said...

page 23 - Invalid Stout.

I've had the misfortune to receive a few pints of that. Yuck.

And so this comment isn't totally useless: What did invalid mean in 1914?

Ron Pattinson said...

invalid = radgeback

Gary Gillman said...

Ron, most of what I saw (I didn't save anything because I don't know how, honestly, and have no easy way to print them) is similar to the names on this list with some exceptions. Some codes must have been particular to the breweries, but there does seem a kind of overall pattern. I agree that it may be very hard or impossible to discern an actual schema though. Because also, we don't know that some products may have been old for example even though the ads did not say.

Based on what we do know, I think the low-hopped beers (the X range) were generally mild but sometimes aged (and if aged maybe used more hops than the unaged but probably less than the corresponding beer in another lettering range); AK and K were mild; KK (I think XK and AKK are variants) and KKK were usually stock but some KK was mild, a running "half-bitter strong beer" I'd call it; Pale Ales were sometimes, maybe usually, mild (this an inference) but we know (many ads state) they were often stocked.

More than this I think it will be hard to say. If something pops up explaining what AK stands for, that will help to move it along. Some of the breweries I saw if it helps were Phipps, Breed, Fuller, Smith & Turner, Leamington, some earlier Lovibond than was mentioned before, ... I should have written them down! I did see of course numerous that are mentioned on your list.


Barm said...

The notion of an invalid stout is that it's a beer that would be drunk by invalids, i.e. very ill or badly injured people, or those recovering from illness or injury, to help build their strength up. Well, it sounds like a decent enough excuse.

Gary Gillman said...

Short gloss on my previous comment: XK in a late 1800's Fuller, Smith & Turner ad clearly is considered a pale ale in its range (and AK the standard bitter).

So KK, XK and perhaps AKK ended up I think (in general) conflated with pale ale - not India Pale Ale though. I had forwarded this ad to a friend who is a fan of the Fuller beers so I can "send again" and will send it to you by e-mail tonight, Ron.