Friday, 21 August 2009

Burton numbers

Remember when we discussed beer codes. Those cryptic letters so beloved of Victorian brewers. I'm sure I said something about Burton, where they did things differently. Bass used numbers.

How to get a look at some Burton brewing logs has been occupying my mind for a while. With the former Bass Museum closed, it seems problematic. So imagine my surprise when, at the Scottish Brewing Archive I discovered records from Evershed's brewery. Of Marston, Thompson & Evershed fame. What a piece of luck.

At least that's what I thought until I opened them up. Aaaagh. It was the personal notebook of one of the Younger's, who must have been there getting work experience, or whatever they called it in the 19th century. It was in the horrible Younger's format. Nothing like as useful as I'd hoped.

But it wasn't a total loss. I managed to scrape a few beer details out of it. And they used a numbering system similar to Bass. Take a look:

I've not had time to look at it properly yet. Wonder what it will tell me?


MentalDental said...

You have to say the numbering seems prety straight-forward, 1 the strongest and decreasing gravity with increasing number. Easier to understand that some of the AK, AKA, KKK nonsense. :-)

I like the bald simplicity of "Beer".

I am guessing that K = keeping, P = porter, and O = old. Or do you think different?

No 1 at 49% AA must have been sickly sweet. Not for me that one

Ron Pattinson said...

MentalDental, I'd been wondering what O could mean.

That No. 1 must have been a bit weird. Did you notice the length of boil? The longest I've yet seen.

MentalDental said...

"That No. 1 must have been a bit weird. Did you notice the length of boil? The longest I've yet seen."

Yes I did. I assumed it was to concentrate the wort to get the gravity up. I suppose the wort would have darkened a bit too. Such a long boil would have consummed a lot of fuel but the brewers must have thought it was worth the cost.

Barm said...

There's some microbrewer that also uses numbers for his beers. He says the numbers represent the number of pints of that beer he can drink before his wife notices he's drunk.

I was just reading this the other day: When the Allied archives were broken up all the Burton-related stuff went to the Bass Museum and the stuff related to Scottish breweries (Arrol's, Ushers, Lorimer's, Alloa) went to the SBA. It's shocking to think that the heirs would just have destroyed these records if the Brewery History Society hadn't intervened.

Bill in Oregon said...

What's so striking to me is the low attenuation on many of them. Some of tose would have been incredibly sweet by present day standards.

Ron Pattinson said...

Barm, I got to look at the Usher's records at the SBA. I didn't realise they were nearly destroyed. I cn't believe the owners didn't realise their value.

Ron Pattinson said...

Bill in Oregon, Younger's shilling Ales are similar, as you'll see when I post about them in a couple of days. I'm intrigued as to how such beers would taste. And their texture - with such high FG's they'd be pretty syrupy.

Jeffrey said...

This is pretty, pretty dry Ronberto. Please can you revive the interest of your more light-hearted fanbase by telling us a story about you and Anti-American Mike lashing it up?

Ron Pattinson said...

Jeffo, I need to go on the lash with Mike to have a story to tell. I've been too busy book-fiddling to have a decent session since our return from Franconia.

Light and shade. Light and shade. The fun bits look oh so much more fun when contrasted with the stats.