Wednesday, 31 August 2011


1911 - now there's a year that needs no introduction. Known to all as the year in which Bradford City won the cup, I've been contemplating what beers might have been drunk then since a post by the Pub Curmudgeon. Before the horrors of the first world war you could enjoy "pubs open all day, average strength of beer about 5.5%". It certainly sounds fun.

As I'm sadly a bit of lightweight nowadays I don't suppose I'd last long drinking beer at that strength, but I'd have a damn good effort. And it's worth remembering that Bradford City's historic victory was not the only thing that happened in that year. Who wouldn't jump at the chance to have pint of porter with Peter the painter? Or not visit the Mona Lisa in the Louvre?

Being a brewer it occurred to me that I could travel back in time as far as the beers go if I could get hold of some 1911 recipes that I could make. Durden Park Brewing Circle didn't have any relevant recipes, but Ron had something that I felt myself drawn to. 1909. That's not far off. If I couldn't get back to 1911 then surely I could just go back to 1909 and hang around for a couple of years. I'm sure the beers wouldn't have changed much.

After much pondering I decided I had to go for it and forked out some of my hard earned dosh for the book. Though plagued with typos the book has a wealth of information, and contrary to what I expected from the title, recipes for beers from 1909 to 1916. Including two from 1911. Oh yes, there they were looking up at me from the pages. And one of them, Russell's AK, was of the sort of strength I normally drink at when down the pub. Perhaps I could drink in the delights of 1911 without making an embarrassment of myself?

But then I though maybe there's a better way. As the beer was at a normal strength by modern standards why not let other people enjoy it too? Instead of brewing it for research purposes on the pilot plant I could make it on the main kit at work and send it out as a seasonal. One Sunday night I started looking into sourcing some of the ingredients I don't normally use ...

... and on Monday morning I saw Ron had posted on his blog (a slightly different version of) the recipe I was interested in, with the heart felt plea: "I'm happy to present another AK recipe as part of my campaign to revive the style. If even one of you brews it, my work won't have been in vain."

Well I haven't brewed it yet, and the seasons dictate that the green hop beer will be the non-regular beer next week, but the ingredients have started arriving so the chance to go back in time to 1911 will be coming soon! So don't forget it's the lads from the Valley you want to be cheering in the cup final if you don't want to be on the losing side.


  1. Good call, Ed. The Fuller's beers brewed from old recipes with Ron's advice are really interesting and it would be great if everyone had a go.

  2. When and where the AK be available? I'd love to try it, if possible.

  3. Ron, due to the hop harvest and making lager we've had a bit of a surfeit of seasonals, but the AK will be made this month, in fact possibly this week. We will be bottling some and I'll make sure some finds its way to you.