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Fuller's & Friends Pilot Batches

It is my understanding that a few if not all of the Fuller’s and friends collaboration beers were first pilot brewed at the collaborator’s brewery, before then being brewed at Fuller’s. My question is should these pilot batches be added as separate entries in the database? My position is that they should be separate.

The case for separate entries

  • Different brewing kit - The brewing kit makes a difference in the resulting beer even when the same recipe is used. Even the size and the shape of the fermenters, have an effect of how the yeast ferment the beer.
  • Precedence - There is precedence for the same recipe brewed at different breweries having different entries. Dogfish Head / Victory - Saison du Buff springs to mind. I’m sure i could find other examples.
  • Branding - When i had the Moor Rebirth pilot back in August it was branded as Moor Rebirth without mentioning Fuller’'s
  • Tweaks - This one is speculative. But i would imagine that small recipe tweaks would have occurred between the two batch, otherwise when is the point in doing the pilot? Also was the yeast used the same? This could make a big difference to the beer.
  • BUL beers aren’t split
  • Repeated mistakes are still mistakes
  • Marketeers lie
  • Tweaks are expected anyway

I appreciate that different brewing kit will give slightly different results but we have never taken this into account when beers have been moved from one kit to another, in some cases (i.e Courage Directors) around many breweries. It also means that the beer will quite likely have been brewed with different yeasts (this can happen to a beer at a single brewery where yeasts can be changed), obviously liquor and quite likely Malt Suppliers, so the teaks argument doesn’t really get us anywhere as we would have multiple entries for 100’s of beers.
We have always, certainly in the UK, kept one recipe as a single beer. However if the beer was branded and sold under a single brewer previously, as per the Moor Rebirth case, then re-branded as a collaboration and brewed elsewhere there is an obvious case fore a separate entry.
The Dogfish Head/Victory/Stone Saison du Buff looks like a desperate American grab for ticks to me, however the branding is certainly designed to highlight each home brewery, I haven’t seen the Fullers & Friends beers yet but I haven’t heard that they are individually branded as particularly for the home brewer.

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Moor’s Justin told me that they made some tweaks between batches, but as far as he’s concerned it’s the same beer.

FYI, I understand that the two that were not piloted were Galleon and the NE IPA.

The labels I saw for the pilot brews, including Rebirth which was sold on cask in several Fuller’s pubs, carried both brewer’s names. The one I didn’t see was the Thornbridge, but apparently that did go out with pumpclips that didn’t mention Fuller’s.

I guess pilot brews, by their very nature, are likely to be subject to some adjustments before becoming the finished article. But the extent of those adjustments, and whether they amount to anything more than minor tweaks, is probably something we’ll never be fully privy to in this case.

Good point. Interested in trying these new Fullers beers (got the parents on a mission to pick some up for me) but yeah you have a point with that. We had Flora the Griffin on cask here in Charlies Bar in Copenhagen back in August with a definite “Thornbridge” only clip, the photo i took is the one on the alias here… https://www.ratebeer.com/beer/thornbridge-flora-the-griffin/539183/ - but it seems there was also the “Fullers version” doing the rounds as well. Either way hope to try these (if the folks manage to pick them up) :slight_smile:

Saw Flora and the Griffin with the standard Thornbridge design pump clip in The Bridge Tavern, Newcastle first week of September

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