Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Tuesdays and Thursdays are quiet nights in the Velkyal household these days. Mrs Velkyal has re-started her rowing, as in boats not mudslinging, and so myself and the dog just kind of potter around our little flat. Sometimes I'll watch some old British TV on Netflix, I am currently going through All Creatures Great and Small. Sometimes I'll sit on t'internet and read Wikipedia, other beer blogs or I'll get a book and sit, listening to music and just lose myself. I don't often drink, because I generally drink only at weekends.

Last night though, I got round to labelling my growing collection of homebrew. I am no artist and so it is highly unlikely that you would ever see my labels entered into the Brew Your Own label competition, however when faced with a bank of amber bottles each with a golden cap, it gets tiring trying to remember what you put where. I tried using a system of coloured dots on the cap, but that kind of fizzled because I couldn't remember what the dots meant. Yes I made a note of it, but that's seems to have been tidied up at some point and thus lost to the ether.

The answer then, at least for me, has been shipping labels. Simple, printable shipping labels. Download the template and away you go, remembering of course not to label the bottles you are keeping to one side for competition purposes. Although I am as artistic as a "cluster of colour blind hedgehogs, in a bag", I do like words (I know few other people who find it interesting that "center" is the older spelling variant and dates from medieval England). Words, at least in their printed form, need fonts, and so I love to play with fonts to get the right look for the label. Here are a couple of my favourites.

As you can see, I like simplicity - just beer name, style, hops, ABV and the pet name I have given my homebrew "operation" (ahem, cough, splutter). The font, the apparently much overused Algerian font, made me think of journeys during the ages of discovery, which ties in with this beer being in some ways, hopefully, similar to the porters that were shipped from London to India - you know the type, extra hops and that kind of thing.

On Monday evening, admittedly a day late, I bottles my version of the International Homebrew Project Milk Stout - a recreation of the 1933 Milk Stout brewed by Barclay Perkins. Again, keeping it simple is my motto, and the first creation of this label was black text on a white background, but it just didn't work. I liked the font because it bought to mind the styles of the 1930s, but what to do about the look and feel of it? I tried changing the colour of the text, but to no avail, then taking inspiration from the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster, I inverted the black and white and hey presto.

Ok, they are not the most creative labels on the planet, but I like them - probably mainly because I no longer have to play mental gymnastics every time I fancy a homebrew. I do wonder though sometimes if I think far too much about my beer and brewing.


  1. I think compared to many, you are fairly meh about the brewing thing.

    I know some people who take it to much higher levels of OCD.

  2. Perhaps the title should have been "Obsessive without required mental help"?

  3. The font on the Milk Stout label looks like Futura (or near offer - eg Century Gothic), and Futura was designed in 1927, so yep, that's "chronistic" for a beer from 1933.

  4. Martyn,

    The font is Twentieth Century Extrabold Condensed, which dates from 1938, so pretty close in terms of the era. Unfortunately my install of OpenOffice doesn't have Futura.



I worked out the other day that each day I was in Prague I walked about 7-8km, which is about 4.5-5 miles in old money. The longest walk tho...