Hvad betyder »Navy Strength«?

Navy Strength: Sømænd får udleveret deres romrationer.
Billedkilde: https://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/5e66b3e8-a3c8-d471-e040-e00a180654d7

Den helt korte og mest præcise definition på »Navy Strength« er: En spiritus med en alkoholstyrke på 54,5%.

I praksis har producenterne dog et lidt mere løst forhold til begrebet og man vil finde spiritus i alle mulige forskellige styrker, typisk mellem 50% og 60%, der bryster sig af at være »Navy Strength«. Man vil især finde mærkningen »Navy Strength« på rom og gin med en alkoholstyrke på 57% (hvilket i øvrigt svarer til »English Proof« eller »100 proof« på Sikes’ skala – mere om det, længere nede på siden). Men den historiske og mest præcise definition er nu engang: 54,5%.

Hvor kommer »Navy Strength« fra?

Begrebet stammer oprindeligt fra den britiske flåde, hvor man havde særlige krav til romrationernes alkoholstyrke.

Før opfindelsen af mere præcise målemetoder, benyttede den britiske flåde en simpelt »krudttest« til at anslå alkoholstyrken i de enkelte partier rom. Testen gik i alt sin enkelthed ud på, at man blandede lidt krudt sammen med lidt rom og satte et forstørrelsesglas over. Hvis blandingen kunne antændes af solens stråler gennem forstørrelsesglasset, var alkoholstyrken godkendt (proof). Mens ingen antændelse betød for lav alkoholstyrke (underproof) og eksplosiv antændelse alligevel var for meget af det gode (overproof).

I starten af 1800-tallet opfandt Bartholomew Sikes imidlertid et særligt hydrometer til mere præcis måling af væskers alkoholindhold og i 1818 blev Sikes’ nye skala ophøjet ved lov, som Storbritanniens officielle måleenhed for alkoholstyrke. I den forbindelse udførte den britiske flåde en test, hvor man benyttede Sikes’ nye hydrometer til at måle alkoholstyrken i 100 prøver fra romfade, der tidligere var blevet godkendt ved hjælp af »krudttesten«. Det gennemsnitlige alkoholindhold i prøverne blev målt og udregnet til 95,5 på Sikes’ skala (som kan omregnes til 54,5% alkohol). Og med indførelsen af resultatet af testen, som den britiske flådes standard for romrationernes alkoholstyrke, har vi dermed den præcise definition på »Navy Strength«.

Sikes’ skala gik i øvrigt fra 0 til 100 »proof«. Hvor en måling på »100 proof« svarer til godt 57% alkohol… eller »English Proof«, som målingen på Sikes’ skala også er kendt som.

Hvorfor skulle rommen være »Navy Strength«

Ud over at holde besætningen nogenlunde glade og tilfredse, var der to årsager til den britiske flådes krav om en relativt høj alkoholstyrke i romrationerne. Den ene var helt almindeligt købmandskab. Det handlede altså om at sikre sig, at man ikke betalte overpris for udvandet rom.

Men der var også en mere praktisk årsag. Da pladsen var trang på flådens skibe, blev rommen typisk opbevaret sammen med krudtet. Derved sikrede den relativt høje alkoholstyrke, at man stadigvæk kunne affyre kanonerne, hvis uheldet var ude og fadene med rom sprang læk.

65 tanker om "Hvad betyder »Navy Strength«?"

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