For those of you who didn’t already know, when I am not helping the boyfriend out on this website, I teach English as a Second Language. Since I teach elementary students, they always come up with the funniest questions about staple English expressions. This time though, the question did not come from my little comets, but rather from a very interesting article. Did you know that a “buttload” is an actual unit of measure of volume? It dates back to middle English. A butt is also know as a pipe and is an official unit of measure for English Brewery Cask Units and English Wine Casks Units.
The word butt has quite the origin story, deriving from the French and Italian “boote”, meaning boot. In Italy though, “botte” is still used to refer to a wine cask.
Now for the numbers!
A buttload is:
the second-largest barrel size, equal to half a tun, which was typically 252 Imperial Gallons (although that exact quantity has changed throughout history; current standards place an English Tun at 259 US gallons or 216 Imperial Gallons)
Which would make it at about 126 gallons in our days. Holy Buttload of beer Batman, that’s a lot of beer!