Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1952 Lees Best Mild

Best Mild. Sounds so romantic, doesn't it? Not just Mild, but Best Mild. Who wouldn't want the best?

The first reference I've come across to Best Mild is Barclay Perkins XX. This is the beer that appeared in 1931, after a big hike in beer duty. Brewers responded by slashing gravities. Especially of Mild. Barclay Perkins dropped the gravity of their X Ale from 1043 to 1037. But introduced a new beer, XX Ale, at the old X Ale gravity. X was marketed as "Ale", XX as "Best Ale".

WW II saw the gravity of standard Mild drop to 1028. Or the just-about-intoxicating-if-we-attenuate-the-hell-out-of-it level. Postwar, Mild gravities remained at their low wartime level, but some brewers introduced slightly stronger versions. These were sold under the name of Best Mild. Not that they were particularly strong, just 1034 to 1036. Still, better than a 1028 beer.

Lees Best Mild appeared in 1946. It initially had a gravity of 1033 and was party-gyled with K, Lees standard Mild. By 1952, it was being brewed on its own, though in much smaller batches - just 40 barrels, as opposed to 110 barrels of K. By this time there was a significant difference between K and Best Mild: the colour. K was 35 EBC, Best Mild 100. The grists had diverged considerably. K was brewed from pale malt, crystal malt and sugar. The Best Mild grist additionally included brown and black malt.

Before I started looking at actual brewing records, this was the sort of Dark Mild grist I'd expected to find. Ones with dark malts in them, rather than dark sugars. This looks a really tasty beer. Especially for the low gravity. Please brew it and send me a few bottles.



My bullshit is done. Time for Kristen and the detailed recipe . . . . .





JW Lees - 1952 - Best Mild
General info: Finally. FINALLY! This is one beer I've been wanting to do for a long time. This is the stuff my granddad would always drink before my mum was born. Pictures at the old pub with the Lee's Best Mild in hand. What would it have been like to have a pint with the man I’ve always thought? Well, seeing that he went tits up in 1989 it’s not likely I get the chance in the near future. However, I can still drink what he did. Here it is. This one’s for you Mr. Tythcott.
Beer Specifics

Recipe by percentages
Gravity (OG)
1.035

72.5% English Pale malt
1.9% Black malt
Gravity (FG)
1.008

3.9% Crystal 75L
13.8% Invert No1
ABV
3.50%

3.8% Chocolate malt
2% Caramel colorant
Apparent attenuation
75.97%

2% Brown malt

Real attenuation
62.23%







IBU
27.0

Mash
90min@149°F
1.17qt/lb

SRM
51


90min@65°C
2.44L/kg

EBC
100.5










Boil
1.75 hours













Homebrew @ 70%
Craft @ 80%
Grist
5gal
19L
10bbl
10hl
English Pale malt
4.74
lb
2.158
kg
257.09
lb
99.33
kg
Crystal 75L
0.26
lb
0.117
kg
13.99
lb
5.41
kg
Chocolate malt
0.25
lb
0.114
kg
13.55
lb
5.24
kg
Brown malt
0.13
lb
0.059
kg
7.00
lb
2.70
kg
Black malt
0.12
lb
0.057
kg
6.78
lb
2.62
kg
Invert No1
0.90
lb
0.411
kg
48.97
lb
18.92
kg
Caramel colorant
2.13
oz
60.9
g
7.21
lb
2.79
kg

6.403

2.915

354.59803



Hops








Fuggle 5.5% 90min
0.86
oz
24.4
g
53.42
oz
1.291
kg
Fuggle 5.5% 30min
0.29
oz
8.1
g
17.81
oz
0.430
kg









Fermentation
63°F /17.2°C















Yeast
Manchester ale

1318 London Ale Yeast III









Tasting Notes:
Very dark, nearly black, with brilliant ruby highlights. Biscuits, chocolate and a good dose of licorice. Dark caramel and rich dark fruit…cherries and plums. Finishes dry but with a good dose of mouth heft to keep from being watery. Definitely a top notch mild and one that everyone should make at least once.

10 comments:

Velky Al said...

Will definitely find time at some point for doing this.

The Professor said...

Very much looking forward to brewing this! Thanks as always for great info.

Tandleman said...

Kristen. The surname is Lees. Please rearrange your apostrophe and if brewing this beer, send me some.

Martyn Cornell said...

Do you have a Lees' brown ale recipe for comparison, Ron, by any chance?

Ron Pattinson said...

Martyn, funnily enough, there's no Brown Ale in the logs. So . . .

it could be Bottling Beer. A marginally stronger version of K Mild. And 35 EBC in colour. Or Best Mild bottled.

Kristen England said...

Tandleman's,

Sorry, that should have been Lees' or is it Lees's? Even the US Supreme court can't get it right.

http://www.abanet.org/soloseznet/threads/0610/grammar.html

Martyn and Ron,

Im betting its the K ale. The Mild is just to roasty. The K, with the sugars as everyone will see, is more nearly right. I'm making it this weekend and will be able to give you a better idear.

Kristens

Anthony said...

Are you using Lyle's Golden as the invert #1?

mentaldental said...

I will make this one tomorrow.

Anthony, I will be using Invert No 1 but it can be a pain to get hold of. Golden Syrup is probably the best readily available substitute so I would use that quite happily. The flavour of number 1 is similar to the golden syrup but seems to have a more honeyish taste.

Kristen England said...

I agree with Mentaldental. No1 is more of a honeyed character whereas Lyles is more toffee. Its only 50% invert. I personally use No1 invert but have many times in the past used Lyles when in a pinch. Also remember that we aren't trying to clone a beer currently made so the difference to each person would be unseen. That being said, follow as closely as makes sense to you.

mentaldental said...

Just started drinking mine. Kristen's description is pretty good so I won't add to it, other than to say, "By 'eck, this is a lovely beer!"

Good work R & K.