Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1958 Lees Best Mild

This is strange. It's Wednesday and here's a Let's Brew Wednesday post. I'll try not to let it happen again.

The 1950's. What an exotic decade. Teddy boys, CND and Best Mild. I'd happily spend a fortnight there.Just looking at the bare bones of Lees beers - OG, FG, ABV - nothing much changed in the 1950's. But take a close look at the ingredients they were using and you'll see a dramatic transformation. I'm not sure of the exact date when it happened. Late 1955 or early 1956. Out go all the dark malts, in comes a lorryload of sugars.

Getting hold of long runs of brewing records is dead useful. For Lees, I've a complete set for the years 1930 to 1963. They reveal the erratic nature of change. Long periods where the beers remain identical, then sudden recipe changes. It's a fascinating process. Where often an external event - a rise in beer duty, wartime rationing of ingredients, technological advances -prompts the change. Maybe one day I'll write my thesis on the topic.

Anyway, back to the specific beer in question: Lees Best Mild. In the late 1950's Lees were brewing two Milds. One, with the inspired name of Mild, had been kicking around for quite a while. It appears, under its older name of K, in the earliest Lees log I've seen, from 1884. Its strength was gradually whittled away by the two world wars and the gravity was down to 1028º in 1948. Which is the year Best Mild was introduced, with a gravity of 1032º. Not a great difference in gravity. But a big differnce in the recipe and the colour. Mild was 35 EBC, Best Mild 100.

During the 1950's the gravities edged up a little, settling down at 1032º for Mild and 1035º for Best Mild. A minimal difference in strength, but still pretty different in terms of recipe and colour. Best Mild was dark and must have been pretty sweet, with all the lactose and other sugars. The oats are a nice touch. I wonder what they brought to the party?

One general point about Lees beers. They were all pretty different from each other. The London brewers tended to brew different-strength versions of the same recipe. Lees didn't. Their two Milds are a good example of this. As are their Bitter and strong bottled Pale Ale, Export. The recipes are very different. Just thought you might like to know that.



I think that's me done. Time for Kristen and his recipe . . . .




JW Lees - 1958 - Best Mild
General info: Best Mild, the later years. The previous version we have seen has a ton of tasty dark malts and just a little bit of sugar. Here, 6 years post-hence, things have changed tremendously. The pale malt is split between 3 different types of English malt, a touch of American 6-row making this beer only 45% malt! SUGAR! At 34% this is the highest I've seen. 5 different types including invert, treacle, lactose and cane sugar. All giving a good enough body to finish definitely higher than the former version. Leave out the caramel and its still 80 EBC!
Beer Specifics

Recipe by percentages
Gravity (OG)
1.039

45% English 2 Row
6% treacle
Gravity (FG)
1.012

11.2% American 6 Row
3% lactose
ABV
3.60%

4.5% Flaked Maize
3% cane sugar
Apparent attenuation
69.37%

5.8% Flaked Oats
0.5% caramel colorant
Real attenuation
56.83%

21% Invert no1
0%
IBU
24.2

Mash
90min@149°F
0.94qt/lb

SRM
51


90min@65°C
1.96L/kg

EBC
100.5










Boil
1.75 hours













Homebrew @ 70%
Craft @ 80%
Grist
5gal
19L
10bbl
10hl
English 2 Row
3.21
lb
1.461
kg
174.12
lb
67.27
kg
American 6 Row
0.80
lb
0.365
kg
43.53
lb
16.82
kg
Flaked Maize
0.32
lb
0.146
kg
17.41
lb
6.73
kg
Flaked Oats
0.41
lb
0.188
kg
22.39
lb
8.65
kg
Invert no1
1.50
lb
0.682
kg
81.26
lb
31.39
kg
treacle
0.43
lb
0.195
kg
23.22
lb
8.97
kg
lactose
0.21
lb
0.097
kg
11.61
lb
4.48
kg
cane sugar
0.21
lb
0.097
kg
11.61
lb
4.48
kg
caramel colorant
0.04
lb
0.017
kg
2.07
lb
0.80
kg









Hops








Fuggle 5.5% 90min
0.74
oz
20.8
g
45.59
oz
1.101
kg
Fuggle 5.5% 30min
0.35
oz
9.9
g
21.71
oz
0.524
kg









Fermentation
63°F /17.2°C















Yeast
Manchester ale

1318 London Ale Yeast III   -









Tasting Notes: No biscuits, no chocolate, no really malt of any sort. Nearly all dark fruits and that deep,  mouth coating feeling you get from proper milk stouts. Much more reminiscent of Harvey's Nut Brown that anything. Not as sweet but you can dose it up on the back end if need be.

3 comments:

Kristen England said...

Another interesting point to this beer is that the English pale malt was broken into 3 separate malts of about 75% for the first two and 25% the last. All same quality, just from different maltsters.

The other neat thing about this beer is the freshness of the hops. Where most milds used older hops the Best Mild from Lees seems to, more or less, exclusively use new hops and at a pretty good level.

Korev said...

Off topic - Hi Kristen, Please could you advise which of the X ale recipes was served at this years NHC from this site as I would like to have a crack at recreating it Cheers Peter PS will you be posing your NHC presentation anytime soon?

Kristen England said...

It was the Fullers 1935 OBE, BO, X ale that I served.