Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Tetley Milds in 1878

I've been putting this off for ages, going through Tetley's Milds. They just brewed so damn many of the things. At least four. Possibly five. I'm not totally sure whether XX was a Strong Mild Ale of a Strong Ale. Six of one, roundabouts of another, I guess.

In my customary contextualisation effort, I'll be comparing the Milds of Tetley to those of London. Always a good laugh, that one. Doubtless you'll be chortling into your cornflakes as you read it. Much as I would be myself. If I chortled. And if I ate cornflakes.

Tetley's Milds covered a fair range of gravities, from 1044º to 1078º. Which just shows what a flexible concept Mild Ale was. How many current styles span 30-odd gravity points? None, clearly, because the pointy heads writing style guidelines wouldn't allow that. They like their styles caged like battery hens, unable to turn around or even stand up. Even that range was a trimming down of the situation in the first half of the nineteenth century when the upper end was 1100º plus.

But I've started to drive on the verge again. Back to the topic in hand. First let's take a look at the general characteristics of these Milds. There's one obvious difference between Tetley's Milds and the London ones: there was no equivalent in the capital of the two weakest varieties, X and X1. It's scary how the remaining three map virtually exactly to London beers.

A little background. In the first half of the 19th century London Milds went from X up to XXXX. The stronger Milds were mostly dropped and, as you can see in the table, by the 1870's XXX and XXXX had disappeared. And only Barclay Perkins of the three brewers were looking at even brewed an XX. Whitbread's XL and Truman's 40/- Ale are really X and a half. You can see that their gravities are a good bit lower than Barclay Perkins XX - about 10 gravity points.

The level of attenuation at Tetley varied quite a lot between individual batches, but was mostly in the range 68-78%. Fairly similar to in London.

Hopping. I always like looking at hopping levels. Easy bit first, the XX's. Both in terms of pounds of hops per quarter (around 14) and per barrel (around 5) they're pretty similar. The next to strongest Tetley Mild, X3, is significantly more heavily hopped than either Whitbread XL or Truman 40/-, the London beers with similar gravities. On the other hand, X2 had about 50% fewer hops than London X Ales of Whitbread and Barclay Perkins. And about the ssmae as Truman X Ale. Not much of an overall pattern there.

As for boiling, the London brewers boiled a tad longer, but not by a huge amount.

London brewers pitched 6 or 7 degrees cooler, at around 60º F, but let the temperature rise more during fermentation, 11-14º F. At Tetley the temperature never rose more than 4º F, never exceeding 70º F. Which probably explains why the fermentation period was a day or two less in London, at six or seven days.

That's it for the general specs. We'll be looking at the ingredients next time.

Tetley Milds in 1878
Date Year Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
7th Oct 1878 X 1044.3 1012.7 4.18 71.25% 5.31 0.83 2 69º 69.5º 8
4th Oct 1878 X1 1048.5 1011.1 4.95 77.14% 6.23 1.16 2 68º 69.75º 7
7th Oct 1878 X1 1048.5 1011.6 4.87 76.00% 6.27 1.23 2 69º 69.75º 9
13th Dec 1878 X1 1048.5 1019.4 3.85 60.00% 5.24 0.99 2 67º 67.75º 6
13th Dec 1878 X1 1051.2 1021.1 3.99 58.92% 5.24 1.05 2 67º 67.5º 7
7th Oct 1878 X1 1052.1 1011.1 5.42 78.72% 6.27 1.32 2 68º 69.5º 8
4th Oct 1878 X1 1052.6 1011.1 5.50 78.95% 6.23 1.26 2 69º 69.75º 8
10th Dec 1878 X2 1056.8 1018.8 5.02 66.83% 8.32 1.79 2 65º 68.5º 9
9th Jan 1878 X2 1060.4 1015.5 5.94 74.31% 6.24 1.47 2 68º 69º 8
10th Dec 1878 X2 1060.9 1018.8 5.57 69.09% 8.32 1.92 2 65º 68.5º 9
9th Oct 1878 X3 1069.3 1016.6 6.96 76.00% 11.60 3.43 2 63º 67º 10
7th Oct 1878 XX 1073.1 1023.3 6.60 68.18% 14.00 4.53 2 66.75º 69.5º 10
3rd Oct 1878 XX 1077.6 1017.7 7.92 77.14% 14.00 5.89 2 68º 69.5º 10
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archive Service document number WYL756/25/ACC1903

London Milds 1875 - 1880
Date Year Brewer Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl boil time (hours) boil time (hours) boil time (hours) Pitch temp max. fermen-tation temp length of fermen-tation (days)
16th Jul 1878 Whitbread X 1060.7 1015.8 5.94 73.97% 8.53 2.29 2.5 2 61º º 7
16th Jul 1878 Whitbread XL 1069.3 1018.3 6.74 73.60% 8.53 2.62 2.5 2 61º º 7
17th Jan 1876 Truman X Ale 1062.0 1013.9 6.38 77.68% 5.9 1.69 62º 73º
31st Mar 1875 Truman 40/- Ale 1068.1 1012.5 7.37 81.71% 7.5 2.42 60º 72º
31st Aug 1880 Barclay Perkins X 1060.7 1013.6 6.23 77.63% 10.29 2.69 1.5 2 2 60º 74º 3 + 4
14th Feb 1880 Barclay Perkins XX 1079.5 1024.1 7.33 69.69% 13.38 4.98 2 3 59º 73º 3 + 3
Whitbread brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number LMA/4453/D/01/044
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number B/THB/C/156
Barclay Perkins brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives document number ACC/2305/1/579


johnk said...

Hi Ron,

I have been patiently waiting for the grists for these milds, did you forget?

Hope you can find time to include them.

Thanks in anticipation

Ron Pattinson said...


it's scheduled for Friday.