I drank a fair bit of Ansell's Mild, back in the 1970's. Mostly when we went to visit my Mum's family in Birmingham. Allied were a funny bunch. In the Midlands and North (Tetley and Ansells) their beers were pretty decent. In Yorkshire most of their pubs sold cask Bitter and Mild.
In Birmingham it was a different matter. It was common to find handpulled Mild and keg Bitter in Ansell's pubs. Which always seemed an odd combination, until you realsied that Mild was still wildly popular in Brum.
The city was a virtual duopoly, with almost all the pubs tied to either Ansell's or Mitchell and Butler. I was never that keen on M & B's beers. Their Mild was bland and their Bitter, Brew XI was sweet and dull. So Ansell's Mild was my preferred drink, when in Birmingham. Obviously, once you went west from the city, the choice dramatically improved. Out in the Black Country with Batham's, Simpkiss and Holden, the Milds were good. Very good. But I digress.
On with Ansell's beers. I'll start with the Mild, for obvious reasons. I'm a bit surprised by the gravity of the 1951 and 1960 examples. They're both above the average strength of all beer for those dates, and 3 or 4 degrees above typical Mild gravities.
As you can see, in the 1970's and 1980's there wasn't a big difference between their Bitter and Mild gravities. Just 1.5º. Their bottled Pale Ale had a decent gravity in the 1950's, in the mid 1040's.
The Stouts are possibly the most revealing beers. Why? because they show that English Stout didn't all turn sweet in the 20th century. The lowest level of attenuation is 68%. Even the 1930's Milk Stouts, which you might expect to be sweet, asre over 70% attenuation. Note also the high gravity. That wasn't unusual before WW II. It's only after the war Milk Stout became a punily weak.
Those 1950's Brown Ales look very much like bottled Mild Ales. Or, at most, tweaked versions of Mild Ale. It would have been nice to have some pre-war examples for comparison purposes.
I'd expected to find more analyses from Ansell in the Whitbread Gravity Book. Considering the size and importance of the brewery, there are rather few. But Whitbread never were that strong in the West Midlands. Maybe that explains it. I've noticed there are lots of analyses of breweries they later took over.
|Ansell beers 1931 - 1986|
|1952||Nut Brown Ale||Brown Ale||8d||half||bottled||0.05||1005.8||1036.2||2 + 40||4.0||83.98%|
|1955||Nut Brown||Brown Ale||9.5d||half||bottled||0.05||1004.3||1036||35||4.1||88.06%|
|1959||Bruno Sweet Brown Ale||Brown Ale||11.5d||half||bottled||0.04||1013.6||1034.4||90||2.7||60.47%|
|1960||Triple Gold Light Ale||Light Ale||11d||half||bottled||0.02||1008.1||1039.1||24||3.9||79.28%|
|1949||Mild Ale||Mild||1/1d||pint||draught||0.05||1007.4||1035.4||2.5 + 40||3.6||79.10%|
|1950||Mild Ale||Mild||1/1d||pint||draught||0.04||1005.2||1034.8||40 + 2||3.9||85.06%|
|1961||King Pin Mild||Mild||19d||pint||draught||0.04||1006.7||1037.6||45||3.9||82.18%|
|1962||King Pin Mild||Mild||22d||pint||draught||0.04||1007.4||1035.9||50||3.6||79.39%|
|1939||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||pint||draught||0.07||1007.5||1046.4||17.5||5.1||83.84%|
|1952||Spotlight||Pale Ale||10d||half||bottled||0.07||1006.7||1038.3||19 B||4.1||82.51%|
|1955||Special Pale Ale||Pale Ale||1/1.5d||half||bottled||0.05||1009||1046.3||18||4.9||80.56%|
|1959||Pale Ale||Pale Ale||13.5d||half||bottled||0.03||1009.6||1046.1||18||4.6||79.18%|
|1961||King Pin Bitter||Pale Ale||23d||pint||draught||0.05||1004.4||1044.8||17||5.1||90.18%|
|1966||Pioneer Bitter||Pale Ale||28d||pint||bottled||0.04||1006.2||1036.6||23||3.8||83.06%|
|1979||Aston Ale||Pale Ale||pint||draught||1045|
|1944||Strong Stout||Stout||1/7d||pint||bottled||0.11||1015.5||1053.7||1 + ?||5.0||71.14%|
|1953||New Forest Stout||Stout||1/2d||half||bottled||0.05||1015||1049.3||1 R + 8 B||4.4||69.57%|
|1954||New Best Stout||Stout||1/2d||half||bottled||0.05||1015.7||1049.7||1 + 9||4.4||68.41%|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001|
|Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002|
|Daily Mirror July 10th 1972, page 15|
|Good Beer Guide 1978, 1980, 1982 and 1987.|