Wondering why I go no earlier than 1836? It's because that's the year Whitbread started brewing Ale. Before that, they'd been a 100% Porter brewery. All the big London Porter brewers seem to have taken up Ale brewing in the 1830's. It's thought that it was in response to the new category of pub, called beer houses, which weren't allowed to sell spirits. The demand for Ale grew as a result of their creation and the Porter brewers didn't want to miss out.
To modern eyes, these look a pretty off set of Milds. In fact the only one that even vaguely resembles a modern Mild is the Table Beer. That's what they gave to children. Whitbread's weakest proper Mild, X Ale, was around 6% ABV and had a gravity well over 1070º. The top of the range XXXX Ale was a real monster, weighing in at over 1100º and around 10% ABV. All would count as strong today. Even for Americans.
There's a curious phenomenon here. One I've spotted before amongst Scottish beers. There's very little difference in the FG of X Ale and XXXX Ale. Which means, perversely, that the degree of attenuation increases as the gravity of the beer increases. You'd expect it to be the other way around. There's no way that can be accidental. It looks to me as if they were aiming for a finished beer with a good deal of body. An FG in the 1030's gave them that, so that's what they aimed for.
The hopping is, as you'd expect for the early 19th century, pretty robust, ranging from 2 lbs per barrel for X Ale, to 4 to 5 lbs for XXXX Ale. With the high terminal gravities, you'd need a good dose of hops to balance out all the malty sweetness.
I would have listed the grists, but as easy for me to tell you: all 100% pale malt. Nice and simple, like all beers of the period.
Next we'll be looking at Whitbread's Stock Ales.
|Whitbread Mild Ales in the 1830's|
|Year||Beer||Style||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||boil time (hours)||Pitch temp||max. fermentation temp||length of fermentation (days)|
|1836||X||Mild||1077.0||1029.4||6.30||61.87%||6.55||2.33||2||2||3||63.5º||74.5º||4 + 2|
|1837||X||Mild||1075.9||1031.6||5.86||58.39%||7.07||2.35||2||2||?||63º||73º||5 + 1|
|1838||X||Mild||1077.8||1033.2||5.90||57.30%||7.27||2.51||2||2||3.17||64º||74.5º||5 + 2|
|1839||X||Mild||1078.7||1032.7||6.08||58.45%||6.02||2.03||2.17||2||3||64º||72º||4 + 3|
|1838||XL||Mild||1081.7||6.30||2.25||1.67||2||3||64º||74.5º||4 + 3|
|1839||XL||Mild||1082.3||1031.6||6.71||61.62%||6.02||2.13||2.17||2||3||63º||74º||4 + 3|
|1837||XX||Mild||1091.4||1035.5||7.40||61.21%||6.05||2.35||2||2||3||59º||74º||6 + 2|
|1838||XX||Mild||1091.7||1034.6||7.55||62.24%||7.33||2.83||2||2||3||61º||72.5º||5 + 1|
|1839||XX||Mild||1091.1||1034.3||7.51||62.31%||6.09||2.40||2||2||3||60º||75.5º||4 + 3|
|1836||XXX||Mild||1102.8||1036.0||8.83||64.96%||6.09||2.80||2||2||3.5||62.5º||74.5º||5 + 4|
|1837||XXX||Mild||1102.2||1035.5||8.83||65.31%||7.07||3.16||2||2||?||61º||73.5º||5 + 1|
|1838||XXX||Mild||1101.9||1041.0||8.06||59.78%||6.76||3.08||2||2||3||60º||81º||4 + 2|
|1839||XXX||Mild||1102.2||1036.0||8.76||64.77%||6.02||2.62||1.67||2||3||60º||76º||5 + 2|
|1836||XXXX||Mild||1114.7||1039.3||9.97||65.70%||7.00||3.64||2.17||2||2.5||60º||73º||7 + 1|
|1837||XXXX||Mild||1114.1||1037.4||10.15||67.23%||7.31||3.67||2||2||2.5||60º||72º||4 + 2|
|1839||XXXX||Mild||1111.4||1042.9||9.05||61.44%||6.02||2.88||2.17||2||3||60º||71º||8 + 2|
|Whitbread brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers LMA/4453/D/01/001, LMA/4453/D/01/002 and LMA/4453/D/01/003 .|