Thursday, 16 January 2014

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1945 Tetley's Mild

Isn't this exciting? I've probably drunk more of this beer than any other. The seven years I lived in Leeds I drank little else. And why should I have. It was a cracking beer. A proper drinking beer, as opposed to a staring at and sipping beer.

This earlier version looks very similar to the one I drank in the 1970's, except for one aspect: the degree of attenuation. It's very high in the 1945 example. The later version, at 1032 and 3.2% ABV, would have been about 75% apparent attenuation.

It's hard to say without having tasted it, but that aside, it doesn't look as if the beer changed much in the 30 years between 1945 and 1975. I know that all the years I drank it, there was no change in its character. Yet it was a far more recent development than I had imagined. Only being introduced during WW II, in 1941.

In fact, the whole of Tetley's beer range changed that year. These were the beers they had brewed:

Tetley's beers in 1939
Beer Style OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation lbs hops/ qtr hops lb/brl
F Mild  1034.9 1011.6 3.08 66.67% 3.76 0.51
X1 Mild  1042.9 1011.4 4.18 73.55% 4.23 0.71
X1 Pale Mild  1042.9 1013.9 3.85 67.74% 4.23 0.71
K Pale Ale 1047.9 1011.6 4.80 75.72% 4.77 0.88
X2 Mild  1055.4 1011.9 5.75 78.50% 4.72 1.08
XXX Strong Ale 1090.9 1030.2 8.03 66.77% 4.72 1.76
Tetley brewing record held at the West Yorkshire Archives document number WYL756/ACC3349/557.

They were replaced by just 3 beers:

B - Bitter
M - Mild
LM - Light Mild

As you can see, Tetley had been brewing some pretty strong Milds before WW II. And had been doing for a long while. Both X1 and X2 had been brewed since at least 1858. It's one of the most dramatic changes I've seen in a brewer's range of products.

The immediate post-war years saw the nadir of British beer gravities. Most breweries raised their gravities when the economic situation improved in the 1950's. But Tetley didn't do that with their Mild. It remained at about 1032 from its introduction until, well, today, I guess. That's very unusual.

I've nothing more to say, so over to Kristen . . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Notes: Yeah…Tetley’s mild. One of my very favorite ‘drink-theer-piss-outta-eers’. You want to know what invert No2 tastes like, make this. You want to test your metal as a brewer, make this. You want to make a beer that can be done in two weeks, make this. You want me to stop writing, ma…err…yeah…

Malt: The original had a blend of 4 pale malts of about 30%, 18%, 12% and 8%. Make your own pale malt blend using those if you get a chance. Why bloody not!? Or be a punter and use a single malt. If I was a punter, and I am, I’d go with something that is very nice but not horribly, in a good may, too malty. If we are going English, lets give the old Pipkin a try. No Pipkin, Halcyon. No Halcyon, we go farther north for some Golden Promise. Lots of Invert and Caramel which we’ve discussed previously.
Invert No2.
If you are going to leave out the caramel, fine, just don’t get all pissy with me….

Hops: Hops play a back note here. Any will do. I like Fuggle. One or two additions no more than 30min before KO.
Yeast: Any really gang. This bastard is dry as a bone so pick your favorite one that you know how to use. Over pitch. Over oxygenate. Hope and pry she dries out for you.

Sundries: Nothing specific. Make it dry. Use the right sugar. Don’t forget the bloody caramel. 

Cask: Standard procedure:

1) let the beer ferment until finished and then give it another day or so. For me right around 5-7 days.
2) Rack the beer to your vessel of choice (firkin, polypin, cornie, whatever).
3) Add primings at ~3.5g/L
4) Add prepared isinglass at 1ml/L
5) ONLY add dry hops at 0.25g/l – 1g/L.
6) Bung it up and roll it around to mix. Condition at 55F or so for 4-5 days and its ready to go. Spile/vent. Tap. Settle. Serve at 55F.


Velky Al said...

Now that looks like a contender to be the first beer to go into my new pin! Perhaps a party is in order...

Mike Austin said...

Thanks for this. Is the flaked barley a wartime hangover, do you think?
Do you have any idea as to the strength of Chesters mild, as brewed in Ardwick before the Whitbread takeover? Local legend says that it was lethally strong, but I can't see it.
Talking of Whitbread, wasn't Trophy just an overall name for the bitters of companies they had taken over - Fremlins from Faversham, Wethereds from Marlow, etc.
Love the book!

Ron Pattinson said...


yes, the flaked barley would be a hangover from the war.

I've unfortunately no analyses of Chesters Mild. I can't imagine that it was really very srtong. I don't think I've found a single Mild from the 1950's and 1960's that was over 1040.

Yes, Trophy was just the rebadged Ordinary Bitter of the brewery.

Dan Klingman said...

Why the 3 hour boil, to develop more color? If you're adding caramel anyway, seems a bit redundant.

Lady Luck Brewing said...

Do you think they were using the Fullers yeast or the Yorkshire yeast?

I have to figure out an easy way of finding the srm of my colorant and how much to add to adjust to proper color.

Anonymous said...

Ron, another possible reason for falling ABV of British beer during and post WWI (other than government regulations and taxation) - women drinkers.

Lady Luck Brewing said...

Wow. That mash temp is the lowest I've seen on any of these recipes so far.

Lady Luck Brewing said...

Once I started messing with the caramel, I definitely get a taste out of it and see how much it would bring to a beer. In this recipe, my grains put me at 5.8 srm, to get to 38 I would need 195 grams of caramel. That amount of caramel would leave a significant taste profile and it sure would be a pretty color.

I'm using Blue Mountain Burnt Sugar as caramel and I'm guessing it's 900 srm. With the amount in some of these beers, I'll have to make a big batch of it to stock up.

Mike Austin said...

I make it 35g of brupaks caramel, for a 20l batch, using "Beer Engine"
I agree that caramel is "right" for this type of beer, but that amount seems overwhelming!
good luck..

Bro-in-law said...

The Blue Mtn. Burnt sugar is not beer-stable and will precipitate out in the kettle. I know this from experience ;). mix some in a glass w/ a light-colored beer and leave it to sit for a few hours and you'll see what I mean. I've had success heating corn syrup with 10% ammonia.

Rob said...

Thanks again for these fascinating recipes and all the work you do gents. I have just brewed the very interesting Courage 1923 stout and couldn't get the my numbers right re bitterness. (although it still seems to be turning out very tasty). I have just realised that the hop quantities for 23L have not been scaled up and are the same as the 5 gallon recipe. I note this is the same for this recipe and at least a few others. Thought some of you metric brewers might benefit from this. Now off to keg that stout before the 39C/102F heat sets in…

Nicholas Elliot said...

HI Kristen, when do you add the invert sugar to the boil? I've read various things that seem to point to adding it around 20 mins before the end of the boil, but perhaps it should be earlier - especially considering the long boil time here (it helps develop more flavours)?

Lady Luck Brewing said...

I ran a test with Blue Mtn. Burnt sugar additions post fermentation. The resulting solution is insoluble.

mentaldental said...

Finally got round to making this one. Bloody hell, it actually tastes like a proper mild from my youth. Ah....the nostalgia. Cracking recipe.

I agree that 35g of Brupaks mild would be about right for the colour. I used 27g which wasn't enough.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kristen,

I would like to ask you the following.
I am a novice homebrewer and would like to brew the Tetley`s - 1945 - Mild.

You only use for mashing 1,85 Liter water per kg of malt, isn`t that a very low quantity?
And what about the size of sparge water to match the OG?
Here in Austria we often use about 4 Liters for mashing and 3 Liters for sparging.

I have never seen a recipe with such a low mash temperature ( 61,1 °C) - is there a reason for that?

The homebrew yield fo about 70% - is it measured from the whole grain used?

Thanks for your help.


mycoleptodiscus said...

Made my own #2 Invert. Bought Brewer's Caramel from across the pond. I was very surprised how much the 40 mL of Caramel added to the body as this beer was thin, thin, thin before it. The caramel added a bit of a burnt note to it which I am not partial to. Time will tell. 40mL of Brupaks caramel hit the color.