Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1913 Adnams XX Mild

Yes, Kristen has finally returned with his first recipe in yonks.  Welcome back.

We're celebrating his return with a series of Mild recipes for May. Kicking off with Adnams XX.

In many ways, this is a typical early 20th-century Mild Ale: pale malt, flaked maize a bit of crystal malt and lots of sugar. With the colour coming from caramel. I always have to laugh when I see homebrew Mild recipes with loads of dark malts. That's not really the way Dark Mild was brewed in the vast majority of cases.

What is unusual about this beer is it's strength. It's very low. At least compared to London Milds:

London Milds on the eve of WW I
Brewery Beer OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Whitbread X 1055.1 1015.0 5.31 72.79%
Barclay Perkins X 1051.3 1013.6 4.99 73.54%
Fullers X 1049.6 1011.1 5.09 77.65%
Truman X Ale 1056.8
Courage X 1054.6 1019.4 4.65 64.47%
Russell X 1048.1
Brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/603, LMA/4453/D/01/078, B/THB/C/190, ACC/2305/08/247 and B/THB/RUS/8.

Though I must remark that London beers were well-known for being generally stronger than those brewed elsewhere. They reason was that they were brewing on a larger scale than most provincial breweries. Especially litttle country breweries like Adnams.

Surprisingly, this wasn't even Adnam's entry-level Mild. There was an X Mild at just 1033º. So pretty much like a modern Mild. To put this into context, average gravity was 1052.6 in 1913*. The beers look more like 1930's Mild and Best Mild in terms of gravity.

* Statistical Handbook of the British Beer & Pub Association 2005, p. 7.

That's me done, over to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Notes: We’ve done a ton of milds but this one is probably the most simple and least ‘complex’ of all of them. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I mean that its just pretty damn straight forward. Really no hops. No dark malts. Caramel. Something to be drank and not thought about…which come to think of it, there aren’t enough of those types of beers around anymore.

Malt: The malt was actually Indian, so use whatever you’d like. Really. Since the vast majority of the flavor comes from it, you might as well choose your favorite. Or actually, why not try something new or different. I’d steer clear from most pilsy type malts though. In sugar is actually glucose so you can use invert no1 or even white sugar. If you want to fancy this up, use something darker. Would bring more fun to the party for sure. 

Hops: Not a hop centric beer. Empty out that freezer. Mix N match. Just make sure they are decent and not old and cheesy.  Just get our IBUs and be done.

Yeast: London III. Yeah, I’m being lazy (again). What do you want from me? This yeast is really good for milds so use it for milds! Will dry this out but leave a nice little fruity and malt character.

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.


Anonymous said...

You're right about those homebrew mild recipes. I note that CAMRA brewing books, attempting to emulate commercial beers, substitute as much as 5% black malt for caramel. the result tastes like I'd imagine those last, low gravity porters of the 1930's. not like mild of living memory, anyway.

Jeffrey Cierniak said...

Is that cask hopping rate pretty standard? I've been using polypins recently and it's hard to find information on dry hopping amounts for a cask. So 1-4 grams per gallon (US)? Thanks for all the great recipes and info!

Ron Pattinson said...


about the minimum level of dry hopping was 2oz per imperial barrel, or 1.5 gm per US gallon. Some stronger beers had as much as 1 lb per imperial barrel, or 11 gm per US gallon.