Watney – now there’s a name to conjure with. The bogeyman of brewing in the 1970’s. This wasn’t brewed in their own Mortlake brewery but at Ushers of Trowbridge in the West Country. Watney owned the brewery and clearly made them brew some of their own lovely brands.
If I remember correctly, Ushers was one of the few Watney plants that never completely got rid of cask. Their beers were OK, if nothing particularly special. When Watney started to unravel, Ushers regained its independence with its own estate of tied houses. This arrangement only lasted around a decade, when the brewery was closed and it continued as a pure pub company. The brewing equipment ended up in North Korea.
Returning to the beer, XX belongs to the wateriest class of Milds, whose origins can be traced back to the Government Ale of WW I. After war’s end, a new, very low-gravity type of Mild called 4d Ale continued to be brewed. At a time when standard Mild was 1035 – 1043º, 4d Ale was usually under 1030º. When WW II forced down gravities of standard Mild to a similar level, 4d Ale mostly disappeared.
Some brewers, particularly in the West Country, continued to brew their Mild at very low gravities, even after most had bounced back to the low 1030’s. It’s no coincidence that the gravity is 1028º. There was no point dropping below 1027º as no matter how low the gravity, the minimum duty chargeable was as if a beer were 1027º.
There’s nothing too horrible about the grist: mostly mild ale malt with a bit of crystal and flaked maize, plus a bit of sugar. As with Watney’s Brown Ale, it’s the other shit thrown in that’s the problem. This was added to the gyles (332 barrels) to make 383 barrels:
BB 18 barrels
Bottoms 18 barrels
RB 11 barrels
finings 4 barrels
A bit better than the Brown Ale – at least this is only 15% crap.
I wouldn’t recommend trying to recreate that gyling. I can’t imagine the leftover beer added anything positive to the finished product.
That’s me done. Over to . . . . me . . . .
|1959 Watneys XX Mild|
|MA malt||4.75 lb||79.76%|
|crystal malt 40 L||0.25 lb||4.20%|
|flaked maize||0.33 lb||5.54%|
|roast barley||0.25 lb||4.20%|
|No. 2 invert||0.25 lb||4.20%|
|caramel||0.125 lb||2.10%||5.96 lb|
|Fuggles 45 min||1.00 oz|
|Mash at||152º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||45 minutes|
|pitching temp||60º F|
|Yeast||WLP023 Burton Ale|