Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday – 1950 Lees Best Mild

I suppose I should do Lees Best Mild to go with their Bitter. Then you’ll be able to recreate that 1950 Manchester pub experience more completely.

Lees had an interesting range in 1950: Bitter, Mild, Best Mild, Stout and “C” Ale. I was particularly pleased in finding the last one. I’d seen references to “C” Ale from several breweries in the Manchester area, but had no idea what sort of beer it was.

Lees Best Mild has a slightly more complicated recipe than their Bitter. There’s a little crystal malt, for starters. And some glucose. As well as a pretty tiny amount of black. Even so, there’s nothing like enough dark malt to get the finished colour of the beer. You’ll need to add caramel to hit the number.

I’ve simplified the sugar again. The original included a couple of types of proprietary sugar.

This is quite a strong beer for a Mild, even a Best Mild at this date. Some brewers had Mild at 1027º and Best Mild at 1032º. This was about as strong as Mild got in 1950.

I can’t think of anything else to say. Except: here’s the recipe.

1950 Lees Best Mild
pale malt 6.50 lb 81.81%
black malt 0.07 lb 0.88%
crystal malt 60 L 0.25 lb 3.15%
enzymic malt 0.125 lb 1.57%
glucose 0.25 lb 3.15%
No. 3 Invert 0.75 lb 9.44%
Fuggles 90 min 1.00 oz
Goldings 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.125 oz
OG 1035
FG 1008
ABV 3.57
Apparent attenuation 77.14%
IBU 28
SRM 25
Mash at 149º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)


From Inside the Maelstrom said...

It's interesting how different this recipe is from the 1952 Lees Best Mild (a favorite of mine - linked below) Were the recipes really that different? Or do author's interpretations play into it too? Seems like a lot of change over two years.

Ron Pattinson said...


the recipes really are that different. The 1952 version is an unusual Dark Mild in that it contains plenty of dark malt. This recipe is more typical of the period.

From Inside the Maelstrom said...

Thank you. I hadn't realized that the 52 was an oddball. I had taken it as being representative.

Andy said...

Enzymatic malt is a new one on me. Can it be subbed for a touch more pale ale malt or is it something more distinctive?

J. Karanka said...

1/8oz dry hop? Is that worth it?

Btw, were many milds still dry hopped by 1950?

Ron Pattinson said...


you can just throw in more pale malt. Not sure if enzymic malt is still made.

Ron Pattinson said...

J. Karanka,

it's still hops. Ordinary Bitter only got about double that amount.

No idea how many Milds were dry hopped because it mostly isn't recorded in brewing logs.

Dan said...

When I plug this recipe into Beersmith, I have to set the final batch volume to six gallons before these exact masses of grains and sugars yield the target OG - and at that point, the final color of the beer is 8 SRM rather than the 25 SRM from the recipe.

That's assuming black malt at 500 SRM, invert No. 3 at 50 SRM and pale malt at 3 SRM.

Is the recipe missing caramel?

Or am I missing something?

Dan said...

My bad, Ron. It says right in the blog entry that I need to add caramel. Sorry, was fixated on the table.

Ron Pattinson said...


it does say in the text:

"there’s nothing like enough dark malt to get the finished colour of the beer. You’ll need to add caramel to hit the number."