Friday, 27 May 2016

Extra Strong Mild Ale

Really strong Milds weren’t killed off by WW I. Quite. Almost, but not quite.

As this advertisement from the 1920’s demonstrates:

we brew an old-fashioned type of Extra Strong Mild Ale.

A revelation to people who have not previously tried Ale of this class; it is far removed from ordinary beer and stout, and possesses the qualities of a fine old wine.

Try a “Nip" “SAMSON” Bottle of ALE, 5.5d, At Hotels supplied by The North-Eastern Breweries, Limited.”
Hartlepool Northern Daily Mail - Friday 12 February 1926, page 7.

A price of 5.5d for a nip (third of a pint) bottle implies an OG of around 1080º. Unless Vaux were thieving bastards. Which is incredibly strong for a post-WW I Mild. Low-1050’s is the highest other gravity I’ve seen for a Mild in this period.

Hang on a minute. I remember Vaux Samson. I’m pretty sure I’ve drunk it. But it wasn’t a strong Mild. It wasn’t a Mild at all, but a Best Bitter. Clearly at some point Vaux recycled the name and used it for a totally different type of beer.

Vaux Samson 1964 - 1982
Year Beer Style Price per pint OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1964 Samson Pale Ale 20d 1043.1 1011.1 4.00 74.25%
1967 Samson Pale Ale 24d 1035.7 1007.1 3.58 80.11%
1967 Samson Pale Ale 24d 1035.7 1006.8 3.61 80.95%
1967 Samson Pale Ale 24d 1040.5 1008.1 4.05 80.00%
1972 Sampson Pale Ale 13p 1041.2 1011.1 3.90 73.06%
1977 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1979 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1981 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1982 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1983 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1986 Samson Pale Ale 1042.3
1989 Samson Pale Ale 1041
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Good Beer Guide 1978, 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1987, 1990
Daily Mirror July 10th 1972, page 15

It wasn’t even consistently a Best Bitter, being relegated to Ordinary Bitter for part of 1967.


Jeremy Drew said...

I remember a television advert for it in the 1980s featuring a barmaid called Delilah being serenaded by a customer singing as Tom Jones 'Make it Samson, Delilah!'.

Lady Luck Brewing said...

Was the gravity the same through the 1920's? Any peek into the malt grist?

Tim said...

What qualities do you think they might have been trying to convey in that ad by saying it had the qualities of a fine old wine?

Alcohol? Mellow flavors? Stillness?

Ron Pattinson said...

Ludy Luck,

sadly no earlier gravities for Samson.

Ron Pattinson said...


usually alcohol and a little acidity, I think. Possibly some oxidation, too.