Around 1950 Shepherd Neame added two new Bitters, SXX and PA, with higher gravities than their existing Pale Ales BA and BB, at the same time dropping the weakest of their old range, AK. BA, the strongest of the old set, had an OG of just 1034º.
It was a pattern followed by many breweries. With the gravities of their pre-war flagship Pale Ales seriously eroded, they took the opportunity provided by a loosening of restrictions to launch something stronger. It must have been a joy for drinkers who had spent a decade having to put up with ever weaker beer sold at an ever higher price.
SXX was the stronger of the two new Bitters and, at 4% ABV, had a decent amount of oomph. Of course, all of the Bitters were parti-gyled together in various combinations. That’s just the way everyone brewed back then. The technique really was a key feature of British brewing in the 19th and 20th centuries. And it’s still practised by many older breweries. Including Shepherd Neame, I believe.
It’s another very simple recipe. All pale malt, except for a touch of malt extract. The latter was quite popular in the 1950’s. Not sure what its function was. In this case it was diastatic malt extract, which leads me to believe that its function is to aid the mashing process. Perhaps it was to compensate for the loss of malt made from Californian barley.
The hops were all their own. No idea what varieties, but Fuggles and Goldings seem a good bet. Note that at two hours the boil is quite long. 90 minutes was more typical by this period.
|1956 Shepherd Neame SXX|
|pale malt||9.00 lb||97.93%|
|malt extract||0.19 lb||2.07%|
|Fuggles 120 mins||0.75 oz|
|Goldings 60 mins||0.75 oz|
|Goldings 30 mins||0.75 oz|
|Goldings dry hops||0.25 oz|
|Mash at||152º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||120 minutes|
|pitching temp||61.5º F|
|Yeast||a Southern English Ale yeast|