Of all the UK beers styles, it’s Mild that has undergone the biggest transformations over the last 200 years. A Georgian drinker wouldn’t recognise a modern iteration of the style: it’s just changed too much.
Early 19th-century Milds, even the weakest ones, were powerful beers, clocking in at over 6% ABV. And were often hopped at what to modern eyes looks like an insane level. The term Mild, despite what many today might believe, had nothing to do with strength of the level of hopping. It merely indicated that it was a beer sold young, usually no more than a couple of weeks after brewing.
In the final decades of the 19th century, the big London brewers had mostly trimmed down their range to a single Mild, known as X Ale. These had an OG of around 1060º. Truman, however, had retained a slightly stronger, one, too. Originally it fitted in between X Ale and XX Ale, but when XX was dropped in the 1870s, it became Truman’s strongest Mild.
The name refers to the wholesale price. In a system similar to that used in Scotland. Except in this case it referred to the price of a 36-gallon barrel, not a 54-gallon hogshead, as in Scotland.
The recipe is typically simple, just base malt and sugar. Rather a lot of sugar, in this case. Which doubles helped it a achieve a healthy degree of attenuation. The high percentage of foreign hops was very common at this point. In this case Cluster from the US and Belgian hops from Poperinge.
|1880 Truman 40/- Ale|
|mild malt||9.25 lb||71.84%|
|cane sugar||3.625 lb||28.16%|
|Cluster 90 mins||3.25 oz|
|Poperinge 90 mins||0.75 oz|
|Goldings 30 mins||4.00 oz|
|Mash at||150º F|
|Sparge at||170º F|
|Boil time||90 minutes|
|pitching temp||60º F|
|Yeast||Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale|
This is one of the dozens of recipes in my book Mild! plus. Which is avaiable in both paperback:
and hardback formats: