Because I had no idea how much Mild had changed. I realised Mild had once been stronger. But not quite how strong. Finding versions over 10% ABV was a bit of a shock. The colour was the biggest surprise. Discovering all Mild had once been pale. The more I dug, the more I understood about the styles's remarkable transformations.
That's the great fun, for me. Coming across something different to what I'd expected. I still get a thrill when I uncover something new.
A while back I had a project with Pretty Things, where they brewed two versions of Barclay Perkins Mild. One from 1837, the other 1945. They had absolutely nothing in common. Demonstrating what time can do to a beer. Especially when that time contains major wars.
Exactly when, and why, Mild started getting darker remains a mystery. Frustratingly, brewing recirds only start giving a colour number after WW I. About twenty years after I think the process began. Any reason I offer can only be speculation. The cynical one being publicans needed a cheap, dark beer to dump slops into after Porter disappeared.
Mild Ale has been so many different things: pale, strong and hoppy; dark, weak and mild. It would make a great beer festival. If anyone should be in search of a theme.
|Barclay Perkins X Ale 1837 - 1945|
|Year||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl|
|Barclay Perkins brewing records held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document numbers ACC/2305/1/550, ACC/2305/1/551, ACC/2305/1/553, ACC/2305/1/579, ACC/2305/1/586, ACC/2305/1/593, ACC/2305/1/603, ACC/2305/01/606, ACC/2305/01/607, ACC/2305/01/614, ACC/2305/01/623 and ACC/2305/01/626.|
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