Saturday, 13 March 2021

Let's Brew - 1878 Adnams XX

A milestone today. I laid out the skeleton for  the book after "Blitzkrieg!". And wrote the first recipe for it. I'm just about done with my WW II recipes and totally sick of them, myself. I'm guessing you are, too. Hence moving back several decades.

The Adnams records at this date weren’t exactly the most detailed. There’s a stack of information missing. Just a warning that there’s a fair amount of informed guesswork in this recipe. I have some more detailed Adnams records from 1890 and I’ve used that to inform this recipe.

There’s not too much guesswork in the recipe. Mostly because there’s so little to it. Base malt and sugar is all the grist amounts to. A bit vague on the latter, which is literally just described as “sugar”.

I’m struggling for much more to say. OK, the strength. Adnams XX is notably weaker than a London equivalent. Barclay Perkins XX, for example, had an OG of 1078º in 1880.  That’s quite a difference, but fits with the general trend of London beers being stronger than those brewed elsewhere in England

Two types of hops were used. The handwriting is pretty bad, leaving me unable to say for certain what they were. One could be Kent. The other one looks like “cedf”. No idea what that could be, other than “calif” written really weirdly.

1878 Adnams XX
mild malt 7.00 lb 70.00%
No. 2 invert sugar 3.00 lb 30.00%
Goldings 105 mins 2.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.50 oz
OG 1054
FG 1015
ABV 5.16
Apparent attenuation 72.22%
IBU 62
SRM 11
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 172º F
Boil time 105 minutes
pitching temp 64º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold


Michael Foster said...

30% really seems like an awful lot, making me wonder if this would have tasted like a Belgian golden ale more than what I normally associate with a modern English pale ale.

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

it is a lot. But a lot depends on exactly what type of sugar it was. Unfortunately, I could only guess.

There were some very pale beers in the 19th century, even Mild Ales like this.

Anonymous said...

From a home brewer's perspective, helpful additional things to say might be information about priming and carbonation, time in the fermenter and aging (short or long), presence of Brett, possubility of oak, maybe water characteristics.

A lot I'm sure is guesswork. I think some of this was mentioned in the home brewer's guide you wrote, but if there is more to flesh out it's always helpful.

Ron Pattinson said...


as a Mild Ale, XX would have been sold young, just a couple of weeks after racking. No time for Brettanomyces to have any impact. Though it was probably present in the beer. Same with the oak, too short a time. Also they deliberately made barrels from oak which gave little or no flavour.