Wednesday, 17 November 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1880 Whitbread XX xpt

In the 20th-century, I’m pretty sure what style all the beers that I find in brewing records are. While some from the end of the preceding century can be a mystery. Here’s another one of those.

When I see a London beer called XX, my immediate thought is: Mild Ale. On closer examination, XX xpt doesn’t really fit the profile for that style. Yes, Mild Ales of this period could be pretty hoppy. The rate in this case, however – 15 lbs per quarter (336 lbs) – is at the level of Stock Pale Ale or Stock Ale.

The “xpt” – presumably standing for “export” is a clue to the heavy hopping. This weas a beer intended for export. The only question is: what was it sold as in export markets? I’ve no real idea. I very much doubt it was Mild Ale. That sometimes leaked outside the UK, but not often. I’ve no clue, to be honest. Perhaps it was an Australian Ale or some other enigmatic export.

There’s no great secret to the recipe. Base malt, sugar and loads of hops. The latter from the 1879 and 1880 seasons. And all English, which was usually a sign of a classy, expensive beer.

1880 Whitbread XX xpt
mild malt 13.25 lb 84.13%
No. 2 invert sugar 2.50 lb 15.87%
Fuggles 90 mins 3.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 3.50 oz
Goldings 30 mins 3.50 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1078
FG 1025
ABV 7.01
Apparent attenuation 67.95%
IBU 103
SRM 12
Mash at 151º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 56º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale



Michael Foster said...

Hey Ron,

Perhaps you've addressed this in a post before, but could the "mild ale" in the late 19th century just be a reference to the type of malt? Mild ale is mild malt, pale ale is mild malt, porter is a beer with some kind of dark malts? I've wondered if beer style names had more to do with malt than hops in the 18th-19th centuries, with IPA being the aberration by being defined by hopping (and even then not so much)?

If malt was the driving factor in naming styles at the time, it'd clear up a lot of confusion about the way these beers were defined at the time. Not all, of course, but one can't expect the Victorians to be consistent about anything.

Ron Pattinson said...

Michael Foster,

I don't think so. Lots of Mild Ales didn't use mild malt.

One of the gig differences between Mild Ales and Pale Ales in the late 19th century was that the latter were aged while the former were not. I've also come across the term "Mild Porter" meaning the unaged version of the style.

StuartP said...

Drinking culture before the Wars was very different to today. You just couldn't go out and neck a few pints of this.