Saturday 19 March 2022

Let's Brew - 1901 Boddington XXXX

Finally, here we are at the pinnacle of the Boddington Mild pile. With XXXX, a beer with a fair bit of clout to it.

Boddington XXXX looks very similar to a London XX Ale. Except they didn’t exist anymore. Despite Mild’s huge popularity, the capital’s brewers restricted themselves to just one example, X Ale. Stronger Milds had died out in the last couple of decades of the 19th century.

At over 6% ABV and 39 (calculated) IBU, it’s not what anyone today would call a Mild. But these beers did exist up until WW I made a total mess of UK brewing. I’ll never forgive Kaiser Bill for that.

With batches of 70-odd barrels, it was brewed in decent quantities for a strong beer. I wonder who drank it? Was it a special weekend treat? Or was there a specific class of drinker that preferred it? Sadly, I have no clue.

The recipe is essentially the same as for all the other Milds: base malt and sugar, loads of different hops, mostly English.

1901 Boddington XXXX
pale malt 14.00 lb 93.33%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.00 lb 6.67%
Cluster 140 mins 0.50 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles 30 mins 1.50 oz
Fuggles dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1068
FG 1022
ABV 6.09
Apparent attenuation 67.65%
IBU 39
SRM 10
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 165º F
Boil time 140 minutes
pitching temp 60.5º F
Yeast Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)


Pierce said...

"Who drank it?" would be an extremely cool thing to write about these historic evidence if there's any evidence at all that you run across.

We know this for some styles: oat stouts and sweet stouts were marketed as health drinks, dinner ales were marketed for people to drink at home.

Maybe the well-heeled drank higher gravity ales when they weren't quaffing claret?

Ron Pattinson said...


I would really love to know. My impression is that the better-off drank things like Bass or Guinness. Or perhaps Barley Wine in the winter.

It's also worth bearing in mind that Boddington would have only been supplying the Manchester/Salford market. Where there wouldn't have been a limited number of the well-heeled.

In the 1870s drinkers in Eldride Pope pubs finished the evening with a Hardy Ale. Perhaps XXXX was drunk like that - as something a bit stronger to round off a session.

Thom Farrell said...

I believe there were a large number of beerhouses where the licence didn't extend to the sale of spirits. Perhaps the drink was intended as a replacement for spirits in outlets that couldn't stock them?

Ron Pattinson said...

Thom Farrell,

that's a possibility. In 1900, around a third of English pubs were beer houses.