Sunday, 25 June 2023

Mild Ales in 1971

The 1978 Sunday Mirror article I've been raiding wasn't the first time they'd had beers analysed. They had done something similar in 1971 and 1976. Leaving me with a stack more material.

While the 1978 article only looked at draught Bitter, in 1971 they also threw in some Mild Ales. Which is right down my street. In the 1970s I was a committed Mild drinker. There are far fewer analyses for Mild than Bitter, but it's better than nothing. So I'm not going to complain.

There are enough examples to be able to split them up by region. Something I always find instructive.

I drank most of these beers. The only exceptions being Watbeys Special Mild, Carlisle State Brewery Mild and Chesters Best Mild. Though I did have a later revived version of the last.

Speaking of Chesters, it debunks the myth of the dangerously strong "Fighting Mild". It's actually a pretty ordinary strength for a Mild of the period. How on earth did it get its reputation? Note that it's also not listed under Whitbread. It's all a bit strange, as Chesters merged with Threllfalls in 1961 and closed in 1966. The following year, Threllfalls was bought up by Whitbread.

Apologies for lumping MacMukken AK with the Milds. I'm going by how the Sunday Mirror classified it.

The London and Southeast beers are - surprise, surprise - the most expensive and worst value for money. They're also the weakest and with the poorest degree of attenuation. I know from having taken a close look at London Milds in the 1950s that versions brewed in the capital tended to be sweeter and darker than examples from elsewhere.

You have to wonder what's so "special" about Watneys Special Mild. Other than being especially weedy and expensive. And barely intoxicating at just 2.65% ABV.

It comes as no surprise that the Midlands Milds are the strongest. That was also the case in the 1950s. Ansell and Banks Milds have a gravity and ABV similar to Ordinary Bitter. The average attenuation is a good bit better than for the London examples.

Best value, however, are the Northern beers. Despite having an average OG 4º lower than the Midlands beer, the ABV is only a little lower, due to the higher degree of attenuation. The Northerners were also the cheapest and best value for money.

Cheapest and best value beer by far came from the Carlisle State Brewery. Based in Carlisle, the brewery and all the town's pubs were nationalised during WW Ito stop the many munitions workers who had moved into the area from getting too pissed. It had the cheapest beer in the country and turned a profit every single year until it was privatised in the mid-1970s by Ted Heath's government.

Next I'll be looking at Bitters. 

Mild Ales in 1971
Brewer Beer Price per pint (p) º gravity per p % ABV per p OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
Lonson and Southeast
Watney Special Mild 14 2.17 0.19 1030.4 1009.9 2.65 67.43%
Whitbread Best Mild 11.5 2.69 0.26 1030.9 1007.7 3.01 75.08%
MacMullen AK 11 3.00 0.30 1033 1007.4 3.32 77.58%
Average   12.2 2.62 0.25 1031.4 1008.3 2.99 73.36%
Marston Mild 11.5 2.82 0.29 1032.4 1006.5 3.36 79.94%
M & B Mild 11.5 2.94 0.31 1033.8 1006.5 3.55 80.77%
Ansell Mild 13 2.88 0.28 1037.5 1009.45 3.64 74.80%
Banks Mild 12 3.02 0.31 1036.2 1007.85 3.68 78.31%
Average   12 2.91 0.30 1035.0 1007.6 3.56 78.46%
Sam Smith Taddy Mild 11 2.89 0.32 1031.8 1005.1 3.47 83.96%
Carlisle State Brewery Mild 9 3.67 0.35 1033 1008.55 3.17 74.09%
Tetley Walker Mild 11.5 2.83 0.28 1032.6 1007.4 3.27 77.30%
Wilson Mild 11 2.85 0.30 1031.3 1006.1 3.27 80.51%
Greenall Whitley Mild 11 2.85 0.31 1031.3 1005.4 3.37 82.75%
Chester Best Mild 12 2.67 0.29 1032.1 1005.55 3.45 82.71%
Boddington Mild 11 2.81 0.32 1030.9 1004 3.50 87.06%
Average   10.9 2.94 0.31 1031.9 1006.0 3.36 81.20%
Overall Average   11.5 2.86 0.29 1032.7 1007.0 3.34 78.74%
Sunday Mirror - Sunday 21 March 1971, page 25.


John Lester said...

After Chesters’ brewery closed in 1966, Threlfalls and then Whitbread continued to brew Chesters' Best Mild. I first tried it in 1972 or 1973, when it was the only beer still badged as Chesters. I think it was still available on handpump at that time, as was the Trophy Bitter brewed in Salford, though cask-conditioned beer from Salford disappeared by the mid-70s. (Threlfall's Mild was still around in the early 70s as well, but I only saw that served under pressure.) Cask-conditioned Chesters' Best Mild was reintroduced about 1982: both that and the earlier version were pleasant, I recall, but nothing out of the ordinary.

Anonymous said...

That is interesting.

Anonymous said...

Ron why was the Carlisle brewery privatised?

Ron Pattinson said...



Anonymous said...

Thanks it is interesting that in the Carlisle system during world war one rounds were banned.

Ron Pattinson said...


it wasn't just in Carlisle that rounds were banned. It was everywhere.