Thursday, 30 June 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1879 Whitbread XX Export

A real treat today. That will hopefully make you forgety I'm a day late. Export Mild, that's what we've got today.

In the glory years of British brewing, all sorts of beers were exported. Pale Ale we all know about. Porter and Stout, too. Scotch Ale and Burton ale. The whole set, pretty much. Including Mild Ale.

Pale Ale and Porter went to India. Stout went to teh West Indies. Australia got Pale Ale, Scotch Ale and Porter. But where did the Mild go? Some of it went to The Netherlands. I know that, because I've seen the newspaper adverts:

Algemeen Handelsblad, 01-11-1880

Het Nieuws van den Dag, 16-03-1880

Whitbread only brewed this beer for a relatively short period of time:1865 to 1880. I've no idea why they stopped brewing it . They never did produce that much of it. Maybe it wasn't worth the trouble. Though 1880 is a very significant date, being the year of the Free Mash Tun Act.

On to the beer itself. A bit of an odd beast. Whitbread discontinued the domestic equivalent in 1876. That had a similar gravity, but a much lower hopping rate. Just under 3 lbs a barrel compared to a bit over 6 lbs in XX Export. To be honest, it was more like Whitbread's KK than their XX. KK had around 4 lbs of hops per barrel.

What would I call this beer? Probably an Export Burton. There. That's another new style. I should get a job with the Brewers' Association.

That's it from me. Time for Kristen to set the controls for the heart of the sun . . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:
Grist – This one is very simple and difficult at the same time. The grist calls for two different types of mild malt. Most people can only find one, if any at all. Seeing that this is the only malt in the entire beer, do your best to find some. If you haven’t used it before it’s a good place to see if you really like it as its 100% mild malt. I’m using a 50:50 mix of Paul’s mild malt Fawcett Mild Malt. If you can’t get any type of mild malt, use at least a malty pale malt like Optic or Cocktail. FYI – I tried using 100% Ashburne Mild. Blech. I could see maybe 25% but I don’t know even then… The invert No2 at ~15% really adds a lot of darker fruit depth and complexity without stomping all over the beer that No3 would do here. If you haven’t made No2 before, it’s the same technique and such for making the No3, just less molasses. If you can’t be bothered at least use some Golden Syrup…but be bothered.

Hops –  This is a pretty gnarly beastie. Lots of hops, the vast majority being low alpha stuff. The Cluster are really the only ones that are higher. I’ve made this both with higher alpha Challenger at 105 and the Cluster and found the lower alpha stuff really adds to the amount of tannins and mouthfeel in the beer. The higher alpha just doesn’t have the same about of green matter going it. Goldings were the finishing hops as you can see. All very elegant and works beautifully well. You can really use any finishing hops that you’d like. One of the batches I did a mix of Falconers Flight and Pacifica and it turned out pretty marvelous.

Yeast – I put the Whitbread yeast in this recipe as it’s a Whitbread beer. I, for one, do not like it. Never have. I split one batch with Wyeast Thames Valley II and White Labs Australian Ale. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Thames Valley II but I have to say the Convicts really stole my attention. A great yeast that really emphasized the bready, toasty character of the mild malt without treading on the hops. I have my friend Aussie mate Peter Symons to thank for the suggestion but I’m sure he won’t remember with all the 4X he’s drank. ;) Thanks Peter!

Advanced Mash – The simple one step mash will do fine if in a rush. The higher dextrin content of the mild malt is really helped by a step mash as see below. The beer finishes a few points lower and much more crisp.

Dough in


Bikeraggie said...

Kristen, I recently made invert for the first time, following directions to invert turbinado sugar, and add molasses. That went into my first "Lets Brew Wednesday" beer, the Barclay Perkins 1919X. I am looking forward to seeing how everything turned out, thank you for your work here. In my research I see you suggest to use "high quality blackstrap" but I could never find any brand recommendations. Which do you use?

Also, I used the Thames Valley II yeast in that 1919X, this is the first time I have used the yeast. You mentioned you love this yeast, can you provide a suggestion or two as to your favorite beers with this yeast? Any of these other LBW recipes work particularly well?

Thank you for your time.

Kristen England said...


Glad you gave it a shot! Easy, right!?

So 'high quality' does not equal high price but it does mean not 'cheap'. Store brands like Walmart, ASDA, Aldi, etc are pretty much crap. Of the most widely available Brer Rabbit is probably the worlds. The Plantation brand in pretty good. Organic you usually pay way to much for something thats not better...if it makes you feel good, do it. That being said, I've had friends use feed-grade molasses and it made a really nice beer. If you want to have some fun, try date or pomegranate molasses instead. Works pretty good in low gravity 'mild' ales.

As for Thames Valley II, you can really use it for anything although I think it really shines 'bitter' type beers. AK it really shines!

castempress said...

I've used Ashburne Mild before at around 30-40% with what I thought were decent results. I'd be interested to know why you disliked it.

Do you not like it at all, or do you just not think it's a very good example of a mild malt? Or a third thing?

Kristen England said...


It's ok as a malt. I don't really like its flavor but can see why some people would. However, as a mild malt I find Vienna to be closer than Ashburne. I'm not sure why its called mild actually. U say decent, how so? I'd like to see peoples opinions that have used proper mild and the Ashburne.

Unknown said...

Myself and the owner of Vision Quest Brewing in Boulder Colorado made a version of this that is currently on tap. He could only get one bag of mild and then had to use MO for the rest but we made invert and used WLP 013 - came out really nice with a huge amount of esters and a lot of residual bitterness. If anyone still looks at this can they comment as to whether the beer is supposed to be consumed early (as most milds) or was it traditionally consumed several months or longer after brewing (as many high gravity exports)?

Ron Pattinson said...

George West,

pretty sure this beer would have been aged at least for a couple of months.

Jim Banko said...

I am not having much luck obtaining Paul's Mild or Fawcett Mild Ale Malt in Northeast Pennsylvania, USA. I saw Kristen's comment about the Ashburne Mild, so I am taking his advice on that brand. I may be able to obtain Warminster Mild or Muntons Mild. Could you provide any insight as to how Paul's vs Fawcett vs Warminster vs Muntons Mild Ale Malt would compare in a traditional mild ale grain bill? Any suggestions on the ratio of each?

I came across a specification sheet for Paul's Mild Ale Malt for the US market, and it was classified as a Dextrine Malt. Is it possible to substitute any Dextrine Malt, assuming it has a specific flavor profile, for any or all of the four malts I compared above? Could I blend any Dextrine Malt with Optic?

Thank you for your assistance.