Sunday 31 July 2016

Northern and Scottish Mild Ale 1950 – 1954

We’re moving further north for our next peek at Mild Ale from the early 1950’s.

I wish I had more analyses. Especially for northern breweries. As that would enable me to spot patterns much better. Though I suspect it might be confusing. Because, unlike London where all Mild was dark, northern breweries had a habit of brewing two Milds, one pale and one dark. At least ones in Yorkshire and Lancashire did.

You can see the practice a little in the table. Through Lees. They had a pale Ordinary Mild and a dark Best Mild. Which in itself is a bit unusual. They were usually the other way around, the stronger Mild being the paler one. No idea why that was different at Lees.

It’s a shame that I don’t have the FG for most examples. Because for those where I do, it’s exceptionally high, leaving a couple of beer over 4% ABV. I’m looking at Vaux in particular. Speaking of Vaux, I can remember their Mild. It was a pretty rare beer in its final days, the Northeast not being a great mild-drinking area. And, unlike the one in the table, was very dark as I recall.

Mild wasn’t very common by this period in Scotland. My suspicion is that these samples were taken south of the border. Probably in London, as they were performed by Truman. Younger had pubs selling their beer in the capital, both free houses and tied houses. These would have needed to have a Mild Ale to satisfy the demands of English drinkers. Which would explain why all the samples are dark in colour.

Northern and Scottish Mild Ale 1950 - 1954
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Lees K 1031.0
1950 Lees Best Mild 1035.0
1951 Groves & Whitnall Mild Ale 14 0.04 1030.6 1004.1 3.45 86.60% 50
1951 Lees K 1031.0 28
1951 Mitchell Mild Ale 15 0.05 1037.2 1004.8 4.22 87.10% 60
1951 Vaux Mild Ale 15 0.04 1035.6 1002.9 4.27 91.85% 24.5
1951 Wilsons Mild Ale 14 0.06 1034.8 1005.3 3.84 84.77% 50
1952 Hull Brewery Mild Ale 16 0.05 1032.1 1005.6 3.44 82.55% 85
1952 Lees Bot. B 1035.0 35
1952 Lees K 1031.0 34
1952 Lees Best Mild 1034.0 100
1952 Tetley X 13 1031.3 58
1953 Lees Mild 1030.0
1953 Lees Bot. B 1035.0
1953 Lees Best Mild 1033.0 100
1953 Tetley X 13 1031.4 58
1954 Lees Bot. B 1035.0 35
1954 Lees K 1031.0 35
1954 Lees Best Mild 1035.0 100
Average 14.3 0.05 1033.1 1004.5 3.8 86.6% 56.8
1951 Wm. Younger X 13 1030.0 72
1952 Wm. Younger X 14 1031.2 80
1952 Wm. Younger X 14 1033.5 92
1953 Wm. Younger X 14 1033.3 82
Average 13.8 1032.0 81.5
Lees brewing records held at the brewery.
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

Where next? The southeast, I think.

Saturday 30 July 2016

Let's Brew - 1933 William Younger No. 3

You’ve probably noticed that I have a bit of a thing about Younger’s No. 3. Probably because it was a beer I quite liked.

I drank it regularly at a couple of places in the 1980’s. The Burley Liberal Club in Leeds. And the pub just around the corner from my office on Gloucester Place in London. In my head, I was thinking strong Dark Mild. Which wasn’t totally far off the mark.

It was a nice alternative to Younger’s IPA. At the time it had an OG of 1043º, ever so slightly higher than the IPA’s 1042.2º. A few pints at lunchtime set me up nicely for an afternoon snooze back at work. By the time I’d woken up it would be time to return to the pub for a few more pints before heading home.

You’ve probably noticed that the beer below is pretty pale. It always seems to have come in a variety of shades, though dark was most popular after WW I. The colour presumably coming from caramel added at racking time. Feel free to colour this up any way you like.

There’s not really much to say about the grist. As with most Younger’s beers in the 20th century. There’s pale malt, loads and loads of grits and that’s it. I have the feeling that all that limited grits to just 40% of the total was maintaining enough malt to convert the starch. They’d probably have happily used 70% grits, if it had been practical. Their beers have the highest levels of adjuncts I’ve seen anywhere.

1933 William Younger No. 3
pale malt 7.50 lb 58.82%
grits 5.25 lb 41.18%
Cluster 90 min 1.25 oz
Fuggles 30 min 1.25 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.25 oz
OG 1055
FG 1015.5
ABV 5.23
Apparent attenuation 71.82%
IBU 39
Mash at 154º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 135 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Friday 29 July 2016

East Anglia and Midlands Mild Ale 1950 – 1953

I’m getting to less specific as this series progresses. And why not?

I’m far too many analyses to make a single manageable table. Splitting them up makes sense. And it also highlights regional variations. Isn’t that fun?

Starting with the middle bit of the England. Which I’ve divided into the Midlands and East Anglia. For no particular reason, other than convenience. And I have to draw the lines somewhere. What’s fascinating about these two sets is how different they are. It tells us that Mild had considerable regional variations.

Starting with the colour. All the East Anglian Milds are dark, with the exception of the one from Grays. The average, just over 80, is well in dark brown territory. While the Midlands Milds are, except for Offiler’s, in the twilight zone between pale and dark. Significantly, that’s the only example from the East Midlands. The average of 45.9 is well short of dark brown.

There’s a big difference between the gravities, too. Remove Tollemache from the East Anglian set and the remainders are weaker than every Midlands Mild, except Offiler’s. The average ABV of the Midlands set it 0.75% higher than the East Anglian ones.

Both sets have high rates of attenuation, but it’s particularly high for the Midlands. Note that the FG’s are very similar for the two sets, despite the much higher average OG for the Midlands.

What have we learned? That in the West Midlands they liked their Mild strong but quite pale. While in East Anglia they preferred it weaker and darker.

East Anglia and Midlands Mild Ale 1950 - 1953
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Grays X 11 1029.1 56
1950 Lacons X 12 1032.7 100
1951 Lacons Mild Ale 14 0.04 1031.4 1006.9 3.18 78.03% 65
1951 Lacons X 13 1034.4 88
1951 Morgans Mild Ale 14 0.04 1032.4 1007.2 3.27 77.78% 65
1951 Ridley Mild Ale 13 0.06 1030.3 1004.9 3.30 83.83% 70
1951 Tollemache Mild Ale 14 0.04 1028.7 1005.6 3.00 80.49% 60
1951 Wells & Winch Mild Ale 14 0.05 1029.3 1008.6 2.68 70.65% 80
1951 Young Crawshay Mild Ale 14 0.06 1031.2 1003.7 3.58 88.14% 70
1952 Lacons X 14 1031.9 92
1953 Tollemache X 16 1037.7 144
Average 13.5 0.05 1031.7 1006.2 3.17 79.82% 80.9
1950 Ansell Mild Ale 13 0.04 1034.8 1005.2 3.85 85.06% 50
1950 Bass, Burton Mild Ale 15 0.07 1041.4 1008 4.34 80.68% 40.1
1950 Mitchell & Butler Mild Ale 13 0.04 1034.6 1005.4 3.80 84.39% 37
1950 Mitchell & Butler Mild Ale 17 0.05 1034.5 1003.8 4.00 88.99% 38
1950 Mitchell & Butler X 15 1038.4 41
1950 Offilers Mild Ale 13 0.06 1031.2 1004.7 3.45 84.94% 70
1951 Ansell Mild Ale 15 0.07 1038.3 1005.7 4.25 85.12% 45
Average 14.4 0.06 1036.2 1005.5 3.95 84.86% 45.9
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

The North and Scotland next.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Large London brewery Best Mild Ale 1950 – 1954

Mild. But not just any Mild. Best Mild.

Sometimes I really wish I’d lived in the 1950’s. Hang on a minute. I did. Sometimes I really wish I’s been an adult during the 1950’s. Especially when I see strong Milds like this. In London they seem to have flowered briefly, then disappeared forever. Which is a shame. Maybe if some of the stronger versions had hung around Mild itself would have fared better.

All these stronger are Milds are from large breweries. I don’t know if that’s just the vagaries of my sample, which is pretty small in size. Or if it was generally the bigger boys that bothered with more than one cask Mild. Because that’s one thing all these beers have in common: they had a weedier younger brother with an OG of around 1030º. No brewery produced just a strong Mild.

Taylor Walker were unusual in having particularly strong branding for their Best Mild, Mainline. A beer which they pushed quite a bit. And, unusually for a Mild, was found in both draught and bottled form. Main Line Special in the table is the bottled version, which you can see was considerably stronger than its draught counterpart.

The gravity averages 7 points higher than for Ordinary Mild, while the ABV is more than 0.5% higher. Watney’s Best comes in at over 4.5% ABV, which would have been a very reasonable strength for a Best Bitter in the early 1950’s.

Once again, they’re pretty dark beers. Not quite as dark on average as the Ordinary Milds from large breweries, but darker than the ones from small brewers. The lesson? Londoners liked their Mild dark.

Large London brewery Best Mild Ale 1950 - 1954
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Charrington  Best Mild Ale 14 0.05 1037.4 1010.4 3.50 72.19% 105
1950 Ind Coope Mild Ale 15 0.05 1039.2 1009.6 3.84 75.51% 75
1951 Ind Coope XXX 14 1034.76
1951 Taylor Walker Mainline 15 0.08 1035.2 1007.6 3.58 78.41% 100
1951 Watney Best 20 0.07 1043.1 1008 4.57 81.44% 110
1952 Ind Coope X 13 1036.69 102
1954 Ind Coope Strong Mild Ale 19 0.05 1043.5 1010.7 4.26 75.40% 110
1954 Taylor Walker Mainline 15 0.04 1036.5 1014.5 2.84 60.27% 95
1954 Taylor Walker Main Line Special 27 0.05 1044.5 1017.5 3.48 60.67% 125
Average 16.89 0.06 1039.0 1011.2 3.72 71.99% 102.8
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

Provincial Mild next.

Wednesday 27 July 2016

Let's Brew Wednesdy - 1933 William Younger XX

Hope you’re not getting bored of the Scottish recipes. Because there are loads more to come.

Yes, it’s coming along nicely. Scotland! vol. II, I mean. The results of my poll were quite confusing. 250 recipes came top with a third of the votes. So I’ve decided to go for 300, the only option that received no votes. That’s just the way I am. A contrary bastard.

Mild seems to have just melted away in Scotland after WW I. Replaced by 60/- Pale Ale, which may have been coloured up to look like Dark Mild. Though William Younger do seem to have stuck with brewing Mild longer than most.

Bizarrely – especially as Younger wasn’t much into the technique, in contrast to every other brewery in Scotland – this was parti-gyled with Expt, a strong Pale Ale. Though they were hopped separately, only sharing pre-boil worts.

You’ve probably noticed how dull Younger’s recipes were. Most don’t stretch any further than pale malt and grits. Lots and lots of luvverly grits. They must have had quite a grits silo, the quantities they used. And a big cooker, given the percentage of grits in every recipe.

Grits aside, this has a similar profile to an English Ordinary Mild in terms of ABV and bitterness levels. Not in terms of colour. Though, it being a Scottish beer, they probably coloured to every imaginable shade of brown.

1933 William Younger XX
pale malt 4.75 lb 55.88%
grits 3.75 lb 44.12%
Cluster 90 min 0.75 oz
Fuggles 30 min 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1037
FG 1011
ABV 3.44
Apparent attenuation 70.27%
IBU 27
Mash at 156º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 165 minutes
pitching temp 61º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

Tuesday 26 July 2016

Small London brewery Ordinary Mild Ale 1950 – 1953

Numbers. I look on them as friends. Much more reliable friends that people. You know where you are with numbers. A five doesn’t turn into a four behind your back. Though a six may turn out to be nine.

That’s my excuse for bothering you with a load more numbers. Not quite as many as in the last of this series. But enough to tide you through a sunny Tuesday morning. Unfortunately there are quite a few holes in the table. Because many come from the Truman rather than the Whitbread Gravity Book.

To be honest, there’s not much difference with the large brewery Milds. An average OG just over 1030º, about 3% ABV, around 75% attenuation. The only significant difference is the colour, which is a full 20 points lower. Oh, the price. That’s lower, too. About 0.75d.

On a personal not, I drank one of this set: Fuller’s Hock. I believe they still occasionally brew it. A shame it isn’t regularly available as it’s a very pleasant beer, when in good nick.

Wenlock Amber Ale is a bit odd. It’s one of the darkest beers in this set. How can that be amber by anyone’s reckoning?

Small London brewery Ordinary Mild Ale 1950 - 1953
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint d Acidity OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation colour
1950 Wenlock Ale 12 0.05 1030.6 1008.4 2.88 72.55% 100
1951 Wenlock X 12 1032.83 88
1953 Wenlock Amber Ale 14 0.05 1031.6 1006.5 3.26 79.43% 100
1950 Beasley Ale 12 1031.43 56
1953 Beasley X 13 1031.47 116
1953 Cannon X 13 1031.84 96
1951 Friary Mild Ale 14 0.06 1029.9 1004.5 3.30 84.95% 85
1950 Friary Holroyd X 12 1033.47 82
1951 Fullers Mild Ale 14 0.04 1031.2 1008.9 2.89 71.47% 90
1950 Hammerton Ale 12 1030.41 94
1950 Harman's X 12 1032.07 84
1950 Young & Co X 12 1033.07 68
1953 Young & Co X 13 1030.73 60
Average 12.7 0.05 1031.6 1007.1 3.08 77.10% 86.1
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/002.
Truman Gravity Book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/252

Either provincial Milds or London Best Mild next.

Monday 25 July 2016

Random Dutch beers (part thirty seven)

It's Sunday morning 11:55. Time for the first beer of the day.

"You've seen bits of it? So you did see him picking bits of glass out of his feet."


"John . . . what's his second name? The character in the film."

"You should know, you've seen the whole film."

Lexie's talking to me about Die Hard. Not sure why. Defintely time for a beer. One from an old new brewery, De Leckere. They first started up in the 1990's, I believe. Then seemed to go away for a while. Not sure of the right story, and can't be arsed to look it up.

De Leckere Spring Haver 6.5% ABV
Lexie's gone back upstairs. Time to quickly write a quick Sketch. Pale yellow. Smells perfumy - elderflower, maybe? Maybe not. Perfummy and quite bitter in the mouth, with a lemon-like touch of acidity at the end.  Not bad. Quite like the fact that it's decently bitter, in a tobaccoey sort of way.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dolores?"

"In a minute."

"It's not a horrible one."

"That's OK. Quite nice."

Only a 25cl. bottle. It didn't last long. Time for beer number 2. One from De Naeckte Brouwers (the Naked Brewers) of Amstelveen. Which is where I work. It's the largest Dutch town without a train station. That's how exciting it is.

De Naeckte Brouwers Chinook SHIPA, 7.5% ABV
They've done a series of SHIPA each using a different hop. All the trendy ones, obviously. Not fun things like EKG. It's the colour of Bitter. Oddly savoury in the mouth. And not particularly bitter at all. How odd.

"Do you want to try my beer, Dolores?"

"I'm sitting down now."

"I'll bring it over."

"Ugh. It tastes strange."

"I know. I'm going to save some for Andrew."

Sunday 24 July 2016

Summer sale still on - 20% off my Mega-Book series

apart from Bitter. I get some effing error when I try to update it. So it's still full price.

The other three in the series are 20% off. And I could be arsed with the linky image things today.

Please buy one. Or three. Lexie needs some new shoes. And kecks. Don't let him walk around raggety-arsed.

Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu. Support independent publishing: buy this book on Lulu.