Tuesday 30 April 2019

Milds I have known

With Mild Month almost upon us, I'm getting all nostalgic. Thinking about those Milds I drank early in my drinking career. Beers which have almost all disappeared.

The 1978 Good Beer Guide lists 104 cask Milds being produced. Which isn't that far short of one per brewery. Of course, there were more Milds being brewed. As some breweries only produced evil keg versions. Bastards. Obviously, I never drank any of that muck.

My enthusiasism as a Mild drinker is is reflected in the number of the examples I tried - about two-thirds. And that's only the ones I'm sure about . You could probably add in another dozen or so maybes.

There were some real crackers in this disparate bunch. Courage Heavy, for example. Which was a rare Southwestern Mild. Even in 1978 Mild was a rarity in England's bottom left pointy bit. I only ever drank it at the Great British Beer Festival.

And the GBBF explains why I managed to get around so many. I worked at the early editions held at Alexandra Palace. Already being annoyingly fanatical about beer, but about especially Mild, I made a point of trying as many as I could. The GBBF being a good spot for that as many of the Southern Milds were already becoming difficult to track down in the wild.

How many Milds are regularly available now? And how many have you been able to tag?

Cask Mild in 1977
Brewer Beer Style OG tried?
Adnams Mild Mild 1032 Y
Ansell Mild Mild 1035.5 Y
Banks Mild Mild 1035.5 Y
Bateman Mild Mild 1032 Y
Batham Mild Mild 1036 Y
Belhaven 60/- Light Mild 1031 Y
Boddingtons Mild Mild 1031 Y
Border Exhibition Mild Mild 1032.2
Border Mild Mild 1031.6
Brains Dark Mild 1035 Y
Brakspear XXX Mild 1031 Y
Matthew Brown Mild Mild 1031 Y
Buckley Mild Mild 1032 Y
Burt BMA Mild 1030
Burtonwood Dark Mild Mild 1031.8 Y
Camerons Mild Mild 1033
Castletown Mild Mild 1036
Charrington Mild Mild 1034.6
Courage (London) Mild Mild 1032.5
Courage (Plymouth) Heavy Mild 1032 Y
Courage (Reading) Mild Mild 1032
Darley Mild Mild 1032 Y
Davenport Mild Mild 1033 Y
Devenish (Redruth) XXX Mild 1033
Donnington XXX Mild 1033
Elgood Mild Mild 1030 Y
Everards Mild Mild 1033 Y
Felinfoel Mild Mild 1032 Y
Fuller Hock Mild 1031.5 Y
Gale Dark Mild (XXX) Mild 1031
Greenall Whitley Dark Mild Mild 1033.7 Y
Greenall Whitley (Wem) Wem Mild Mild 1033 Y
Greene King (Biggleswade) XX Mild 1030.8
Greene King (Bury) Mild (XX) Mild 1030.8
Guernsey LBA Mild Mild 1036.6
Hansons Mild Mild 1035 Y
Hardys & Hansons Best Mild Mild 1035.4 Y
Hartleys Mild Mild 1032 Y
Harvey XX Mild 1030 Y
Higson Mild Mild 1033.4 Y
Holden Mild Mild 1036
Holt Mild Mild 1033.4 Y
Home Mild Mild 1036.1 Y
Hook Norton Mild Mild 1032
Hoskins Mild Mild 1033 Y
Hull Mild Mild 1032.25 Y
Hydes Mild Mild 1032 Y
Jennings Mild Mild 1033 Y
King & Barnes XX (Mild) Mild 1031.6 Y
Lees Best Mild Mild 1035 Y
Maclay 60/- Light Mild 1030 Y
Marston Merrie Monk Mild 1043 Y
Marston Mild Mild 1032 Y
Mitchell Mild Mild 1034 Y
Mitchell & Butler (Birmingham) Mild Mild 1034.6 Y
Mitchell & Butler (Walsall) Highgate Mild Mild 1034 Y
Morland Mild (XX) Mild 1032 Y
Morrell Dark Mild Mild 1032.6 Y
Okell Mild Mild 1035.2
Oldham Mild Mild 1031.7 Y
Paine Extra Special Mild 1032
Randall (Guernsey) Bobby Mild Mild 1035
Ridley XXX (or Mild) Mild 1030
Robinson Best Mild Mild 1032 Y
St Austell XXXX Mild 1032
Shepherd Neame Mild Mild 1031 Y
Shipstone Mild Mild 1034.6 Y
Simpkiss Mild Mild 1034 Y
Taylor Dark Mild Mild 1033.4 Y
Tennent 60/- Mild 1031
Tetley Mild Mild 1032 Y
Tetley Walker Mild Mild 1032 Y
Theakston (Masham) Dark Mild Mild 1032 Y
Three Tuns Mild Mild 1032
Thwaites Best Mild Mild 1033 Y
Thwaites Mild Mild 1031 Y
Tolly Cobbold Mild Mild 1030 Y
Vaux Mild Mild 1030.2 Y
Ward Best Mild Mild 1034 Y
Welsh Brewers Worthington Dark Mild or Dash Mild 1033.3 Y
Whitbread (Marlow) Dark Mild Mild 1030.6
Whitbread (Portsmouth) Mild Mild 1031.5
Whitbread (Rhymney) WBM Mild 1034.1
Whitbread (Romsey) Mild Mild 1031.5
Wilsons Great Northern Mild Mild 1032.2 Y
Yates & Jackson Mild Mild 1030.1 Y
Young & Co Mild or Best Malt Ale Mild 1030 Y
All Nations Mild Mild, Light 1032
Bass (Burton) Light Mild (or M) Mild, Light 1033.1
Boddingtons Best Mild Mild, Light 1033 Y
Burtonwood Light Mild Mild, Light 1031.5
Darley Light Mild Mild, Light 1032 Y
Gale Light Mild (XXX) Mild, Light 1030
Greene King (Biggleswade) KK Mild, Light 1030.8
Hydes Best Mild Mild, Light 1034 Y
Ind Coope (Romford) Mild Mild, Light 1031
Lees Mild Mild, Light 1031
McMullen AK Mild, Light 1033
Morrell Light Mild Mild, Light 1031.6
Rayment AK Mild, Light 1031 Y
Taylor Golden Best. Golden Mild, Light Mild or Bitter Ale Mild, Light 1033.4  Y
Theakston (Masham) Light Mild Mild, Light 1032
Webster Best Mild Mild, Light 1033.8 Y
Welsh Brewers PMA Mild, Light 1033.2
Average 1032.61
1978 Good Beer Guide

I won't claim they were all great beers. The Greenalls ones were shit, obviously. But most were at least decent. When looked after properly and in decent condition. And there was the rub. As Mild sales fell, and casks sat around too long, there was inevitably a fair bit of vinegar in pub situations. Which undoubtedly hastened Mild's demise.

Monday 29 April 2019

Provincial bottled Pale Ale on the eve of WW II

Bottled Pale Ales came in a wide variety of strengths, from as weak as 1030º to as high as 1056º. The prices charged varied accordingly. In most cases, you got what you paid for. Though the size of the container mattered. Beer sold in half pints worked out slightly more expensive per pint. While that sold in quarts was slightly cheaper.

Provincial bottled Pale Ale under 6.5d per pint
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1936 Beer & Rigden Pale Ale 5.5 1030.6 1004.2 3.43 86.27%
1938 Shepherd Neame Pale Ale 5.5 1031.4 1005.1 3.42 83.76%
1935 Wethered Family Pale Ale 5.5 1031 1006 3.25 80.65%
1934 Tollemache Light Bitter 5.75 1041 1006.3 4.52 84.63%
1937 Georges Bitter Ale 6 1035.4 1007.3 3.65 79.38%
1936 Hey White Rose Table Ale 6 1034 1005.5 3.71 83.82%
1936 Hope Brewery Sun Bright Pale Ale 6 1044.7 1008.4 4.73 81.21%
1935 Steward & Patteson Bitter Ale 6 1030 1003.7 3.42 87.67%
1936 Tamplin Pale Ale 6 1031.7 1002.8 3.77 91.17%
1935 Anglo Bavarian Pale Ale 6.375 1047 1015.3 4.10 67.45%
1935 Northampton Brewery Pale Ale 1032 1008.2 3.08 74.37%
1936 Vaux Pale Ale 1033 1006.5 3.44 80.30%
Average 5.86 1035.2 1006.6 3.71 81.72%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive document TU/6/11,

Most examples are, as you would expect, in the low 1030ºs. The exception being the Hope Brewery beer. That could be because it was packaged in a can. There’s a good chance that it wasn’t a full pint in size. The Tollemache Light Bitter is slightly cheaper than you’d expect because it came in a quart bottle.

The rate of attenuation is extremely high, with the exception of a couple of examples, notably the Anglo Bavarian one. The high attenuation means that, despite there being some low-gravity examples, all come in at well over 3% ABV.

The next price class up, approximately 7d per pint, is much the same as 6d draught beers, in terms of strength. Though the Walmer Ale is a real outlier at just under 1030º. Most of the other examples are somewhere around 1040º.

Provincial bottled Pale Ale under 6.5d to 7.5d per pint
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1934 Eldridge Pope Crystal Ale 7 1037 1007.3 3.86 80.27%
1938 Fremlin Elephant Ale 7 1042.5 1013.1 3.81 69.18%
1938 Green Lutonian Pale Ale 7 1035 1005 3.91 85.71%
1938 Lovibond Yeoman Ale 7 1043.9 1005.4 5.03 87.70%
1935 Mitchell & Butler Cape Ale 7 1040 1008.3 4.12 79.25%
1938 Simonds SB Ale 7 1036.4 1006.1 3.94 83.24%
1938 Thompson & Sons Walmer Ale 7 1029.8 1004 3.36 86.58%
1934 Woodhead Special Pale Ale 7 1033.5 1008.4 3.25 74.93%
1935 Mitchell & Butler All Bright Ale 7.5 1046 1008.6 4.87 81.30%
1934 John Smith Star Bright Ale 1038.6 1009.7 3.75 74.87%
1937 Magee Marshall Crown Ale 1037.5 1007 3.97 81.33%
1938 Melbourne Gold Cup 1040.8 1008.2 4.24 79.90%
1938 Unwin Pale Ale 1039 1005.7 4.34 85.38%
1934 Vaux Pale Ale 1040.5 1007.5 4.29 81.48%
Average 7.06 1038.6 1007.5 4.05 80.80%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.
Thomas Usher Gravity Book held at the Scottish Brewing Archive document TU/6/11,

The rate of attenuation is almost, but not quite, as high as in the weaker class. There’s just a single beer under 70%, Fremlin Elephant Ale.

The last table is proof that Pale Ales in the strongest were brewed in the province. Though the same ceiling – around 1055º – applied as elsewhere.

Provincial bottled Pale Ale above 7.5d per pint
Year Brewer Beer Price per pint (d) OG FG ABV App. Atten-uation
1938 Eldridge Pope Crystal Ale 8 1036.7 1005.9 4.01 83.92%
1936 Hey Golden Cup Ale 8 1047 1012.9 4.42 72.55%
1936 Hey White Rose Ale No. 5 8 1045 1013.6 4.07 69.78%
1936 John Smith No. 5 Special 8 1041 1012.7 3.66 69.02%
1935 Steward & Patteson Pale Ale 8 1046 1007.8 4.98 83.04%
1934 Strong Golden Ale 8 1044 1014 3.88 68.18%
1936 Tetley Yorkshire Ale 8.5 1051 1012.7 4.98 75.10%
1936 Flower Pale Ale 9 1053 1014 5.07 73.58%
1935 Morgans Pale Ale 9 1048 1018 3.87 62.50%
1935 Mitchell & Butler Export Pale Ale 11 1053 1008.4 5.83 84.15%
1936 Felinfoel Pale Ale 1051 1014.7 4.71 71.18%
1934 Fremlin Bitter Ale 1049 1001.3 6.27 97.35%
1937 Fremlin Gold Top English Stock Bbitter 1046.8 1003.2 5.71 93.16%
1936 John Smith Magnet Pale Ale 1056 1014.2 5.44 74.64%
1934 John Smith Pale Ale 1050.3 1011.9 4.99 76.34%
Average 8.55 1047.9 1011.0 4.79 76.97%
Whitbread Gravity book held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number LMA/4453/D/02/001.

The rate of attenuation doesn’t average out quite as high as in the other classes, but there is the most highly attenuated of all: Fremlin Bitter Ale. With a finishing gravity of just 1001.3, it must have been bone dry. The label states "almost sugar free" which is certainly true.

I suspect that this is the ancestor of Whitbread’s Stock Bitter bottled beer of the 1970s. Not so strange, as Whitbread did take over Fremlin

Sunday 28 April 2019

Truman Burton Pale Ale grists in 1939

The grists of Truman’s Pale Ales aren’t the most exciting in the world. Pretty dull really. And, as they were parti-gyled, they’re identical for all three.

The malt percentage, 87.5% is quite high for a pre-war beer. Around 75% was more usual. Though these were classy products, so that might be expected. At just 4.5% the amount of sugar is very low. Pre-WW I, top-class Pale Ales often contained surprisingly large quantities of sugar. It was there for a reason: to keep the body and colour of the beer as light as possible.

Which makes the presence of high-dried malt a bit strange. As this was a darker kilned malt. Truman used it in all their Burton-brewed beers, though the percentage is higher in their darker beers, such as Mild Ales.

I’ve no idea what the sugar was, other than some form on invert. My guess would be No. 1 invert, but it could also be No. 2 invert. They were the types usually employed when brewing Pale Ales.

The hops were all English, from the 1937 and 1938 harvests. Most likely quite classy ones, like East Kent Goldings. But as the brewing logs don’t record any details other than the grower, that’s impossible to know for certain.

Truman Burton Pale Ale grists in 1939
Date Beer OG pale malt high dried malt flaked maize invert sugar
28th Apr Pale2 1047.4 74.34% 13.27% 7.96% 4.42%
1st May Pale1 1053.5 74.34% 13.27% 7.96% 4.42%
28th Apr Pale1 B 1053.5 74.34% 13.27% 7.96% 4.42%
Truman brewing record held at the London Metropolitan Archives, document number B/THB/C/339.