Wednesday 10 November 2021

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1881 Whitbread X

Mild Ale was very much on the up in the second half of the 19th century. At Whitbread, X Ale had overtaken Porter as their most popular beer just a couple of years before, in 1875 . In 1881, it accounted for more than half the beer they brewed.

To modern eyes, a Mild Ale like this looks ridiculously strong and heavily hopped. But the 19th century was a different country when it comes to beer styles. A Mild of 6% ABV was nothing out of the ordinary. Especially in London, where beers tended to be stronger than in the sticks.

There’s nothing much to the grist: base malt and sugar. No adjuncts, despite them being legal since the year before. Unlike most English brewers, Whitbread eschewed the use of unmalted grains.

The brewing record doesn’t specifically mention either mild or No. 2 invert. It’s rather vague about the ingredients. They’re just my best guess.

It reveals a few more details about the hops. At least in terms of their age. American from the 1880 season and English from 1880 and 1881, to be precise.

1881 Whitbread X
mild malt 12.00 lb 92.31%
No. 2 invert sugar 1.00 lb 7.69%
Cluster 90 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings 30 mins 2.00 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.50 oz
OG 1060
FG 1016
ABV 5.82
Apparent attenuation 73.33%
IBU 57
Mash at 150º F
Sparge at 160º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 60º F
Yeast Wyeast 1099 Whitbread Ale


Phil said...

What would it actually have tasted like? Pretty dry, I'm guessing, with that FG, and hoppy in the sense of bitterness, without being piney/catty/floral/etc. So probably not a million miles from a late-C20 South Lancs/West Yorks bitter. That strength, though!

StuartP said...