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23-03-2016, 06:07
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We complete this trilogy of Whitbread dark Ales with their standard-strength draught Mild, Best Ale.

It’s a beer with a long history, having its origins in their X Ale of the 1830’s. Though obviously there were a few little changes over the years. Most notably a slow but steady knocking of the stuffing out of it strength-wise. Back in 1836, it was 1077º. By 1854 it was down to 1068º, by 1868 to 1059º. In 1901, it fell to 1052º, where it remained until the start of WW I. After WW I, it stabilised around 1042º, before dropping in 1931 to 1036º. WW II knocked of a few more gravity points leaving the beer you’ll see below.

This is one Whitbread that I know 100% certain that I drank. Though, as it was in the late 1970’s, it probably came from Luton. It was only keg, but I was so desperate to drink Mild, I didn’t let that put me off. What was it like? Dark, a bit watery, a bit sweet and overall rather dull. I’m sure cask conditioning would have improved it considerably.

I think Best Ale has been discontinued. But not all that long ago. Which shows quite some resilience for a beer that’s been as fashionable as a mullet for the last 50 years.

I’m struggling for much else to say. The recipe is basically the same as Forest Brown. Just a little weaker and a little more heavily hopped.

Er, that’s it. Except for this recipe thing . . . .

1954 Whitbread Best Ale

mild malt
5.25 lb

crystal malt
0.50 lb

no. 3 invert sugar
0.75 lb

Fuggles 60 min
0.75 oz

Fuggles 40 min
0.50 oz

Goldings 20 min
0.50 oz




Apparent attenuation



Mash at
147º F

Sparge at
168º F

Boil time
60 minutes

pitching temp
65º F

Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

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