View Full Version : Shut up about Barclay Perkins - The first Dark Mild

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07-06-2016, 08:13
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I’ve been wondering a lot about Dark Mild recently. About when beer of this type appeared, but also when the term itself was first used.

The earliest reference I can find of the phrase “Dark Mild” is surprisingly recent and in an oddly relevant place. The date is 1924 and the place an advertisement for Greene King’s beers. It’s used to describe their XX Mild. A beer I published a recipe for recently.

This is the advert:

https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TOJZMTGqze4/V0wc7iA-zXI/AAAAAAAAZ6Y/B7Yhgh9Qphcmf-vylCgtG9LMAdOncikZQCLcB/s640/Greene_King_1924a.jpg (https://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TOJZMTGqze4/V0wc7iA-zXI/AAAAAAAAZ6Y/B7Yhgh9Qphcmf-vylCgtG9LMAdOncikZQCLcB/s1600/Greene_King_1924a.jpg)
Bury Free Press - Saturday 20 December 1924, page 9.

They brewed an interesting range of draught beers, which included both a Burton Ale and a Strong Ale. Sadly, I’ve only one analysis of Greene King beers from before the war. Coincidentally, it’s for XX. Knowing that it had a gravity of 1029º has allowed me to estimate the OG of their other beers. Which I cross-checked with a Whitbread price list where I do know the gravities.

This is what I came up with:

Greene King draught beers in 1924

price per barrel
estimated OG

XX Dark Mild Beer

AK Light Bitter Ale

IA Best Bitter Ale

S Stout

BA Burton Ale

XXX Strong Ale


Greene King price list in Bury Free Press - Saturday 20 December 1924, page 9.

Pay particular attention to IA, which must the beer now known as IPA. I’m interested to see that it’s Best Bitter strength and that their Ordinary Bitter was called AK. Another one for my collection of AKs.

I was shocked at how few hits I found in the newspaper archive for the phrase “Dark Mild” before WW II. It was just a handful, mostly in adverts for Newcastle Mild Ale. It can’t have been term that was much used.

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