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It's Mild month. I keep telling myself that in case I forget. "Mild March is Month." I mutter as I stand at the tram stop. At least it gains me plenty of personal space.

First, forget everything you think you know about Mild. Things like colour and strength. Mild isn't necessarily meek. Or dark. Or lightly-hopped even. All of those characteristics are 20th century innovations. We're going back to a proper Mild. Beers were brewed when Queen Victoria was still a randy teenager.

Barclay Perkins, like the other large London Porter breweries, for a while only brewed Porter and Stout. But sometime around 1830 they moved into the Ale market. Just as well. By the middle of the 19th century Ale, mostly Mile Ale, was all the rage and beginning to make a serious dent in Porter sales.

There were three Mild Ales, imaginatively named X, XX and XXX. Let's take a look at them more closely.


Barclay Perkins Ales in 1839
Year
Beer
Style
OG
FG
ABV
App. Attenuation
lbs hops/ qtr
hops lb/brl
Pitch temp
1839
X
Mild
1071.5
1012.3
7.83
82.79%
9.09
3.16
59
1839
XX
Mild
1087.3
1015.5
9.49
82.24%
9.00
4.08
58
1839
XXX
Mild
1104.4
1018.3
11.39
82.48%
8.58
5.31
58
Source:
Barclay Perkins brewing records


The weakest was more than double the strength of a typical modern Mild. The strongest was, well, not for the faint-hearted. To give you an idea of how these beers fitted into the strength hierarchy of the day, here are the typical gravities of some other styles:

Porter: 1060-1065
IPA: 1055-1065
Stout: 1070-1075
Double Stout: 1080-1090

X Ales were, even comparatively, strong beers. Unlike IPA, which was, if anything, below average strength.

I think that's about all I have to say for the moment. Except this: "Drink more Mild!".



It's now Kristen's turn . . . .