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You must be getting pig sick of WW II. Not me. As today's recipe illustrates.

We're nearing the end of my Barclay Perkins 1942 price list series of recipes. It's the turn of XX, or Best Mild. I've always liked the idea of Best Mild. When I were a lad, there were even a couple of breweries that still brewed an ordinary Mild and a Best Mild. Thwaites and Border, for example.

Barclay Perkins XX was a beer with a long history. For around 100 years it was called simply X. Then, in response to a swinging tax increase in 1931, it was renamed XX. The X name continued to be used, but for a lower-gravity version of the beer. XX remained at the old X gravity of 1043º.

Over that long history, the beer went through many incarnations. When first introduced in the 1830's, it was a 100% pale malt beer with a gravity of 1071º. That's stronger than contemporary IPA. By the 1850's the gravity had fallen to 1065º, but it was still brewed from just pale malt. In 1890 it was 1056º and contained pale malt, a dash of crystal malt, sugar and flaked rice. By the outbreak of WW I, its gravity had dropped to 1051º and it was brewed from a grist of pale malt, amber malt, No.3 invert sugar, flaked maize and a drop of caramel.

At the time of this recipe, it was one of Barclay Perkins biggest sellers. It and the other Milds (X, Ale and their variations) were parti-gyled, though by 1942 there was a great deal of difference in the gravities of the three. X and Ale were a tad under 1030, XX a tad over. This compression would eventually lead to Ale being discontinued.

The beer you see here is very much the blueprint for post-war Mild. About 3% ABV and lightly hopped. The type of beer that springs to mind when the word Mild is mentioned today. It's important to remember that those were just the characteristics of the final version. Just a couple of decades earlier it had been a very different beer.

That's me done for now. Let's go over to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

This XX ale was parti-gyled with a single X ale. The first time I made it I did the actually gyle and two beers. Heres the thing. The difference between the two beers is 1.002 gravity points. After tasting them both they are nearly spot on identical so this beer is definitely not worth the time nor the effort to properly gyle them. Keep this one simple as I had it in the keg and drinking it 4 days after it was brewed.


Grist – This mild is very unique from the other ones we’ve done as its basically a pale bitter with a ton of caramel added to it to darken it. Paul’s mild malt and Golden promise were used. I like Golden promise for milds as it’s a bit apply and I like the extra fruit layer on these guys. The two types of non-malt barley were new to me. Usually one choses one or the other. I do find the combination better than the individual but in a pinch you can really choose either. Flaked is easier to use for most people. The crystal is the standard ~75L UK-type and the Invert No3 is pretty important as its really the only dark flavor in this mix. I took about a gallon of one of the examples I did and used pomegranate molasses instead of invert No3 directly in the carboy. If you have never seen, nor heard of it, google it. Its wickedly fruity without the massively dark black strap flavors and direct substitution for No3 invert gives you a very very unique and wonderful product. Very much non-traditional. That’s why I only did it to part of the beer.

Hops – It really doesn’t matter what you use for this beer. There is little hop character. I’d suggest using something older to use it up as its really not going to come forward very much.

Yeast – The yeast really depends on you. I used the Fullers strain as I love the fruitiness. I do have to say that the Whitbread strain really didn’t work very well.


Advanced Mash – There was a short under let but the single infusion worked pretty much exactly like the multi-infusion.