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Burton Pale Ale set a fashion for making beers as pale as possible. A fashion that didn't always have the best of results. As observed by Southby:

"So long as brilliancy and paleness of colour are preferred to the more sterling qualities, so long will the finest brewing value in hops be frequently neglected. The overweening desire to follow in the footsteps of those who brew the most fashionable beers, sometimes continues after the first leaders of the mode have seen reason to hold back from the extremes to which others may erroneously attribute perfection. This is emphatically the case with regard to pale ale. Granted that pale ale was fashionable, and is still regarded as the highest class of this description of beer, something more is requisite than the quality of paleness. The most admired pale beers of Burton were for many years noticeable as containing less colour than other beers. In the spirit of competition, the palest malt and hops have been run after until the pale ales of Burton are transcended in this particular by the paler ales of other localities. The highest quality of ale is rarely attainable by the use of such materials as malt and hops when unduly free from colour, and economy must be altogether disregarded, when it is attempted to use thin, weak, but light and brilliant hops, which, though commanding the best prices, contain so little condition that every full brewing quality is sacrificed to colour."
"A systematic handbook of practical brewing" by E.R. Southby, 1885, pages 232-233.
Pale does not necessarily mean higher-quality. I think that's a lesson we should all try to remember. Concentrating on a single characteristic of beer only leads to heartache. Something hop-heads should consider.

This obsession with pale colour could explain some peculiarities of late 19th-century Pale Ale grists. Such as the heavy use of sugar. Sugar often made up more than 20% of Pale Ale grists. More than in Porter and Stout. And, less expectedly, more than in Mild.

Then there's crystal malt. Used in pretty much every Bitter today. When did Barclay Perkins first use it in a Pale Ale? 1942. Whitbread were a bit earlier in their use of crystal: 1928. Lees? 1946.

I managed to spin that out quite nicely. And even threw in the odd scrap of meaty fact. Must be getting the hang of this lark. Finally.