In the glory years of British brewing, all sorts of beers were exported. Pale Ale we all know about. Porter and Stout, too. Scotch Ale and Burton ale. The whole set, pretty much. Including Mild Ale.
Pale Ale and Porter went to India. Stout went to teh West Indies. Australia got Pale Ale, Scotch Ale and Porter. But where did the Mild go? Some of it went to The Netherlands. I know that, because I've seen the newspaper adverts:
Algemeen Handelsblad, 01-11-1880
Het Nieuws van den Dag, 16-03-1880
Whitbread only brewed this beer for a relatively short period of time:1865 to 1880. I've no idea why they stopped brewing it . They never did produce that much of it. Maybe it wasn't worth the trouble. Though 1880 is a very significant date, being the year of the Free Mash Tun Act.
On to the beer itself. A bit of an odd beast. Whitbread discontinued the domestic equivalent in 1876. That had a similar gravity, but a much lower hopping rate. Just under 3 lbs a barrel compared to a bit over 6 lbs in XX Export. To be honest, it was more like Whitbread's KK than their XX. KK had around 4 lbs of hops per barrel.
What would I call this beer? Probably an Export Burton. There. That's another new style. I should get a job with the Brewers' Association.
That's it from me. Time for Kristen to set the controls for the heart of the sun . . . . . .
Grist – This one is very simple and difficult at the same time. The grist calls for two different types of mild malt. Most people can only find one, if any at all. Seeing that this is the only malt in the entire beer, do your best to find some. If you haven’t used it before it’s a good place to see if you really like it as its 100% mild malt. I’m using a 50:50 mix of Paul’s mild malt Fawcett Mild Malt. If you can’t get any type of mild malt, use at least a malty pale malt like Optic or Cocktail. FYI – I tried using 100% Ashburne Mild. Blech. I could see maybe 25% but I don’t know even then… The invert No2 at ~15% really adds a lot of darker fruit depth and complexity without stomping all over the beer that No3 would do here. If you haven’t made No2 before, it’s the same technique and such for making the No3, just less molasses. If you can’t be bothered at least use some Golden Syrup…but be bothered.
Hops – This is a pretty gnarly beastie. Lots of hops, the vast majority being low alpha stuff. The Cluster are really the only ones that are higher. I’ve made this both with higher alpha Challenger at 105 and the Cluster and found the lower alpha stuff really adds to the amount of tannins and mouthfeel in the beer. The higher alpha just doesn’t have the same about of green matter going it. Goldings were the finishing hops as you can see. All very elegant and works beautifully well. You can really use any finishing hops that you’d like. One of the batches I did a mix of Falconers Flight and Pacifica and it turned out pretty marvelous.
Yeast – I put the Whitbread yeast in this recipe as it’s a Whitbread beer. I, for one, do not like it. Never have. I split one batch with Wyeast Thames Valley II and White Labs Australian Ale. I’ve always been a huge fan of the Thames Valley II but I have to say the Convicts really stole my attention. A great yeast that really emphasized the bready, toasty character of the mild malt without treading on the hops. I have my friend Aussie mate Peter Symons to thank for the suggestion but I’m sure he won’t remember with all the 4X he’s drank. ;) Thanks Peter!
Advanced Mash – The simple one step mash will do fine if in a rush. The higher dextrin content of the mild malt is really helped by a step mash as see below. The beer finishes a few points lower and much more crisp.