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X Ale, 22nd November 1838 - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Not Rated.
X Ale, 22nd November 1838X Ale, 22nd November 1838

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

82 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 82
Reviews: 41
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 3
Gots: 5 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Strong Ale |  7.40% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes/Commercial Description:
This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

So, these are our new historical beer releases: two beers from the same brewery, brewed under the same brand name, 107 years apart. X Ale, 22nd November 1838, and X Ale, 22nd February 1945. These beers were from Barclay Perkins brewery in London (now long closed). They were brewed & sold as the same beer over these 107 years, but the recipe and process changed dramatically. The beer changed from a golden, 7.4%, extremely hopped ale in 1838 into a 2.8% dark grainy beer in 1945. Probably a lot of factors came into play: wars, hop shortages, grain pricing, rationing, taxation, patriotism, the motorcar, the industrial revolution… I’m guessing these all played a role in the weakening and darkening of this beer. Interestingly, since 1945, Mild ale in Britain hasn’t changed so much: it’s still dark, and one of the weakest beers produced.

(Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 03-17-2012)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 82 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of laituegonflable
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale orange colour. HEad is off-white, decent when poured but now a thin crown of large bubbles. Decent pattern of lace left behind. Looks OK.

Smells sweet, but with a tangy edge. Rather citric like raw batter for an orange cake. Caramel, vanilla and orange peel, the latter all on the back, with mild bitterness and slight phenolic edge. Bit too subdued; what's there is quite nice and I'd like more prominence.

Taste is more bitter and hoppy. Mild battery malt on the front that develops a prolonged depth of hoppy bitterness: citric and slightly leafy with notes of earl grey tea, marmalade and a slight grassy edge at the back. Maybe a touch too much bitterness, especially on the back. Potential to be tangy and fresh and it sinks a bit at the end. Otherwise, quite nice.

Thinnish, but a decent foaminess. Fairly warm, stripping texture at the back.

Not bad, but methinks it could have been a lot better.

laituegonflable, Aug 04, 2014
Photo of DGSchmitt
4/5  rDev +6.7%

DGSchmitt, May 18, 2014
Photo of DrJay
3.68/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bright yellow/gold with the faintest of haze, fluffy white cap with sticky lacing. Pale malt and toasted marshmallow aroma, earthy hops, biscuit, and slight fruitiness. Moderate bitterness up front that really lingered in the finish and gave off an herbal character. Pale malt sweetness, sugar, light alcohol, a bit earthy. Medium to full bodied with creamy carbonation and mild warmth. Quite enjoyable. Not a lot of complexity, but well crafted.

DrJay, Dec 24, 2013
Photo of wisrarebeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Brewed 13 Feb 2012. The style on Beer Advocate is incorrect -- this is an English mild not an English strong ale.

After reading Martyn Cornell's 'Beer - The Story of the Pint' I was excited to try the newer version of this style. Thanks to Dann and Ron for resurrecting it!!

A: clear, straw colored with nice thin laced but creamy head
S: medium nose, some fruit and malt with a hint of EtOH
T: Wow!, well made, held up to nearly 18 months in the bottle, vinous, grainy with pronounced hop bitter finish
M: thirst quenching, nice mouthfeel, creamy

wisrarebeer, Aug 22, 2013
Photo of drewone
4/5  rDev +6.7%

drewone, Jul 09, 2013
Photo of RickS95
3.71/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Doesn't look anything like I expected and not sure it fits the style, but it's still a nice looking beer. It looks like a cross between a wit and a pale ale. Pours a milky golden grapefruit color. Very hazy. The head is non-descript, fleeting and doesn't have much retention.

The smell is a combination of malted grains, Royal hops, with a lemony honey splash. When swirled, it releases a Sprite like waft.

The taste is strong. Very aggressive, but good. Bold flavors of grains and hops, with alcohol hitting in the swallow.

I think the mouthfeel could grow on me. I've had stronger, more bitter beers, but this was one of the boldest, most aggressive feeling beers. Full bodied. There's a citrusy sweetness before the hoppy bitterness shows. There's more bitter and some heat from the alcohol in the finish.

I'm not very familiar with the style or the brewer, but this old school beer is exactly what I expected English beers from two centuries ago to taste like. The look with throw you, but the taste is what you'd imagine. In between a drinker and a sipper, it's a good manly beer.

RickS95, Jun 15, 2013
Photo of HattedClassic
3.75/5  rDev 0%

HattedClassic, Jun 08, 2013
Photo of Nachos4two
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Nachos4two, Jun 05, 2013
Photo of FishHeadCukie
4.5/5  rDev +20%

FishHeadCukie, May 08, 2013
Photo of brentk56
3.8/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Appearance: Pours a slightly hazy honey color topped by a very impressive head; nice retention and some streaky lacing is left behind

Smell: Nougat and buttered popcorn, with hints of fruit

Taste: Rather malt forward, with an unusual blend of vanilla, nougat, buttered popcorn, pear, strawberry and apple; in the middle, the earthy hops build and the lingering bitterness extends into the aftertaste but the sweeter malts hold their own through the finish

Mouthfeel: Medium body with moderate carbonation

Overall: Certainly an interesting historical anachronism but it makes me glad that I am a beer drinker in the 21st and not the 19th century as I am not a fan of diacetyl

brentk56, May 04, 2013
Photo of becorwin86
4/5  rDev +6.7%

becorwin86, May 02, 2013
Photo of TheFightingMongooses
3.75/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured from a 22oz bomber into a pint glass. Brewed on Feb 13th, 2012...not sure if this is the bottling date or what.

Appearance - Light amber with a hazy orange glow, though I'm pretty sure it's filtered. Healthy bone-white head with lots and lots of lacing, carbonation is medium-low.

Aroma - Mild fruity hops, slight peach aroma. Malts bring to mind dark baked bread. Earthy and very nice.

Taste - Fruity hops and sweet malts combine to create a black licorice flavor. A tea-like herbal aspect is present throughout.

Mouthfeel - The mouth has an almost tannic fullness. Soft and full bodied, the mouthfeel works perfectly for this beer.

Overall - Straightforward, full of flavor, and easy to drink. This is just an all around good beer.

TheFightingMongooses, Apr 12, 2013
Photo of beertardis
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

beertardis, Mar 17, 2013
Photo of weonfire
3.75/5  rDev 0%

weonfire, Jan 20, 2013
Photo of PEIhop
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

PEIhop, Dec 15, 2012
Photo of Devi0us
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

Devi0us, Dec 12, 2012
Photo of mattparsons
3.25/5  rDev -13.3%

mattparsons, Nov 21, 2012
Photo of dunix
3.75/5  rDev 0%

dunix, Oct 29, 2012
Photo of let8it8grow
4/5  rDev +6.7%

let8it8grow, Oct 15, 2012
Photo of anewlanguage
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

anewlanguage, Oct 13, 2012
Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I love this beer series (and Pretty Things in general). Can’t wait to see what was going on in a little English brewery 174 years ago…

Brewed seven months ago to the day (“This batch brewed Feb 13th, 2012”).

A: Pours incredibly cloudy with only a touch of white bubbles – seriously, the body looks just like grapefruit juice, pale tannish-orange. Creamy white retention encircling the inside the inside of the glass.

S: Light vanilla and toffee, full-on English scents, with a candy-like, nougat character. Sugary, malty, and with creamy, fruity notes of sweet peaches, pear, and mango; that, on a layer of biscuit dough, comprises the grain scents. Light sprinkling of hops, as well, showing a touch of pepper. A subtle nose, but with remarkable old world style.

T: I have to say, that’s one of the most naturally bitter brews I’ve had in recent memory – playing off a peppery grapefruit and lime rind hoppiness, a long grain note of grassy, green tannics comes out as the main driving force of the palate. It’s nuanced by vanilla and mild fruit (again, pear and peach) tones, but still remains a fundamentally bitter beer; an unexpected profile, sure, but not unsatisfying. The finish is slightly nutty, though boldly astringent.

M: Sweet and smooth, this is a beer that I could drink all day. Exactly what a strong British pub beer should be.

O: Each of these back-in-time beers hits something special with me – probably because I always get something different than I’ve had before. This one is pleasing in a manner like no other, partly because of its uniqueness, but mainly due to its evident craftsmanship at ever y subtle turn.

BarryMFBurton, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of ComRock12
3.75/5  rDev 0%

ComRock12, Sep 14, 2012
Photo of Scottgeo
4.28/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this in comparison to the 1945 recipe of the same beer. The two were surprisingly different. My preference is for this one. It's hoppier with a nice creamy mouthfeel. The color is a beautiful deep gold. The alcohol is apparent, but not overpowering. Long finish.

Scottgeo, Aug 24, 2012
Photo of philbe311
3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - A finger's worth of full and fluffy head that has a slight orange colored tint to it... Slight retention gives way to a full creamy lacing... Interesting in terms of haziness where the top half has a moderate haziness, but the bottom of the glass is clear... The color is a fairly vibrant mix of pale orange and lemony yellow... Loaded with moderate to quick paced carbonation... A very pleasant looking offering...

S - Honey and butterscotch are the first to meet the nose... Some orange notes... A bit of candied sugars... Subdued, unique, and rather satisfying...

T - Butterscotch is first on the palate as well... A slightly more than faint euro hop presence sits on the tongue as well... A light fruitiness... Lemon zest as well... A bit yeasty... A bit spicy... Some light candied sugars... A slight spice kick on the deep finish...

M - On the lighter side of medium bodied... A bit sleek... A bit sticky... Lots of very muted subtle carbonation... The finish is both a touch dry and a touch chalky...

D - An interesting beer that seems true to description as this seems like nothing brewed in 2012, but rather harkens back to an earlier edge... Not something that I would drink with regularity, but text book Pretty Things... I love the artistry and history that comes a live with this offering...

philbe311, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found these two brews at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and found the concept intriguing. I brought them home to Australia and shared them now, side-by-side with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a very pale golden colour, with a frothy, crackly but insubstantial head of white that leaves patchy lace. Body is surprisingly light for a big beer like this. Overall, I'm not overly enthusiastic, to be honest.

Nose is mild, but with a smooth malt character, and a slope of something slightly sour, or perhaps coppery to it. It may well just be a clear English hop fragrance, but it melds very oddly with the malt character. Interesting, though.

Taste is light on flavour, but with a solidity to the feel and the vectors that would normally carry that flavour. Mild, weak grain, and a touch of booziness comes through, along with a faint hint of coconut. It's not unpleasant, but it's pretty mild.

Overall, it's a little bit dull. Not unpleasant, just dull—and let's face it, getting a 170-year old 7.4% strong ale recipe to be dull is something of an achievement.

lacqueredmouse, Aug 18, 2012
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X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
84 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.