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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

81 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 81
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 10.13%
Wants: 3
Gots: 4 | 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)
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Ratings: 81 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
UCLABrewN84

California

3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled I brought to share on the party bus to San Diego, CA.

Brewed 2/13/12.

Pours a slightly murky yellow with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same along with some hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is pretty drinkable but not something I would go after again. Definitely an interesting concept for the beer.

Serving type: bottle

08-07-2012 01:06:07 | More by UCLABrewN84
Photo of brentk56
brentk56

North Carolina

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

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2013 23:47:21 | More by brentk56
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

3.45/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, much brighter and lighter colored than the 1945 version, this one pours a light fluffy 1/2 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice lacing, similar to the other, but the color of this is an opaque golden with a hint of a yellow-orange.

Nose is fairly light, much lighter than the 1945 as well, but completely different. This brings some light aromatic fruity hops, bit grassy as well, very light toasty golden malts, mostly missing on the nose.

Taste is bigger, almost golden Belgiany flavored actually... starting with the malts, the malts seem more complex than just 100% pale, and it has an interesting body feel. Some fruity flavors come through, most likely from the yeast, with a light estery flavor. then hops, decent bitterness with some grassy floral hops, and slight earthy flavors. The hops also seem to get slightly fruity, and eventually slightly herbal, but also surprised to see that just Kent hops. The bitterness builds to a big decent bitterness towards the finish, and lingers well past the finish. It dries a bit on the finish as well, with some light lingering malt and fruity yeast flavors, but mostly grassy earthy hop flavors. the booze is there, definitely gives you a warming and slight boozy kick.

Mouth is fuller bodied, almost abrasive gritty like, with a decent warmth of booze that almost starts to tingle, and decent carb.

Overall not bad, a much bigger and completely different beer from the 1945, bolder, hoppier, stronger, etc, but I think I prefer the complexity of the overall beer in the 1945. Interesting how much it changed, almost as if going down by so much in grains, alcohol, hops, etc should have made the beer worse, but at the same time they learned how to do more with less. This being a fairly simple recipe makes it a bit too bland overall IMHO, but still a fairly tasty beer.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2012 21:09:12 | More by jlindros
Photo of mactrail
mactrail

Washington

4.2/5  rDev +12%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Hazy, golden amber beer that gets cloudier as you stir up the yeast in the bottom. Fresh scent of yeast and with a hint of perfume. Full bodied with nice carbonation filling the mouth.

Loads of malt. Full of the lightly roasted barley flavor. Ends on a bitter note with the yeasty sediment. Some rustic hints like a good Saison. Rye bread with a hint of apples. Lots of hops but balanced with the malty richness. It all seems very appropriate to the stronger beer style.

I think is is really an intriguing and satisfying beer. One of the most drinkable beers on my Philly trip. Hats off to Pretty Things for not just trying something weird but doing it well. 22 oz bottle from the Foodery.

Serving type: bottle

05-24-2012 03:50:45 | More by mactrail
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

3.75/5  rDev 0%

04-14-2012 22:28:17 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of smcolw
smcolw

Massachusetts

3.28/5  rDev -12.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Deep amber/light brown color. Clear. Good starting with some lasting power. Leaves plenty of spotty lace.

Very astringent, strongly earthy aromas. Literally smells like mud.

Dry, dry, dry malt flavor. Very thinly bodied even though the carbonation level is quite low. There's a mild touch of bitter hop but it does not last through to the aftertaste. Not as harsh as the smell indicates.

Serving type: bottle

04-28-2012 20:40:30 | More by smcolw
Photo of Halcyondays
Halcyondays

California

3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22 oz. bomber,

A: Pours a translucent goldenrod with a medium white head, very good thick lace.

S: Cedarwood and pine, some citrus peel character as well.

T: Pine oil and melon rind are heavy (especially in the finish). Light malty notes of bread, white grape and sugar cane. Some minor booze is noticable.

M: Crisp carbonation, medium-bodied, fairly clean finish, turbid to a degree. Medium-long aftertaste of the hops.

O: An interesting beer, kind of a cross between a modern day Double IPA and a Malt Liquor. Nice to get a glimpse of history. I'd certainly like to try the 1945.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2012 04:44:33 | More by Halcyondays
Photo of lacqueredmouse
lacqueredmouse

Australia

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.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2012 05:23:35 | More by lacqueredmouse
Photo of drewone
drewone

California

4/5  rDev +6.7%

07-09-2013 06:39:53 | More by drewone
Photo of rab53
rab53

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

04-06-2012 03:34:34 | More by rab53
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

12-24-2013 01:18:32 | More by DrJay
Photo of PEIhop
PEIhop

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

12-15-2012 15:40:36 | More by PEIhop
Photo of bluejacket74
bluejacket74

Ohio

3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, label says brewed on February 13, 2012. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a hazy golden/orange color with about an inch off-white head that stayed around for a while. There's also a good amount of lacing. The brew smells like bready malt/grain, citrusy hops (orange peel, apricots), and a bit of caramel. I think the brew tastes mostly like the aroma, but the citrusy flavors (plus some lemon peel) are dominant compared to the other ones. There's also a bit of bubblegum noticeable in the taste, along with a bitter finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and is well carbonated. For $7.99 a bomber, I'd try this one again for sure. I thought it was good.

Serving type: bottle

06-12-2012 21:34:50 | More by bluejacket74
Photo of Gobzilla
Gobzilla

California

3.4/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured .com pale golden yellow in color with slight orange highlights and a finger of bubbly head that left some good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of malty sweetness was apparent on the first whiff but had citrusy, grainy, and hints of spice.

T: there was tons of grain flavor on the palate alongside citrusy accents, sweetness from the malts and a touch of spice.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, citrusy, mild spice, and crisp finish.

O: it was a decent refreshing beer that wood go good lounging out pollside on a hot socal summer day.

Serving type: bottle

07-09-2012 23:33:53 | More by Gobzilla
Photo of popery
popery

California

3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours bright and amber. It's a nice pale brew. The head is white, fluffy and not long for this world. Hazy, unfiltered.

The aroma is full of big, earthy hops. It's fresh herbs, grass and rich soil crushed together, and underneath, the pale malt provides plenty of simple sweetness. I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of such a simple malt bill - there's a healthy cider note to it - but it's an interesting beer and full of English flavor. Some fusel alcohol.

The taste is heavy on the hops and pale malt, unsurprisingly. The hops taste of grass, raw mushrooms, lemons and pine resin. Plenty of bitterness, particularly in the finish and aftertaste. The beer is drier than expected but still feels heavy with pale malt. It's not a bad malt flavor, particularly for such a simple malt bill, just simple.

The mouthfeel is relatively low on carbonation and a bit slick. Definite alcohol and strong bitterness in the finish.

I was more excited to try this beer than the 1945 version, but I ended up preferring the 1945 version. This beer is interesting, particularly as a historical recreation, and fairly enjoyable, outside of that angle, however it's almost too close to modern beers. It's just hard not to compare it to modern IPAs. Sure, it's all English in character, but it's not hard to see past that to the basic simple malt plus lots of hops formula. And in that respect, it's a nice change of pace, but I still prefer the modern take on the formula.

Serving type: bottle

05-13-2012 06:55:17 | More by popery
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

3.65/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22oz. bottle served in a nonic. Pours a pale, straw gold hue with a semi-hazy clarity and a loose, quarter inch bright white head that quickly dissipates towards the shoulders, leaving a thin band and a sudsy skim. Nose is very discrete - pale malts and a suggestion of earthy hops. Taste is consistent with nose; however, there's also a bit of sweetness to this (almost like cereal grains). Mouthfeel is light-medium in body with an even carbonation and a slightly oily consistency. Overall, a decent brew, albeit lacking in much complexity. That said, I have to give Pretty Things a great deal of credit for embarking on this interesting historical journey.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 01:16:30 | More by Jwale73
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

3.78/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Shared this bottle purchased at Julio's with veotho. Poured into a Chimay chalice.

A - Pours a clear golden hue with a one finger creamy head that fades to leave a light cloud and halo.

S - Malts, corn (in an adjunct sense), grains, and light floral hops. The floral hops is quite nice.

T - Ehh..light booze (infact, a bit too much for my liking), sweet malts, slight grainy notes, light honey like sweetness. All these flavours are quite light.

M - Mouthfeel isnt too bad. The ABV is noticeable but the finish is crisp and drinkable.

O - Overall this is a good and unique beer. Glad I got to try such an old recipe but I personally preferred the 1945 version of the beer (which in itself earned huge unique points).

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 22:16:55 | More by rudzud
Photo of EgadBananas
EgadBananas

Louisiana

3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a super hazy, oxymoronic deep pale colour, with a light coloured head that laces slightly. The aroma is earthy breadiness, flowery hops with some hints of grass and biscuits. Rather bitter punch up front on the taste, with a bread sweetness, maybe some wheat, with some flowery hops on the finish along with some more bitterness. There is some noticeable heat. The body is medium, creamy with a good carbonation level.

Quite interesting that this was considered a "Mild" back in the day. But then again, if I was a common working man back in London at that time, this probably would be perfect after a hard days work.

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2012 22:56:12 | More by EgadBananas
Photo of UncleJimbo
UncleJimbo

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +6.7%

03-17-2012 04:12:44 | More by UncleJimbo
Photo of VelvetExtract
VelvetExtract

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -12%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a hazy golden color. Head is quite minimal. Very opaque. Color of the body is vibrant.

S-Nose is quite yeasty. Pale fruits (pear and apple). Hops are quite dull. Malt is bready. Overall, a decently pleasant aroma albeit mild.

T-Taste is strange. Surprisingly grassy. Hard to describe 'chemical' flavor. Quite bitter. Underlying sweetness. Very odd herbal flavor. I cannot tell if I enjoy it slightly or do not care for it. Might have to save judgement until I have finished.

M-Creamy but there is a bunch of carbonation. Dry and bitter. Alcohol comes into play. Body is medium to heavy.

O/D-Very strange brew. I respect the effort to try and recreate and old recipe, but I will say that brewing has taken a big, gigantic, enormous step forward since 1838. At nearly $8 a bomber, this wasn't worth it. I love Pretty Thing, but this one doesn't really do it for me. Definitely won't be shelling out another $6 for the other X Ale.

Serving type: bottle

03-18-2012 02:44:57 | More by VelvetExtract
Photo of ngeunit1
ngeunit1

California

4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a cloudy golden-orange with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down fairly slowly leaving behind some nice lacing.

S - Aroma is a mix of sweet bready malts, citrus and earthy hops, and a bit of English yeast esters.

T - Starts off with a mix of bready malts with a bit of earthy hops and a touch of lemon peel. Through the middle, some resiny hop and a touch of bitterness alongside some English yeast flavors. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malt with some piney hops, some light fruits, and a touch of light booze.

M - Medium-plus bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a dry and lightly boozy finish.

D - Very drinkable. Smooth and overall nicely balanced. The simple malt bill allows the other flavors to come out a bit more.

Serving type: bottle

05-31-2012 05:32:43 | More by ngeunit1
Photo of Dope
Dope

Massachusetts

3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

A: A cloudy pale golden-orange pour. Big fizzy white head on top. Head retention is quite good, it lingers for a while. Nice lines of lacing as you drink.

S: Toasted bread/biscuity malt. A bit of pear and grass. Maybe a touch of honey? Quite subtle regardless.

T: Again, biscuity or toasty malt. Flash of grassy and herbal bitterness in the middle. Some honey and pear, perhaps even a little melon? Lingering bitterness in the aftertaste.

M: Pretty medium bodied, smooth.

O: Interesting experiment for sure. I'm drinking this version first. Definitely a unique beer, I'm not sure I've had anything like it to compare to. Tasty enough but nothing earth-shattering.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2012 03:16:26 | More by Dope
Photo of bigred89
bigred89

Maryland

3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

04-11-2012 06:28:21 | More by bigred89
Photo of kaelingirl
kaelingirl

Massachusetts

3.75/5  rDev 0%

05-08-2012 19:17:41 | More by kaelingirl
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

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...

Serving type: bottle

08-19-2012 23:06:00 | More by philbe311
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X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
84 out of 100 based on 81 ratings.