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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
85
very good

83 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 83
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: 83 | Reviews: 41 | Display Reviews Only:
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
Photo of GrindFatherBob
4.5/5  rDev +20%

GrindFatherBob, Aug 13, 2012
Photo of UCLABrewN84
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.

UCLABrewN84, Aug 07, 2012
Photo of Marcos999
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Marcos999, Jul 17, 2012
Photo of EgadBananas
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.

EgadBananas, Jul 12, 2012
Photo of Gobzilla
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.

Gobzilla, Jul 10, 2012
Photo of KSather
2.75/5  rDev -26.7%

KSather, Jun 29, 2012
Photo of rbrefbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

rbrefbeerman, Jun 19, 2012
Photo of bluejacket74
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.

bluejacket74, Jun 12, 2012
Photo of Halcyondays
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.

Halcyondays, Jun 10, 2012
X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
85 out of 100 based on 83 ratings.