Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine by selecting auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

41 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 41
Hads: 83
Avg: 3.67
pDev: 10.35%
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:
Beer added by: UncleJimbo on 03-17-2012

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.
View: Beers (17) | Events
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
Reviews: 41 | Hads: 83
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 669 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 625 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
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.

 621 characters

Photo of bluejacket74
3.88/5  rDev +5.7%
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.

 690 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.63/5  rDev -1.1%
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.

 586 characters

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +9%
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.

 771 characters

Photo of mactrail
4.15/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

 691 characters

Photo of natemort13
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours an uninspiring hazy and grainy dark straw yellow. The head is small and quickly puddles unevenly. Lacing is excellent as it goes down.

Nose is very "beery" with soft citrus accents. Strong bread and some ethanol is present. Sweet grains.

Alcohol is extremely present in the taste. Much heavier than many 10+ % abv beers I've had. Some grassy notes from the hops. Like the aroma the taste is very grainy. Dry finish.

Mouthfeel is slightly prickly from the alcohol and carbonation with a nice underlying velvety texture.

Overall this is a very interesting beer. The idea of resurrecting a beer from the past intrigues me very much. Good to have some sort of an idea of what beer may have been like a century and a half ago, but I'm glad beer has become what it is today after having this one.

 805 characters

Photo of popery
3.67/5  rDev 0%
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.

 1,471 characters

Photo of kmo1030
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pourz a hazed gold with a good sized white gead that fades to a film.
the aroma has got some good grassy hoppiness coupled with a grainy maltiness. there are also touches of bubblegum.
the taste is much the same as the aroma, grainy malt, that gives way to sweet biscuit, bubble gum and ambiguous other fruitiness, with a solid grassy hop aspect. moderate bitterness cleans up the back end, leaving just a touch of grass hops and dinner roll.
the mouthfeel is medium bodied and lightly carbonated, soft and smooth on the palate
uncomplicated, but satisfying and enjoyable, it clearly comes from the hand of a craftsman. fascinating concept also.

 645 characters

Photo of SirSketch
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

A - As the label states, much lighter than you would expect a mild to be. Gold in color, tinged with orange, with a fantastic rocky white head.

S - Loads of esters, some bubblegum, a little solventy, and a nice sweet, toasty malt aroma with some herbal hops, too.

T - Again, lots of bubblegum esters, noticeable alcohol and a curious smoky flavor. Little maltiness as compared to the intense esters.

M - Light to medium bodied and creamy mouth.

O - There seems to be some serious flaws with this beer. I understand this is a 'historical' beer, but the uncontrolled esters and alcohol make this hard to drink.

 613 characters

Photo of smcolw
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
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.

 391 characters

Photo of jondeelee
3.62/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

This version of the X Ale--22nd November 1838--isn't much to look at, being pale, watery, and highly translucent to the eye. Open the bottle, and the initial aromas are also fairly plain, but in this case coming across as lovely, the beer mainly featuring yeasty malts which come across as floury baguettes, toast crust, and biscuit atop a bed of brown sugar, lavender, molasses, white grape, and apricot. Only the slightest hints of citrusy grapefruit zest speak of hops. The overall effect here is of a well-made, simple Pilsner which, while it might not have many ingredients, the ones present have been meticulously selected for quality, and the beer crafted without fillers by someone who truly loves a delicious beverage.

On the tongue, the beer is malty and sugary, the opening notes being bread crusts and brown sugars, these joined quickly by berry, apricot, orange, white grape, and apple fruit esters, as well as touches of vanilla and caramel. Hops do add a small grapefruit-and-pine backing, which mainly sits in the background and keeps the sugars in check, though it does make a larger appearance later in the mouthful as the sugars die off, and constitutes an even larger portion of the aftertaste. In subsequent sips the finer nuances of the fruit esters are lost, and what remains is a bread-and-brown sugar base, with touches of grapefruit and vanilla, as well as grapefruit zest. The aftertaste is, again, largely hops, but here, unfettered and unchecked by sugars, they take on a slightly astringent and bitter quality, much like biting into fresh grass or dandelion stems, and the effect doesn't mesh well with the sugars in the main mouthful. Mouthfeel is medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, the opening flavors of this brew were excellent, but there just aren't enough ingredients in here to support those flavors over time, and over the course of several mouthfuls the beer becomes more and more bitter and astringent, much like the white pith of a grapefruit rind. This effect never becomes overwhelming, but it does mar the beverage. However, even with the lightening of sugars, the brew's 7.4% ABV stays nicely in the background, only contributing a pale alcoholic whiff to the edges. Worth trying for the historical interest, but I'm certainly glad brewing has progressed since this recipe was invented.

 2,349 characters

Photo of Kinsman
3.85/5  rDev +4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a bright, slightly hazy, golden orange body with a nice tight bone white head on top.

Lots of floral and spicy hop character upfront on the nose. Pale grainy malt notes and a bit of a fruity yeast note.

Solid malt backbone lays a slightly sweet and bready flavor upon with the hop flavors build. Delicately floral with a nice touch of earthy spice. Lighter fruit notes help round things out.

Mouthfeel is creamy with a rather heavy body to it. Overall, a tasty and refreshing beer. With beer like this, it's easy to see how mild became so popular for so many years.

 577 characters

Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

 659 characters

Photo of rudzud
3.8/5  rDev +3.5%
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).

 721 characters

Photo of Puttenham
3.93/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours with a pleasant golden hue, slightly hazy.

After the pour a thin head quickly dissipates into a few stray colonies of miniature bubbledom.

The aroma is of a steady breadiness with the faint but unmistakeable smell of alcohol in the background. Ohhhh yeah, I can tell I'm going to like this one even before i drink it.

The taste is delicious. A nice interplay of bready malt with a somewhat subdued bitterness.

Light carbonated mouthfeel.

The bitterness comes out with more assertion in the aftertaste, but still a nice balance.

7.4% alcohol. It gets the job done!

No bottle conditioning. Doesn't need it. One tasty beer. Surprisingly bitter for an English ale. Love it.

Thank you Dann Paquette and Ron Pattinson. Great job.

ps: I would love to see Dann and Ron find some recipes for "lost" top-fermented German biers Broyhan and Mumme (among others) and resurrect them. Hmmm?

 893 characters

Photo of morningthief
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle into a pint glass.

Pours a hazy, light orange with no head and not much lacing halfway through the glass. I quite like the color, though admittedly it does resemble fizzy papaya nectar. No points off if historically accurate.

Smells like an English ale. Mild, grassy hop character with malt undertones. Not this beer's best quality, but not at all bad.

Taste is pretty unique. Floral, grassy hops dominate up front, giving way to a funky, lemony malt backbone. Somewhat musty. A strong flavor of honey is noticeable in the finish. Three-quarters of the way through, I am becoming a fan. Medium to high carbonation, light bodied and crisp save for some slickness toward the end; reminds me of black tea with honey.

Overall a solid brew from Pretty Things. Highly doubt I would purchase another bottle, but I would certainly order on tap if given the opportunity.

 888 characters

Photo of Bendurgin
3.87/5  rDev +5.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a chalice. This one pours a clear golden with a finger of fluffy white head

The aroma is mild with bitter hops in the background and some lingering apple aromas. The pallet has a nice bitter hop flavor with some buttery flavors. Mild bready malts are in the background.

The body is heavy leaving a buttery flavor on the pallet. Overall this one is pretty tasty. I've really come to enjoy Pretty Things.

 417 characters

Photo of timster01801
4.3/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pretty unique tasting beer. I like it. Some agreeable funkiness with a nice hop bite! I'll definitely have this in the fridge alongside bottles of Jack D'or and Fluffy White Rabbits. Great job, Pretty Things.

... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

 254 characters

Photo of MrOH
3.56/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Hazy gold with a deep, but quick to recede white head. Spotty lace.

Sweet, biscuity malt, and not much else. Pome fruit esters, canned pears?

Upfront sweetness, syrupy, then a broad and lingering bitterness builds and sticks around long after the swallow.

Palate coating, firm bitterness keeps it from being clowing.

Pretty cool as an educational tool, but not something I'd want to have more than a split bottle of, even though I do enjoy it. I may have to go back and pick up the companion.

 499 characters

Photo of brureview
3.92/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This must be drunk warm, as it was probably served in 1838. I refridgerated the beer for only 20 minutes, as recommended by the brewer, who was pouring it at a tasting at the Craft Beer Cellar in Belmont, MA.

The beer pours a light tea-copper color, with a pleasant lemon-pie smell to the head. The mouth feel is malty, and intially there was a slight bitterness to the finish, which develops into a nice peppery-lemon.

The beer goes down easily at room temperature.
Surprisingly, I thought I wasn't going to like it- at the tasting( albeit in plastic cups) it was just okay.

It's a good beer from a bygone era and worth drinking.

 636 characters

Photo of YouSkeete
4.2/5  rDev +14.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a mildly hazy golden yellow with a short, bubbly white head. White bread, pale malts and fresh hops in the aroma. Very floral with some smooth yeast characters. Big, bright, bitter hops with some smooth pale malt, notes of honey and some kitchen spices. Nice, rich, smooth, floral, medium sized body with moderate carbonation. Dry, hoppy finish.

 351 characters

Photo of PeterIngemi
3.83/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Spilt a 22 oz bottle poured into a duvel snifter

A: pours a hazy golden with a finger of white head that dissapates nicley and leavs a very nice lacing.

S: yeast, light citrus, bannana, nothing overly complex but a nice aroma just the same.

T: deffinatley yeast, and Breadyness, again, I get a touch of light citrus, almost a touch of bannana in there. Again nothing over the top but a very tasty brew, very drinkable, I enjoyed it very much, almost a little saison like but not really, almost a little like a golden but again not really. Oh yah and hops, add a nice earthy bitterness. Not a ton of hops, but they are noticeable

M: medium bodies with crisp medium carbonation. And a touch of dry bitter on the end.

O: a very interesting brew, especially when you know the story behind this and it's comparative brew the 1945 x ale. I really enjoyed this and everything behind it... Thank you pretty things.

 913 characters

Photo of Dope
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

 669 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50  | nextlast
X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
83 out of 100 based on 41 ratings.