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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 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%

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%

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
Photo of rapayn01
3.75/5  rDev 0%

rapayn01, Jun 06, 2012
Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +6.7%

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.

ngeunit1, May 31, 2012
Photo of marchnlv
4/5  rDev +6.7%

marchnlv, May 28, 2012
Photo of Thomas_Picton
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Thomas_Picton, May 27, 2012
Photo of mactrail
4.2/5  rDev +12%

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.

mactrail, May 24, 2012
Photo of natemort13
3.53/5  rDev -5.9%

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.

natemort13, May 22, 2012
Photo of popery
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

popery, May 13, 2012
Photo of PatGreer
4/5  rDev +6.7%

PatGreer, May 13, 2012
Photo of GuidedByBill
4.5/5  rDev +20%

GuidedByBill, May 13, 2012
Photo of raythealeman
4/5  rDev +6.7%

raythealeman, May 13, 2012
Photo of kaelingirl
3.75/5  rDev 0%

kaelingirl, May 08, 2012
Photo of kmo1030
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

kmo1030, May 06, 2012
Photo of SirSketch
2.53/5  rDev -32.5%

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.

SirSketch, Apr 29, 2012
Photo of smcolw
3.28/5  rDev -12.5%

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.

smcolw, Apr 28, 2012
Photo of Fattsmagee
4/5  rDev +6.7%

Fattsmagee, Apr 27, 2012
Photo of CADMixes
3.75/5  rDev 0%

CADMixes, Apr 25, 2012
Photo of jondeelee
3.6/5  rDev -4%

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.

jondeelee, Apr 23, 2012
Photo of dancaplette
4.5/5  rDev +20%

dancaplette, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of Kinsman
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%

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.

Kinsman, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of ZacharyJ
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

ZacharyJ, Apr 18, 2012
Photo of Jwale73
3.65/5  rDev -2.7%

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.

Jwale73, Apr 16, 2012
X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
84 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.