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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 jondeelee
3.6/5  rDev -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.

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%
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.

Kinsman, Apr 20, 2012
Photo of ZacharyJ
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

ZacharyJ, Apr 19, 2012
Photo of Jwale73
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.

Jwale73, Apr 16, 2012
Photo of Rochefort10nh
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Rochefort10nh, Apr 14, 2012
Photo of rudzud
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).

rudzud, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of Puttenham
4/5  rDev +6.7%
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?

Puttenham, Apr 12, 2012
Photo of bigred89
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

bigred89, Apr 11, 2012
Photo of morningthief
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

morningthief, Apr 10, 2012
Photo of Bendurgin
3.88/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Bendurgin, Apr 09, 2012
Photo of calmstock
3.75/5  rDev 0%

calmstock, Apr 08, 2012
Photo of timster01801
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
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.

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

timster01801, Apr 07, 2012
Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

rab53, Apr 06, 2012
Photo of hagbergl
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%

hagbergl, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of MrOH
3.6/5  rDev -4%
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.

MrOH, Apr 02, 2012
Photo of Satchboogie
3.75/5  rDev 0%

Satchboogie, Apr 01, 2012
Photo of brureview
3.93/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

brureview, Mar 31, 2012
Photo of jhb138
4.5/5  rDev +20%

jhb138, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of YouSkeete
4.23/5  rDev +12.8%
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.

YouSkeete, Mar 29, 2012
Photo of PeterIngemi
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

PeterIngemi, Mar 28, 2012
Photo of Dope
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.

Dope, Mar 26, 2012
Photo of jaasen64
3.58/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 oz bottle

A- Yellowish golden, translucent but slightly hazy especially near top. About a half finger of frothy white head. Layered lacing that clings to glass. Average carbonation.

S- A little bit hoppy, malts, a little bit grainy, some wheat and spices.

T- Lightly sweet and bitter. Hops but not overly hoppy, a little bit of a sweet grainy wheat taste. Very light sweet lemon taste. Light sweet aftertaste.

M- Medium bodied to a little bit on the lighter side, goes down smooth, alcohol well hidden.

O- This was a very interesting beer. Slightly different then most beers I've tried. Nice balance between the light hops, sweetness, and some spices. Alcohol definitely well hidden, could have used a little bit more flavor. Awesome to know this is what people were drinking 174 years ago. Will have to compare to the 1945 next.

jaasen64, Mar 24, 2012
Photo of brewandbbq
3.63/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle.

Pours hazy gold with an inch of dense white head. A partial skim coat for the duration and tattered sheets of lacing.

Aromatics are a blend of earthy hops, honey-drizzeled malt, and pear skins. Cut grass and apples follow through.

Medium bodied with a crisp mouthfeel.

A pressing, almost numbing bitterness starts off the palate. Grapefruit, bitter greens, and pithy fruit stones follow through with light malt running under.

Finishes with a lenghty, assaulting bitterness, biscuity malt, and a trace of warmth.

If this is a solid representation of this recipe from 1838, I would say the IIPA was well on it's way at that time.

brewandbbq, Mar 23, 2012
Photo of celticfutblclub
3.5/5  rDev -6.7%

celticfutblclub, Mar 21, 2012
X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
84 out of 100 based on 82 ratings.