X Ale, 22nd February 1945 - Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

Not Rated.
X Ale, 22nd February 1945X Ale, 22nd February 1945

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BA SCORE
82
good

42 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 42
Hads: 90
rAvg: 3.62
pDev: 6.63%
Wants: 2
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
English Dark Mild Ale |  2.80% 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.
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Reviews: 42 | Hads: 90
Photo of laituegonflable
2.8/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep red colour, streaming cascade of bubbles up the body. Head is cream-coloured, fairly dense with sticky lace. Looks good.

Smells massively sweet. Slight toasty edge with toffee, creme anglaise and buttermilk the main components; nicely but not wholly tempered by a light roasted bitterness which gives a slight boiled-sweet aroma. Some coconut and marshmallow. A bit sweet, but very nice.

Taste is very disappointingly sparse. Weakly sweet, with a hole in the middle of the palate. Sweet on the assault, then quickly watery with light pearl barley and some rice pudding notes. Slight vanilla on the finish and maybe a touch of toastiness, but it's a weird and disappointing palate, bereft of flavour and almost entirely bereft of complexity.

Quite thin, but a bit of texture to it. Gets watery again by the end. Pretty meh.

Held such promise until I tasted it. I'm really baffled as to where the charming aroma character went. Just a big gaping maw where a nice tasty beer might have been. (1,005 characters)

Photo of jondeelee
2.9/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

22nd February 1945 opens with an aroma that seems somewhat out of place, given the beer’s 2.8% ABV, which would seem to speak of fewer ingredients and therefore fewer aromas. But here the nose is ripe with bready, yeasty, malty notes, the brew smelling of wheat fields after rain, wheat toast crust, floury baguette, and hay. Small touches of apple and berry wave languidly in the background, along with a smidgen of brown sugar. But by and large the aromas are grain-based, reminding me instantly of small beers made from second runnings. As a whole the nose is certainly interesting, and while light, seems like something that would go well with a hot summer day.

On the tongue, the beer opens with a good amount of wheat toast crust and floury baguette, as well as the flavor of a fresh-plucked wheat stalk. Some touches of burnt toast add depth, and apple-berry, as well as brown sugar notes adding a bit of complexity. But these flavors are all relatively light and weak, except for a bitterness which lingers throughout the mouthful and comes to almost exclusively dominate the aftertaste, presenting itself almost like the astringency that comes with grapefruit rind, but without the flavor. So light are the flavors, in fact, that in subsequent mouthfuls many of them are lost, and the beer more resembles carbonated water strained through a colander of wheat stalks and hay. Mouthfeel is a watery light to medium-light, and carbonation is medium.

Overall, this is a difficult beer to rate, for while it is certainly interesting for its historicity, there’s not a great deal of flavor in here. In fact, were this served to me at a bar without any explanation of its origins or makings, I would have assumed that the bartender had accidentally gotten a large quantity of water into the glass before pouring the beer. As such, while I do suggest that this be tried, for it is interesting, I add the caveat that the consumer shouldn’t expect to have his or her palate expanded significantly. (2,004 characters)

Photo of Scottgeo
2.95/5  rDev -18.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

I bought this beer as a companion to the 1838 recipe version. In comparison, there is no comparison! The 1838 recipe is so much bigger. Even considering this one on its own merits, I didn't find much exciting about this mild. I didn't get the creaminess I expected. It seemed a bit granular. Interesting experiment though. (322 characters)

Photo of clearlydiluted
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle poured into duvel tulip glass

a - dark amber bordering on a tan brown. head pours a off white tan head.

s - toasty bread, suggests roastiness, and brief flashes of caramel

t - an appearance by some toffee caramel flavor, the beer is mostly bitter with dry herbal notes. some toasty/roasty notes (amber or brown malt?). lingering bitterness.

m - thin, dried out tannic.

o - oh yes, a beer only a war could make taste good. great effort nevertheless, but it never had a chance against a world war. (515 characters)

Photo of Gobzilla
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: poured a brown in color with light brown highlights and a thin bubbly head but did leave a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: there was some mild roastiness, slight caramel sweetness, a bit of graininess and plenty of malty character.

T: the tase actually had some bitter hoppy flavor alongside caramel, hints of toffee, grainy notes, and sweet malty accents.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a moderate amount of carbonation which had a sweet malty, slight roasty, grainy, and mild bitter hoppy finish.

O: haven't really had a whole lot of beers of this style but was pretty good and had an interesting combination of flavors going on. (660 characters)

Photo of Puttenham
3.3/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear brown with no cloudiness.

Settles down to a steady half inch head that lasts to the finish.

The aroma is of a subtle bready maltiness. Very subtle.

I kept this one in the cellar (no refridgeration here, no Sir!) so that the experience would be as close to a true English session ale as possible.

The taste is bready, just like the aroma, and very understated. In a good way.

Carbonation is present. Check.

2.8% alcohol. The least alcoholic beer I've ever had. So this is a session ale! This ale could be drunk for hours on end! Bwaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

No bottle conditioning.

This ale would go well with a meal or over a long...er...session.

I like. The only other version of an English Mild I've had is Magic Hat's "+-" so I have little idea how to compare this ale with it's brethren.

This Mild is meant to be drunk alongside the 1838 version (see my review on that one). It's amazing how the same brewery can make the same named ale but how the actual product can change so much over time. That's what Dann Paquette and Ron Pattinson are trying to demonstrate and they succeed with flying colors.

I've been a fan on Pretty Thing's "Once Upon A Time" series since it's inception. The X-Ale 1838 vs. 1945 project is a great idea and the best yet in the series.

Dann and Ron, if you're reading this please see what you can do about reviving the "lost" German bier styles I keep on reading about: Broyhan, Mumme, Koyt & etc. (1,448 characters)

Photo of silentjay
3.33/5  rDev -8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pours darker than the 1838 (a cloudy amber/brown) with a huge off-white head that laces more in chunks while it recedes in average time.

much, much maltier in the aroma. toasted crackers, a bit nutty, a touch buttery and caramelly.

nutty, caramelly, toasted nuts, brown sugar, no hop presence.

much lighter, and with a watery finish when compared to the 1838.

Some nice flavors, but much more one-dimensional than the 1838.

Overall take on the series: LOVE it. love the historical learning experience this provided. While I'd much rather drink today's more refined, complex, and tastier beers, this experience of comparison between historical timeframes was worth the price alone. (688 characters)

Photo of rinhaak
3.37/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

I should start by saying that this is a well made beer. Pretty Things did a great job researching this old recipe, and it is always an interesting experience to travel back in time and experience the drinks from earlier eras. Bravo to the project!

That said, while I appreciate the low ABV, this beer offers little beyond a history lesson and a nice lunchtime beer. It pours fairly red with a mild head that fades quickly (though it does leave behind a nice lace). The smell isn't strong, but there is a definite aroma of a fruity jam on toast.

The taste is mild, though pleasant. Lots of toasted malt flavors, a dark – almost rye – flavor, and an ever so faint hint of smoke. There is also a slight rustiness about it that reminds one of a red ale. The mouthfeel, probably due to the low ABV, is a tad watery.

Overall, this is a good lunchtime beer, though honestly not among my favorite low ABV milds (a style I tend to enjoy). And though I'm glad I had it, I don't know that the bottle is worth the price. If you're curious to try a sip of 1945-era beer, give it a shot. Otherwise, reach for something else. (1,117 characters)

Photo of Halcyondays
3.38/5  rDev -6.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

22 oz. bottle,

A: Pours lighter than I expected. Deep cooper with a firm white head, leaving some nice lace.

S: Bready malt, toast, surprisingly fragrant.

T: Toast, some light caramel flavours. Hop character is noticable especially in the finish. Bit of seltzer water as well.

M: Light-bodied, but not really thin. Rather long aftertaste. Creamy. Carbonation is too high for the style, it shows why milds really need to be on cask to shine.

O: A pleasant mild, I like the experiment, just wish it wasn't so pricey. (519 characters)

Photo of andrewinski1
3.42/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint glass. Thanks for sharing, Ben! The color is dark copper/brown. There is a light colored fluffy one inch head that has lots of lacing.

The malt aroma on this is pretty enticing. There are some chocolatey notes to go with the full bready malt.

The taste is light, with mild maltiness leading to a bitter finish. This might seem a bit watery to most people (of course).

The body is light, with a crisp carbonation.

This is a nice brew to try. Too bad I can't get it on tap regularly. (504 characters)

Photo of metter98
3.43/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A: The beer is hazy caramel-amber in color. It poured with a quarter finger high off white head that left lacing on the surface and a ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are very light aromas of malts in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but is slightly stronger; flavors of grainy and toasted malts are distinguishable.
M: It feels light-bodied (but not thin and watery) on the palate with a low to moderate amount of carbonation.
O: This beer is very light and refreshing, making it easy to drink and perfectly sessionable. (563 characters)

Photo of jaasen64
3.45/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle poured into Sam Adams glass. Bought to compare with the 1838.

A- Golden brownish, about a half finger of frothy head, hazy translucent. Similar characteristics as the 1838 however a darker brown color compared to the light yellowish of the 1838. Similar head, maybe slightly more carbonation.

S- Malts, barley, a little bit of chocolate, some light spices. Definitely much more malty and less hoppy then the 1838.

T- Malts, a little bit of barley, very light spices and chocolate flavor, a little bit bitter. More watered down then the 1838 version.

M- Fairly light bodied, smooth, easily drinkable/sessionable.

O- It was interesting to see how much this beer changed from the 1838 version to the 1945 version, definitely shows the times of change between the centuries. Both versions had similar appearance characteristics, however the 1945 version definitely had more of a malt backbone then a hop. The 1945 was a little bit less flavorful but much darker both in appearance and taste. I liked the 1838 one a little bit better, however the 1945 version wasn't bad. Definitely worth trying to compare the two. (1,127 characters)

Photo of mountdew1
3.48/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Color was a light golden brown wit ha 1 finger off white foamy head. Head lasted a few minutes before leaving a small layer and copious amounts of lacing on the sides. Handfuls of carbonation bubbled up from the bottom. Aroma was earthy, with caramelized grains being predominant. Taste was malty, a bit thin oatmeal bread. Felt thin in the mouth. Didn't coat well at all, but was nicely carbonated. Overall not a bad beer. However not an outstanding beer. Definitely not as developed or flavorful as others from Pretty Things. (563 characters)

Photo of DirtyPenny
3.5/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Poured a cloudy cider brown with 2 fingers of frothy off-white/beige head.

S: Roasted toffee and nuts. Perhaps even a hint of butteryness as it warms.

T: Toasty caramel moves into a dry, lightly roasted nut flavor. Finish is a bit bitter with some earthy, rootlike notes.

M: Light, clean and crisp with a very dry finish. Not as watery as some higher ABV brews and light beers, which was a pleasant surprise.

O: I wasn't sure what to expect on picking this up. Much more flavorful than I'd thought it'd be, and definitely worth a try as this might be the only time you get the chance. Nice and refreshing after a day at work. (632 characters)

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Rich, three-finger head that settles in a lumpy fashion. Leaves plenty of chunky spots on the glass. The liquid is amber leaning on the darker side and cloudy.

Dry and earthy smell. Darker malt but with no sugar.

The flavor matches the nose but with a stronger level of bitterness which shows up in the swallow. Lighter body with an above average carbonation. There's a bit of a bite to the dry malt flavor. (409 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.53/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: A medium brown pour with some red in it. Large fluffy white head. Head retention is decent with nice speckles of lacing all over the glass.

S: Subtle smell. Grainy mostly with a bit of toast, caramel, and maybe even nuts? Like a really mild brown ale.

T: Very grainy overall. Some hints of toasted malt, nuts and caramel. Again, it's like the world's weakest brown ale.

M: Thin, but what do you expect? It's 2.8%

O: For the third time, it's similar to a watered down brown ale. Drinkable and honestly fairly tasty, just very mild as the name suggests. (559 characters)

Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours a hazy golden copper to amber in color with very light amounts of visible carbonation near the surface of the beer. The beer has a thin (maybe an eighth of a finger tall) white head that quickly reduces to a medium sized patch of mottled extremely thin film with a thin ring at the edges of the glass. Light to moderate amounts of lacing are observed.

S: The overall aroma of this beer is quite mild with light malt smells.

T: There are moderate flavors of toasted and grainy malts with just a very light hint of sweetness. Overall the taste is pretty well balanced.

M: Light bodied with moderate amounts of carbonation.

O: A very interesting experiment to bring back a beer as it was brewed over 65 years ago - I think the experiment was successful and I would definitely enjoy this beer again if I had the opportunity (perhaps I will seek out some of the others in this series when I go shopping next time). Very easy to drink and very sessionable. (964 characters)

Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz. bottle served in a willibecker. Pours a semi-hazy brownish-amber with a frothy, three inch, cream-colored head. Textured swaths of lacing are exhibited during the session. Nose definitely smells like an English Dark Mild - pale, biscuity malts and some coffee notes. Taste follows nose, but it's really quite watered down. There's also a faint, earthy hops presence at the finish. Mouthfeel is light in body with a pleasant, even carbonation. Overall, not my favorite Pretty Things offering, but I do appreciate the juxtaposition between this brew and the X Ale, 22nd November 1838. That said, I enjoy the sessionability of this beer and would really like to see more readily available offerings of this style. (716 characters)

Photo of philbe311
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - A fat fingers worth of rich frothy slightly off-white colored head... Decent retention ultimately recedes leaving a full rich lacing and thicker color... The color is a mix of pale bronze and light brown... A bit murky with a faint haze... A moderate bit of moderate paced carbonation...

S - Interesting aroma... Equal parts spent grain / mash from home brewing and burning charcoals... A touch of smoke... Perhaps jut a very faint hint of brown sugar... A very faint whiff of tobacco...

T - Oddly, almost a near absence of flavor... Some bread crust... A hint of tobacco... A hint of smoke... Simple and subtle...

M - Light to medium bodied... A faint burnt texture... A bit chalky... Light to medium carbonation... A bit thin and a bit rough around the edges...

D - Love the attempt by Pretty Things (disclaimer - I dig everything they put out)... The flavor is a bit dull and the mouthfeel a bit weak, but that's the trade off with a sub 3% ABV offering... Not something I would drink on a regular basis, but worth checking out if you like interesting, low ABV, or slightly offbeat brews... (1,103 characters)

Photo of wisrarebeer
3.6/5  rDev -0.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

A: clear, copper color, poured with thin, but compact, creamy head
S: medium nose, malty, roasted, toasted, grassy, nutty
T: very light but still has some decent taste, light roasted malt with some bitter/astringent finish
M: thin (obviously for ABV) but quenching, albeit light
O: thanks to Ron and Dann for recreating a style that was nearly lost, I love tasting history (372 characters)

Photo of hreb
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool 22oz bottle dated Feb 22, 1945 and Feb 14, 2012. Beer pours deep red amber with a medium thick tan head. Subtle aroma is dominated by malt, with a hint of smoke.

Ooh, way too much carbonation for the style in my book. The flavors here are so gentle they're nearly wiped out by fizz. But moving past that, the flavor is very, very smooth. Letting the fizz out of the beer a bit, the flavors of the grain really come through. This is barley juice, perfectly balanced with alpha hop bitterness. I wish I had the vocabulary to describe the individual malts used here, because there are at least 3 clearly distinct and identifiable malts here. Totally classic English.

Mild is not the most fun to drink, and the only thing I can ding this for is the over carbonation. Otherwise, another fantastic execution by Pretty Things. (826 characters)

Photo of kmo1030
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

pours brown with a just shy of white head.
the aroma is of crusty, well done bread with some earthiness that seems to be connected to the grassy hoppiness.
the taste is also of slightly over-baked bread crust. i find some husky graininess as well. additionally the there is a slight brown sugar flavor, though i find this beer to be quite dry. burnt bitterness mingles with some hop bitterness in the finish.
the mouthfeel is is a touch on the thin side, with soft carbonation.
overall, full flavored and very pleasant for being 2.8 abv. good enough that it makes one wish that brewers these days might lean a little more in this direction (low abv, not low flavor). (666 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a lovely dark amber in the big chalice. Grains in the nose, kind of a brown rice aroma. Not as light bodied as you might expect, though certainly watery in a pleasant way. Plenty of carbonation to add some kick to the mouthfeel.

The grainy flavor is quite robust. Some browned biscuits and a little hop bitterness. Rather hoppy, but finishes with some restraint so as not to overpower the delicate malt. Sort of a rye toast flavor with some roasted malt and an interesting zing of bittering hops. Quite interesting a sensationally flavorful given the "table beer" strength.

An excellent quaff, nice for recalibrating the fluids after the salty surf. From the 22 oz bottle bought at Krisp, formerly Best Damn Beer Store, aka Super Junior Market. (752 characters)

Photo of MatthewWilde
3.63/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Sample: 1 bottle 2012

A: Burnt orange in color, moderate internal carbonation, translucent, pours nice foamy lacing

S: Not much fragrance, definitely heavy in the yeast/wheat category, quite clean, not much else to report

T: Just like the nose, not very flavorful, yeast and wheat throughout, rather bland, but given the style it's not much of a surprise

M: Amazingly smooth, of course, almost water-like, no aftertaste, not overpowering or drying, very refreshing

O: Great story, but weak in the nose and flavor, understandable given the style, but needless to say I'm not a huge fan, quite drinkable though (613 characters)

Photo of BarryMFBurton
3.65/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I love the idea of this series of beers – thank you, Pretty Things. Let’s see what was brewing in London over sixty years ago…

Brewed five months before the date of this tasting (“This batch brewed February 14th, 2012”).

A: Pours very light and foamy, dirty orange-brown and extremely bubbly. Smooth-as-silk foam, light tan and incredibly creamy in texture, is at an inch or so before it drifts delicately down to a remarkable pillowy retention. Lacing doesn’t stop – it IS the interior of the glass; superb.

S: Creamy, biscuity malt aromas are the center of this nose: rich caramel, vanilla extract, brown sugar, and a little maple. It’s unapologetically toasted caramel-forward, and I like it; straightforward British goodness, with complexity that I’d never expect from something so light.

T: Wow, that’s light. Huge mineral tones come out – the biggest I’ve ever had in a single beer – in droves of distinct, semi-metallic dryness. Hops are quite strong for such a low-alcohol beer (or they stick out because it’s such a low-alcohol beer), with bright flavors of herbal, flowery bitters. Think sparkling water with lemon – sweet and tart, zesty and light. Malts are mild and grainy, with a dark mix of nutty and buttery tastes, as well as a tannic profile that’s strong enough to match the hops. Chewy yeast presence on the palate’s end – mildly estery, and even better when you displace the yeast in the bottom of the bottle and pour it in. Aftertaste is a light, almost powdery dryness.

M: Slight seltzer texture on top of a thicker foundation of yeast. It comes out as a layered drink, which is at least interesting, if not enjoyable.

O: Once again, thank you Ron Pattinson and Pretty Things for such a cool experience in beer history. I’d never think something so light could be so flavorful – certainly an eye-opening experience. (1,884 characters)

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X Ale, 22nd February 1945 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
82 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.