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

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

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

90 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 90
Reviews: 42
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.3%
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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Ratings: 90 | Reviews: 42 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.67/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Bottled I brought to share on the party bus to San Diego, CA.

Brewed 2/14/12.

Pours a murky dark orange with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, and herbal hops. Taste is much the same but the flavors are somewhat mild. There is a mild amount of hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with a better smell than taste and not something I would go after again. Really interesting to see how the same beer changed over 100+ years with different recipes.

Photo of GRG1313
4/5  rDev +10.8%

Photo of metter98
3.43/5  rDev -5%
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.

Photo of jlindros
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

At 2.8% I'm not sure if I'm about to drink beer or malt juice. But I guess that's the point Pretty Thing is making with the difference between this and the 1838 version.

It pours a light fizzy head of about 1/2 a finger that fades pretty slowly at least, over a beer that's slightly hazy coppery cranberry reddish slightly orange tinge color. The head leaves a bit of lazing when it does disappear.

Nose is a bit light but more potent than I expected. Starting with some herbal earthy hops, a hedgerow style I believe but not strong, more like a mild. Then some malts, a light aromatic like malt with a hint of a more complex malt like rye but not quite rye, can't put my finger on it.

Taste is also mild, quite malty, bready tasting, it does taste like fresh bread dough. Then toasty malts, flaked malt flavors, a bit of a sweet sugary taste, not quite brown sugar but something like that. Malt husks give a bit of a grainy effect, with a juicy malt flavor. Then mild grassy hops, a light bitterness, with a slight herbal hop but not much. A slight crystal toasty malt comes through as well. The finish is dry, with a light but decent bitterness, a slight grassy hop lingering, and some light toasted malts finishing late, but fairly thin on the back end.

Mouth is lighter bodied but fits the beer well, decent carbonation.

Overall not bad, fairly light overall but that was the style at the time, and the flavor potential is pretty good for what they had to work with. No bad flavors either, but I'm sure this wouldn't last more than a couple months before getting bad tasting. I can't wait to compare this to the 1838 version.

Photo of mactrail
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
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.

Photo of smcolw
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of Halcyondays
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Photo of dbrauneis
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.65/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Saw the two bottles at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and brought them back to Sydney, Australia to share side-by-side with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a clear deep coppery colour, with a mild, filmy head of white that stays in pock-bubbled islands on the surface of the glass. Body is pretty solid and holds carbonation nicely. Looks decent enough.

Nose is rather pleasant. Firm grainy, slightly roasted and sweet malt characters, with a twist of biscuity nuance and even perhaps some vanilla. Not bad.

Taste is clear and clean, with more crisp grain notes giving an aromatic, sweet cookie fragrance to the brew as a whole. Despite the very thin body, the grain flavours manage to pull it through to the finish, leaving no weak or empty spots on the palate. It ends up pretty tasty.

Feel is weak and light, which is not unexpected.

Overall, this is decent stuff, and (surprisingly, given the back story) easily the better of the two. Perhaps I'm just a child of my century, but I much preferred this grainier, more flavoursome 1945 version than the insipid (although markedly stronger) 19th century version.

Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of PEIhop
3.75/5  rDev +3.9%

Photo of DrJay
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Clear copper with a fluffy beige cap, sticky lacing and good head retention. Mild aroma, malty and earthy with a hint of fruit, a bit herbal -- very nice. Medium bitterness with mild malt character, herbal hops, light breadiness, perhaps a hint of mint. Very light bodied and nearly thin, with moderate carbonation and a bit of dryness. Pretty tasty and easy drinking with an interesting hop profile.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Photo of rudzud
3.98/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a bottle of this at Julio's. Shared with veotho.

A - Poured into a Chimay tulip a crystal clear hazel hue with a creamy one finger head that fades to leave a thick, creamy, frothy head. This is only 2.8%?? Quite impressive.

S - Aromas of rich roasty toasty malts and grains. Slight metallic finish.

T - Like drinking a bowl of cereal...really. I mean that. Strong sweet malts and roasted grain. Toasted grain and nuts. Very different.

M - Mouthfeel is thin and watery, which I suppose is to be expected for such a low ABV. Still though this is easy drinkin.

O - Overall I felt this was very good and unique. I would have thought this would be the 1800's style based off the ABV but I guess people made the most they could during the grain shortage due to the War. Glad to have tried this.

Photo of Jwale73
3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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.

Photo of laituegonflable
2.8/5  rDev -22.4%
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.

Photo of popery
3.95/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a rosy shade somewhere between mahogany and amber. It's fairly cloudy, though that could be my fault from the pour or just not letting the beer settle for long enough (I cracked the bottle within hours of liberating it from my local beer shop). Small, sudsy head, off-white. Just a bit of lacing.

The aroma is stronger than you might expect from a <3% abv beer. It's full of biscuity malt with a dash of mineral, herbaceous hops and a hint of smoke. There's a light medicinal note, some caramel and fresh bread. A healthy amount of layered malt sweetness is apparent. It's surprisingly complex, and the varied malt bill comes through very nicely. This is a beer that could hold its own with stronger brews.

The taste starts with some light, bready sweetness with a touch of herbal hops. The hop presence builds to a pleasant balance, as the malt picks up darker tones of caramel and light roast. There's a mild acidity. It's almost tangy with citrus and wisps of smokes.

The beer has relatively low carbonation. There's nothing really wrong with that, but the beer would be better out of a cask. Otherwise, it has a nice round mouthfeel, even as it manages to sit rather lightly on the palate. The beer is very easy to drink.

To be honest, I was very excited to see these beers get distributed to my area. I had read about them on Shut Up About Barclay Perkins and am a longtime fan of Ron Pattinson. Plus, any beer backed up by proper historiography with lovely primary sources and such is going to make me a bit weak in the knees. Tacking on a recent read of Amber, Gold & Black and a love of good English-style ales, it would be fair to say that I'm somewhat primed for this review. Happily, I don't think you'll need that perspective to enjoy this beer, as it's a tasty treat for anyone with an appreciation with low abv beers with an English profile. I fervently wish that more American brewers would take on authentic British recipes, particularly the lower abv stuff that is simply missing from the American beer world, outside of the occasional brewpub or limited keg release.

Photo of Davepoolesque
2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

Photo of bigred89
2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

Photo of UncleJimbo
4.25/5  rDev +17.7%

Photo of Dope
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

Photo of vermilcj
3.7/5  rDev +2.5%

Photo of jzlyo
3.5/5  rDev -3%

Photo of ngeunit1
4/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours an almost clear copper-orange with a finger of frothy off-white head atop. The head fades down at a normal pace leaving behind some light lace.

S - Aroma is a mix of some toasted caramel malts, some nuttiness, dark brewing sugars, a bit of bread, and a light fruitiness.

T - Starts off with a mix of some sweet caramelized malts, dark brewing sugar, and a touch of nuttiness. Through the middle, a touch of pine and reiny hop comes through with a touch of light fruity yeast esters. The finish is a mix of sweet bready malts with some brown sugar and a bit of yeast esters.

M - Medium-light bodied with moderate carbonation. Feels smooth with a sweet and estery finish.

D - Very drinkable. Very smooth and sessionable, but there is still a good amount of balanced flavors. Nice malt character.

Photo of Kmlund
3/5  rDev -16.9%

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X Ale, 22nd February 1945 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
82 out of 100 based on 90 ratings.