1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

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

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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

86 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 86
Reviews: 40
rAvg: 3.61
pDev: 13.02%
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:
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)
View: Beers (20) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 86 | Reviews: 40 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of popery
popery

California

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.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2012 05:15:55 | More by popery
Photo of clearlydiluted
clearlydiluted

New York

3.25/5  rDev -10%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2012 02:02:32 | More by clearlydiluted
Photo of Lawnboy33
Lawnboy33

Massachusetts

2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

05-10-2012 20:05:26 | More by Lawnboy33
Photo of kmo1030
kmo1030

Massachusetts

3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
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).

Serving type: bottle

05-07-2012 01:13:40 | More by kmo1030
Photo of philbe311
philbe311

Pennsylvania

3.58/5  rDev -0.8%
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...

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2012 01:26:52 | More by philbe311
Photo of mdillon86
mdillon86

Pennsylvania

4/5  rDev +10.8%

04-28-2012 04:36:02 | More by mdillon86
Photo of Fattsmagee
Fattsmagee

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -3%

04-27-2012 17:21:26 | More by Fattsmagee
Photo of jondeelee
jondeelee

Massachusetts

2.85/5  rDev -21.1%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-25-2012 21:05:32 | More by jondeelee
Photo of CADMixes
CADMixes

Massachusetts

3/5  rDev -16.9%

04-25-2012 00:08:07 | More by CADMixes
Photo of redfox405
redfox405

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -3%

04-22-2012 18:00:47 | More by redfox405
Photo of Kinsman
Kinsman

California

3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a slightly hazy copper color with a nice bit of off-white head on top. Caramel and toasted bread notes welcome you in. Light hint of earthy hop character.

A nice variety of flavors in a relatively light package. Toasty and slightly sweet malts with just enough hop character to balance it out. Certainly not nearly as hoppy as the 1838 Mild, but a tasty beer nonetheless.

Mouthfeel is light and refreshing. Overall, a nice flavorful low-abv beer... certainly something I would like to see more of from craft brewers.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2012 19:40:45 | More by Kinsman
Photo of Jwale73
Jwale73

Rhode Island

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-16-2012 23:43:01 | More by Jwale73
Photo of jkane
jkane

Massachusetts

3.5/5  rDev -3%

04-16-2012 23:26:59 | More by jkane
Photo of jneiswender
jneiswender

Massachusetts

3.88/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Poured from a liter bottle into a tulip glass. Served at cellar temperature.

Pours a dark ruby color and a nice off white head that is thick.

Smells yeast and toasty. Light earth hop smell.

Taste is yeasty and some warm toast. Chalky. Earthy clay like hop flavor. Light medicinal.

Low carbonation and kind of dry.

Great representation of the style. Tastes like a cask conditioned beer. Very nice.

Serving type: bottle

04-15-2012 00:25:48 | More by jneiswender
Photo of s1ckboy
s1ckboy

Massachusetts

3.25/5  rDev -10%

04-14-2012 18:22:24 | More by s1ckboy
Photo of Bendurgin
Bendurgin

Maine

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

Poured into a pint glass. This one pours a cloudy muddy brown with a small fluffy beige head. Some soapy lace left behind.

The aroma has a nice bready malt profile with a slight metallic hop aroma. Mild and really enjoyable. The pallet give off dry toast flavors with some grassy bitter hops to round it out. Again this one is subtle and enjoyable.

The body is light with good carbonation. Overall a pretty tasty one here. Wouldn't mind having this one on hand for easy drinking occasions.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:58:22 | More by Bendurgin
Photo of andrewinski1
andrewinski1

New Hampshire

3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-14-2012 03:56:43 | More by andrewinski1
Photo of rudzud
rudzud

Massachusetts

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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 22:13:02 | More by rudzud
Photo of Puttenham
Puttenham

Massachusetts

3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2012 01:08:10 | More by Puttenham
Photo of bigred89
bigred89

Maryland

2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

04-11-2012 06:28:02 | More by bigred89
Photo of rab53
rab53

Washington

3.5/5  rDev -3%

04-06-2012 03:31:22 | More by rab53
Photo of hagbergl
hagbergl

Maryland

2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

04-02-2012 18:49:52 | More by hagbergl
Photo of Satchboogie
Satchboogie

New Hampshire

2.75/5  rDev -23.8%

04-01-2012 21:09:23 | More by Satchboogie
Photo of mschofield
mschofield

Massachusetts

4.75/5  rDev +31.6%

04-01-2012 20:00:49 | More by mschofield
Photo of AJD1201
AJD1201

Massachusetts

4/5  rDev +10.8%

04-01-2012 02:51:50 | More by AJD1201
X Ale, 22nd February 1945 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
82 out of 100 based on 86 ratings.