X Ale, 22nd November 1838 | Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project

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83
good
83 Ratings
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X Ale, 22nd November 1838X Ale, 22nd November 1838
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
Massachusetts, United States
prettythingsbeertoday.com

Style: English Strong Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.40%

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes / Commercial Description:
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.

Added by UncleJimbo on 03-17-2012

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

BEER STATS
Ratings:
83
Reviews:
41
Avg:
3.67
pDev:
10.35%
 
 
Wants:
3
Gots:
5
For Trade:
0
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User Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 83 |  Reviews: 41
Photo of SirSketch
2.59/5  rDev -29.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 4 | overall: 2

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.

 613 characters

Photo of greenengineer
2.63/5  rDev -28.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

22 oz bottle into a plain pint glass. Served slightly chilled. Brewed 2/13/12 according to the bottle
A - clear yellow/amber, decent head fades quickly, buts sticks to the sides of the glass. As the bottle says "paler than you might expect"
S - malty aroma, hops hard to detect
T - bitter, astringent even. Not liking this much. Has a bit of a metallic taste. Doesn't taste like it has really come together. Second and third sips are tasting a bit better, but still not terrific.
M - thin, but good fizz.
O - I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that this needs to spend a bit longer in the bottle. I like so much of what Pretty Things does, but this misses the mark for me. Hops bitterness very strong in the taste, but not in the nose. Extra point for local.

 782 characters

Photo of Devi0us
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of KSather
2.75/5  rDev -25.1%

Photo of mattparsons
3.25/5  rDev -11.4%

Photo of smcolw
3.26/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

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.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.33/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A-Pours a hazy golden color. Head is quite minimal. Very opaque. Color of the body is vibrant.

S-Nose is quite yeasty. Pale fruits (pear and apple). Hops are quite dull. Malt is bready. Overall, a decently pleasant aroma albeit mild.

T-Taste is strange. Surprisingly grassy. Hard to describe 'chemical' flavor. Quite bitter. Underlying sweetness. Very odd herbal flavor. I cannot tell if I enjoy it slightly or do not care for it. Might have to save judgement until I have finished.

M-Creamy but there is a bunch of carbonation. Dry and bitter. Alcohol comes into play. Body is medium to heavy.

O/D-Very strange brew. I respect the effort to try and recreate and old recipe, but I will say that brewing has taken a big, gigantic, enormous step forward since 1838. At nearly $8 a bomber, this wasn't worth it. I love Pretty Thing, but this one doesn't really do it for me. Definitely won't be shelling out another $6 for the other X Ale.

 940 characters

Photo of Gobzilla
3.38/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: poured .com pale golden yellow in color with slight orange highlights and a finger of bubbly head that left some good lacing sticking to the glass.

S: lots of malty sweetness was apparent on the first whiff but had citrusy, grainy, and hints of spice.

T: there was tons of grain flavor on the palate alongside citrusy accents, sweetness from the malts and a touch of spice.

M: the brew was light to medium in body with a good amount of carbonation which had a sweet, malty, citrusy, mild spice, and crisp finish.

O: it was a decent refreshing beer that wood go good lounging out pollside on a hot socal summer day.

 621 characters

Photo of silentjay
3.41/5  rDev -7.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

pouring the two of the series side-by-side, my reviews will compare/contrast the similarities/differences.

the 1838 pours a lot lighter in color (a hazy straw) with a carbonation made up of smaller bubbles that stick around a while and lace pretty well.

very fruity, almost phenolic aroma with lots of crakcery/biscuity malts and some grassy/herbal hops. pretty tame aroma.

hoppy, grassy, herbal, tea-like with plenty of fruity esters. light pale maltiness and a bit of booze. a touch of a toasted nut flavor on the back end.

medium bodied with light carbonation and a sticky feel left on the finish.

I mean, for the ABV, this drinks pretty well. rather tame aroma, but some complexity due to a layering of different flavors.

 730 characters

Photo of jlindros
3.43/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow, much brighter and lighter colored than the 1945 version, this one pours a light fluffy 1/2 finger head that fades semi slowly with nice lacing, similar to the other, but the color of this is an opaque golden with a hint of a yellow-orange.

Nose is fairly light, much lighter than the 1945 as well, but completely different. This brings some light aromatic fruity hops, bit grassy as well, very light toasty golden malts, mostly missing on the nose.

Taste is bigger, almost golden Belgiany flavored actually... starting with the malts, the malts seem more complex than just 100% pale, and it has an interesting body feel. Some fruity flavors come through, most likely from the yeast, with a light estery flavor. then hops, decent bitterness with some grassy floral hops, and slight earthy flavors. The hops also seem to get slightly fruity, and eventually slightly herbal, but also surprised to see that just Kent hops. The bitterness builds to a big decent bitterness towards the finish, and lingers well past the finish. It dries a bit on the finish as well, with some light lingering malt and fruity yeast flavors, but mostly grassy earthy hop flavors. the booze is there, definitely gives you a warming and slight boozy kick.

Mouth is fuller bodied, almost abrasive gritty like, with a decent warmth of booze that almost starts to tingle, and decent carb.

Overall not bad, a much bigger and completely different beer from the 1945, bolder, hoppier, stronger, etc, but I think I prefer the complexity of the overall beer in the 1945. Interesting how much it changed, almost as if going down by so much in grains, alcohol, hops, etc should have made the beer worse, but at the same time they learned how to do more with less. This being a fairly simple recipe makes it a bit too bland overall IMHO, but still a fairly tasty beer.

 1,839 characters

Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.44/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Found these two brews at K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City, CA, and found the concept intriguing. I brought them home to Australia and shared them now, side-by-side with @LaitueGonflable and @tobeerornottobe.

Pours a very pale golden colour, with a frothy, crackly but insubstantial head of white that leaves patchy lace. Body is surprisingly light for a big beer like this. Overall, I'm not overly enthusiastic, to be honest.

Nose is mild, but with a smooth malt character, and a slope of something slightly sour, or perhaps coppery to it. It may well just be a clear English hop fragrance, but it melds very oddly with the malt character. Interesting, though.

Taste is light on flavour, but with a solidity to the feel and the vectors that would normally carry that flavour. Mild, weak grain, and a touch of booziness comes through, along with a faint hint of coconut. It's not unpleasant, but it's pretty mild.

Overall, it's a little bit dull. Not unpleasant, just dull—and let's face it, getting a 170-year old 7.4% strong ale recipe to be dull is something of an achievement.

 1,087 characters

Photo of Dope
3.48/5  rDev -5.2%
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.

 669 characters

Photo of ZacharyJ
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of rbrefbeerman
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of anewlanguage
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of bigred89
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of laituegonflable
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a pale orange colour. HEad is off-white, decent when poured but now a thin crown of large bubbles. Decent pattern of lace left behind. Looks OK.

Smells sweet, but with a tangy edge. Rather citric like raw batter for an orange cake. Caramel, vanilla and orange peel, the latter all on the back, with mild bitterness and slight phenolic edge. Bit too subdued; what's there is quite nice and I'd like more prominence.

Taste is more bitter and hoppy. Mild battery malt on the front that develops a prolonged depth of hoppy bitterness: citric and slightly leafy with notes of earl grey tea, marmalade and a slight grassy edge at the back. Maybe a touch too much bitterness, especially on the back. Potential to be tangy and fresh and it sinks a bit at the end. Otherwise, quite nice.

Thinnish, but a decent foaminess. Fairly warm, stripping texture at the back.

Not bad, but methinks it could have been a lot better.

 921 characters

Photo of rab53
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of beertardis
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of celticfutblclub
3.5/5  rDev -4.6%

Photo of natemort13
3.52/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

 805 characters

Photo of MrOH
3.56/5  rDev -3%
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.

 499 characters

Photo of EgadBananas
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a super hazy, oxymoronic deep pale colour, with a light coloured head that laces slightly. The aroma is earthy breadiness, flowery hops with some hints of grass and biscuits. Rather bitter punch up front on the taste, with a bread sweetness, maybe some wheat, with some flowery hops on the finish along with some more bitterness. There is some noticeable heat. The body is medium, creamy with a good carbonation level.

Quite interesting that this was considered a "Mild" back in the day. But then again, if I was a common working man back in London at that time, this probably would be perfect after a hard days work.

 625 characters

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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

Brewed 2/13/12.

Pours a slightly murky yellow with a foamy bone colored head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Foamy rings of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smell is of malt, grain, yeast, and some fruity aromas. Taste is much the same along with some hop flavors on the finish. There is a medium amount of hop bitterness on the palate after each sip. This beer has a good level of carbonation with a crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer that is pretty drinkable but not something I would go after again. Definitely an interesting concept for the beer.

 669 characters

Photo of jaasen64
3.58/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

 837 characters

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X Ale, 22nd November 1838 from Pretty Things Beer & Ale Project
3.67 out of 5 based on 83 ratings.
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