I’ve written about Benskins legendary Colne Spring Ale several times before. I’m saddened that I never got to taste it. But I was heartened to spot it in a Benskins advert from 1890. But looking a little more closely, it told me something very surprising.
What style was Colne Spring Ale? Barley Wine? Old Ale? No. According to Benskins, it was a Mild Ale.
Leighton Buzzard Observer and Linslade Gazette - Tuesday 28 January 1890, page 1.
I’m glad of two things: that they numbered their beers and that they grouped them by style. The numbering means that I can be sure that XXXXA Ale and Colne Spring Ale are the same thing. Who would have thought Colne Spring Ale was a type of Mild?
The price list also tells me something I’d long suspected: that Cooper was just the name for bottled Porter. Nice to have that confirmed.
Here’s my guess at the OGs, based around 1055º being the gravity of a beer costing 36s per barrel.
|beer||price per barrel||est. OG|
|No. 1 Indian Pale Ale||54||1082.5|
|No. 2 Guinea Ale||42||1064.2|
|No. 3 Pale Ale||36||1055.0|
|No. 4 XXXXA Ale||72||1110.0|
|No. 4 XXXX Ale||60||1091.7|
|No. 5 XXX Ale||54||1082.5|
|No. 6 XX Ale||36||1055.0|
|No. 7 Double Stout||54||1082.5|
|No. 8 Single Stout||42||1064.2|
|No. 9 Porter||36||1055.0|
The gravity is too high for the Indian Pale Ale. You had to pay a premium for IPA. My guess would be that the OG was really around 1065º.