Saturday, 10 February 2018

Let's Brew - 1921 Adnams XXXX

A sure sign that things were returning to some sort of normality after WW I was the reappearance of stronger beers. Adnams XXXX being an example.

Tally Ho, Adnams Strong Ale, disappeared in 1917. Rather than bring that back, they came up with a new Old Ale, XXXX. Which must have confused some drinkers because a few years earlier it had been a strong Mild Ale, created by blending XX Ale and Tally Ho.

Why didn’t they just resurrect Tally Ho? It’s all to do with the last set of price controls. Anything 1054º and upwards had a maximum price of 9d. It made no economic sense to brew anything much stronger than that. Adnams did eventually bring back Tally Ho, but only after price controls ended in August 1921.

This looks very much like Adnams X Ale on steroids. Which is what many Old Ales from traditional Southern breweries still are. Including Adnams own Old Ale.

As was usual with Adnams, there are two base malts: pale and “medium” which, as usual, I’ve interpreted as mild malt. Flaked maize has made a return, after being absent at the end of the war. As have standard invert sugars, rather than the weird combinations of cane sugars brewers were forced to use.

An awful lot of Saaz turns up in British beers just after WW I. I think it’s because the Central European brewing industry was in such a mess. My guess is that they were quite cheap for the quality.


1921 Adnams XXXX
pale malt 7.25 lb 60.02%
mild malt 2.50 lb 20.70%
crystal malt 0.50 lb 4.14%
flaked maize 0.50 lb 4.14%
No. 3 invert sugar 1.25 lb 10.35%
caramel 5000 SRM 0.08 lb 0.66%
Cluster 120 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 90 mins 0.75 oz
Fuggles 60 mins 0.75 oz
Saaz 30 mins 0.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 1.00 oz
OG 1054
FG 1015
ABV 5.16
Apparent attenuation 72.22%
IBU 42
SRM 30
Mash at 152º F
Sparge at 170º F
Boil time 120 minutes
pitching temp 59º F
Yeast WLP025 Southwold

3 comments:

Phil said...

Not that many steroids in the case of Adnams' Old Ale - it currently goes out at 4.1%, which is a bit punchy for a dark mild but no more than that.

oldbobscoo said...

What kind of crystal malt did they use? A darker crystal, like 120L?

David Boshko said...

Probably not, the colors coming from the sugar.