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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Milds on draught in the UK...are they REALLY like this?
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Old 04-02-2011, 05:39 AM   #1
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Default Milds on draught in the UK...are they REALLY like this?

I am reading Dr. Charle's Bamforth's book Beer is Proof that God Loves Us and came across this paragraph:

Quote:
As an 18-year-old trainee barman, I was instructed by
George, mine host of The Brown Cow in Helsby,14 how to deal
with the slops that spilled over from the pouring of pints from
tap handles. Beneath every tap was a tray, into which the surplus
foam and beer was collected as it unavoidably streamed
down the side of the glass as a full pint with requisite foamatop
was delivered. When the trays filled, we tipped them into
buckets, which were progressively collected down in the cellar.
George told me that the trick was always to put the contents
of the buckets, which of course emerged from barrels of
several types of beer, into the barrel of mild ale. That was the
darkest and least likely to reveal that it has been adulterated.
For the longest time I would never buy a pint of mild anywhere
I went.

Now, this frightens me. To be honest I cannot recall seeing many milds on tap the times I've visited the UK. Usually I see a variety of English pales (bitters, ESBs, etc.) with the occasional porter or brown, along with a whole bunch of Belgian stuff and the ever-present Bud.

Does this kind of thing still happen? Are milds to be eschewed in the local pubs?
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Old 04-02-2011, 10:13 AM   #2
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It wouldn't surprise me if the brits would do that. I am one so I get to bash...

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Old 04-02-2011, 02:55 PM   #3
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I think thats a load of bullsh!t. I am English also and have lots of beer drinking mild and bitter loving family there. The Brits are picky about there real ales . I think this is an isolated incident. Almost every pub has a bitter or mild available.

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Old 04-02-2011, 03:11 PM   #4
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I've read similar things. And that it was mild that the slops went back to, being the cheap, dark and quickly finished off stuff.

Isn't there an analysis table on Shut Up About Barclay Perkins somewhere where the alcohol content of the mild cask is slightly higher than it should be? The suggestion being that slops from stronger beers were bumping it up a bit.

You'd be lucky to find many beers at all being sold as milds these days though.

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Old 04-02-2011, 04:24 PM   #5
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Yes, this unfortunately did happen though it was not ubiquitous by any means and is no longer practiced. Mild was always a popular beer style to mix with other beers (mild-bitter, mild-brown, mild-stout) and the more unscrupulous publicans found they could take all the beer (slops) from the drip trays and pour them into a cask of mild, as it would not disturb the yeast and make the beer cloudy. There was even a thing called a "utiliser" that a publican could buy and it would automatically collect and dispense all the slops back into pints of mild, little by little - like a tablespoon per pint.

I am pretty sure this was only going on around the 40's-50's or sometime around WWII.

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Old 04-02-2011, 04:30 PM   #6
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I recently read about that in an article about the resurgance of mild in 'all about beer' magazine, it was a prety good read, in fact I have taken to that magazine lately, always good beer culture info in it.

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Old 04-02-2011, 04:44 PM   #7
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I believe that story but Dr. Bamforth is no spring chicken so he was probably 18 before the days of CAMRA. Things were different then.

As you say, you aren't exactly tripping over mild in England these days. If you weren't looking for it, you could go to a lot of pubs (certainly around London) and never see one. If this were still a common practice more pubs would serve mild or some other dark beer.

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Old 04-02-2011, 04:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bierhaus15 View Post
I am pretty sure this was only going on around the 40's-50's or sometime around WWII.
Well given that the author is Charlie Bamforth, I would think it's been going on a bit more recently than that. I mean I could be wrong, but I don't think he's 80 years old.
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Old 04-02-2011, 07:42 PM   #9
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I'd guess he was 18 around 1970. CAMRA was founded in 1971.

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Old 04-02-2011, 10:21 PM   #10
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Interesting. I guess I should have done my homework but It was common practice. There was a time recentley in England that "bottled beer" was more popular than real ale. Only the old timers were still drinking it but real ale has made a come back. Every time I go back I still have no problem finding mild. London is probably different but I try to stay away from there.

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