Wimbledon Brewery launches new range inspired by 19th century price list

Wimbledon Brewery has launched a new, experimental range of beers, designed to be aged, inspired by a price list dating back to 1889.

The XXK Winter Ale casks ready to go.

The old price list, printed in a newspaper dating back to 1889, was discovered by a member of Wimbledon’s historical society and was passed to the current brewery’s founder, Mark Gordon.

Explaining how the discovery influenced the new range, master brewer Derek Prentice said: “Traditionally, beer strength was denoted by Xs – so an ‘X’ beer would be a ‘mild’, ‘XX’ a stronger brew and ‘XXX’ the strongest (often also known as a barley wine) – typically at between 8-13% alcohol. XXXK – the K denotes a ‘keeper’ – could be kept and aged for many months or even years.”

“Since Mark Gordon showed me the old price list, I’ve wanted to make our own interpretation of an XXXK. This led us to the beers we’re releasing this autumn.”

The first beer, XK Autumn Ale (3.5%) launched on 2 October and is made using the residual weaker sugar wort left over from the brewing of the high strength barley wine. Wimbledon has added chocolate and caramel malts “to add further body and depth of flavour” and the beer has been released in a limited run of 90 firkins.

Wimbledon has also recently unveiled the second beer of the series, XXK Winter Ale (4.8%), to mark the clocks going back. The final beer, XXXK Barley Wine (around 10%) will be put into bottles and casks in mid-November to give it time to mature. Prentice will release it in time for Christmas, keeping back a portion to age for longer which will then be released later in 2018.

Speaking to the drinks business, Prentice said that Wimbledon may be brewing similar historical styles and strengths of beer in the future.

“XK and the XXK are an interpretation of the styles from that period,” he added.

When asked how the XXXK released before Christmas will differ to the beer released in 2018, Prentice said: “The XXXK we release this year will be quite full and with a very clean, slightly fruity sweet finish but relatively light feel. With both the ageing and casking we would expect it to affect the aroma, palate and after-palate which will increase in complexity with vanilla, deep stone fruit, and sherry notes coming through.

The topic of barrel-ageing in beer has been thrown into the spotlight recently after Innis & Gunn recently unveiled its ‘barrel into beer’ method. The process involves cut-up and toasted staves from rum and bourbon barrels being added to the beer for between five and 10 days, rather than the beer being transferred into an actual barrel.

The Scottish brewer maintains that its beers are ‘barrel-aged’ rather than ‘wood-aged’ while UK authorities, such as Trading Standards and the Campaign for Real Ale, have said that no standard industry definition exists for barrel-ageing in beer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note that comments are subject to our posting guidelines in accordance with the Defamation Act 2013. Posts containing swear words, discrimination, offensive language and libellous or defamatory comments will not be approved.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Sales Executive (London – Craft Spirits)

Bimber Distillery
London, UK

International Sales Manager

Crush Wines Ltd
Home based/Wiltshire office, UK

Head of Marketing

Amathus Drinks Plc
London, UK

Sales Representative - Private Customers

Corney and Barrow
Central Hong Kong, HK

Export Manager UK On Trade

AdVini
Home based in London or the South East, GB

Global Head of Marketing

ATOM Brands
Tunbridge Wells, GB

Sales Executive

Three Wine Men
Home-based but must be available to travel throughout the UK with frequent trips to London, GB

Senior Sales Operations Executive

Enotria&Coe
Park Royal, London, GB

Sales Administrator

Les Caves de Pyrène
Guildford, UK

On Trade & Corporate Accounts Manager

The Champagne Company
Birmingham, UK

Pink Rosé Festival

Cannes,France
7th Feb 2018

VinoVision Paris

Paris,France
12th Feb 2018

Vinisud

Montpellier,France
18th Feb 2018
Click to view more

The Global Pinot Noir Masters 2018

Deadline : 31st January 2018

The Global Organic Masters 2018

Deadline : 12th February 2018

Click to view more

The Global Malbec Masters 2017

the drinks business is proud to announce the inaugural Global Malbec Masters 2017

The Global Sparkling Masters 2017

the drinks business is thrilled to announce the launch of The Global Sparkling Masters.

Click to view more