London-based brewer Fuller's has resurrected a beer last brewed in 1891 to launch a "new" special edition 7.5% abv bottle-conditioned beer.
The brew, called "XX Strong Ale", is part of a new series of beers from the brewery's past called "Past Masters".
It was created after the company's head brewer, John Keeling, brewing manager Derek Prentice, brewing historian Ron Pattinson and Peter Simpson from Simpson's Malt pored over dozens of brew books from the brewery's archive. The brew books record every day's brewing going back hundreds of years.
John Roberts, managing director of the Fuller's Beer Company, said: "The Past Masters project came about as we thought it would be fascinating to delve into our long history to see how some of our old recipes would turn out if we had a go at brewing them for a more modern audience.
"John Keeling and his brewing team had an exciting time interpreting the recipes, with the help Ron Pattinson, and they modified some of the modern processes to more closely replicate what the brewers of the 19th century had to work with.
"What they have created is an authentic strong old ale, with a distinct richness that I certainly haven't tasted before. There's still the clear Fuller's family resemblance, but you can almost taste the history and heritage in every drop. There are hundreds of other really interesting recipes for us to also recreate - so watch this space!"
Keeling said: "Our brew books are very old, very thick and there are lots of them. When we first sat down with Ron to identify a suitable recipe, we could have been there for days as we kept finding fascinating insights into the work of my brewing predecessors.
"For instance, there were brews which used no English malts at all - in the 19th century. There are brewers doing that today and calling it innovation, I call it a rediscovering of the past."
By Neil Gerrard
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