Sunday, December 6, 2009

Hankering for a pint o' Mild Ale

To all you competitive homebrewers out there, this is from the AHA website:

January/February 2010

The Session Challenge – English Brown Ales

Entry deadline is Tuesday, February 16, 2010. Judging will be held Saturday, February 20, 2010. Entry fee is $7. Make checks payable to American Homebrewers Association.

Remember that you have to advance past the club round in your local AHA recognized homebrew club. These beers are very quick to brew due to the low gravity and high-floculating English yeast strains, so you've got no excuses! Even if you bottle condition, this could probably be ready within 2 weeks. You might want to make 10 gallons, because it's going to get drank up faster than you think, and then you'll want more.

English session beers are a realm that I rarely delve into. But I have to admit after all the 1.060+ beers I've been making recently (I think only one of my Portland brews came in below that), I've felt the urge to make an utterly sessionable beer. I decided to skip the Northern & Southern English brown ales and go straight for the Mild. It's an esoteric and under-brewed style, especially commercially. I think I have only had one commercial example of a mild ever, and it was over the typical ABV level at about 5.5%. Strike that, Earth Bread + Brewery had a golden mild on draught when we went there shortly after it opened, and it was delicious. Mild also might be a great style to look into if you are interested in doing a parti-gyle second runnings brew from a strong ale. If you need to add more body/color to the second runnings beer, you can "cap" the mash with additional specialty malts after running off the first beer.

I brewed up this recipe with a new friend, Paul Key, who is a fan of English session beers, and directed me to this cool website, which has a ton of historical brew-log information, mainly on English ales. Milds can range from golden-copper to fairly dark brown, but this recipe is the classic brown color, focusing on a characteristic English malt profile from Marris Otter, a healthy portion of crystal malts, and a touch of black malt. There is also some brown malt in our grist, which I have never tried before, but it seems to add a really nice toasty background. Many of the historical commercial mild recipes use dark brewing syrups, but we decided not to go that route and instead focus on getting the color and flavor from easily available specialty malts.

I decided to name this beer for my dad, who called me when we were brewing this. My dad pretty much can't stand beer because he thinks the aftertaste is unpleasant (from the bitterness & alcohol flavor I guess, although he does enjoy the occasional Jello-shot). As I was describing the beer we were making he said "That sounds like something I might actually like!" I think he's right, so I'll send him some for Christmas since I probably won't make it back to Ohio this year.

Dale's Mild

Recipe is for 13 gallons pre-boil, 11.2 gallons post-boil, all grain

O.G. 1.041 F.G. 1.015 ABV 3.5% IBU's 21

12 lb. Glen Eagle Marris Otter Malt

.75 lb. crystal 70

1 lb. crystal 120

.5 lb. brown malt

.25 lb black malt

61 gr. American Goldings whole 5%AA 60 min

Mineral additions were to get an RA of 115 for proper mash pH, and a balanced chloride:sulfate ratio.

Mash at 152 for 60 min (5 gallons of water, mineral additions were 3 gr. chalk, 3 gr. baking soda, 1 gr. gypsum, 1 gr. calcium chloride)

Sparge with 5 gallons at 170

Collect 8 gallons at 1.057 = 85% efficiency

We took a last runnings gravity and the gravity was 1.023, so we probably could have sparged with at least 1 more gallon.

Topped up in the kettle to 13 gallons.

Boil 60 minutes, added 3 gr. gypsum & 3 gr. calcium chloride to the kettle.

Wyeast nutrient & Whirlfloc at 10 min

Chilled to 66, oxygenated for 60 seconds per carboy

Pitched an appropriate slurry of Wyeast "London Ale III" obtained from Hopworks.

Fermented at 68 for 6 days, then raised to 72 over the last 2 days help dry it out.

Racked to keg on 12/15/09. Tastes awesome. I'm not sure if this is a better example of a mild or maybe a Southern English brown. There is a light roasty note and quite a bit of caramel, although not a lot of dark fruit. It's got a complex and distinctive English aroma and there's a distinctive tobacco note to the malt. Maybe I'll let a few English Ale experts try it and see what they think.

1/30/09: Unfortunately I was not able to enter this in either local club as a club-only entry. The OBC, for some reason, did not do a brown ale club-only last month, instead deciding to do an in-house pale ale competition. PDX brewers did have one, but despite my best efforts I was not able to get over to Beaverton to drop my beer off for their competition. I was really disappointed not to enter this, but you know, life goes on. I still have some bottles set aside for NHC.


Keith said...

Perfect timing. We are doing Community Brew on Milds. You should enter, brotha.


Seanywonton said...

Oh, shit! That's cool. I need to see what we are talking about on shipping before I dedicate to it, but it sounds really fun. Thanks for the heads-up Mylo.

shelbylmoorhead said...
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Chillindamos said...

Hey Sean, thanks for the holiday greetings! I just acquired the Satula Mild Ale text and will be brewing up the session beers this week while on break.
I also want to focus on the AHA style competition since it will consistently push me to try new things. Though I'm not one to shoot for style guidelines, I decided to brew twice: one towards style and one chillindamos concoction. For the upcoming brew session, I'm planning a Mayahuel Mild featuring the secret sourced agave. Cheers and Happy Holidays to you and Clarissa!

Paul! said...

This mild is starting to taste real good. I'm getting really focused Almond,tobacco and apple notes. I'd like to brew this with a different yeast sometime