Dark Milds (per BJCP 2015 style guideline 13A) can be anywhere on the pale to dark amber range, about 12-25 SRM. They should appear fairly clear and possess no great hop presence or aroma. The main stand-out quality of this style is its drinkability while remaining flavorful. True to most British styles, the beer should be malt forward and exhibit toasty/biscuit flavors with a satisfying dry finish. As my comparison to session beer might imply, this is not a heavy hitter at about 3-4% ABV. This is a beer meant to be enjoyed throughout the day without rendering the drinker incapacitated.
As we mentioned last post, we will be co-brewing with our friend Kyle Nelson of Steel Rain Beer in January with the hopes of submitting our beer for the Bluebonnet Brew-off. This is the largest single-site homebrew competition in the United States, and judges an incredible 1,000+ homebrew entries every year. Due to time constraints, we decided we would brew a Mild recipe that Kyle drew up so that we could finish it in time for the entry cut-off on January 28.
This recipe is not Kyle's, though. I read a few recipes online and listened to the Brewing With Style podcast from the Brewing Network to pick up some pointers and general impressions. I wrote this recipe on Beersmith and checked it against the style guidelines, just to test the boundaries of the style for my own education and edification. I also chose to brew this on my small-batch stove top setup since I'm currently re-building my full batch system. (Stay tuned for a bunch more posts on the build!)
On to the recipe:
Mild Winter2.5 Gallons, OG: 1.036, FG: 1.010, ABV: 3.4%, 20 IBU
2.75 lbs Maris Otter Pale Malt
4oz Biscuit Malt
4oz Crystal 40L Malt
4oz Chocolate Malt
Mash @ 152 for 60 min
0.5oz East Kent Goldings @ 60 min
White Labs WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast, ferment @ 65 for 3 days, then ramp up to 70 for 2 days before crash cooling and kegging at 1.5 volumes CO2.
Now for a gratuitous amount of brew day photos...
|My small batch grain bag is a little large, so to keep the bottom|
from scorching on the hot bottom surface, I put a stainless steel
vegetable steamer underneath.
|Perfect mash temp hit after doughing in.|
|Our overly sophisticated mash insulation system|
consists of several bath towels and my Carhartt.
|Even so, we lost about 4 degrees Fahrenheit|
throughout the 60 min mash. I'll chalk it up to
less thermal mass in the 2.5 gal batch size.
|After removing the grain bag, we were left with|
exactly 2.5 gallons of "first runnings" wort.
|But we weren't done with those grains just yet!|
Sparging with 170F water, we rinsed out some
more sugar and ultimately gravity points.
|Adding the sparge back into the boil, we started|
with about 2.75 gallons.
|In order to keep from shocking yeast that's been|
stored in a fridge, I put the vial or pouch in a
bath of room temperature water to warm up.
|The downside to small batches is you don't|
always use hops in the most efficient way. I
suppose I could have added the hops later during
the boil and used the whole ounce though.
|Pre-boil gravity right about 1.040. Hmm...|
|Our high-tech method for suspending the hop sock|
to keep it from scorching on the bottom of the
kettle during the boil.
|Damn-near futuristic chilling setup with the|
garden hose connected to the wort chiller in
|Despite the Texas winter day being a balmy 75|
degrees, the wort chiller was able to bring the
2.25 gallons down to pitching temperature in
about 25 minutes. Here is the batch getting all
cozy in the fermentation chamber.
|Last but not least, our OG reading shows a|
whopping 1.050. Ain't exactly a mild anymore.
Now oddly enough, I got stellar conversion in my mash and the pre-boil gravity showed 1.040, finishing with a OG of 1.050. This pushes it out of the style guidelines by quite a bit, leaning more towards a British Brown Ale (category 13B). Not what I set out to brew, but hey it's still beer. I'll have to dial in my boil-off rate and brewhouse efficiency in Beersmith to prevent surprises in the future. We'll see how this guy measures up after fermentation. I will likely have to re-name it to reflect its true style. Mild-Mannered Brown? Who knows. Once again, beer was made and it was a good day.
|Chipotle 9*8*7 RIS on the left & Mexican|
Vanilla 9*8*7 RIS on the right
I did not sanitize or sterilize the powder I used for this gallon of special release RIS, so I inadvertently inoculated a gallon of stout with some kind of funk. Whether or not it will improve the flavor remains to be seen, but I'm hopeful that we won't have to dump this gallon. When it comes time to bottle, we'll let y'all know what's up.