BIAB#3 – Born To Be Mild

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I never thought I’d be interested in a beer called a “mild”. I like my beers to be the complete opposite of mild – clovey hefeweizens, hoppy American pale ales, roasty Imperial stouts. But I was interested to see an entire section for “Mild” recipes in Graham Wheelers book and started a bit of research.

Historically, the name “mild” referred to a beer which hadn’t been aged in vats and didn’t have a slightly sour tang. These days, mild generally means a beer with less bitterness than a regular English bitter or pale ale. They are generally low in gravity, easy to drink and have a restrained hop flavour with little or no aroma.

I wanted to squeeze another small all-grain batch in over the Christmas holidays and wanted to try something different so I decided on this recipe. The grain bill is pretty complex for a mild and I doubt you’ll find an English brewery putting so many different malts into their mild, but I wanted to add a little complexity, so in addition to the Maris Otter base I went for two different types of crystal, biscuit, black malt, torrified wheat and pale chocolate malt for colour and some coffee/roasty notes. The smell of the grains in the bucket was fantastic, even before I doughed in!

I followed the same procedure as my last two BIAB batches, using 11 litres of treated water to mash with, and using 4 litres for dunk-sparging. My efficiency worked out at 60% which is not very efficient at all, but at least it’s consistent. Most of the recipes in Wheelers book tend to have IBUs around 22 so that’s what I was shooting for here. Most of the recipes also seem to include Fuggles hops so I bittered with EKG and used my last remaining 7g of Fuggles as a flavour addition.

The colour of the wort is amazing – a deep mahogany colour. I’ll attempt to serve this with slightly less carbonation than usual. About 2 volumes should do it.

Recipe

Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.040 SG
Estimated Color: 17.7 SRM
Estimated IBU: 22.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

2.700 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
0.160 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM)
0.120 kg Wheat, Torrified (1.7 SRM)
0.095 kg Pale Chocolate Malt (300.0 SRM)
0.040 kg Amber Malt (22.0 SRM)
0.040 kg Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
0.040 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt -100L (100.0 SRM)
0.024 kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM)
16 g Goldings, East Kent [5.80 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 20.3 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
7 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 15.0 min, 1.8 IBUs
1.0 pkg Fermentis SafAle S-04

Notes

20/01/2013 – Bottled using 65g grams of table sugar and got 25 bottles. Great nutty smell from the fermenter. Cold crashed in the shed for two days before bottling.

01/03/2013 – First taste after almost 6 weeks in the bottle.

03/03/2013 – Scored 28 points in the 2013 NHC competition. I suspect this was judged in the wrong category. One of the judges described it as “a little mild”. The other judge wrote “Northern English Brown” on the scoresheet. Pretty respectable score considering the judges didn’t even know what it was they were supposed to be judging. In any case, I think it’s an excellent easy-drinker and I’d definitely do it again.

21/04/2013 – I’ve got about 2 bottles of this left and it was a real success – I don’t know why I never updated the notes on this. It could easily be described as a brown porter. It’s got a nice caramel, mocha quality. Fairly light body but an assertive bitterness that I wasn’t expecting from the paltry 22 IBUs.

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