Crickhollow Mild: A Recipe in Transformation

I became interested in brewing a Mild for several reasons. Historically it was a beer that was served in virtually every pub in London, but in the 20th century became nearly extinct. It’s typically a session beer, but has some real depth in it’s flavor (think toast, chocolate, burnt sugar, sometimes coffee). Mild is a very drinkable beer, you can have pint after pint and not become full or drunk, which makes it a great breakfast or lunch beer. It’s great for cooking as well.

One of the greatest advantages is that it’s a great starter beer – a beer that I’ll throw a single White Labs vial or Wyeast smack pack to grow up some yeast for other beers. The reason it’s so great as a starter beer is because the OG is low meaning a single vial or smack pack is sufficient (assuming it’s relatively fresh) to pitch. A lower OG obviously also results in a lower ABV which does not stress the yeast as much. It’s also a low IBU beer, which again makes the yeast more viable for repitching since it won’t have all the isomerized acids clinging to the cell walls. Lastly, Mild is a great beer to cask condition.

I first brewed Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles, but I used all UK ingredients where he has the domestic varieties listed for the most part.

Version 1.0:

84.3% Floor Malted MO

6% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

4.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

3% Pale Chocolate

1.9% English Black Malt

Mash at 154F for 90 mins

1.037 OG, 1.012 FG

17 IBU (EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

I thought this turned out to be a really delicious beer, but the black malt seemed to bring with it a peppery astringent flavor and the roast was a little over the top. This also tasted a little thin and finished dry. This was a really beautiful beer though, not quite black, with ruby highlights. I entered this in 3 competitions and it ended up with a 33, 24.5 and 29.5 – one judge picked up phenolics, but the rest didn’t comment on that. I’m not sure if there was a process issue or if there was just too much black malt.

Version 2.0
84.7% Floor Malted MO

5.8% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

5.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

3.7% Pale Chocolate

Mash at 154F for 60 mins

1.036 OG, 1.012 FG

20 IBU (Styrian Goldings – wanted to use this up, would typically use EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

In this version I dropped the black malt and increased the Pale Chocolate hoping to get rid of any astringency/peppery flavors. I also mashed for 60 minutes instead of 90 minutes. I used to always mash for 90 minutes, but I consistently experienced a thinness in the body so I have since reduced mash time to 60 minutes unless I really want to dry something out. I’m not sure if it was my imagination or not, but I think it’s made a difference. If nothing else it’s made my brew day shorter while only hurting efficiency by a small amount.

This version turned out quite well, it’s very toasty and the malt is about what I want. It tastes a little to clean though and is a bit one noted in flavor. This scored a 29.5 as well in the only competition I entered it in and got 2nd in the English Brown Ale category. Both judges agreed it needs a bit more body and needs to be a bit more malt forward. One judge recommended increasing bitterness, the other said to reduce.

Version 3.0

This has not been brewed yet, planning to brew it this weekend.

82.9% Floor Malted MO

5.7% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

2.8% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal

5.7% Pale Chocolate

2.8% English Black Malt

Mash at 155F for 60 mins

1.038 target OG / 1.013 target FG

17 IBU (EKG)

WLP002

Pitched at 62F, let rise to 66F and finish at 68F

In this version I’m trying to increase the body (mashing a degree higher) and make this a bit more malt forward. I’m going to bring the IBU back to about 17 like version 1.0. I’m reducing the Extra Dark Crystal and making it up with some Crisp Amber Malt which I think will bring some maltiness and complexity to the flavor profile (hopefully a hint of roast without any astringency, some subtle coffee flavor, and additional breadiness). I also like the fact that Fullers commissioned the maltsters in the UK to recreate Amber malt after reviewing historical brewing records for their commemorative beer 1845. Seems fitting to use it here since Mild is an older style. I’m still debating on whether or not to reduce the pale chocolate and maybe add some English Chocolate Malt, but I don’t want to tweak too many things at once.

 
My goal here is to get to a point where I’m happy with this recipe. I’ll enter it in some competitions, but ultimately want a beer that I’ll almost always have on hand around the house. I also want a good base recipe that I can wood age at some point and maybe smoke as well (smoked oaked mild). If you read this in the next day or two please give me some feedback on the recipe which I plan to brew in a couple days.

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10 Comments

Filed under Brewing, Cask, Homebrew

10 responses to “Crickhollow Mild: A Recipe in Transformation

  1. mirogster

    Thanks for the recipes, I was thinking about making Mild too 🙂

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  8. jesse

    In your 3rd version did you mean 2.8% amber malt instead of english black malt?

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