Tag Archives: MILD

Brew day video / Other updates

I made a video when I brewed the English Mild from this post – it’s not instructional or anything, but at least shows a bit of my process.

Take a look and let me know what you think. It was fun to make – I’ll probably make another at some point.

 

Some other updates:

  • Started brewing on an induction plate instead of the stove – have on successful batch done that I’ll post about when it’s ready and I’ll probably do another post showing the induction plate at work as well as some of the other changes I made.
  • Brewed an ESB that just plain did not taste right – not sure what happened or I would have done a post on that.
  • Have a Mild (from the prior post and video) competing in MCAB this weekend – will post if that places.

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English Mild – take 5

DSC_0537 HDR copy small

For my first batch in about 6 months I figured I’d start with the last recipe I had worked on before I took a break from brewing. If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know I’ve brewed quite a few Mild’s and never quite been happy with them (even though some have done quite well in competition). It’s not my favorite style to drink, but for some reason I keep brewing them! It’s also a category I qualified for in the MCAB competition so I figured if I liked this one I’ll use it as my entry. I spent a fair amount of time on this recipe and also got some help after trying several of another homebrewer’s Mild’s. The homebrewer in question recently won BOS at Midwinter with, you guessed it, a Mild.

The biggest change is using Mild Ale malt as the basemalt instead of my typical Floor Malted Marris Otter. I also greatly increased the Simpson’s Extra Dark Crystal and removed the higher-kilned malts (leaving only Pale Chocolate). I also added some Golden Naked Oats since they contribute some unique flavor and texture and finished with a bit of domestic Crystal 60 (a bit sweeter than the English equivalent I think). For hops I stuck with Goldings and added a small 5 min addition to enhance that “English character” judges love to hunt for. Stuck with my usual WLP002 for the yeast – althought I have to admit I’ve enjoyed Wyeast 1469 in other Milds and will likely have to give that a try at some point.

Mild 5.0

60 Min boil

Mash at 152F for 60 mins

1.038 OG

1.013 FG

17 IBU at 60 mins – EKG

2 IBU at 5 mins – EKG

79% Briess Ashburne Mild Ale Malt (5.3L)

3% Briess Crystal 60  (60L)

9% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (160L)

3% Simpson’s Pale Chocolate Malt (220L)

6% Simpson’s Golden Naked Oats (10L)

WLP002

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

30 seconds O2 (2.5 gallon batch)

Hit gravity and volume – fermented down to target as well.

DSC_1254

Here are some notes I wrote when working on this recipe: Looking for a quaffable mild with flavors of bread/toast/biscuit, light chocolate, hint of roast, hint of coffee, burnt sugar and some dark fruit, caramel/toffee, nuttiness. Want some slight silkiness/creaminess from the oats. The diff types of crystal malt in addition to different lovibonds should add some complexity and help achieve the flavors I’m looking for. 5 min addition of EKG should help with an assertive “English Beer” character. Pale chocolate should underline the toastiness with hints of chocolate, roast and even coffee.

The Mild Ale malt definitely helped with this, but even beyond that I must finally be learning something about recipe formulation because this beer hits all those descriptors – so much so that I see no need to go too in depth with a description.  There is a definite sweetness from the basemalt – you can pick that up separately from the crystal sweetness. It’s got a lot of toasted bread qualities and hints of coffee and chocolate.  It’s slightly creamy from the oats – not so much that you really notice though (probably wouldn’t call that out if you didn’t know there were oats). The only change I’d consider is adding a small amount of a darker chocolate malt – both to make the beer darker and to add a little more roast character.

I sent this into the March Mashness competition and I’ll likely send it to MCAB in April.

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Off flavor issue, other updates

I had several posts planned for some batches that are now in kegs, but due to an off flavor that kept rearing it’s ugly head I decided to condense some batches into this post.

If you’ve read this blog for a while you’ll know that I’m a big believer that BIAB (mash in a bag) is as good a method as other methods of all grain brewing – after all it’s basically batch sparging without the sparge and a simpler/quicker lauter. That being said I had several batches in the last few months that had a fairly strong grainy flavor to them that was not there by design. It started with Crickhollow Mild 3.0 and I thought it was caused by the Amber malt I added to it, but I have since realized that the bag I was using (purchased from an online vendor) from that batch on was allowing too much husk material to remain behind after removing the bag. Boiling a little bit of husk material isn’t the end of the world, but when you find a bunch in the trub after you rack to a fermenter you probably have too much. I have since replaced that bag with another homemade bag for my 2.5 gallon batch setup, and am using my original bag until I can get another bag made up for my 5 gallon setup. At first I thought I might be having PH issues as I’ve never really had to pay attention to mash PH it didn’t seem likely. I figured if a new bag didn’t fix the issue I’d dig deeper, but as usual the simplest answer was the right answer.

The reason it took me so long to figure this out is that the grainy flavor was only coming through on batches that utilized Marris Otter as the base malt. Those happened to be batches that were a bit more subtle (Mild, English Bitters, etc) as opposed to batches that I used Domestic 2 Row in (APAs, IPAs, IIPAs, Robert the Bruce clone, Barleywine) – all of which used the same bag. I’m not sure if this is due to the size of the base malt (MO might be slightly smaller than 2 Row) or if the bigger flavors have masked the grainy flavor in the batches that used 2 Row.

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild 3.0

The grainy flavor didn’t prevent Crickhollow Mild 3.0 from doing well in competitions so far (38 and 39.5 so far 1st and 3rd) so I ended up entering it at NHC since I didn’t really want to drink it. Luckily some grainy flavor/astringency is allowed within that style, but one judge did say it made the beer finish a little dry and 3/4 scoresheets said additional sweetness would improve.

The batch I’m most concerned about this flavor in is my Special Bitter that I sent to NHC. I don’t think this off flavor would help that beer at all so I decided to add some Polyclar to the keg to try to strip the tannins/proteins that I believe were causing that flavor. It definitely helped, but it didn’t get rid of all of it so I don’t have much hope for this one advancing to the 2nd round.

I brewed another Mild as my first batch with the small batch setup and had just gotten to the point of realizing that there might be too much grain in the kettle when I saw some swirling around during the boil as you can see in the picture below:

grain_in_boil

I strained a lot of it out during the boil, but obviously I couldn’t get it all out at this point in the process. The batch did turn out to be a lot more drinkable than the Mild 3.0 version and the grainy flavor does seem to be fading the longer it cold conditions. If my Mild happens to make it to the 2nd round I might send Mild 4.0 vs Mild 3.0 to Philly if for no other reason than I like 4.0 better and it has a little more malt complexity.

As a true test I decided to brew a really light flavored Ordinary Bitter (90% MO, 10% Carastan) which I’ll post up in a week or two when it’s ready, but initial samples out of the keg had no trace of grainy/husky/tannic flavors.

NHC 2013

In other news I stewarded at the St. Paul judging center for NHC last weekend. It was the first time I had volunteered at a competition and I had a great time. Thanks to the 2 bottle format for Round 1 us stewards got to try whatever beers we wanted when the judges were done with them. It was pretty cool to try some beers and sit in with the judges as they discussed them or to have a beer and read the scoresheets that they handed you for it. If any of you have the opportunity to help out with a competition I’d highly recommend it, even something as boring sounding as ‘stewarding’ turned out to be quite fun.

It was interesting to see how beers are handled, judged, etc. I was surprised how subjective the Mini BOS process is – it taught me that you really have to nail a beer to get place, let along get 1st place. Any little flaw, or deviation from style, slight imbalance WILL prevent you from placing – assuming there is some decent competition in your category.

I’ll have some more posts up soon as I have several batches fermenting/conditioning at the moment.

Cheers

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UMMO Results

UMMO.medals

The scoresheets came back from the first competition we’ve entered so far in 2013 (Upper Mississippi Mashout). As I said in an earlier post, this is supposed to be one of the best judged competitions of the year so I wasn’t really sure what to expect having not entered this one before (or possibly even a competition as well ran/judged as this one).

The results were posted sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning (I checked when I woke up) and the scoresheets were apparently mailed out right away, but there was a postage issue and they had to resend them all out last weekend – no big deal, still had within about 10 days of the competitions which is plenty fast.

We ended up with 1 gold (Mild 3.0), 2 silvers (Scottish 70/- and IIPA)  and 1 beer that didn’t place (APA 2.0). I talk about each beers in the post linked in the top paragraph as well as other posts so I won’t go into great detail in this post.

The Mild that got 1st (39.5) is one that I don’t like and neither has anyone else that has tried it so far. Apparently it’s a good example of the style though, but I won’t brew that recipe again. I am going to enter it in NHC though since it did fairly well and I don’t know what else to do with the rest of the batch. The judges stated it could improve with a little more fruity ester complexity – that’s the problem with competing in the English styles- if they don’t taste like fruit-cake you will hear about it on your scoresheets, I just like my English beers with very limited ester character so I won’t be changing that.

The Scottish 70/- got 2nd (41 adjusted to 39) and was noted to be slightly over carbonated which detracted from the malt flavor – I blame my piece of shit regulator, but ultimately that’s my fault and overcarbonation is something I’m almost never accused of (quite the contrary…). One judge thought it had a little too much roasted grain and slight diacetyl (from WLP001?!?) – this was Jamil’s recipe and I probably wouldn’t tweak much if/when I rebrew it.

The IIPA got 2nd (37 adjusted to 43!) was the 2nd time I brewed a Pliny clone with some minor changes. One judge thought it had too much hop flavor and aroma, the other thought it needed more hop flavor and aroma. Both seemed to like the beer though, but the aroma was a bit subdued from the last batch which, I think, came from using gelatin. Based on the timelines though I had to use it and it really does make the beer sparkle. I think I’ll try to not use gelatin on APAs, IPAs and IIPAs when I can help it though.

The APA didn’t place (28.5) and that really surprised me as I thought it was about as classic of an APA as you can get. It also tasted really clean and I didn’t pick up any flaws. The judges thought it had too much diacetyl, which I either am not sensitive to or the judges maybe had some on their palates from a beer earlier in the flight – I’m not out to make excuses, but it’s got to be one or the other.

I will have to dig in and figure out how to adjust my process if I’m throwing off diacetyl and not picking it up myself. The yeast in question is WLP002, which I’ve had diacetyl comments from in several batches now and it is a pretty notorious strain for diacetyl, but it is still precious to me and I will fight through this.

I’m brewing a Special Bitter this week and the APA (with some adjustments) in 2 weeks both for NHC and both with WLP002 so I need to make some adjustments immediately starting with going from a 1L starter to 1.5L and probably doing my D rest earlier in fermentation than I have been (instead of when krausen drops I think I’ll do this about a day after high krausen (probably 2.5-3 days from pitching). I think I will also rouse the fermenter as I ramp up the temp – not sure what else to do besides leave the beer on the yeast a bit longer (I usually give these about 10 days from pitching, maybe I’ll go closer to 2 weeks). I sent an email to White Labs, but I don’t know if they’ll respond or, if they do, if it will be real constructive.

There are a couple more competitions coming up (this Saturday and next Saturday) so I’m hoping to have more scoresheets back before tweaking my process too much. This kind of feedback is part of the reason I enter competitions – if I truly don’t detect diacetyl (which some people are not sensitive to) than I may be serving friends/family buttery slick beer which is unacceptable, but I wouldn’t have known without getting feedback. I’ll know more once I see the results from the next 2 competitions, but it has identified some simple things I can do to reduce the amount of diacetyl that ends up in the finished product.

I’m still looking for more gold and hopefully a BOS or two this year, stay tuned readers.

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MILDly annoyed

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild

So back in November I brewed the third iteration of a Mild recipe thinking I’d nail it with the tweaks from version 2 to version 3 (long-winded blog post here), but after giving version 3 plenty of time to condition and mellow out I still don’t really like it – as gorgeous as it is in the picture above. I think the Crisp Amber malt just brought in an astringent flavor that is really unpleasant. As I mentioned in the competition post I did enter this in UMMO just to see if a trained palate can figure something else out that may be process related – it might even score well – it’s not bad I just don’t really like it and the guidelines do allow for some astringency in roast based versions.

Anyway though – dejected and demoralized I was thinking of just giving up on perfecting a Mild recipe for a while, but as I was reading through the style guideline when I was debating even entering version 3.0 I got an idea for a new recipe that I think could be quite delicious and decided not to give up!

I decided to target a more chocolate forward Mild and utilize some delicious  Simpson’s English Chocolate Malt instead of using Pale Chocolate and either Black Malt or Amber as in versions 2 and 3. I think with the amount I plan to use this should bring in plenty of chocolate flavor while hopefully adding just a bit of coffee and roast flavor. The Carastan and Extra Dark crystals will bring plenty of caramel, toffee, dark fruit, burnt sugar, and other crystal type complexity while the Floor Malted MO will bring plenty of bready maltiness (I sometimes get a hint of honey even – in a very good and pleasant way with this malt). I’m sure with everything going on there will also be plenty of toasty, nutty and other flavors mentioned in the style guidelines as well.

I might cask condition this and serve it on the Caskegerator if I can figure out a good way to bottle some for competition at the same time.

This recipe is subject to change at this point – probably brew it in a week or so:

Mild 4.0

60 Min boil

Mash at 154F for 60 mins

1.038 OG (factoring in .002 pts either way as I haven’t brewed a really low gravity ale since I got my own mill so I’m not sure what the efficiency will be)

1.012 FG

18 IBU (EKG most likely)

83.5% Warminster Floor Malted MO (4.5L)

6% Baird’s Carastan (37L)

6% Simpsons Extra Dark Crystal (160L)

4.5% Simpson’s Chocolate Malt (430L)

WLP002

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

Readers – I’m open to any feedback/suggestions/criticisms that you may have on this recipe. I’m debating on the percentages, but I think it’s close. I also toyed with changing the Carastan to a darker crystal (probably the medium), but I think the combination of the Carastan and Extra Dark Crystal could be magical.

Cheers

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