Tag Archives: session beer

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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Northfarthing 70/- (Scottish Ale)

Scottish Ale 5.20.13

I really love a good Scottish Ale. The best examples have a distinct clean malt profile with some residual sweetness. The 60/-, 70/- and 80/- (for some historical information click here) are all fairly sessionable and light. They can be tricky to brew right because the OG is quite low, yet you don’t want them to finish dry or sweet – they need balance.

I’ve brewed Jamil’s Scottish Ales before and his recipe is very solid. For this batch I decided I wanted to start with the recipe for my Robert the Bruce clone attempt, but I didn’t want it to be quite as big or sweet so I scaled back the specialty grains a bit and also used California Ale (WLP001) yeast instead of English Ale (WLP002) – mainly because I needed to build up some 001, but also to clean up the flavor profile a bit. I also swapped the 2 Row for Marris Otter as I thought some MO nuttiness would complement the recipe nicely.

Northfarthing 70/-

2.5 finished gallons (3.5 gallon batch size – .75 left in kettle, .25 left in fermenter)

Brewed 4/20

Kegged 5/5

90 min boil

Mash @ 158*

1.038 OG

1.016 FG

86% Warminster Floor Malted Marris Otter (4.5L)

4% Weyermann Caramunich I

4% Weyermann Melanoiden Malt

2% Briess Crystal 10L

2% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

1% Fawcett Pale Chocolate Malt

.5% Simpson’s Black Malt

.5% Simpson’s Roasted Barley

90 Min Centennial to 19 IBU

Fermented at 62* F.

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: Nutty, caramelly, cleanly MALTY, light roast. Malt sweetness is an accurate descriptor. No hop aroma, no esters, no diacetyl. Definitely would consider this to have a complex malt aroma. No alcohol. Slightly grainy as it warms – especially in the finish.

Appearance: Deep amber, some ruby. Brilliantly clear, offwhite head with good retention.

Flavor: Clean malt flavors with some malty sweetness hits you up front followed by caramel, toffee and nuttiness. Very faint roast, but mostly clean malt dominates. Again, complex malt flavors. Hop bitterness supports, but is in the background. Finishes moderately dry with some sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low to moderately low carbonation. You can feel some dextrins on your palate.

Overall Impression: Very clean, very balanced. Tastes like a Scottish ale for sure, would be improved if finishing gravity was slightly lower – maybe 1.014, but I think this would compete well as is especially as it continues to improve from cold conditioning.

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Cask/Session Pale Ale

caskipa1

I had some ingredients left over from previous batches that I wanted to use up and decided it was high time to pour something though the Beer Engine Caskegerator again.

With the ingredients I wanted to use up a Session IPA made the most sense. It’s arguably more of a session APA, but to me it’s closer to an IPA in terms of hopping, but we’ll just call it a Session Pale Ale. I was looking to make something along the lines of 21st Amendment’s Bitter American, but wanted to keep the serving method in mind, which meant that the body needed to be fairly light and the bitterness, although high, could not be aggressive.  I was originally going to late hop this, but to save a bit of time on brew day I ended up deciding to first wort hop and just hopburst the boil.

1.043 OG
Mashed at 156F
60 min boil
51 IBU according to Beersmith4.2% ABV5 finished gallons
78% 2 row
15% Marris Otter
2.5% Crystal 55
2.5% Crystal 120
2% Victory
1 oz CTZ 15.2% FWH
.5 oz CTZ 15.2% 30 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 10 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 5 mins
1 oz Centennial 11.5% 5 mins
1 oz Cascade 5.6% 0 mins
.5 oz CTZ 15.2% 0 mins

WLP001 – 1 Liter starter
Pitched at 63* and fermented at 65*. Raised 1 degree per day as fermentation slowed down to 69*.  Finished at 1.011 – perfect.
.5 oz Chinook Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Centennial Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 8 days
.5 oz Chinook Dry Hop 4 days
.5 oz Centennial Dry Hop 4 days
.5 oz Simcoe Dry Hop 4 days

Added gelatin and 1 oz of corn sugar and let sit for 10 days before moving to the caskegerator set to 50*.
This was very balanced which made it extremely drinkable. The bitterness was there, but didn’t wear out your palate. There was a bit of malt flavor and some toastiness, but it was a bit behind the bitterness. The more I drank these the more I was able to pick up the hop flavor for some reason. The first few pints were good, and the last few were great (hint of catiness became apparent towards the end, but in a good way).

I’d say the CTZ is the most dominant hop flavor, I barely pick up cascade or centennial. It would have been interesting to do a 30 minute hot steep with all the 10 minute and under additions to see if they could then stand up to the FWH CTZ addition. The aroma had a bit of resin and citrus, wasn’t terribly dank or anything. If I were to brew this again I would probably drop the FWH and bitter with CTZ at 60 mins. The rest of the kettle hops would go into a hot steep post-boil. The grist was good as is.

caskipa2

When the head settled there was about 1.5″ – a bit high, but I don’t think you can get less with this setup. The carbonation level was perfect with 1 oz (right between 1-1.5 volumes).

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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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Baked Ham – Scottish Ale Glaze

sliced

There is a lot of room for variation in this recipe (boneless/bone in ham, glaze thickness, cooking method, glaze ingredients, beer style, etc), but I really liked how it turned out. You could use a variety of beers for this, but I really like the flavor the Scottish Ale contributes. It really is the perfect style for a ham glaze in my opinion. This will result in a fairly sweet, very flavorful glaze. Even my wife, who isn’t much of a fan of baked ham, loves it.

8 lbs Boneless Fully Cooked Ham

1 bottle Scottish 70/- (Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles)

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Honey

ingredients

Score the ham (cut diamond pattern about 1/2″ deep all over surface of ham):

scored

Place ham in roasting pan and bake for half of total cook time.

Mix the glaze ingredients in a saute pan:

mix

Reduce to taste (I only reduced about 10 minutes on very low heat, I wanted this to be a fairly thin glaze):

stir

Remove ham from oven:

baked

Pour glaze covering ham entirely:

poured

Bake ham for remaining time basting occasionally.  Remove from oven and let rest before slicing:

done

Serve with preferred sides and refrigerate the rest. Pour glaze into container – I like to take the slices that have been soaking in the glaze at the bottom when eating leftovers.

plate

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Bagshot Pale – American Pale Ale

apa7

What beer-lover doesn’t love a nice clean American Pale Ale? This is such an easy-drinking sessionable style. The first beer we ever brewed was Midwest Supplies’ Sierra Nevada Pale Ale clone, this is the style that started it all for us. Looking back at the original brew log – that one was brewed 4/2/10  and was bottled on 4/15/10. Naturally when tasted on 4/22/10 it tasted green and was under-carbed (remember not being able to resist having a bottle during conditioning?). By mid-May we were drinking it and were hooked on homebrewing. Surprisingly I took hydrometer readings that batch and it started at 1.049 and finished at 1.012 – the next few batches don’t have readings.

Since that pale ale we’ve brewed about 15 gallons of a Mirror Pond clone and are on the 2nd iteration of a recipe that I developed.  The only style that has been brewed more is likely Special Bitter – which is a British ancestor of the American Pale Ale.

The recipe for Bagshot Pale is heavily influenced by Firestone Walker’s Mission Street Pale Ale. I listened to the CYBI series with Firestone Walker and was instantly enamored with Matt Brynildson, Brewmaster. He is 3rd only to Jamil and Tasty in my fantasies. One of the main things I liked about Firestone Walker’s Pale beers is that they all use a yeast similar to the Fullers yeast (WLP002 / Wyeast 1968) which is my favorite yeast to use. They also do most of their dry hopping in the primary fermentor, and since I’m lazy that means one less carboy to clean. Firestone Walker’s pale beers all seem to be really clean and easy to drink, which is something I typically aim for. In short, they just seem to do everything right – I’ve only had a couple of their beers, but based on the podcasts and other things I’ve read I feel confident in saying that.

The grist is that of Mission Street Pale Ale just higher gravity, I don’t do the Firestone Walker mash schedule, but rather a single sach rest temp of 148F. I follow a similar hopping schedule, just at higher rates to what Firestone does. Tiny 90 and 30 minute additions followed by a massive whirlpool addition, which for us, is just a 30 minute hot steep post boil.

Bagshot Pale 1.0

5 finished gallons (6.5 gallon batch size – 1.25 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy)

90 minute boil

1.052 OG

1.011 FG

80% Rahr 2 Row

15% German Munich (8L)

5% Briess CaraPils

10 grams Cascade 7% 90 mins

10 grams Cascade 7% 30 mins

50 grams Cascade 7% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

39 grams Centennial 9% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

14 grams Amarillo 9.3% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

14 grams Cascade 7% Dry hop for 6 days

14 grams Centennial 9% Dry hop for 6 days

14 grams Amarillo 9.3% Dry hop for 6 days

WLP002

Pitch at 63, let rise to 66F. As fermentation wraps up increase temp to 68F. When within .002 gravity points of target final gravity add dry hops. After 3 days cold crash for 3 days before kegging.

The first version of this recipe got 1st place in it’s category at Hoppy Halloween 2012 (37.5 – 6 weeks old), 1st place at Land of the Muddy Waters 2012 (38 – 9 weeks old) and 3rd place at SCH*ABC V (35- 9 weeks old). The scoresheets from Hoppy Halloween stated that the beer is very clean and the hop the hops overpowered the malt and that the beer would benefit from additional late additions/dry hopping). At 9 weeks old the scoresheets stated that the body was a bit thin, but the malt/hops/bitterness were perfectly balanced.

The beer, when young, is all hops. The body was a bit thin, but I really didn’t want to make the beer too much bigger or mash higher because I think that would hurt drinkability and this is the type of beer that I like to have several pints of in a session. The gravity was boosted to 1.058. I decided to add some Victory Malt to give this a little bit more malt flavor especially when young. I also simplified the hopping to be in 1 oz increments. The “whirlpool” addition got slightly smaller, but the AA% was a bit higher on the Centennials. I didn’t want to increase the bitterness of the beer which is why the hops were reduced overall on the hot side, but the dry hops were all doubled to increase aroma and hop flavor.

Bagshot Pale 2.0

5 finished gallons (6.5 gallon batch size – 1.25 left in kettle, 5.25 into carboy)

90 minute boil

1.058 OG

1.013 FG

76% Rahr 2 Row

15.5% German Munich (8L)

5% Briess CaraPils

3.5% Briess Victory Malt

5 grams Cascade 7% 90 mins

5 grams Cascade 7% 30 mins

45 grams Cascade 7% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Centennial 11.6% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Amarillo 8.2% 0 mins – 30 minute hot steep

28.4 grams Cascade 7% Dry hop for 6 days

28.4 grams Centennial 11.6% Dry hop for 6 days

28.4 grams Amarillo 8.2% Dry hop for 6 days

WLP002

Pitch at 63, let rise to 66F. As fermentation wraps up increase temp to 68F. When within .002 gravity points of target final gravity add dry hops. After 3 days cold crash for 3 days before kegging.

I’m hoping these changes will get this beer into the 40’s in some upcoming competitions. Assuming it continues to do well I’ll likely enter this in NHC – I have just enough Amarillo to brew it again and for a rebrew if it advances. The beauty of this recipe though is that you really could put whatever hops you want in it and it will really showcase them well. When I run out of Amarillo I think I’ll replace that with Chinook (Simcoe and Citra both would do well, but I really prefer those in IPA/IIPAs as opposed to a session APA). As it is now the beer is citrusy, floral, a little spicy/piney/resinous, grapefruity, and slightly malty in both flavor and aroma. It tastes very clean behind all the hop flavor and only slightly sweet in the finish.

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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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