Brew Days

Hmmm… Dunkel Mild

Not a beer style I’d really wanted to brew previously, but I do have a soft spot for a malty well balanced dark mild.

I’d often tell myself: “why brew a 3.4% mild when you can brew an 8% DIPA or 13% Impy Stout?” Or: “Time is precious, why waste it brewing a low gravity malty beer? Now, where is the recipe for that triple decoction Munich Dunkel?”

The truth is I love a well grafted German malty lager and think nothing of doing a decoction mash… so what is different about a balanced English mild (apart from the lagering of course)?

Milds should be revered for the same reasons and more: malt; balance with hops; a fine cask tradition; a sessionable gravity, they’re hard to come by fresh (they’re hardly ubiquitous in craft beer bars – and a rarity in most ‘trad’ real ale pubs) and the real bonus for the Home-brewer: they’re cheap and quick to brew; ferment and condition.

Recipe:

So I set to formulating a mild recipe:

Dark Mild

  • All Grain (23.00 l)  ABV: 3.34 %
  • OG: 1.036 FG: 1.010 IBUs: 25.2 Color: 41.6 EBC

Ingredients

  • Mash Ingredients
  • 2.00 kg – Mild Malt
  • 0.28 kg – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 100 EBC
  • 0.12 kg – Chocolate Malt (Simpsons)
  • 0.04 kg – Black Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
  • 2.00 kg – Pale Malt (2 Row) UK
  • 0.11 kg – Caramel/Crystal Malt – 200 EBC
  • 0 min – Mash In (68.9 C for 45 min, 2 min rise)
  • Add 13.37 l of water at 78.8 C
  • 47 min – Mash Complete
  • Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, 19.67 l) of 75.6 C water
  • Boil Ingredients (60 minutes)
  • 20.0 g – Northdown – Boil 60 min (15.4 IBUs)
  • 15.0 g – East Kent Goldings (EKG) – Boil 10 min (3.0 IBUs)
  • 15.0 g – Fuggle – Boil 10 min (2.8 IBUs)
  • 0.30 tsp – Irish Moss – Boil 10 min
  • 1:00 hours – End of Boil
  • 1:00 hours – Steep Aroma Hops
  • 20.0 g – Bramling Cross – Steep 20 min (4.0 IBUs)
  • Yeast/Fermentation: 
  • 2 pkg – Nottingham (Danstar -)
  • Ale, Single StagePrimary: 14 days at 19.4 C

The Mash

4kg of base malt!! 4000g of base malt!!! Not the lowest I’ve ever measured out, but not the biggest either. By a long stretch. Mild malt. I don’t think I’d go for 100% of the grain bill, but this smelled great.

First gravity was a whopping 1071 – but I did leave it for 2 hours. With the second runnings the pre boil gravity was a more acceptable 1042.

The Boil

Again, the hopping schedule was one of the simpler and lower hop quantities I’d done.

I wanted some classic English hop bitterness, flavour and aroma and I wanted to see what a hop stand addition would bring in the Bramling Cross – a hop which I love in a Porter or stout and wondered if it might bring some blackberry/ black-current notes.

The OG

This was more than estimated – coming in at 1044 (opposed to 1036).Nevertheless it’s one of the weaker beers I’ve ever brewed 🙂

The Chill

I’ve now managed a set up where after collecting the hot portion of the chilling water from the plate chiller for cleaning I can now get it straight to the drain. No more handling of buckets and stopping mid chill for me.

Also I set up the Thrumometer at last and this really helped me get a good pitching temp as I can adjust the flow rates at the time with an accurate reading of what is going in the fermenter. Very useful but of kit.

Tasting

After a short fermentation it finished slightly short at 1018 or 3.41% ABV.

I think there is a little more it could attenuate so I held back on the priming sugar in my bottled samples and urged the rest to force carbonate.

Tasting wise: Well done toast (think of an artisan sourdough – not your sliced white), with a restrained bitterness and a nice hop aroma and flavour (with hints of dark fruits).

What surprised me was how thirst quenching it was and how there was plenty of complexity to have a second in a session to keep you interested.

Final Thoughts:

This is surprisingly close to a Munich Dunkel but for the yeast and lagering. Perhaps we should treasure and look to preserve and develop it as a regional style to be proud of.

Mancunian Kellerbier Mild at your local craft beer / tap room anyone?

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