English Brewday: Wonmisan Mild-Mannered Gentleman

This morning I racked my Northern Brown Ale to a keg, which left me with a healthy cake of London Ale yeast and I didn’t want to just leave it in the fridge. Given a discovery I made about my attempted ESB (the Cry Havoc yeast was fine, the carboy wasn’t), I decided I’d better keep my promise to Miss Jiwaku and brew up a Mild.

So I brewed up this mild.

It’s certainly not a beer I’m dreadfully eager to make — not like, say, a big fat Belgian Tripel  — but I am curious to see what a decent homebrewed mild is like, never having had a commercial one. Apparently it’s slowly making a comeback from pretty serious the ignominy mentioned in this article, something I knew before I ever received this comment on twitter — but it will make an alright session brew, I think. I have a cake of Trappist ale yeast standing by, too, so I will be having more Belgian adventures soon enough, worry not.

Anyway, I oversparged the batch a bit, and ended up with a gallon (or maybe 1.5 gallons) more than I’d wanted, so I boiled it off. It took a few hours (maybe two and a half), and I didn’t quite boil it down far enough (I was aiming for 1.036 but I got approximately 1.033 or 1.034 as the O.G.), but hey, it’s a mild… it can be a miniscule bit wimpy on the sugar side, I figure. (Especially since the hops add very minimal bitterness after the first hour.) It should ferment down to about 3.5% or 3.6% ABV.

The molasses sugar was added at the beginning, to reduce hop utilization, and it was a vigorous boil, so I wonder whether it will have some caramely dark flavours. I also managed to maintain the mash temp of between 67 and 70 degrees Celsius this time… so there should be a nice residual sweetness to it, as well.

The other thing I finally did was I decided to run the wort off slowly, and I was repaid with amazing clarity. I think this beer will go very clear, even though I didn’t have Irish moss on hand. It took a bloody hour to run the wort off, but there was an amazing layer of proteinaceous gunk — way more than I’ve seen before — on top of the grains at the end of the mash, and the batch sparge. Very, very cool.

One more thing: we have had a fruit fly incursion in our home, so I brewed this in the basement, running the laundry in the next room while brewing in the communal (but seldom used) open kitchen down there. It was amazing working in something that more closely resembles a proper modern kitchen: I got a LOT of cleanup done while brewing, which is harder in the smaller kitchen within my apartment. As a bonus, there was a tap in the laundry room from which I could run my immersion chiller, and it worked way better than when I run the chiller in my kitchen. It was incredibly fast…

Which has me wondering whether I shouldn’t brew down there more often. We’ll see. Hauling everything down there was kind of a pain. Absent the fruit flies, I’d probably do it up here more willingly.

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