Note: This brew is part of a single parti-gyle batch of beer brewed on the 6th of February. The other half of the batch, Wonmisan Silvered Moon Barleywine, is discussed here. (The majority of the discussion of the parti-gyle itself is on that page, not here.)
For those not interested in the link above, briefly, Wonmisan Mild-Hearted Brown Hound is my attempt at Mild, using the second and last runnings of a partigyle for a barleywine.
Now, I’ve attempted to brew a mild before, using the last runnings of a partigyle, but it was extremely disappointing. Therefore, I approached this project with a fair bit of trepidation. That said, I figured that if I was using the partigyle method at a 1:2 ratio, rather than a 1:2:2 ratio as in my last attempt, and if I was using my current mash tun (and not just mashing in my brewpot) that it might actually work better.
The essence of the mild is its lightness, it’s sessionability: it is a beer that shouldn’t go too much over 4% — though there are commercial exceptions out there. It is not very hoppy, and so instead it is the malty character of the brew that is expected to shine through, a sweetness touched perhaps by a particular malt character, but not too much: while the name of the beer original was descriptive of its lacking the lactic “tang” of older, stronger beers aged in barrels (and thus infected with Brettanomyces) the Mild was a lighter, more refreshing and easily-consumed beer.
This is another of those English beers I am making for Miss Jiwaku, therefore. I figured, if I am going to make 10L of barleywine, it’s fair to make 20L (okay, actually 22L) of something she would like to drink, too.
After collecting my first runnings, I capped the mash with 200 grams of English Dark Crystal malt, and another 150 grams of Belgian Biscuit malt, and 100 grams of Gambrinus Honey malt.
The hopping, again, is simple, since Milds are supposed to have a very light, or nonexistent, hop character, and a relatively low bitterness. (I’m shooting for ~20 IBUs total, most of that coming from 10 grams of Magnum at the beginning of the 60 minute Boil, with a tiny bit coming from the 6 grams of Fuggles I’ve added at 20 minutes. I’ll also steep a similar amount of Fuggles at flameout, just enough for a hint of aroma, but not enough to overwhelm the hopefully aromatic properties of the wort itself.
I’m using Windsor dried yeast for this, because it’s supposed to be underattenuative, something I imagine might be helpful in a beer like this. You rarely hear about Windsor because people seem sometimes to find it stops fermenting in the 1.020-1.025 range; but for a Mild, that’s not a serious problem, since the beer should have a little sweetness anyway. I figured, since I have it, and since I’m making a Mild, why not try it out?
We’ll see how it goes.
UPDATE (15 Feb. 2012): Well, Miss Jiwaku just tasted the sample and I can declare this Mission Accomplished: she said, immediately, “That’s really my style of beer.” One reason is, undoubtedly, how it finished out sweet. It’s the highest FG I’ve ever seen in a beer, at 1.014, and the alcohol level is very low (~3.5% ABV) but it has enough malty flavor and bitterness to still taste like a beer. I’ve kegged it and left it at ~60psi, then stuck it out on the balcony to chill. It’s an English Mild, so it doesn’t need to be hypercarbonated, but this way, it will have some CO2 in solution when I check the carbonation level tomorrow; I will be bringing this to the brewers’ meetup this Saturday, and will share there.
That makes it 12 days from grain to glass, and if only I’d used a quicker-clearing yeast, it might even be clear. (Unlike some of my beers lately, which have been stunning, this one is cloudy and murky as heck! Here’s hoping the chill overnight tonight clears it; if not, I may go ahead and spike it with gelatin tomorrow morning, and see if I can’t get it nice and clear by Friday night.)
As for Windsor yeast, well, it certainly does attenuate poorly, which is a bonus in a Mild, but I am not sure what I think of the yeast flavor. We’ll see when the beer is carbed up and a little cooler than room temperature, but for now, I’m thinking a very high mash temp and Nottingham or S-04 would be a better choice. But I may end up liking it as much as Miss Jiwaku.