Sunday, October 26, 2014

The Butler (English Mild Split Batch) -- Brew Day

English mild. This is a style that's almost always been on my list of "to-do" brews, but for some reason has never come to fruition. Maybe it's that I'm just not really a fan brewing low gravity session ales, or really even English ales at all. Maybe it's that I'd rather not waste a whole brew day on a very mild, easy-drinking beer when I could be brewing an epic hop-bomb. Either way, with our extended family coming in for Thanksgiving this year, I've used this as an excuse to brew up my first English Mild and add some diversity to my pipeline.

It's really hard to find good examples of this once popular session beer in the States. Really, the only Milds I have had are the ones made by American brewers inspired by the traditional English ale.  Goose Island Mild Winter is a really nice example if you ever see it in the stores. 

For this batch, I'm going to do something a little bit different than usual. Due to limited carboy space from my recent brewing on an epic scale and also from my burgeoning sour pipeline, I'll be putting this batch into two separate, three gallon carboys. Both carboys will get the same yeast, London Ale WY1968, however one batch will be getting about an ounce of whole bean coffee beans added the day before bottling. I'm thinking, and hoping, that this is a nice combination.

The real struggle in brewing these low gravity, session ales is to have enough body in the beer to make it feel more substantial than just brownish water.  I'm mashing this one at 158f to hopefully avoid the "weak coffee" feel that I've seen in a lot of other amber session beers.

The Butler (English Mild)
5.5 gallon batch -- 60 minute boil
Est OG: 1.033
Est FG: 1.010
Est ABV: 3.0%
IBU: 21
SRM: 17

6.0lb Maris Otter
1.5lb Caramel 60L
0.25lb Chocolate Malt (350L)

0.8oz Fuggles @ 45 min (12 IBU)
1.0oz Fuggles @ 15 min (8 IBU)

1 package WY1968 London ESB (no starter)

Mash @ 158f for 60 min

Split batch into two 3 gal carboys.  One carboy will get an ounce of whole coffee beans added one day before bottling.

10/21/2014 -- Brewed.  Efficiency came in around 80%, probably because of the light grain weight.  Gathered 5.5 gallons of 1.033 wort.  Fermentation kicked off within 12 hours despite a starter.  The initial fermentation looked surprisingly brett-like, which scared the shit out of me.  However, it died down after around 24 hours and I don't detect any brett characteristics.  It must have just been a sign of a low gravity fermentation.


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