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Old 02-10-2013, 07:50 PM   #1
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Default Dark Mild Grain Bill Critique wanted

I'm circling around a recipe for a Dark Mild - I want something that's low-alcohol, reasonably malty, low-hop, but also interesting and drinkable. I've had some homebrew milds that tasted pretty watery (as if they just watered down a brown after brewing).

Here is a grain bill - I target 18 gallons finished batch size at 75% efficiency, so this current grain bill will have an OG around 1.038 or thereabouts. I'm looking for feedback about the particular ingredients and their ratio, so I'll just post percentages for now.

Maris Otter - 65%
Flaked Corn - 10%
Belgian Dark Candi - 10%
Chocolate Malt 350L - 5%
British Dark Caramel Malt (70-80L) - 10%

Beertools is giving me 25 SRM on that recipe (although I'm not 100% sure I have the right choc malt and candi in my databases, I get the Dark Candy brand candi syrup and I'm *pretty* sure the choc malt at my FLHBS is 350F, it might be 420, in which case I'd adjust).

I've read a fair bit about the style, which is why there is so much adjunct in there. Ray Daniels in DGB points out that about 50% of the commercial and award winning homebrew milds have adjuncts, and a lot of the high-quality commercial examples I've read about from the UK have adjuncts. The american styles (Surly, for example) seem not to.

Personally, I'm leaning in the adjunct direction because I don't often brew with adjuncts, and because I feel like 10% corn in the grain bill will help with mouthfeel in an interesting way.

Any ideas? Advice? I'll settle on the rest of the recipe, yeast and hops, later. I've got plenty EKG in my freezer, that seems like an easy enough way to go.

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:13 AM   #2
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I would think the candi sugar will dry it out too much and run counter to your goal of a full body. If you want the complexity, you might replace it with some Munich or to could add some biscuit. I have a feeling that the historic versions were a bit thin with the sugar additions, but who knows. I tend to feel that strict adhearance to style doesn't automatically make a beer better. In any case, make sure to mash high. I mashed my last mild at 157 or so and was pretty happy with it.

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:21 AM   #3
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My suggestion (which I've done and gotten rave reviews even from non-craft drinkers at a holiday party) is to run off about 1/2gal into a separate pot, boil it on the stove down to about 1st, then add it back to the beer. It really gives a fullness of flavor and a bit of body. I forgot to do that last time I brewed the same recipe and my friends noted the difference immediately, both in watery taste and thin body.

Oh, and drop the corn--but that's just me

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Old 02-11-2013, 12:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tagz View Post
I would think the candi sugar will dry it out too much and run counter to your goal of a full body.
I feel the same way about the corn. Only more so. The candi sugar wil at least bring some caramel flavors. The corn will just bring empty gravity. If you want adjuct mouthfeel, use oat flakes. Mash as high as you can stand (like 160F) and use a low-attenuating yeast like WLP002 or WY1318.
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Old 02-11-2013, 12:33 AM   #5
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I agree with the above suggestions. I would probably scrap the corn - the dark candi sugar seems intriguing, but not sure if that would thin the beer out as was mentioned. I added some flaked oats to my last mild for body and mouthfeel and really liked it. I also like the suggestions of boiling down some of the first runnings and adding it back. I have not done that, but sounds like something I might try in the future.

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Old 02-12-2013, 04:28 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the feedback. I think I'll go with my gut here (which also says to drop the adjuncts). I hadn't thought about doing a pot-caramelization step, but that makes sense, as I do that in my scotch ale (the skotrat version of traquair house ale) with lots of success. It adds a lot of the fun flavors and body I usually associate with c80 and c120.

So, new plan is mostly base malt, some victory/biscuit, a relatively small amount of c80 and choc malt, with a pot-caramelization step. I'll skip the oats this time, but keep them in mind for next time, should I want even more flava. High mash, probably minimal bitter/aroma EKGs on the hopping.

Yeast-wise, I have a lot of WLP001 in the fridge right now, which is what I'd rather use, but I see the point in going with 002 or Safale US-04. Couple pax of US04 probably worth the investment. Maybe I'll scale back to a 12 gal batch for the experiment (that's about as small as I can fit in these 30gal pots), so I can better fiddle with ingredients.

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Old 02-12-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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I think that S-04 would be a great choice here. I used 007 and some chocolate rye malt to get a little more yeast character and interest, but a true mild would probably be better w/ 002 or S-04.

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