Additions to Mild Ale

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DocBrown

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Hello,
I'm working on my 2nd (and 3rd) brew at the moment. It's AHS' Mild Ale extract kit with their 1% ABV boost additive. The recipe is as follows:
0.5lb 2-Row
0.5lb Crystal 60L
0.25lb Chocolate Malt
5lbs Amber LME
1.5oz Fuggle hops at 60min
0.5oz Fuggle hops at 5min

It's been in the primary for 9 days now, and it should be pretty close to finished. When I measured the SG yesterday (1.016, OG was 1.048), I (of course) drank the beer in the hydrometer tube after measuring. I know the taste will change a bit as things settle out (I like my Irish Red a lot more after 3 weeks than I did at 1 week!), but there really wasn't a lot of taste there at all! I know it's a mild ale, and I'm not complaining. My wife tasted it and said she could actually tolerate it (high praise for a beer from her!), and I have a few other friends that will probably really like it. But I'd like to experiment a bit more.

So here's my plan: Instead of transferring the whole thing to a secondary in the next day or two (assuming stable hydrometer readings), I'm thinking about giving it an extra week in the primary and then bottling half of it. The other half I want to put in a secondary and add something to it to give it more flavor. Given that this is my second brew, I'd like some help figuring out what would go well and exactly how to go about doing it.

The first thing I thought to add was chocolate of some sort. I think coffee might be a bit much for the mild flavor of the beer. Likewise, I couldn't really come up with a fruit that I think would complement the mild ale taste really well. I suspect nuts or possible honey (or both) might go really well though. Can anyone 1) comment on possible extras that might work well that can be added to the secondary and 2) give me some pointers on quantities and procedures?

Many thanks!
JB
 

fratermus

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I love mild, but I don't think it is a style that will stand up to a lot of ABV or flavoring shenanigans. Might do better to noodle around with a porter, a brown, a stout, something with a higher grav and more forgiving.

If you just had to throw something in the secondary, maybe some kind of dark fruit? raisins, prunes, figs?

Just my 2c, of course.

I am currently drinking Orfy's MMA and it's pretty danged good. I have JZ's mild conditioning now; that reminds me to pull one out and taste it.
 

Nurmey

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Blasphemy I tell you! What did that lovely little Mild ever do to you?

I just finished typing some advice to a new guy and I'll tell you too. Don't ever judge a beer by the hydrometer sample and certainly don't go messing with it based on that flavor particularly at 9 days.

I urge you to bottle, carb, and age that sweet little Mild as is. If after you taste it's wonderfulness and still don't like it, let your wife and friends enjoy it.

Have you guessed that I am a Mild lover.
 

DeathBrewer

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The problem is that it's too dry. You don't have any munich malt or anything, and you used extract.

I wouldn't put fruit in a mild at all, but I would bastardize it with some dry hops in your situation.
 
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DocBrown

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I want to thank everyone for the advice and suggestions. I guess I should have been more clear that I don't dislike the taste at all. I will certainly bottle at least half of the batch and experiment some with the rest (I rarely drink much more than 1 6-pack a week, so that should leave me with plenty). I hadn't thought of dry-hopping. Would it sound reasonable to add 1oz of Willamette hop pellets to the 2.5gallons remaining in the secondary? Would it be better to use 1oz of whole leaf?

Thanks again!
JB
 

Aspera

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Call me a radical, but I'm making my mild tomorrow with mild malt and an ale yeast from England.
 
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DocBrown

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I want to thank everyone for the help and advice on this batch. So, after 3 weeks in the primary, I bottled half of the batch. To the other half I added 0.5oz of Perle hops (my LHBS had run out of most of his stock at the time). I left that for 10 days and bottled it as well. The second half has now had three and a half weeks to carb and bottle condition, so tonight was the big taste test.

I have been drinking bottles of the first half for about a week now, so this was a direct comparison between them. First though, I do like the mild. I really don't have a lot of experience with different beer styles. I also don't think it would do any good for me to rate beers at this point either. None the less, the mild had a nice gentle flavor. It's not my favorite beer but I'm not disappointed with it either. The dry-hopped version has a much sharper finish to it. It feels a bit more bitter without really affecting the underlying taste. I wouldn't call it worse by any means. It's definitely a very different beer though!

Anyway, I know most of you have a great deal of dry-hopping experience. And is may well have been sacrilege for me to bastardize a mild ale! However, it was a good experience, and I definitely have a better idea of what dry hopping actually does, and the mild ale perhaps had a light enough flavor to really accentuate the changes. So I got out of it exactly what I wanted - the experience and knowledge. Thanks again for the advice!

JB
 

david_42

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Good feedback. Too many people never follow up on their experiments.
 
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