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bwible

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Since the Queen’s passing I’ve been thinking about all things related to British beer and trying to come up with something different. I’ve long said that beer has been around for so long and I’m not smarter than anyone else so the odds are I can’t think of something that hasn’t been done or tried. So maybe I go back and try to re-create something that existed in the past but no longer does.

One idea that I thought of was a barrel aged mild ale. Now I know if it’s aged it’s not mild. But what if I took a dark mild recipe, 1.036 og and 25 IBU fermented with British Ale yeast and sat it on wood for a bit? I could use just straight oak. Or possibly liquor soaked oak. Keeping with all things British I could use sherry, brandy, or possibly port wine.

Thoughts?
 

rmr9

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I think a dark mild at modern strength might not hold up to aging, but if you brewed it to the strength of many many years ago it might work out. If you haven’t already, check out Ron Pattinson’s blog


It’s pretty much the holy grail of what you’re talking about. Tons of recipes and articles about historic brewing.
 

jjjjfrench

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I've done exactly what you're suggesting. I didn't 'age' in the normal sense, but the beer spent ~3 weeks in a well-used barrel (it was the last beer through the bourbon barrel before I soured it). It produced some hints of oak/vanilla, but honestly, the beer didn't have the backbone to hold up even to these subtle notes. It wasn't bad, but not an experiment I would seek out to repeat.
 

Miraculix

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I've done exactly what you're suggesting. I didn't 'age' in the normal sense, but the beer spent ~3 weeks in a well-used barrel (it was the last beer through the bourbon barrel before I soured it). It produced some hints of oak/vanilla, but honestly, the beer didn't have the backbone to hold up even to these subtle notes. It wasn't bad, but not an experiment I would seek out to repeat.
That's how I would have imagined it to come out.

As rmr9 suggested, a historic mild might be very much different in that respect. Rons blogg is a very good source of information. He also wrote big big books about mild ale, there are tons of recipes inside, I got them at home. I can recommend them if you're after historic recipes.
 
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bwible

bwible

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Yeah I guess I was looking for something that could be wood aged/barrel aged outside of the usual suspects - Barleywine, Imp Stout, Wee Heavy, Old Ale. So called clean beers, not looking for brett or barrel sours. Maybe there’s a minimum strength / alcohol content required for barrel aging.
 
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mashpaddled

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I've had oak aged milds and willing to join the consensus that it's a lot of wood flavor and the beer gets lost.

You'd be fine with a beer in the 5-7% range with a delicate hand adding oak. That opens the doors for English IPA, higher gravity bitters, porter/stout and brown ale.
 

chthon

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To account for the time in aging, stock ales were hopped at a higher rate, no?
I think that was one source of confusion in R.P.'s investigation about 19th century beer records. Beers called mild that were extremely alcoholic and hoppy (XX, XXX, XXXX) but were sold young and called mild, and then the same milds designated with KK, KKK, KKKK or "Keeping" beers, but still called mild...
 

patto1ro

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I think that was one source of confusion in R.P.'s investigation about 19th century beer records. Beers called mild that were extremely alcoholic and hoppy (XX, XXX, XXXX) but were sold young and called mild, and then the same milds designated with KK, KKK, KKKK or "Keeping" beers, but still called mild...
The K Ales weren't called Mild Ales. They were called Stock Ales and later Strong or Old Ales.
 

Northern_Brewer

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One idea that I thought of was a barrel aged mild ale. Now I know if it’s aged it’s not mild. But what if I took a dark mild recipe, 1.036 og and 25 IBU fermented with British Ale yeast and sat it on wood for a bit? I could use just straight oak. Or possibly liquor soaked oak. Keeping with all things British I could use sherry, brandy, or possibly port wine.
My initial thoughts were pretty much along the lines of this thread - as I keep saying British beer is all about balance and it's really tough to balance wood in weak beers, you have to be really careful with it. It's really easy for the wood to get out of control whilst you lose the freshness that you kinda need at that strength. So I wouldn't let beers under 4.5% or so anywhere near wood, and even above that I would be sparing. But there is scope for doing something in that 4.5-5% strongish mild/ dark beer category - which the BJCP would not acknowledge but which is a definite (minor) thing here, something along the lines of Orkney's Dark Island.

One direction you could take is a fruited dark beer. I get the impression that there's not much awareness outside the UK of how they've become a bit of a thing here, led by the 4.8% Titanic Plum Porter but there's other breweries getting in on the act with damson porters and the like. One of the best versions I've had was a blackberry mild at a festival, so you could try that as being seasonal?
 
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