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English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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Tamarlane

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That sounds great. Problem is they are about as scarce as chicken teeth over on this side of the pond. Can't say I've even seen a mild for sale in even the best bottle houses. I have seen a number of recipes for mild ales but really have no idea if what I end up with will taste like it should. Its kind of like a life-long blind man trying to understand what the color yellow looks like. :(

I guess I'll just have to start saving up for a plane ticket, eh?

:mug:
Agreed, every single mild I have ever had had been a homebrew. Even the craft brewers don't dabble in them
 

JKaranka

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:)

Gosh, not sure if to try to explain mild... I think that lots of Americans think it is a weak porter, but it's nothing of the like. Porters were heavily hopped beers that were aged and brewed with pale, brown and black malt. Milds were less hopped ales that were served unaged (mild) and brewed with pale malt. When milds became darker they did not become porters but they darkened by adding mainly dark brewing sugars. Checking Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, ABVs dropped through the 1800s from 6-10% abv to 4-6% by the 1910s, while SRM increased from 6-7 to 12+ in the same time, all with additions of invert sugar #2 and #3. Often some dark malts would be added but the roast flavours are not expected of a dark mild, with the focus being more on the dark fruit flavours. Dark milds can finish sweet or dry, but in general, even if they have (optional) roast flavours, these are secondary, making them completely unlike a porter, specially giving the low hopping and bittering.

If I had to describe some dark milds to a beer expert I'd say that they are more like half of a Belgian dubbel without Belgian yeast. They have half the IBUs, half the grain bill, they don't finish as dry and they don't have all the funks, esters and such like. They are not just bland brown beers. The mild I had last night was, flavour-wise mainly complex malts, cane sugar, a hint of coffee (but not roasty), prunes and raisins, a tad of bitterness but no hop flavour. There was also a clear note of brewery trademark yeast and the finish had a light dry/sour note. I'd describe a dubbel as the same lot of flavours but amplified, specially phenols and alcohol.

I bet now you're completely puzzled!

Not sure if you can find them on online shops, but I'd expect Thwaites Nutty Black (more of a roasty one), Cairns Dark Mild or Brains Dark to be more heavily distributed as they are regularly bottled and canned.
 

redshift76

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Surly released a real nice mild a few months ago. Good to see a brewery known for big extreme stuff do a session beer. I plan on brewing a dark mild soon after having enjoyed this so much. From Surly's website:

Surly Mild
Our first session beer. An English-style Mild.
STYLE: English Brown Ale-Dark Mild

MALT: Pale Ale, Golden Promise, Brown, Crystal, Roast
HOPS: Columbus
YEAST: English Ale

OG: 10º Plato
ABV: 3.8% v/v
COLOR: 14 ºSRM
IBU: 21
 

JKaranka

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If I see American milds at this side of the pond I'll let you know how they compare. I'm still surprised that none of them seems to use adjuncts or brewing sugars of any kind, when lots of the British grists use some of them (usually dark invert syrup but could be just brewers caramel and flaked maize). I'm so going to stick a pound of dark candi syrup in my next mild! :rockin:
 

Hanglow

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Highland Dark Munro is my favourite mild at the moment. A great beer

I posted this on one of the other low abv/session ale threads a while ago, it's a list of grainbills from various milds. Shows how much variation there can be

http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=56335&hilit=mild+grainbill


I'd also be a bit wary of buying it bottled, I'm never much of a fan of the lower abv bottled british beers, they really are a lot better on draught as they are so much fresher. Bigger and darker beers hold up much better of course
 

JKaranka

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Hanglow, I've linked that list before as well! It's great, everything from pale & crystal to seven different ingredients to lots of sugar or simply pale malt. Brains Dark is 0.6% abv stronger in bottle and it really needs it.
 
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Puddlethumper

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I have a British book on home-brewing. A number of recipes in it were contributed by Paul Saunders. I guess he's better known to those who follow the BrewUK forum as Saracen. Perhaps you have heard of him?

He contributes the following recipe. Does this look like it would make a credible mild ale?

Suffolk Mild

3,000 gms - Mild Ale Malt
300 gms - Crystal Malt 200
100 gms - Roasted Barley

Mash 90 min.
Boil 60 min.

18 gms - Fuggles - 60 min.
15 gms - Golding - 60 min.
18 gms - Fuggles - 10 min.
5 gms - Golding - 10 min.

Wyeast 1968 or Safale S-04

OG - 1.037
FG - 1.010
ABV - 3.5%
Bitterness - 26 EBU
Color - 80 EBC

I do notice that there is no invert sugar in the recipe. I understand this is a common ingredient for mild ales but will the beer come up short without it?
 

CKing

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This is looking to become my regular English Bitter recipe, so simple yet my best result to date:

9.5 lbs Maris Otter
0.5 lbs Crystal 80

East Kent Goldings:
1.0 oz @ first wort hop
0.5 oz @ 15
0.5 oz @ 10
0.5 oz @ 5
0.5 oz @ flame out

S-04 dry yeast
 
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Puddlethumper

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Puddlethumper, you should try a dark mild as it was/is brewed! You have some recipes from SUABP here:
Great looking recipes! And thanks for taking the time to post the links.

I would like to give each of them a shot. But I did notice they seem to have in common both lengthy mash and boil times. Those times are no problem for the pro-brewery or the well-set-up home-brewer. And I can boil as long as needed as long as I start with enough wort, but the mash times may be an issue. I have a simple insulated mash tun without the capability of adding heat. It does fine for a 60 min mash but beyond that will have to keep adding hot water. One of them goes well over 2 hours. If you were to brew one of these recipes how would you handle this?
 

JKaranka

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I often do a 60m mash with 3 gallons followed by a shorter mash at a different temperature and a sparge. In an insulated mash tun. I don't think it matters that much, and you can get away with a single infusion mash and a good sparge with modern malts. I just find a medium mash followed by a high mash to work well when extracting. I guess breweries did that kind of stuff to get the most out of their grain. The grists are very interesting, though!
 

JKaranka

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The Whitbread XXX looks amazing. I'd give it a 75m mash at 150f and sorted. Just top up to keep the temperature, but it's a classic mass ale from a popular classic brewery.
 
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Puddlethumper

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The Whitbread XXX looks amazing. I'd give it a 75m mash at 150f and sorted. Just top up to keep the temperature, but it's a classic mass ale from a popular classic brewery.
OK, I'm in on this one. Recipe looks very do-able and I have a half pound of EKG I want to use. Just need to order the mild malt (lhbs doesn't stock it) and figure out how to make the invert sugar.

There was a recipe for the sugar on a website someone pointed out earlier in the thread. About couldn't get around the vulgarity of the guy who put up the site but perhaps I'll plug my nose and go plow through it again.

Thanks guys. Will post my results.
 

Qhrumphf

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Pattinson's new book has instructions for making the various invert sugars towards the front. Really a fascinating book. I plan on tackling a number of the recipes in the future.
 

JKaranka

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There are instructions on their website too. If you can get mild malt (crisp?) that's great but you can use MO as far as it's not very light. Just make sure you don't get one of those weird mild malts that produce very dark wort. The mild malt should be just slightly darker than regular British pale ale malt by 0.5-1 SRM and the flavour difference should be subtle.
 

JKaranka

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Gales HSB is a pretty good one. It's now brewed by Fullers and I drink it when I visit Hampshire. HSB seems to stand for "Higher Strength Bitter" so again an alternative for ESB (although I prefer the straightforward "strong bitter"). It doesn't taste as having as much sugar as it does. Malty, darkish, bright.

Some Gales recipes here:
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=61665
 

DavidJP

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Gales HSB is a pretty good one. It's now brewed by Fullers and I drink it when I visit Hampshire. HSB seems to stand for "Higher Strength Bitter" so again an alternative for ESB (although I prefer the straightforward "strong bitter"). It doesn't taste as having as much sugar as it does. Malty, darkish, bright.

Some Gales recipes here:
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=61665
Gales HSB, stands for "Horndean Special Bitter", Horndean being the site of the former brewery before Fullers closed it down to much local disgust. Drinking a clone of it now, fairly strong at 4.8%.
 
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Puddlethumper

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Gales HSB is a pretty good one.
Some Gales recipes here:
http://www.jimsbeerkit.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=61665
Thanks for the link. That page is now safely copied to my recipes book. And the Hornedean recipe is included. All look very do-able and straightforward.

BTW, I ran across a six pack of Old Speckled Hen and Smithwicks Irish Ale today. Picked up the Smithwicks with intention of sampling the Old Speckled Hen next time. I assume these are commonly available on your side?
 

JKaranka

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Old Speckled Hen is quite popular but it seems to have changed a lot over the last ten years. Not seen Smithwicks around here.
 
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Puddlethumper

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Old Speckled Hen is quite popular but it seems to have changed a lot over the last ten years. Not seen Smithwicks around here.
A little research on both yielded some interesting history. Smithwicks is a very old label while the OSH was a fairly recent creation (1979). From what I've read it would seem both are now operated by mega-distributors with the OSH being the larger of the two. They have changed the label and rebranded it several times over the last couple decades, but no mention was made of changes to the recipe. (Perhaps the writers didn't look into that.)

You mentioned that the OSH is popular. Do you like it?
 

JKaranka

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They've both changed massively. As I understand it Smithwick would not have been a keg bitter a hundred fifty years ago (but I've not drunk it). OSH is a relatively bland national bitter brewed by Greene King. They brew the worst ale I know, the GK keg IPA (3.5% abv). OSH used to be stronger and maltier, with a tad of marmalade hops, but now it competes for that bland mass ale middle like Bombardier. I'd take it in a pub over other GK stuff but rather drink a regional brewer's bitter or strong bitter. Out of national mass ales I might rather have Fullers or Sheperd Neame.
 
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Puddlethumper

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. I'd take it in a pub over other GK stuff but rather drink a regional brewer's bitter or strong bitter. Out of national mass ales I might rather have Fullers or Sheperd Neame.
Thank you for that insight. I haven't seen the Sheperd Neame but can get Fuller's here and rather enjoy it. I'll save my money and leave the GK product on the shelf!

I also liked the Smithwick's Irish Ale. It wasn't as malty or smoky as the recipe I make but still had much of the flavor profile I expect in an Irish ale.

Cheers! :mug:
 

JKaranka

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Try to get some St Austells or Robinsons for more regional brewery produce that is still relatively well distributed
 

lowtones84

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Wow, lots of great information in here. I've been looking into brewing some milds and bitters to have around the house and this is a great resource. Thanks everybody!
 
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Puddlethumper

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Just visited a pub-style restaurant that opened recently. They brew an excellent ESB and I thoroughly enjoyed a pint Sunday afternoon. It was refreshing to find a British style beer appear as fresh draft in a local establishment.
 

JKaranka

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Btw, if you want to try some light ordinary bitters that are very British, widely distributed, yet interesting try Adnams Southwold Bitter and St Austells Tribute. Southwold Bitter has a great fuggles nose and is dry. Tribute is very floral and can be somewhat complex if the cask is in good condition (it has Willamette, btw., but UK brewers have imported hops from the US at least since the 1850s).
 

JKaranka

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I remember reading a lot about clones of Tribute and tried to brew one myself. I'd say you get very close with something as simple as:

6lb Maris Otter
2lb Dark Munich

90 minute boil
90 - 1oz Fuggles
15 - 1oz Williamette
Steep 20 minutes - 1oz Styrian Goldings

The dark Munich is the closest that you can get to the malt that they have made and should give a good body to this golden session bitter. M79 seems to be a popular yeast for it, but I think you can get away with S04 or WLP002.
 
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Puddlethumper

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I remember reading a lot about clones of Tribute and tried to brew one myself. I'd say you get very close with something as simple as:

6lb Maris Otter
2lb Dark Munich

90 minute boil
90 - 1oz Fuggles
15 - 1oz Williamette
Steep 20 minutes - 1oz Styrian Goldings

The dark Munich is the closest that you can get to the malt that they have made and should give a good body to this golden session bitter. M79 seems to be a popular yeast for it, but I think you can get away with S04 or WLP002.

LOL, getting great looking recipes faster than I can make them! (Keep 'em coming!)

I have everything on hand except the Styrian Goldings and the Dark Munich (both are readily available). How much difference do you find between the Styrian and EK Goldings?
 

JKaranka

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The Styrian Goldings used to be a blend of Slovenian hops, some like Fuggles and others more floral/citrusy. They're very different from EKG but also heavily used in many classic bitters. I'm not sure which one is the current hop to go for (I think Celeia) as they don't sell them as a blend anymore in the EU. I really like them, they are more citrusy and 'fresh' than Goldings. Somewhat a bit more 'American' tasting. But yeah, I think they all have Fuggles and not Goldings in their parentage (hah, like Cascade!).
 

Qhrumphf

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I've actually never used Styrian Goldings in an English brew. Use em regularly in Belgian stuff though, so I might have to start.

Also, Smithwicks is all over the place here, considering it's got the same parent company as Guinness. When you see one, you usually see the other. It's a pretty decent beer. Although I do love Old Speckled Hen. I wish we had a better selection of English beer available on this side of the pond. I'm big on the bottled version of Adnams Broadside (the 6.2%ish one), and I enjoyed their Southwold, but I wouldn't call it dry. Had a very similar caramel-heavy note that I get from Fullers (and substantially less dry than other Bitters). But then, as is often the case, I'm sure it wasn't a fresh example. I've got a big love for Coniston Bluebird.
 

JKaranka

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Heh, the only Irish beers (apart from micro) are Guinness, Murphy's and Caffrey's. I'm starting to believe the conspiracy theory that Irish Red really is American-Irish Red and has only developed in the last twenty years or so ;)
 
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Puddlethumper

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Heh, the only Irish beers (apart from micro) are Guinness, Murphy's and Caffrey's. I'm starting to believe the conspiracy theory that Irish Red really is American-Irish Red and has only developed in the last twenty years or so ;)
Trying to research the history of Irish red ale turned out to be a very interesting exercise. It would seem that you are close to the truth in the idea that the "Irish Red" we know today is probably not very closely related to the beers of old Ireland. Most sources cite the older Irish ales as being little different from English bitters. Although the BJCP does recognize Irish Red as it's own style, the addition of some roasted barley for color to an ESB seems to be the main difference between the two.

I did run across an entertaining piece on ales from very ancient Ireland at http://www.beerconnoisseur.com/ancient-irish-ale

Cheers!
 

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Just picked up my first sack of Crisp MO. I've been brewing Belgian styles for over a year because my last sack was pils malt, and now I want to venture into British styles. I'm going to be making my own invert syrup (I use turbinado in other beers anyhow, so have plenty on hand) and I'm wondering about how much I should use in a Special Bitter? Here are my plans so far:

6-7 lbs. Crisp MO
.5 lb. home roasted light crystal malt (made from the Crisp MO)
.5 lb. flaked barley
.5-1 lb. invert #1 syrup (home made)

1 oz EKG @ 60, .25 oz EKG, .5 oz UK Fuggles @ 15
S-04 (Brew shop didn't have WLP002 or WY1318...bah)

Any thoughts?
 

JKaranka

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Sounds good, but I wouldn't home roast as it's more like amber malt than crystal and you might as well get some amber. You could cook the invert for 40m while you mash to get invert #2 which would work out better in colour and taste. Consider 1/2oz dry hop as well.
 
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Puddlethumper

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6-7 lbs. Crisp MO
.5 lb. home roasted light crystal malt (made from the Crisp MO)
.5 lb. flaked barley
.5-1 lb. invert #1 syrup (home made)

1 oz EKG @ 60, .25 oz EKG, .5 oz UK Fuggles @ 15
S-04 (Brew shop didn't have WLP002 or WY1318...bah)

Any thoughts?
The difference between 1/2 lb and 1 lb invert sugar should yield an increase from ABV @ 3.6% to 4.0% with a slight decrease in IBU's.

Why, may I ask, do you plan to use Turbinado instead of plain white sugar? I'm interested in learning about the uses of this product.
 

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If by "regular," you mean table sugar, turbinado actually has some flavor. It's used by a number of professional breweries, even in fairly light beers.
 

lowtones84

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To be completely honest I'm not entirely sure -why- turbinado is used, I've always used it in brewing (and for cooking/in general) because of its less refined nature. I'm guessing it has to do with it not being a processed and some residual molasses content. But everything I've read concerning making invert syrup for British beers says to use turbinado (or demerara), so that's what I'm doing :p

As far as the crystal, it's already made. I do it all the time to decrease my costs (even though it's marginal) and to have more control over the finished product. Should I add the invert syrup at the start of the boil, or with 15 min left? Brewing tomorrow!

Thanks for the replies so far! :mug:
 
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