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Feedback on English Dark Mild Recipe?

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rhys333

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Hey everyone,

I'd like to brew a batch of beer based on a dark mild that my dad used to enjoy back in the old country. If I can get it close, I'll brew it again for the parents over Christmas. He mentions Timothy Taylor's Dark Mild as a favorite, and describes it as having the following characteristics:

- Dark ruby, almost black. Slightly lighter in colour than Guinness.
- Thick creamy head, and very good head retention.
- Good body and mouthfeel. Definitely not thin or watery (as many attempts at mild can be)
- Chocolatey in flavor, somewhat like cold hot chocolate. Slightly sweet, smooth tasting and neither roasty or hoppy.

Now, there's also a good description on the Timothy Taylor website, which gives more insight. It describes some subtle flavors that he may not be picking up:

Based on all of this, I've come up with the following draft recipe. Absent is brown malt, which I considered adding if I were to reduce the chocolate malt by a percent or so. I'm considering mashing high. Very high in fact, around 160F to get the body. I realize this breaks with convention, but may be necessary to get the appropriate mouthfeel in such a low abv beer. I could cheat and use rye, but would rather not.

DARK MILD
1.042-1.013 (3.8% abv), 20 IBU, 18 SRM
80% Golden Promise
9% Flaked barley
7% C80
4% UK Chocolate malt
1.5 oz Willamette @ 60 (5.5 gal)
WY 1469 (or 1968, which I have on hand)

I appreciate your feedback and suggestions, or advice based on experience brewing this tricky style. Thanks in advance!
 

ba-brewer

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I see the timothy taylor version calls out sugar in the ingredients which would dry it out and low the FG. I think the right carbonation level and temperature may help with the mouthfeel.

I have not brewed this recipe but plan to sometime. It is more complex then some of the other mild recipes on that site, but it might give you some ideas.
Let's Brew Wednesday - 1952 Lees Best Mild
 

kmarkstevens

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looks tasty. Personally, I think brown malt tastes like ass, so leaving that out is a good thing. Can substitute biscuit if you like.

Ron Pattinson is pretty adament that mild's should have invert/brewing sugar to have the authentic taste. As ba-brewer linked to Lees best mild

If this is new, you can make your own invert: Making Brewers Invert | half a cat

Or, this may be heretical to some, use honey. Honey is something like 80-90% natural invert sugar. Boil to dirve off any honey tastes, and Bob's your uncle,
 
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rhys333

rhys333

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Thanks for the feedback @ba-brewer and @kmarkstevens

Some good points there. One question that puzzles me about the use of invert in a low abv beer like mild... how do they get such a full body when sugar usually thins it out? Is the invert less fermentable, perhaps? I recall from an experiment I did a few years ago that my HB invert seemed to leave a lot of residual sugars instead of fermenting out completely.
 

ba-brewer

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I really don't know if invert is less fermentable or not but I would guess it is closer to 100% fermentable than not. Invert being mostly glucose is suppose to enhance ester production so you get that as well.

As I mentioned before carbonation and temp can help the mouthfeel and perception of body. For me if the first beer I drink is a low ABV beer I don't really notice or sense the beer seeming thin. If I drink a higher ABV beer first then switch to a lower ABV the beer does seem thinner at first but then I don't notice it so much.

Playing with ferment temp can also help control the yeast from attenuating too far. If you keg you have more more control and can try soft crashing to stop or slow thing down to pick a gravity you like.
 

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For low ABV beers, I would mash high at say 158F. Pick a yeast that has low attenuation like the Fullers strain. Personally, after multiple split batches, I prefer Pub over WLP002. although some say that pub isn't Fullers, but I like it.
 

kmarkstevens

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This is a fantastic mild: Dark Mild | Machine House Brewery | Seattle Beer

It's one brewers take, and the brew master is English, and does it on casks with beer engines. It is ambrosial. he uses Bairds Crystal and Chocolate, American 2 row, and Fuller's yeast strain. I'm version 15 zeroing in to get close. I spund/naturally keg condition.

He doesn't use invert but it is simply a wonderful beer.

I'll have to go back and pick his brain again on mash temps and % grist one of these days.
 
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rhys333

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This is a fantastic mild: Dark Mild | Machine House Brewery | Seattle Beer

It's one brewers take, and the brew master is English, and does it on casks with beer engines. It is ambrosial. he uses Bairds Crystal and Chocolate, American 2 row, and Fuller's yeast strain. I'm version 15 zeroing in to get close. I spund/naturally keg condition.

He doesn't use invert but it is simply a wonderful beer.

I'll have to go back and pick his brain again on mash temps and % grist one of these days.
They mention crystal and dark crystal on that web page. I almost went with a C60/C120 combo, and may still yet.
 
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I really don't know if invert is less fermentable or not but I would guess it is closer to 100% fermentable than not. Invert being mostly glucose is suppose to enhance ester production so you get that as well.

As I mentioned before carbonation and temp can help the mouthfeel and perception of body. For me if the first beer I drink is a low ABV beer I don't really notice or sense the beer seeming thin. If I drink a higher ABV beer first then switch to a lower ABV the beer does seem thinner at first but then I don't notice it so much.

Playing with ferment temp can also help control the yeast from attenuating too far. If you keg you have more more control and can try soft crashing to stop or slow thing down to pick a gravity you like.
I'm leaning towards leaving out the invert on this first attempt, only because I'm not confident that I'll be able to get enough body into the beer given my lack of experience with sub-4% brewing. I think I can encourage ester production. I've noticed that if I top-crop 1469, it gives off a lot of the so-called stonefruit esters.
 
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I'm brewing this today. I adjusted the grist percentages slightly to:

77.5% Golden Promise
10% Flaked Barley
8% UK C80
4.5% UK Chocolate

I'm mashing at 159-160F so the results of that will be interesting. 5.5 pH to smooth out the roasted grain. I also opted to go with the WY 1968 I have on hand, but I'll use 1469 on the rebrew for sure.
 

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Just a note, I had a book on mild ale ( classic beer styles-mild ), and most of the recipes for a lot of commercial English mild ales had fg under 1.009. Personally I love mild but I like dry beers and though I generally don’t add sugar etc, I mash for low fg and don’t use a lot of crystal. I have done no crystal and just 1% each pale choc and black malt which worked very nice.

Personal preference obviously, all my beers are mashed for a low fg ( under 1.010 for everything).
 
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Just a note, I had a book on mild ale ( classic beer styles-mild ), and most of the recipes for a lot of commercial English mild ales had fg under 1.009. Personally I love mild but I like dry beers and though I generally don’t add sugar etc, I mash for low fg and don’t use a lot of crystal. I have done no crystal and just 1% each pale choc and black malt which worked very nice.

Personal preference obviously, all my beers are mashed for a low fg ( under 1.010 for everything).
Good to know. Are your milds generally light bodied then?

I noted the low FG stats but decided go higher for the full bodied mouthfeel that my Dad remembers.
 

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I don’t find them light bodied at all, but again, I’m used to all my beers finishing under 1.010 and it’s how I like them. Lots of people love the high mashed high fg mild so there’s no right or wrong.
I like my uk ales on nitro as well, so good !
 

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I'm brewing this today. I adjusted the grist percentages slightly to:

77.5% Golden Promise
10% Flaked Barley
8% UK C80
4.5% UK Chocolate

I'm mashing at 159-160F so the results of that will be interesting. 5.5 pH to smooth out the roasted grain. I also opted to go with the WY 1968 I have on hand, but I'll use 1469 on the rebrew for sure.
Do let us know how this turns out. I'm sure it's tasty but the question is if it is superlative?

Also, what brand of UK C and Chocolate are you using? There is a huge difference in taste between brands....
 
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rhys333

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Do let us know how this turns out. I'm sure it's tasty but the question is if it is superlative?

Also, what brand of UK C and Chocolate are you using? There is a huge difference in taste between brands....
Will report back.

I'm using Bairds chocolate malt. The LHBS didn't label the C80 maltster for some reason, but it's either Bairds or Thomas Fawcett. I think it's the latter.
 

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I'm with Twinkeelfool, I like to brew my milds dry and I stay away from the crystal. Given how well modified contemporary base malt is, I don't see what high mash temps can actually bring to the party.

Instead, I've learned to get my milds' mouthfeel from the water--specifically, flabby sulfate poor water. I kinda like to think of my mild water as inside out bitter water.
 

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Also one thing worth mentioning, low carbonation increases perceived body. The "creamy" milds I had were very low carbonated beers with a bit of head and lots of esters.

I actually think that the invert sugar is necessary for this enhanced ester experience. I am brewing a blond at the moment with s04 at 16c and there is so much ester aroma coming out of the airlock which I haven't seen before. This is also the first time that I brewed with my homemade invert.
 

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He mentions Timothy Taylor's Dark Mild as a favorite
It's worth pointing out that Timmy's Dark Mild is just their light mild, Golden Best, with a load of brewer's caramel for colour (same is done to Landlord to make Landlord Dark, fka Ram Tam). It was created to sell into the Lancashire market where they expect their milds to be dark, but they don't sell enough there to justify a separate brew. So don't go thinking in terms of a traditional mild recipe - and that Lees best mild may be nice, but it's also very atypical for a mild, the clue is in the name....

Golden Best is one of the very few remaining Pennine milds, golden, 3.5% ABV and 20 IBU - it was their biggest seller from WWII until Landlord took off in the late 1980s. It would have been in competition with Lees "ordinary" mild, not their Best.

Malt is listed as just "Golden Promise" - some could be turned into crystal but I suspect not, they also list sugar so I suspect there's just a whiff of invert #2 or something, more for flavour than to provide fermentables. The allergen table says that none of their beers contain wheat, but they are using a bit of oats and rye in a lot of their newer beers.

Hops are Styrian Goldings, Goldings, Fuggles.

As others have said, go gentle on the carbonation and chilling, it's easy for too much CO2 to wreck the balance that is key to these kinds of beers.
 

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It's worth pointing out that Timmy's Dark Mild is just their light mild, Golden Best, with a load of brewer's caramel for colour (same is done to Landlord to make Landlord Dark, fka Ram Tam). It was created to sell into the Lancashire market where they expect their milds to be dark, but they don't sell enough there to justify a separate brew. So don't go thinking in terms of a traditional mild recipe - and that Lees best mild may be nice, but it's also very atypical for a mild, the clue is in the name....

Golden Best is one of the very few remaining Pennine milds, golden, 3.5% ABV and 20 IBU - it was their biggest seller from WWII until Landlord took off in the late 1980s. It would have been in competition with Lees "ordinary" mild, not their Best.

Malt is listed as just "Golden Promise" - some could be turned into crystal but I suspect not, they also list sugar so I suspect there's just a whiff of invert #2 or something, more for flavour than to provide fermentables. The allergen table says that none of their beers contain wheat, but they are using a bit of oats and rye in a lot of their newer beers.

Hops are Styrian Goldings, Goldings, Fuggles.

As others have said, go gentle on the carbonation and chilling, it's easy for too much CO2 to wreck the balance that is key to these kinds of beers.
Timothy says that they are mashing for five hours!

That is a long mash!
 

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Timothy Taylor's Dark Mild is in fact just their Golden Best with caramel added when it is casked. So the recipe will not have any darker malts, but a well bodied amber/gold, modestly hopped paler beer with extra flavour coming from a relatively small amount of very dark caramel.
 

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Timothy says that they are mashing for five hours!

That is a long mash!
Devil is in the detail - I'd assume that includes the time for a few tonnes of water to get up to temperature. Even at homebrew level, an hour mash and an hour boil do not mean a 2-hour brew session!
 

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Devil is in the detail - I'd assume that includes the time for a few tonnes of water to get up to temperature. Even at homebrew level, an hour mash and an hour boil do not mean a 2-hour brew session!
I don't think so.

"Once fully ‘mashed in,’ it spends about five hours in the mash tun with different techniques used to ensure the liquor extracts all the available sugars"
 

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I don't think so.

"Once fully ‘mashed in,’ it spends about five hours in the mash tun with different techniques used to ensure the liquor extracts all the available sugars"
The description continues...

"For example, the last stage is the use of a rotating sparge arm to distribute the liquor over the bed of the mash to maximise the extract."

With the next step being the copper and hops, the boil. Seems to me that the 5 hours includes the mash, sparge, and lauter.
 
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rhys333

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It's worth pointing out that Timmy's Dark Mild is just their light mild, Golden Best, with a load of brewer's caramel for colour (same is done to Landlord to make Landlord Dark, fka Ram Tam). It was created to sell into the Lancashire market where they expect their milds to be dark, but they don't sell enough there to justify a separate brew. So don't go thinking in terms of a traditional mild recipe - and that Lees best mild may be nice, but it's also very atypical for a mild, the clue is in the name....

Golden Best is one of the very few remaining Pennine milds, golden, 3.5% ABV and 20 IBU - it was their biggest seller from WWII until Landlord took off in the late 1980s. It would have been in competition with Lees "ordinary" mild, not their Best.

Malt is listed as just "Golden Promise" - some could be turned into crystal but I suspect not, they also list sugar so I suspect there's just a whiff of invert #2 or something, more for flavour than to provide fermentables. The allergen table says that none of their beers contain wheat, but they are using a bit of oats and rye in a lot of their newer beers.

Hops are Styrian Goldings, Goldings, Fuggles.

As others have said, go gentle on the carbonation and chilling, it's easy for too much CO2 to wreck the balance that is key to these kinds of beers.

Do you have any info on the mild ale from the now defunct Lion Brewey out of Blackburn? My dad mentioned this as his tipple of choice. It was popular in the West Yorkshire Pennines where we are originally from. I couldn't find anything current on this, so he mentioned Timothy Taylor as an alternative.

Regardling the Taylor mild recipe, I notice that their website mentions caramel, coffee and roasted aroma. Wouldn't they need grain to achieve this rather than just brewer's caramel? I see that they also have Landlord Dark, and they mention the use of brewer's caramel in that beer.
 
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Northern_Brewer

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Matthew Brown you mean? Well if you're interested in defunct breweries in Lancashire there's only one man for the job and that's @Edd Mather - he's not around here much so you may be better off contacting him via his website, it looks like he's still not been able to get hold of the MB records but he's got others that your old man probably would have encountered, like this Duttons mild from 1967 :


Ron Pattinson has published a recipe for Oldham Mild in 1987, after the Boddies takeover.

In both cases you'll notice that northwest milds are rather different to traditional Black Country milds, they tend to have huge amounts (by British standards) of crystal malt, up towards 10%.
 

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Caramel instead of invert?
Yes. Caramel is used to modify just color and flavor, both beers being 3.5% ABV. I don't know if invert is part of the basic recipe for those, but it might be.
 

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Matthew Brown you mean? Well if you're interested in defunct breweries in Lancashire there's only one man for the job and that's @Edd Mather - he's not around here much so you may be better off contacting him via his website, it looks like he's still not been able to get hold of the MB records but he's got others that your old man probably would have encountered, like this Duttons mild from 1967 :


Ron Pattinson has published a recipe for Oldham Mild in 1987, after the Boddies takeover.

In both cases you'll notice that northwest milds are rather different to traditional Black Country milds, they tend to have huge amounts (by British standards) of crystal malt, up towards 10%.
Great thread - I’ve been reading Ronald Pattinson and the “Shut Up About Barclay Perkins” thread recently. I just bought his Bitter and Mild books. Really great source of info.

When these recipes just say Crystal malt and don’t provide a color, would you go with 60L?

I often see recipes for these beers (Bitters and Milds) that say things like 50L or 55L Crystal - and I always thought that was odd, because its not sold here that way. I can buy 20L, 40L, 60L, 80L or 120L. Is it sold in those color values over there? I know they often use EBC color values instead of SRM, maybe that accounts for it? I suppose one could mix some percentage of 20L or 40L in with some percentage of 60L to make 50L if one really wanted to.
 

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Yes, EBC is more usual n UK. Simpson's crystal malt page gives recommendations of their malts for styles with both EBC and Lovibond. It advised their Dark Crystal for Dark Mild, 250EBC/100L.
 

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Yes. Caramel is used to modify just color and flavor, both beers being 3.5% ABV. I don't know if invert is part of the basic recipe for those, but it might be.
I’ll have to give that a try. Thank you! Do you think the dry caramel that procedure you (sorry - wires crossed) linked would match the “Caramel colorant” called for in the Shut Up About Barclays Perkins JW Lees - 1952 - Best Mild recipe?
 
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Matthew Brown you mean? Well if you're interested in defunct breweries in Lancashire there's only one man for the job and that's @Edd Mather - he's not around here much so you may be better off contacting him via his website, it looks like he's still not been able to get hold of the MB records but he's got others that your old man probably would have encountered, like this Duttons mild from 1967 :


Ron Pattinson has published a recipe for Oldham Mild in 1987, after the Boddies takeover.

In both cases you'll notice that northwest milds are rather different to traditional Black Country milds, they tend to have huge amounts (by British standards) of crystal malt, up towards 10%.

Yes, it must be Matthew Brown since they are the only brewers to occupy the Lion Brewery building during the relevant time period. I asked my dad, and he knows it as Lion Mild but says it was Blackburn so I think we can safely call it as MB. Thanks for clearing that up. It looks like I have the crystal malt spot on going by that Oldham mild recipe. Maybe a little heavy on the chocolate malt, but that's what this first attempt is about. I can dial it back on the rebrew if it's a bit too porter-like.
 

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Matthew Brown you mean? Well if you're interested in defunct breweries in Lancashire there's only one man for the job and that's @Edd Mather - he's not around here much so you may be better off contacting him via his website, it looks like he's still not been able to get hold of the MB records but he's got others that your old man probably would have encountered, like this Duttons mild from 1967 :


Ron Pattinson has published a recipe for Oldham Mild in 1987, after the Boddies takeover.
Both of these recipes look pretty good. What is a representative yeast you think for northern milds and bitters? I'm not a fan of Windsor. London III is dull and lifeless, and you've been on other threads debunking it as the Boddington yeast. Any obvious tries like Manchester or Notty or something else that's available?

I'm focused on cloning Dark Mild | Machine House Brewery | Seattle Beer It's ambrosial. Uses Bairds C50-60, C120-150, Chocolate, American 2-row and fuller's yeast. The brewer is English, and has a passion for his beer. This beer opened my eyes to what a mild, or something like a real mild should be. I've done 15 versions and getting closer, but not there yet...
 

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Yes, it must be Matthew Brown since they are the only brewers to occupy the Lion Brewery building during the relevant time period. I asked my dad, and he knows it as Lion Mild but says it was Blackburn so I think we can safely call it as MB. Thanks for clearing that up. It looks like I have the crystal malt spot on going by that Oldham mild recipe. Maybe a little heavy on the chocolate malt, but that's what this first attempt is about. I can dial it back on the rebrew if it's a bit too porter-like.
It's worth emphasising that these northwest milds are rather different to other milds with the amount of crystal they use, but if he's used to drinking in Blackburn then it's appropriate. I don't know Central Lancs particularly well but it looks like I'll be doing quite a bit of business there next year, so hopefully I'll be able to pick up a bit more on the ground once things get easier on the Covid front. Looks like the Lion thing was just MB trying to hide behind the "local" brand after an unpopular takeover - Brewery History Society have a bit more on that.

If you're looking for Christmas presents, the National Brewery Centre does laminated coasters with 100's of old beer label designs such as Lion Mild - any Ron Pattinson fan would appreciate them, and it helps support them which has to be A Good Thing, particularly at the moment. You can even pick up original beermats elsewhere.

Both of these recipes look pretty good. What is a representative yeast you think for northern milds and bitters? I'm not a fan of Windsor. London III is dull and lifeless, and you've been on other threads debunking it as the Boddington yeast. Any obvious tries like Manchester or Notty or something else that's available?
It's not an area that's well represented by the stuff you can get easily Stateside - as I've said, WLP038 sounds a nice yeast and may be your best option short of asking Brewlab for F40 or CC or something, or harvesting commercial dregs. Given the connection between Matthew Brown and Theakston, there may have been some swapping of yeast there?
 

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I’ll have to give that a try. Thank you! Do you think the dry caramel that procedure you (sorry - wires crossed) linked would match the “Caramel colorant” called for in the Shut Up About Barclays Perkins JW Lees - 1952 - Best Mild recipe?
It wouldn't be exactly that used by the brewer, but it should provide a similar effect. The black malt would add a lot of the color with the caramel adding flavor.
 
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I think I'm going to naturally carbonate this keg. Any pointers on sugar amount? I know large batch priming (i.e.: 5 gallon keg) requires way less per litre/quart than bottles, so my trusted bottle priming calculator won't work here. Also, am I looking at the same 2 to 3 weeks for carbonation, or is this different as well in large volume?

I'll be packaging Thursday, so will be able to report back then with my terminal gravity.
 

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You can go back to the original joy of homebrewing: 1/2 cup priming sugar for 5 gallons.

I do around 1/4 heaping cup of white sugar for a 5 gallon keg of ordinary bitter. I'm not English, just an English ale enthusiast but that seems to work.

The great thing about keg conditioning is there is a really wide margin of error. Too little carbonation and you just add some CO2, too much carbonation and a couple of pints probably gets you to the sweet spot. There are maybe 4-8 pints in the sweet spot, which taste really good. Then it goes flat and some CO2 is called for.

The second great thing about keg conditioning is that the amount of CO2 needed to push out the beer (as opposed to forcing corbonation) is minimal. My CO2 bottles last a long time these days
 
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I be be curious to hear how it turns out.

I like pale chocolate better than the darker standard chocolate malt. I think it has more of a chocolate flavor and less roasty.
And @kmarkstevens

Results are promising so far, going by tonight's gravity sample.

With a 160F mash, it went from 1.042 to 1.013, or 3.8% abv and 68% attenuation. This with WY 1968.

The aroma is chocolate and there's a hint of roast in the flavor but it's very smooth. It definitely has a lot of body too. I'm looking forward to tasting this again when it's carbonated.

20201211_185226.jpg
 
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