Saturday, November 7, 2009

Brew Day, Batch #309: I'm Not Dead Yet!

Him, here. Haven't posted anything for over a week, and there's a backlog of stuff what needs writin' about.

So of course I'll be posting about something else, such as the mild ale I'm brewing up right now. Mild ale, the 'forgotten stepchild' of the beer world. Malty, with a bit of roasty and chocolate flavors, 3-3.5% alcohol, very low bitterness, and no real hop character. Typically, black malt provides as much balance to the malt sweetness as does the small amount of kettle hops. This ale, like most low-gravity beers, is tricky to get just right, because small differences in the amounts of specialty malts, and in the water chemistry, can turn a balanced beer into a mouthful of harsh roasty swill pretty easily.

Because I've forgotten to treat my mash water from time to time, there is a handy reminder on the wall above my brew kettle:

In actuality, this clever device rarely helps. Like today, for instance, where I doughed in and stabilized the strike temp before thinking of the chalk that should've been added. I reckon I got it blended in OK with a bit of extra effort, with no harm done. In the end, I cast out chilled wort at 1.035, with a calculated 18 BUs. The neutral but reliable W1056 will be doing the real work at around 65F.

I've always thought that more small breweries could be successful with a mild ale, based on the reaction my homemade stuff gets. It is hugely popular with the 'training wheels' crowd, with the typical comment being, 'I don't normally like beer, but this is great!' I was lucky enough to have a sample of Liberty Street's excellent mild at the Harvest Fest at Eastern Market, and am looking forward to a full pint tomorrow at the Friends of the Rouge benefit tomorrow afternoon. After all, it'll be a good three weeks before today's brew is ready to drink.

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