Having recently brewed a couple of strongly bittered APA's followed by a light Blonde ale, it's time to brew a milder, darker alternative for the pipeline. Brewed relatively soon, I project it to be ready for August, just in time for our family's annual camping trip. Great timing!
My low gravity Dark Mild recipe relies on a heavy helping of crystal malt for body and WLP023 (Burton Ale Yeast) for character. Maris Otter provides a solid base, blends of both English crystal and higher kilned malts round out the grist.
For hops, Bramling Cross. I am intrigued by descriptions of Berries, Lemons, Pears and Black Currants. I hope they go well in the Mild. WLP023 is said to have a honey, pear flavour as well... they should match up well.
LowTech Mild v2
OG 1.035/ IBU ~15/ SRM ~ 15/ ~23L
80.0% Muntons MO
13.0% Muntons Medium Crystal 150 (60L)
02.0% Dingemans Special-B (155L)
03.0% TF&S Brown Malt
02.0% Muntons Chocolate Malt
25g of Bramling Cross @ 30 minutes
15g of Bramling Cross @ 5 minutes
WLP023 (Fresh Pitch)
Update June 19th
Prepared 2L starter from saved (frozen) wort. After thaw, wort measured 15+ brix, diluted to 9.0 brix (1.035) and boiled for 15 minutes. Final gravity of starter, 9.8 Brix (1.037). Chilled in ice bath to room temperature and pitched one vial of Whitelabs WLP023, expiry June 20th, 2013. Erlenmeyer flask placed on stir plate @ 12 midnight.
Update June 20th
Starter shows light krausen @ 1:40pm, almost blowing off @ 4pm, blow off @ 6pm. Decanted 1/3 of the starter to a separate mason jar, starter continued to blow off throughout the evening.
Update June 21st
Stir plate shut down this morning. Starter moved to fridge to await brewday.
Brewed June 22nd
Some weird efficiency numbers. I had expected around 70% based on my experience with the Blonde Ale. I ended with 23-24L in the fermenter at a higher than expected gravity (1.038) and still manage to leave behind 2L in the BK. By my estimates this would mean the mash efficiency was closer to 80% which is considered quite high for this type of brew system. Perhaps the increase in efficiency can be attributed to the lower starting gravity target? Or perhaps it might have something to do with the short, 30m mash "stand" before I started the recirculation? Mash details below...
Water treated with Campden, 2tsp of Calcium Chloride, 1tsp of Epsom and 1/2tsp of Gypsum for a mash pH of 5.44.
Strike temperature 73c, dough in, mash settled out at 67c. Added some cold water from the sparge colume, settled at 66c. Left at ~2.9L/kg water to grain ratio for 30 minutes before beginning to vorlauf and starting the recirculation. During the recirc, fired the propane burner, very low heat, to maintain mash temp of 66c. Began a mash-out at the 45 min mark. Over 10 minutes I increased the mash temperature until I hit 76c. Recirculation was stopped and the MLT was allowed to fully drain. Preboil gravity was higher than I expected so I diluted with 1L of straight water. Boil for a total of 50m adding hops as above + whirlfloc @ 5 min.
Chilled to 23c before draining to fermenter. Fermenter placed in ferm freezer and dropped temps to 16c before pitching my starter. Decanted about 1L of starter before shaking up into slurry. Ferm temp controller set to 20c.
Update June 23rd
15hrs since pitch, Mild showing signs of light krausen. Dirty skim @ 24h from pitch.
Update June 24th
Cropped krausen into pint size mason jar (x2).
Update June 25th
Cropped krausen a 4th time in the last 24hrs. Krausen has not returned with the same vigor. Some light patches on the surface and that is all.
Update June 26th
FG measures 1.0122 (3.11°P)
Update July 3rd
Kegged. Pressure set to 12psi. FG 1.0115 (2.94°P). Samples from the fermenter are very promising!