Cats Meow 3
[Prev] [Next] [Contents] [ConvertUnits] [About CM3]

The Mild One

Classification: mild ale, all-grain

Source: Darryl Richman (, HBD Issue #1570, 11/4/94

like low gravity, so-called "session beers" because they are great for social occasions where it feels comfortable to have a glass in your hand, but nobody really wants to get out of control. The British have made this a longstanding social tradition, and low gravity beers in general have been the norm for their styles throughout this century. (This is in part why they have become so restive with recent price rises that make their pints about $2-$2.50, and why they are so upset at short pours, where the government has basically said they won't prosecute publicans who shave 5% from each pint.)

But even lower gravity beers than the 1.035-1.040 bitters come from the industrial revolution and the large coal mining industry that was needed to feed it in the last century. These beers, called Mild Ale, usually have gravities in the low 30s, and even down into the high 20s. (There are a few examples of milds into the 1.045 range, but they are the exception that proves the rule.)

What really distinguishes Mild from bitter is that Mild has low hop bitterness. Mild is usually darker than bitter, but there can be substantial overlap in the amber range. Some Milds have distinctive hop character in the nose and flavor, but usually the bitterness they have -- when they have it -- is derived from roasted malt. This can give Milds a nutty character, which can be pleasing with a distinctive and fruity yeast. Brains' Dark (1.035 OG) from Cardiff is a fine example of this type of Mild.

Ingredients: (for 25 gallons)


I brewed 12 gallons of 1.073 wort and then added 13 gallons of boiled, cooled, aerated water to my primary fermenter. (BTW, this was a 32 gallon food grade plastic "trash can" open fermenter.) In order to keep the body and flavor of the beer up, I boiled for almost 2 hours, and my mash went for saccharification at about 158F. I also chose to use Wyeast 1028, which has a very distinctive, woody character, so that the beer wouldn't turn out bland and uninteresting.

Sparge with 8 gal. untreated soft water. Boil off 3.75 gal. during two hours, adding ~24 IBUs of Kent Goldings hops (based on the final volume of the beer, in this case it was 170 gm of 6% alpha acid pellets).

The yeast starter was stepped up twice, with a quart and then a half gallon of wort starter. The primary finished in 4 days at 60F, and I racked into carboys for a week of clarification before kegging.

The FG was 1.010, for a batch of beer that was about 3.2% by volume, or about 2/3rds the strength of a standard beer. It was a dark brown in color, with a sweet initial palate and a (relatively) full body and a dryish finish. The yeast character showed through in the middle, although there wasn't a lot of fruitiness, probably due to the low fermentation temperatures.