Thoughts on the American Mild project

When last we left our intrepid homebrew experimenter, he was struggling through forests of formulation in the quest for a new, low alcohol beer style known as the “American Mild”. His search seemed never ending and at times fruitless…but he forged on…. (read about the previous batches here: v1v2 and v3 )

OK, OK, enough of that…here’s where things stand on the American Mild project. I’ve brewed 3 batches of the mild so far. The goal is to come up with a low alcohol, flavorful beer with enough body to make it worth drinking. And I wanted to keep it “American”, using all domestic ingredients and a hop centered flavor profile.

The first batch, consisting of mainly domestic pale malt with a lb. each of crystal and Special Roast just had nothing there…my wife called it “water”. Ouch.

The second batch replaced a lb. of pale malt with a lb. of domestic Munich. Better, but still extremely light on body and flavor. On the other hand, the hopping was in the ballpark.

For the third test batch, I made some major changes. I used domestic Munich and pale malt in equal amounts and included a lb. each of C60 and carapils. I also decided to use a hop stand after the boil, steeping an ounce each of Amarillo and Simcoe at 170F for 20 min. well, the grist seems to have worked really well. Good flavor and increased body. The hop stand worked almost too well. I got huge hop flavor and aroma and an increased bitterness. They pretty much overwhelmed the beer to the point where you can hardly tell there’s malt there unless you search for it! I guess this is kind of a case of “be careful what you ask for”.

So, I’m thinking about test batch #4. I think I’ll use the grist from #3. The balance of pale and Munich seemed to work well. And if it doesn’t, next time all the pale will be replaced with Munich, although I’ll kepp the C60 and carapils. I still haven’t decided which way to go with the hops. I’ll either use the hop schedule from #2, or I’ll go totally off the wall and do all the hopping as a whirlpool addition, a la Pelican Kiwanda Cream ale. It will be a few weeks until I have a chance to brew another test batch, so I have some time to cogitate (perfect for a codger like me!).

Now, where did I leave that machete and elephant gun?