Brewing up a new style

denny's picture

Thought I'd start a thread to document my attempts at coming up with an "American Mild" ale. I want to end up with a sub 4% beer that doesn't have flavor and mouthfeel comparable to water! I'm basing it on the English Mild, obviously, but with American ingredients. My goal is to come up with a beer with the body and flavor impact of a traditional mild, although not the same flavor. I'm guessing this will take at least 3-6 attempts to get to what I have in mind. I'm hoping that the amount of crystal, the high mash temp, and the yeast will give me the body I want, while all the late hops will have a lot of flavor but bitterness in line with the OG. I'm also doing it no sparge, which I haven't done in a while. I have several ideas as to where it might go from here, but I won't speculate until it ferments out and I have a chance to evaluate it and think about the next steps. I wanted to start pretty basic rather than throw the kitchen sink at it on the beginning. It's gonna be an evolutionary process.

To me, this is what experimental homebrewing is all about. You have a vision and you experiment with what it's gonna take to bring that vision to a glass in your hand!

Here's the recipe....

#463 American Mild

A ProMash Recipe Report

Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.50 Wort Size (Gal): 5.50
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.00
Anticipated OG: 1.036 Plato: 8.91
Anticipated SRM: 10.3
Anticipated IBU: 31.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 73 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Pre-Boil Amounts

Evaporation Rate: 1.50 Gallons Per Hour
Pre-Boil Wort Size: 7.00 Gal
Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.028 SG 7.05 Plato


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
81.3 6.50 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) America 1.036 2
12.5 1.00 lbs. Crystal 60L America 1.034 60
6.3 0.50 lbs. Special Roast Malt America 1.033 40

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
0.50 oz. Chinook Pellet 12.10 15.5 20 min.
0.50 oz. Simcoe Pellet 15.40 11.8 10 min.
0.50 oz. Centennial Whole 10.20 3.9 5 min.
1.00 oz. Columbus Pellet 15.20 0.0 0 min.


Wyeast 1450 Denny's Favorite

Mash Schedule

Mash Name:

Total Grain Lbs: 8.00
Total Water Qts: 16.00 - Before Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 4.00 - Before Additional Infusions

Tun Thermal Mass: 0.13
Grain Temp: 65.00 F

Step Rest Start Stop Heat Infuse Infuse Infuse
Step Name Time Time Temp Temp Type Temp Amount Ratio
sacc 0 60 160 160 Infuse 173 16.00 2.00

Total Water Qts: 16.00 - After Additional Infusions
Total Water Gal: 4.00 - After Additional Infusions
Total Mash Volume Gal: 4.64 - After Additional Infusions

All temperature measurements are degrees Fahrenheit.
All infusion amounts are in Quarts.
All infusion ratios are Quarts/Lbs.

No Sparge?

How does no sparge effect the final mouth feel?

denny's picture
Theoretically, it should

Theoretically, it should enhance maltiness, body, and mouthfeel. We'll see.

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

DirtyHippy's picture
For what it's worth...

When I first started seriously investigating mild ale, I quickly found myself doing what I call "minimal sparge" brewing-- on the far edge of fly sparging butting right up against being a two-drain batch sparge. I can't be sure it made a big difference, but it seemed to have an impact, and was a good fit given my process and equipment combined with the relatively small amount of grain involved. - Joel

denny's picture
Joel, that sounds kinda like

Joel, that sounds kinda like what I did.

Just took a gravity reading...1.010, lower than I was shooting for! Had a wonderful hop aroma, though. I put some in a PET bottle to carb and chill for a taste this afternoon.

I'll be curious to see how the 160 mash affected things in relation to body given the SG I just got. I've been thinking about an early hop charge, too. I love the flavor and aroma from the late additions and I wanted the smoother bittering from a late addition, but I've started detecting a bit of "soapiness" in all late hopped beers I've done. I don't know for sure that late hops are the culprit, but they are the consistent factor.

Also, at this point I'm trying to keep to all American ingredients, so I'm avoiding a British yeast, which some have suggested to increase body and mouthfeel.

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

dannyjed's picture
I get "soapiness" sometimes

I get "soapiness" sometimes with Cascade and Centennial hops.

Dan Chisholm

denny's picture
I think maybe I can attribute

I think maybe I can attribute it to homegrown Cascades. I'm gonna be aware if the possibility in future batches.

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

denny's picture
OK, here's the update after a

OK, here's the update after a tasting yesterday....

The beer was brewed on the 21st. By the 26th it had reached 1.010 so I sealed the fermenter and crashed it to 35F. After 2 days, the yeast had dropped and the beer was crystal clear. I'm finding one of the advantages of a low gravity beer is that it ferments fast!

I put about 12 oz. in a 20 oz. PET bottle, attached a carbonator cap and hit it with 30 psi. Since the beer was already at 35 it only took a couple hours til it was carbed and ready.

Overall, it was closer to what I had in mind than I expected. The 1450 left a decent mouthfeel even for a low gravity beer. The body was a bit thin, but not bad. The toastiness of the Special Roast came through, and I can't decide if that's a good thing or not. It did enhance the flavor, but I think maybe it also contributed to the perception of thin body. The hops didn't come through as much as I would have thought but at least the Chinook I used for "bittering" at 20 min., didn't seem harsh or overpowering. I'd say the beer didn't suck!

For the next iteration I'm gonna make a few changes all at once. Yeah, I know I always tell people not to do that, but what good are rules if you can't break them! Besides, I think I have a good idea of what they'll do and what will account for what. So here's the plan....I'm gonna sub in a lb. of Great Western Munich 10L for a lb. of base malt. I'm hoping that will bump up the malt flavor some, which wasn't too bad already. I'll also raise the mash temp to 163 to see if it increases the body. I'll leave the Special Roast for now, although it may not play nice with the Munich. Hop schedule will remain the same.

I hope to have time to brew this sometime next. The week after that I'm off to Yakima for Hop and Brew School at Hop Union, so I probably won't report on this version (v2) until after the 12th. Stay tuned!

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

brulosopher's picture
I did the same thing!

It took a couple tries, I've got a recipe that sounds really close to what you're talking about, I call it an Americanized Bitter. Take a couple oz off the MO, raise theash temp a degree or 2, and you've got a Mild:

denny's picture
Thanks for the input,

Thanks for the input, Marshall! I decided to make on other change this time around..I used the "amber balanced" profile in Bru'nwater last time and I'm gonna go for "amber malty" this time. I know it's not good experimental protocol to change too many things at once, but I'm gonna do it anyway!

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!

denny's picture
So, v2 hit all the numbers

So, v2 hit all the numbers dead on and is fermenting away happily. Nice to know that I can exactly duplicate a recipe when I have to.

As to the balance tasting v1 and getting some friends opinions on it, I've started rethinking the hopping. I had hoped that by using Chinook at 20 min. (the equivalent of bittering hops for this beer) would give it just a bit of bite, but that doesn't seem to be happening. Also, the hop flavor and aroma, while present, isn't as prominent as I hoped it would be. The toastiness of the Special Roast comes through nicely, but there isn't a lot of malt presence beyond that. Overall, while the beer is more drinkable than I thought it would be, there isn't a whole lot of "there" there. I hope that this latest version takes care of the malt, although I'm not certain the combo of Munich and Special Roast is gonna be what I'm looking for. I think in the next version I'll play with the hopping. Although I may not do a traditional 60 min, addition, I will move the "bittering" hops to earlier in the boil.

Life begins at 60....1.060, that is!