Thoughts on the American Mild project

denny's picture

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: v1, v2 and v3 )

OK, OK, enough of'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 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?

My own quest

I too have been looking for low alcohol but satisfying. I semi-recently used flaked barley for something like 36% of the grist. Its not something I would try again without a ton of rice hulls (I had to squeeze water out of the mash using a sieve and a large spoon), but it did end up being quite a heavy full-bodied beer. I had more luck with a slight variant on JZ's southern English brown recipe. Looking at the ingredient list, I think you could change out the yeast and hops and that might get you where you want to go.

fitephyre's picture
American Mild


I have also been working on what I want to call an American Mild for the past 6 months. Full bodied, low abv, malt forward but with enough hop presence to be called American. This is what I've been tooling around with:

5.5 gallon batch

4 lbs Brewers Malt 2-Row (Briess) (1.8 SRM) Grain 1 50.0 %
2 lbs Munich 10L (Briess) (10.0 SRM) Grain 2 25.0 %
1 lbs Rye, Flaked (Briess) (4.6 SRM) Grain 3 12.5 %
8.0 oz Victory Malt (biscuit) (Briess) (28.0 SRM) Grain 4 6.2 %
5.0 oz Honey Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 5 3.9 %
3.0 oz Roasted Barley (300.0 SRM) Grain 6 2.4 %
0.50 oz Nugget [13.00 %] - First Wort 60.0 min Hop 7 26.9 IBUs

Dry hopped with ~.5 oz American Aromatic hop (My favorite is Willamette so far)

Mashing at 156 and the pound of flaked rye seems to give more chewiness and body. Quaffable, but definitely more substantial than a 3.2% beer should be. I also decided to forgo any aroma or flavor hops in the boil and just decided to try different light dry hops (usually .5 oz/5gal). I do this in ten gallon batches and experiment with different yeasts and dry hops. One major difference between ours is the lack of crystal malt. I usually avoid much crystal malt, though it is appropriate for the style, but I absolutely love Honey Malt for a touch of sweetness. I also pushed the ibu/og ratio a little higher and just a touch past balanced for more of an American style.

I think you're on the right trail Denny, we need an all-American pub beer!

Brewdog dead pony club

over here in Scotland the brewers Brewdog do a 3.8% very hoppy ale.

Malts:Extra Pale, Cara, CrystalHops:
Simcoe, Citra, Mosaic
Twist:3.8% but hoppy as hell

I've done a version, which came out with similar charachteristics. I'll stick the recipie up later. it might intrest you.

Sorry troops, I thought I had

Sorry troops, I thought I had the recipie on my phones brewing app, but its on a paper copy i'll post it up when I get home for Christmas

better late than never

ok, so here it is, and sorry its metric;

3.5kg marris otter
0.3kg caramalt
0.2kg crystal

12.5g citra (14.5%AA) start of boil

25g citra (14.5%AA) 5min
25g mosaic (10%AA) 5 min
25g simcoe (15%AA) 5 min

25g citra (14.5%AA) 0min
25g mosaic (10%AA) 0 min
25g simcoe (15%AA) 0 min

yeast was American ale.

50g mosaic and 50g simcoe dryhop for 7 days after primary complete

3.8%abv massive hop aroma

turned out absolutely awesome, been a huge hit

beerofhrod's picture
an american mild

Denny, I was looking for a flavorful mild after brewing a few popular recipes. I settled on a malt bill inspired by Czech dark lagers, yeast from south of the border and a hop schedule that straddles the line between an IPA and Schwarzbier. It did well enough that I won a competition to brew 10 bbls of it for a brewery.
5.5 gallon batch
og 1.043 fg 1.010
87.7% munich 10L-8lbs
6.8% carafe III-10oz
5.5% Crystal 40-8oz
.5oz northern brewer 60min
.5oz mt hood 20min
.5oz mt hood 10min
.5oz Amarillo 10min steep
2oz cascade 10min steep
WLP940 Mexican lager yeast
I use a quick lager fermentation and turn the beer around in 21 days. Salud!