The Very Rich Hours of the Lambrights

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Brew Day!

January 31st, 2010 · No Comments

Today, I spent the afternoon indulging one of my favorite hobbies: homebrewing. Today’s beer is a Mild Ale, the first I’ve ever tried:

Batch 1

4 lbs light malt extract
8 oz. 40L Crystal malt
4 oz. Chocolate malt
1 oz. Fuggles hops

Steeped the specialty malt for about 20 minutes until the temperature in the brew pot reached 168F.  Boiled the malt extract and hops for 60 minutes.  Pitched a packet of Safale S-04 dry yeast to start fermentation.

Mild Ale is an historical beer style that is not nearly as popular these days as it used to be.  Back in the 19th century, mild was a low-strength beer drunk in great quantities by manual laborers in factories, mines, and other heavy industrial areas.  In the days before bottled water, pop, and other beverages, mild would be drunk for breakfast, on breaks (if any) and for lunch.  So it had to be refreshing and hydrating but not as intoxicating as regular brews.  Making a beer with only 3 or 4% alcohol that is also tasty can be a challenge.  Specialty malt like the Crystal and Chocolate add character and heft to the beer without adding sugar that can be fermented by the yeast (which is what produces alcohol).  Hops are usually kept to a minimum, adding just enough bitterness to offset the sweetness of the malt.

Mild is considered a niche drink these days and it’s hard to find good examples commercially.  I myself have only had one opportunity: a bottle of Gale’s Festival Mild that I ran across at the Brickskeller in Washington DC.  With less than 5% alcohol, it wasn’t going to impair me and tasted seriously good.  Mine will be ready to drink in about 6 weeks.

Tags: Beer

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