I've been looking forward to this one so much. I'd long suspected that Mild Ales had been brewed in the USA, but finding confirmation was still wonderful. Especially as it seems to have been pretty much forgotten about. I can only think of one modern American beer that is descended from this tradition: Ballantine XXX. Funnily enough, a beer I drank a bit of when I lived in the US.
This is, in many ways, a typical Vassar Ale. High OG, high FG, modest hopping. The main difference with a British Mild Ale of the period is the malt. In Britain a pale malt would have been used. Vassar, on the other hand, used high-dried malt for some of their Ales.
I hope lots of you brew this beer because I'd love to hear how it tastes. And what you think of it.
Time to do to Kristen . . . . . .
Here is one that is gonna take some time and chops to pull off there gents. It’s a beer that’s big and fat and needs to finish like a sumo wrestler in a marathon. This is a very neat beer that a lot of people are accidently making already. Eg making a big beer and not fermenting it. That takes no talent, making one specifically like that, can be difficult without making it taste like burnt wires and puppy farts.
Yes, you see the ‘high dried malt’ correctly. That’s what it is. Some times its listed as Amber, sometimes just the HD stuff. Here’s the gig. You want a tasty HD malt that has plenty of flavor and aroma and will finish fat…if possible. Fatter I guess. Munich is straight out, just the wrong type of malt for the flavors here. Vienna is the next easy choice as people can get it pretty commonly. However, what we really want is an enzymatic Amber malt. But there is no such thing, the internet says so. Oh, wait, that’s right, most of the interwebs is bullocks, the rest is porno. So, yes, there is a high dried enzymatic Amber malt. MFB. Special aromatic. If you want to get this beer close, that’s what I used. If you want to get close and still make your life easy (read be lazy) use 70% Vienna and 30% UK Amber. Basically bringing up the FG so the yeast doesn’t have to do it all by its self.
Cluster! Yes yes, its always Cluster. Always bloody Cluster when we make American historic beers. Well, sometimes lifes a bitch and then you drink some flippin whisk(e)y. Here is the gig, 96% of the US hop crop was Cluster. No, this is not a number I pull out of my butt. (http://agris.fao.org/agris-search/search/display.do?f=1987/US/US87330.xml;US8714040) So that leaves us with making it traditional, or not. Its up to you guys really. First time through, Cluster. Next time, whatever fits your fancy.
Ferment and yeast
If you have the Ballantine yeast strain, use it. If not, the 1332 will works just fine. Fruity and malt. Oxygenate fully but under pitch to about 60-70%. You’ll need to cold crash this sucker to get it to stop where you need it. A few plato under finishing gravity start to drop the temp.