The Milds of the final decades of the 19th century are a fascinating bunch. As brewers strayed away from 100% pale malt grists and played around with other malts, sugars and adjuncts.
One of the results of which was a deepening of the colour of many Milds. Though few wandered into full-on Dark Mild shades. Dark enough, however, to be easily distinguished from Pale Ales. Kirkstall L is a good example of such a semi-dark Mild.
Brown malt, contrary to what you might guessed, wasn’t a common ingredient in Mild. It pops up here, and in a few other recipes, but usually it was invert sugar, caramel or black malt doing the heavy lifting.
Three types of hops were employed, all from the 1884 season: Bavarian, English and some simply described as “foreign”. I’m guessing that the last came from one the less fashionable hop-growing regions.
|1885 Kirkstall L|
|pale malt||8.00 lb||77.67%|
|brown malt||0.50 lb||4.85%|
|No. 2 invert sugar||1.75 lb||16.99%|
|Caramel 100 SRM||0.05 lb||0.49%|
|Cluster 135 mins||0.75 oz|
|Fuggles 60 mins||1.25 oz|
|Hallertau 30 mins||0.50 oz|
|Mash at||156º F|
|Sparge at||165º F|
|Boil time||135 minutes|
|pitching temp||58.5º F|
|Yeast||Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale|
Kirkstall have just re-brewed something like this (they call it 1885 XLD) and I have ordered a firkin for next month's Stockport Beer & Cider Festival.
Here are their tasting notes:
"Our 5.2% ‘Mild X’ is an 1885 Kirkstall recipe, which Stu lifted from the pages of Ron Pattinson’s excellent blog. Pale Malt, Roast Barley and Caramel make up the fermentables, distinguishing this beer from the ‘L’ recipe on which our previous Mild was based.
To most closely match the hop varieties likely to be used back then, Stu selected Target, Goldings and early American variety Cluster.
Mild X presents sweet, nutty and biscuity malt flavours, kept in check with lightly floral hop notes and the yeast strain’s contribution of soft fruit esters. This is a deep yet delicately constructed beer with complexity well beyond its strength."
I tried the Kirkstall Mild X at the Black Horse in Otley a couple of weeks ago. It was really a superb pint. You definitely made the right choice ordering it for you beer festival.
I think that if Mild had been brewed to recipes like this, then it would not have suffered such a catastrophic decline. This is written by someone who went to university in Birmingham in the early 1980's when Mild was still probably the go to pint for most pub drinkers.
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