Tuesday 13 May 2008

Mild but not meek

You may have noticed that May is Mild month. Here's another post in my short series.

It's hard to imagine today, but for most of its history Mild wasn't a weak beer. In Victorian times, X Ales were brewed to a wide range of strengths. Even the weakest, plain old X, was 1055º or more. The strongest, XXX or XXXX, had OGs as high as 1105º. What would such beers have been like?

There have been a few stronger Milds - Sarah Hughes Ruby Mild, for example - brewed to 6-7% ABV. But as far as I know, no-one has attempted to recreate a really strong Mild. Something 1100+. I think you can guess where this is leading. Sounds like a good candidate for my revival series.

They aren't complicated beers. 100% pale malt and a few Goldings. And a relatively high FG. Doesn't sound too difficult, does it? For a London Ale, I guess the water should be soft, too.

Griffin XXX from 1839 looks a good bet. Not quite sure what I'll pair it with. Maybe a Whitbread XXX from the 1920's. That's if they get the nod from Menno. There's no point brewing beers no-one wants to buy. And the next beers in the series, the two Barclay Perkins IBSt's, haven't been brewed yet.

How would I describe one of these strong Milds? Obvious if you think about it: Imperial Mild. I'm sure that will go down well in the US. Or maybe ESM - Extra Special Mild. How about this for Mild categories:

X: Mild, OG 1060
XX: Best Mild, OG 1075
XXX: Extra Special Mild, OG 1090
XXXX: Imperial Mild, OG 1105

Or maybe Single Mild, Double Mild, Triple Mild and Quadruple Mild. Decisions, decisions.

Any thoughts?


Kristen England said...

Hmmm...do you have log entries for any of this higher gravity/flavor milds? Would be cool to do a few barrels of some historical mild. Should be ready in time for Andy's trip to the US so he can bring some back.

Anonymous said...

ESM and Imperial Mild - outstanding!

Ron Pattinson said...

Kristen, I have plenty of logs for such Milds and from t6hree different breweries.

Kristen England said...

Awesome! I think for our next club meeting (homebrew) Ill give a little talk on Milds and see if people would be interested in doing historical milds. Last time I did something like this we had about 20 people brew different things. Its a very good and free way to see what all these things tasted like. Im sure we could send the spectrum your way. Email me and we can work it out.

Anonymous said...

It would be perfectly authentic to do a "mild stout", which would be a strong stout drunk still young, say only a couple of weeks out of the fermenting vessel, and still quite sweet. It's my suspicion that the rise of milk stouts was an attempt to cater for a market for sweet "mild stouts" by using a sugar that wouldn't ferment, thus keeping the beer sweet for ever, while ordinary "mild stout" would eventually sour or mature to standard aged stout.

Kristen England said...

Zyth - Do you have any data on the % of lactose added to these historic milk stouts.

I made one with about 10% lactose that I pitched some brettanomyces anomalous (aka B. clausenii) that turned out very wonderful.

Im wondering if the % of sugar went up as the gravity of the beers decreased. As you seem to suggest the same sweetness can be achieved at a lower gravity.

Ron Pattinson said...

Kristen, you haven't been paying attention in class. I've already published a stack of data about Stout, sweet and otherwise, that I collected from the Truman Gravity Book.

I have already published it:


It has all that OG FHG stuff you seek.

Ron Pattinson said...

I'm working on the historical Mild recipes, too. Be patient.

Kristen England said...

Dammit, Dammit, Dammit! Sorry. Patience grasshopper...I know. Thanks, Ill look at it.