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Mild Ale

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Mild Ale or Mild, a malty, low-alcohol session beer, is one of England's most traditional beer styles. A beer uniquely suited to cask conditioning and dispensing through a hand pump, it is enjoying a revival thanks in part to the efforts of CAMRA and the Real Ale movement. Recently, a Mild Ale, Hobson's Mild, was named Champion Beer of Britain at the 2007 Great British Beer Festival. Rudgate's Rubby Mild also took the title in 2009.

Contents

[edit] History of Mild Ale

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Mild is one of, if not the, oldest beer styles in the country. Until the 15th century, ale and mead were the major British brews, both made without hops. Hops were introduced from Holland, France and Germany after this time. This also started the trend on reducing the gravity of ale, as the Hop is also a preservative, and beers had to be brewed very strongly to try to help preserve them. The hop also started the rapid decline of mead, which is only made in a very few places today.

During the First World War, malt rationing and pressure from the temperance movement led to brewers rapidly reducing the strength. Following the Second World War, as prosperity returned, mild`s popularity as a cheap ale began to fade, not being helped by being kept badly in run down pubs as the Big Brewers began to heavily promote their keg lager brands. Coupled to this was a gradual, but steady decline in heavy industry in the North and Midlands of Britain, mild`s great marketplace.

By the 1970s, the keg lager boom had seen mild's share of the market fall to around 13% and it was a shame to see a bland gassy and overpriced product, which was generally weaker than the mild it was trying to oust, succeed in many cases.


Originally it used to be a young beer that needed aged beer added to it to take the edge of it. This used to be done by brewers. In the pubs they used to collect the slops (spills) from the bitters and add this to the Mild. Some of the less scrupulous pubs used to sell more of the slops than the Mild.

It has been a battle to keep Mild in the pubs. Dark Mild is generally specific to the North of England and Pale Mild started taking over, with the up surge of "real ale drinkers" and pressure from Camra it is just about hanging on. It is not seen as a trendy drink due to its low ABV, traditionally 2.8 to 3.2% but now seems to be increasing. It’s good to have a choice

[edit] Modern Mild Ale

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So what is Mild? It is a beer that has tastes and textures all its own. Usually dark brown in colour, due to the use of well-roasted malts or barley, it is less hopped than bitters and often has a chocolatety character with nutty and burnt flavours. Basically it is a beer that is less hopped than bitter, etc. The darkness of dark milds, such as Greene King XX Mild, comes from the use of darker malts and/or roasted barley, which are used to compensate for the loss of hop character. "Chocolate," "fruity," "nutty" and "burnt" are all tastes to be found in the complexity of milds; however, not all milds are dark. Yorkshire brewed Timothy Taylors Golden Best is one of the best examples of a light-coloured mild, as is Bank's Original--the name changed from mild to try to give it a more modern image. In Scotland, 60/- ale is similar to mild (Belhaven’s being a good example).

Milds today tend to have an ABV in the 3% to 3.5% range, with of course some notable exceptions. In fact, a lot of the microbreweries that try their hand at mild are bringing the alcohol content back up somewhat! Mild wasn't always weaker though. In the latter half of the 19th century, milds were brewed to about the same strength as bitters as a response to the demand for a sweeter beer from the working classes, and in those days most bitters were around 6% to 7% ABV.

[edit] Types of Mild Ale

For the most part, the term "Mild" or "Mild Ale" is used to refer to a traditional dark mild. However, other colors exist.

[edit] Dark Mild

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Dark Milds are generally brewed and served in the Midlands and North of the England.

[edit] Pale Mild

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[edit] Ruby Mild

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[edit] American Mild

Mild ale is one of the few traditional English beer styles that does not have a corresponding "American" beer style. This is probably because of the nature of Mild. American versions of English beers tend to be more bitter and higher in Americanized hop character and alcohol; but low alcohol, low bitterness, and no hoppiness are the hallmarks of Mild. Most American brewers who have tackled the style have done so in a very traditional way. It remains to see whether the growing popularity of Mild in England will lead to the development of a uniquely American version. In the meantime, the closest equivalent of Mild on the American market is the American Bock, a darker, slightly maltier version of an American lager. Pennsylvania Swankey is another traditional American style similar to a Mild Ale but brewed with aniseed for a licorice-like flavor.

[edit] Historical or Throwback Mild

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[edit] Brewing Mild Ale

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Mild ale is one of the easiest styles to brew, especially for beginning brewers. Its low gravity and bitterness makes it especially suitable for doing a partial boil with extract and specialty grains. It is an excellent session beer, which can make a nice change from the higher-octane styles many homebrewers favor.

[edit] Competition Styles

Both the BJCP and the GABF style guidelines recognize at least one style of Mild for competition purposes.

[edit] BJCP Style Guidelines

The BJCP defines a style guideline called simply "Mild", but which truly encompasses only a dark English mild. Other styles of mild should be entered as one of the BJCP's specialty beer styles.

[edit] Mild

11A. Mild Vital Statistics
BJCP Style Guideline Definition (2004)
IBUs: 10-25 SRM: 12-25 OG: 1.030-1.038 FG: 1.008-1.013 ABV: 2.8-4.5% (most are 3.1-3.8%)
Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramelly, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma. Very low to no diacetyl.
Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany color. A few paler examples (medium amber to light brown) exist. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to moderate off-white to tan head. Retention may be poor due to low carbonation, adjunct use and low gravity.
Flavor: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramelly, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma. Very low to no diacetyl.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Generally low to medium-low carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full mouthfeel for the gravity.
Overall Impression: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramelly, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma. Very low to no diacetyl.
History: May have evolved as one of the elements of early porters. In modern terms, the name "mild" refers to the relative lack of hop bitterness (i.e. less hoppy than a pale ale, and not so strong). Originally, the "mildness" may have referred to the fact that this beer was young and did not yet have the moderate sourness that aged batches had. Somewhat rare in England, good versions may still be found in the Midlands around Birmingham.
Comments: Most are low-gravity session beers, although some versions may be made in the stronger (4%+) range for export, festivals, seasonal and/or special occasions. Generally served on cask; session-strength bottled versions don't often travel well. A wide range of interpretations are possible.
Ingredients: Pale English base malts (often fairly dextrinous), crystal and darker malts should comprise the grist. May use sugar adjuncts. English hop varieties would be most suitable, though their character is muted. Characterful English ale yeast.
Commercial Examples: Moorhouse Black Cat, Highgate Mild, Coach House Gunpowder Strong Mild, Gale's Festival Mild, Woodforde's Norfolk Nog, Goose Island PMD Mild
   * Banks's Original
   * Brains Dark (3.5%; Bronze medal winner in Mild category at 2007 Great British Beer Festival)
   * Cains Dark Mild
   * Castle Rock Black Gold (3.5%)
   * Highgate Mild
   * Hobsons (Dark) Mild (3.2%) and Postman's Knock (available bottle-conditioned only; 4.8%)
   * Holt's Mild
   * Greene King XX Mild (3%)
   * Robinson's Brewery - Hatter's Mild
   * Nottingham Rock Mild (3.8%; Silver medal winner in Mild category at 2007 Great British Beer Festival)
   * Rudegate Brewery Rudgate Ruby Mild (4.4% voted the best beer in Britain - CAMRA's Champion Beer of Britain 2009
   * Sarah Hughes Dark Ruby Mild (6%; award winner in Old Ale & Strong Mild category at 26th Cambridge Beer Festival)
   * Tetley's Mild (3.3%)
   * Theakston's Mild (3.5%)
   * Thwaites Dark Mild
   * Timothy Taylor's Golden Best (3.5%; a light mild)
   * Timothy Taylor's Dark Mild
   * Woodforde's Mardler

[edit] GABF Style Listings

The GABF guidelines list styles for pale and dark milds. Other styles of mild should be entered as one of the GABF's specialty beer styles.

[edit] English Style Pale Mild Ale

48C. English Style Pale Mild Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
English pale mild ales range from golden to amber in color. Malt flavor dominates the flavor profile with little hop
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.030-1.036 (7.5-9 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.004-1.008 (1-2 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2.7-3.2% (3.2-4.0%)
Bitterness (IBU): 10-24
Color SRM (EBC): 8-17 (16-34 EBC)


[edit] English Style Dark Mild Ale

52A. English Style Dark Mild Ale
GABF Style Listing (2007)
English dark mild ales range from deep copper to dark brown (often with a red tint) in color. Malt flavor and caramel are part of the flavor and aroma profile while, licorice and roast malt tones may sometimes contribute to the flavor and aroma profile. These beers have very little hop flavor or aroma. Very low diacetyl flavors may be appropriate in this low-alcohol beer. Fruity-ester level is very low.
Original Gravity (ºPlato): 1.030-1.036 (7.5 9 ºPlato)
Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (ºPlato): 1.004-1.008 (1-2 ºPlato)
Alcohol by Weight (Volume): 2.7-3.2% (3.2-4.0%)
Bitterness (IBU): 10-24
Color SRM (EBC): 17-34 (34-68 EBC)

[edit] Brewing a Mild

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[edit] Sample Recipe

Recipe: Mild Mannered Ale
Asst Brewer: the dogs
Style: Dark Mild
TYPE: All Grain

Batch Size: 23.02 L
Boil Size: 30.52 L
Estimated OG: 1.034 SG
Estimated Color: 21.0 SRM
Estimated IBU: 23.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 65.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


3.00 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter
0.75 kg Crystal Malt - 60L (Thomas Fawcett)
0.15 kg Chocolate Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
30.00 gm Fuggles [4.50%] (45 min)
30.00 gm Fuggles [4.50%] (15 min)
1 Pkgs Nottingham (Danstar #-) Yeast-Ale

Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Batch Sparge. - Hot
Total Grain Weight: 3.90 kg


Name Description Step Temp Step Time
Step Add 10.18 L of water at 81.3 C 70.0 C 60 min

Notes:


A classic northern dark mild like my Granddad used to drink.