English Mild Ale (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

[Photograph: Sarah Postma]

This all-grain recipe is designed for the intermediate homebrewer, and it's a good idea to have at least three or four extract homebrew batches complete before giving this one a try. We will be using a modified version of the brew-in-a-bag technique, which will include a full mash and mash-out. If you haven't done an all-grain homebrew before, be sure to read through this post on mashing before you begin.

For this brew, you'll use same equipment setup used for extract batches, but you will also need a kettle that is at least 7.5 gallons as well as an extra-large mesh grain bag. A second stockpot large enough to heat (not boil) 3 gallons of water is also recommended. An accurate brewing thermometer is very important when making an all-grain recipe; it's a good idea to check that yours is in good working condition.

This sessionable homebrew will finish between 3-3.5% ABV, so fermentation will be fast and no yeast starter or secondary conditioning is needed.

English Mild Ale (For Intermediate Homebrewers)

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About This Recipe

Active time:5 to 7 hours
Total time:2 to 3 weeks
Special equipment:7.5 gallon kettle (or bigger), large mesh grain bag, and the basic homebrewing equipment setup
This recipe appears in: Homebrewing: How to Brew an English Mild Ale

Ingredients

  • 4.75 pounds Marris Otter malt, crushed
  • 0.6 pounds Crystal 40L malt, crushed
  • 0.3 pounds Crystal 120L malt, crushed
  • 0.15 pounds chocolate malt, crushed
  • 0.5 ounces Northern Brewer hops - 60 minutes
  • 6.5 gallons tap water
  • 1 package liquid English Ale Yeast (Whitelabs WLP002 or Wyeast 1968)

Procedures

  1. 1

    Line the 7.5 gallon kettle with the mesh bag, fill with 2.5 gallons of tap water and bring to 164°F. Remove from heat.

  2. 2

    Mash-in by slowly adding all 5.8 pounds of grain into the water and inside the bag. Stir for 2 minutes to prevent balls of grain from clumping together, creating a consistent mash. The temperature should equalize to about 154°F.

  3. 3

    Cover the mash, only uncovering to briefly stir every 20 minutes. Heat 3 more gallons of water to 185°F.

  4. 4

    After 60 minutes, mash-out by carefully pouring the 185°F water into the mash, stirring to equalize temperature to about 170°F.

  5. 5

    Slowly raise the grain bag out of the liquid, allowing the wort to drain from the grain. Hold the grain bag above the kettle for about 5 minutes as the wort drains. Top the wort off with water to 6 gallons.

  6. 6

    Bring wort to a vigorous boil. When the boil begins, add 0.5 ounce Northern Brewer hops in a mesh bag.

  7. 7

    After total of 60 minutes of boil, remove from heat. Warning: After wort cools below 180°F everything that touches it should be sanitary, and exposure to open air should be limited as much as possible.

  8. 8

    Cool wort by placing pot in ice bath or by using a wort chiller until it is below 70°F. Transfer to sanitized fermentor (either a carboy or a fermentation bucket).

  9. 9

    Use a sanitized auto-siphon racking cane to remove enough wort to take a gravity reading with your hydrometer. Make a note of this number, since you will be using it to calculate the actual alcohol content when it's done fermenting. The reading should be around 1.032.

  10. 10

    Carefully pour yeast into cooled wort (it should be below 70°F), and agitate vigorously. Cover fermentor with a sanitized stopper and airlock. Ferment in dark place, keeping ambient temperature consistent, preferably between 65 and 68°F.

  11. 11

    Bottle after 1 to 2 weeks when fermentation is complete, using enough priming sugar for a medium level of carbonation.

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