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Brews & Views Bulletin Board Service * Brews and Views Archive 2008 * Archive through October 08, 2008 * For session beer lovers < Previous Next >

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Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9162
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 05:48 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

From Tuesday's (08/27/2008) New York Times:

August 27, 2008
The Other Extreme: Low-Alcohol Beers
By BETSY ANDREWS

KELLY TAYLOR was tired of the limited choices of beers he found at bars: either insipid lightweights or staggering powerlifters.

“There was no middle road,” he said. “We wanted to make beer where you could have a few and not have to go take a nap.”

So Mr. Taylor, the brewmaster at Greenpoint Beer Works in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, which brews for several local companies, started the Kelso of Brooklyn label in 2006 to make the quaffable beer he craved. Last year Kelso introduced a Fall Session ale. At 3.5 percent alcohol, it is full of flavor and less alcoholic than Bud Light (4.2 percent).

While many craft brewers are trying to quench the nation’s growing thirst for extreme beers pumped with alcohol, Mr. Taylor is one of a small but growing number of brewers, beer experts and importers who are applying the brakes and turning toward well-made low-alcohol beers.

“A bunch of guys talk in the market,” said Don Feinberg, a founder of Brewery Ommegang in Cooperstown, N.Y., and an importer for Vanberg & DeWulf there. “We’ve all been saying the same thing for about 18 months now, which is, enough of the high octane.”

Mr. Feinberg imports boozy Trappist and farmhouse ales, but in April he introduced a brew from another Belgian tradition: bières de table.

“When I lived there in the late ’70s and early ’80s,” he said of his time in Belgium, “everybody drank it for lunch, from grandmothers to kids.”

His new import, Brasserie Dupont’s spicy, yeasty Avril, is all of 3.5 percent alcohol. By comparison, the brewery’s more famous farmhouse ale, Saison Dupont, is 6.5 percent.

Tom Peters said Avril was selling well at his beer bar, Monk’s Café, in Philadelphia.

“Most people equate Belgian beer with big body and high alcohol, so having something like this seemed like an anomaly,” Mr. Peters said. “First, I had to educate my staff, and now they’re totally behind it. They really like to serve beers without being concerned they have to tell someone who’s drinking 8 or 9 or 10 percent alcohol, O.K., you’ve had a couple, so we have to slow you down now.”

For him, he said: “If I just want one beer, that high octane is stellar. If I want to drink several pints, I want something where I can still have a conversation.”

Other lovers of low-alcohol beer turn to Britain, where a long history of pub culture combined with a system that taxes beer according to alcohol level keeps ales at about 4 percent alcohol. Among British microbrews available in New York, Harviestoun Brewery’s grapefruity Bitter & Twisted, Orkney’s ruby-hued Red MacGregor and Daleside’s mild Old Leg Over exemplify the low-alcohol, full-flavored tradition.

“My brother and I lived in Europe, and we loved English milds because you got a lot of flavor, could have a lot of them, not get drunk, not get full, and really enjoy the taste of beer,” said Jason Ebel, an owner of Two Brothers Brewing Company in Warrenville, Ill. For the opening of their tap house this year, he and his brother, Jim, brewed a nicely hopped 3.9 percent ale, Mild, that was so successful they shipped kegs of it to New York. It has sold well at Bierkraft in Park Slope, Brooklyn.

“I think there’s a good chunk of the bigger players in the craft beer world that are starting to look at this,” Mr. Ebel said.

In fact, some bigger craft breweries already bottle beers that are below 4.5 percent alcohol. Shipyard has included a mild brown in their samplers for years, and Harpoon introduced a Brown Session Ale last year. There are also low-alcohol summer wheats like Magic Hat’s Hocus Pocus.

Last year on his blog, Seen Through a Glass (lewbryson.blogspot.com), Lew Bryson, a beer writer, began championing session beers: well-made low-alcohol brews meant for long nights at the bar. “Unfortunately, we have come to associate low alcohol with low flavor,” Mr. Bryson said in an interview.

That attitude frustrated David Pollack, owner of the Diamond, a bar in Greenpoint, Brooklyn. “It seemed silly to me,” he said, “because I knew of really delicious session beers.” So he took on a mission to increase awareness of them.

The clientele at the Diamond on a recent night seemed to appreciate his efforts, which included a detailed list of his finds in the 3 percent to 6 percent range next to his regular beer board.

“If you order off the session list, you’re not going to go home and have a fight with anybody,” said Kevin Vincent, who sipped his way through a Reissdorf Kölsch (4.8 percent alcohol), then a Tröegs Sunshine Pils (5.3 percent). “And you can get in a few different flavors.”

Liz Geisewite was enjoying a Hop Sun (4.5 percent) from the Southern Tier Brewing Company after a fitness class because, she said, the description said it was light and easy. “Everything I drink after class has to be light and thirst-quenching and refreshing,” she said.

Ms. Geisewite is the type of drinker Alex Hall is going after. In the winter he plans to open the Nomad Brewing Company in Pittsfield, Mass., which will brew a low-alcohol English mild. “We may even convert some mainstream light lager drinkers who could be attracted by its ease of drinking through a session,” he said.

This taste for session beers will grow even in the face of Americans’ growing desire for double bocks and triple I.P.A.’s, said Ron Barchet, who brews Uncle Teddy’s Bitter (4.2 percent) and Donnybrook stout (3.7 percent) at Victory Brewing Company in Downingtown, Pa. “Their lighter body and alcohol are a natural attraction for more mature craft drinkers,” he wrote in an e-mail message.

As Scott Smith, who sells draft session beers in growlers at East End Brewing in Pittsburgh, explained: “People who come for session growlers are like me. They have young kids, so they’ll have a beer after the kids are put to bed. They’re not out on the town. It’s more about the flavor and enjoying a quality beer.”

One sign of changing times is the addition of a session beer category at the 2008 Great American Beer Festival, from Oct. 9 to 11 in Denver. “We realized that the smaller, flavorful, unique session beers made by craft brewers were being lost in the increased interest in extreme beers,” Charlie Papazian wrote in an e-mail message. Mr. Papazian is president of the Brewers Association, which operates the festival.

Microbrewers are experimenting with session beers as much as with big beers. Kelso’s fruity Fall Session is brewed with orange pekoe tea. Mr. Smith’s session series has included such esoterica as kvass, a fermented Russian beer made with bread.

Christopher Leonard, owner of the General Lafayette Inn, outside Philadelphia, said it was a test of his skill to create Lafayette’s Escape, a beer in the style of bière de table, at his inn’s brewery. It is only 1.9 percent alcohol.

“I was looking for a new challenge,” Mr. Leonard said. “I thought, Let’s go extreme the other way.”

He came up with an amber ale that has the peppery, herbal notes of Belgian yeast. “The beer had a residual sweetness, heft and density that made it taste like something that had more alcohol,” he said.

But although attention to low-alcohol beers is growing among craft brewers, there is still “not a lot out there,” said Mr. Pollack of the Diamond in Brooklyn. Because beer with less alcohol does not travel or keep as well as stronger brews, session beers are often available only in draft editions that do not make it to New York.

Moreover, whether beer drinkers will give up the stronger stuff and embrace beers with a low alcohol by volume, or A.B.V., remains to be seen.

On a recent evening at the East Village Pub in Manhattan, the owner, Bill Mackin, was fretting over the Victory Donnybrook he had listed next to Sixpoint Craft Ales’ 6.6 percent Diesel stout.

“The heat hit in the summer; I thought Victory would be more sellable,” he said. “But the Sixpoint outsells it, 2 to 1.”

As if on cue, Pat McCann, in a rumpled softball uniform, plodded in and ordered the Diesel. “I wanted a stout, and I don’t want a 3.7,” he said. “We lost by 12 runs tonight.”

“See?” Mr. Mackin said. “People lose their jobs, they don’t want a low A.B.V. People lose at baseball, they don’t want a low A.B.V.”

That may be the case, but according to those who champion session beer, if you’re at the top of your game and want to stay there, a low-alcohol beer may be your poison.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
 

Pete O
Junior Member
Username: Peteo

Post Number: 39
Registered: 10-2007
Posted From: 208.116.131.196
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 06:16 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Thanks Bill, interesting article.

** “Their lighter body and alcohol are a natural attraction for more mature craft drinkers,” he wrote in an e-mail message. **

Is he calling me old?! Damn whippersnapper . . .

Seriously though, as a fan of both high gravity beers and session beers, I am glad to see increased interest in lower alcohol brews. Sometimes there's just nothing like an evening of session ales (and other times there's just nothing like a night with St. Bernardus Abt 12)
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1795
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 06:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got a 70/- and an Ordinary Bitter on tap right now, my first attempts at those specific substyles. Darned tasty, and not the least bit insipid or "small." Very flavorful with good body.

I agree, all styles have their times and places.
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1948
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 24.123.94.154
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 07:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Reminds me of the Thirsty Traveler Germany episode I recently watched where he makes reference to "breakfast beers".

I could have used session beers last Saturday. A buddy came over with his car so I could help him replace the brakes. As a thanks he brought me a six of Ruination and Big Sky IPA and I drank the whole stinkin' six of Ruination plus a couple IPA's. Passed out at 8:00 on the couch that night. Session beers would have been a MUCH better idea.
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 5530
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 07:18 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I would like some pointers on making small beers.....specifically ales with an OG less than 1.040. Everytime I try to brew one, they come out thin tasting. I have tried mashing thick, mashing high (158), no sparge, lots of cara-pils...nothing has seemed to work much.

I think the problem is that no matter how much detail you pay attention to with the mash, bottom line is that you add a lot of water to the small amount of wort you collect. Even if you sparge the small mash the entire time without adding water, the last runnings are pretty watery.

Maybe I am missing something. But after years of trying, I have decided that about the smallest beer I can brew that I like is around 1.042-1.044 OG.
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1040
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 84.208.79.179
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 07:59 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, what is your FG on those beers?
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1796
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 08:14 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, my 2¢ on that is that recipe formulation becomes really paramount in small beers. All components are critical, from yeast choice to specialty malts to mash regimen to the water itself.

Yeast - choose a characterful yeast with low attenuation. This will add a complexity from the yeast strain's distinctiveness and a fuller mouthfeel from the lower attenuation.

Base malt - use a less fermentable base malt for a portion of the grist, like mild malt or Munich.

Specialty malts - use a distinctive and malty toasted malt (biscuit, amber, Victory, melanoidin, aromatic, etc.) for about 5% of the grist. Use a blend of small amounts of various Lovibond caramel malts, dependent upon what you're making, for about 5-10%. Consider using a flaked adjuct (barley, oats) for a small portion of the grist for increased mouthfeel. I think Carapils is a waste of good barley.

Water - using the proper water for style is critical, IMHO, and even more so in a smaller beer. Too much carbonate without calcium to balance can make the beer seem flabby. Lack of sodium and/or chloride can too. Don't overdo it, though - just pay attention to your residual alkalinity and ensure you have a judicious amount of flavor ions (Cl, Na, SO4) to accentuate the malt sweetness.

Mash - Depending on style, an alpha mash may or may not be appropriate. I like to aim for a short beta rest at 148°F (maybe 10-15 minutes), then ramp up to about 158°F for the balance of the mash.

Fermentation - don't let it get too warm, as you don't want to encourage the yeast too much. Ferment toward the lower end of the recommended range.

FWIW, that's what I do and it seems to work for me.

(Message edited by t2driver on August 28, 2008)
 

Chumley
Senior Member
Username: Chumley

Post Number: 5531
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 63.118.227.254
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 08:28 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Joakim - they usually end up around 1.010-1.008.

Graham - thanks for the tips. I like the idea of trying a munich malt for a base. And I will try flaked cereal the next time.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9163
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Thursday, August 28, 2008 - 08:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Many of you know that I favor large starters and healthy pitching rates. That means that I'm usually stepping up smack packs and vials twice to an ultimate volume of about 2 gallons (for pitching into a 10 gallon batch), at least for my lagers and higher gravity ales.

Of course that's a lot of malt that goes into merely growing yeast; it seems like a waste to dump the starter liquid. To prevent that, I've been hopping my starters to about 15 IBUs and drinking the results as session or table beers.

The last such starter I made was for an Orval clone, and the results were outstanding, enough so that I'm likely to brew such a beer on its own. I have a couple of 3 gallon carboys I use for this purpose, and it would also seem to lend itself to a quick stovetop boil in an evening after work or on Saturday morning before other tasks. Of course it would be a simple matter to double the volume to 5 gallons, and it could be brewed all-grain by mashing the appropriate amount of continental pilsner malt.

At any rate, here's the recipe for a great session beer:

Monk's Ordinary
Belgian Specialty Ale

2.5 gallons
O.G. 1.042 F.G. 1.008
17 IBUs
7 SRM

2.25 lbs. extra light DME
1 11.5 oz. bottle Malta Goya

0.5 oz. Styrian Goldings (4.2 AA) - 60 minutes
0.5 tsp. Irish moss - 15 minutes

White Labs WLP510
or White Labs WLP400

Ferment at 68 degrees F for 7 days
Prime with 100 grams sugar for 3.5 volumes CO2
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 5777
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 208.180.207.221
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 03:36 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have always thought that mild ale was a neglected style that could easily find a good spot in any bar. Mild ale is our flagship as my favorite style. At the daughter's recent wedding, its half barrel blew about the same time as the first cream ale. We killed a half at the Dayton Alefest this past weekend. There were a lot of repeat offenders in line. Well I will admit that the beer engine it was served from helped!
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1041
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 84.208.79.179
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 06:49 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, that seems low. Mine usually start at about 1.035 and end up around 1.012-1.014, and even then I have to take care not not serve them too cold or with the wrong carbonation, or else they seem thin. I'd say, mash higher and higher until you see your FG rising.

Also, if you're not using them already, maybe English base malts would help.
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1042
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 84.208.79.179
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 06:50 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Also, yes, Munich might work. It converts more slowly, so it might give you more leeway.
 

Chris Storey
Junior Member
Username: Stuts

Post Number: 68
Registered: 07-2004
Posted From: 76.75.115.125
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 11:24 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I am currently making a session beer. OG is 1.037. I have heard that these beers don't last long. I am out of homebrew at the moment, so that is currently not an issue. If I make more, will it keep at least 6 months? I keg all my beers.
 

ChriSto
Intermediate Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 414
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 11:44 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ChriStorey-
I can document that my session beers don't last long - but that's not from a staling perspective, only from a consumption perspective.

Since you have less alcohol and less hops (typically) in a batch, yes, the small beer is not going to "last" as long as a stronger hoppier beer (think of the history of IPAs). Or, maybe a better way to put it is the aging qualities in the stronger beer are more appreciated than what happens to the smaller beer.

With that said, though, I did have a 6-7 month old 1.037 English Ordinary Bitter that finished first in category at our local competition last year (one of those "oops, look at that, I forgot I had them" moments). If you keep your beer at a constant cool temp in storage it will definitely last longer, even small beers.

I have a 1.041 Bitter (same 1.037 recipe but got 83% efficiency) going right now that I can't wait to get in the keg next weekend.
 

Paul Hayslett
Senior Member
Username: Paulhayslett

Post Number: 1746
Registered: 02-2002
Posted From: 71.234.46.245
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 12:09 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chumley, I found that nothing you do to a low-alcohol beer will make it taste right if you don't also back off on the carbonation. Too much fizz will make any beer seem thin and unsatisfying. I recently made a 70/- and carbed it to about 1.8 volumes. Even that is too high. I'll aim for 1.5 volumes next time.

(The exception would be Berliner Weisse, which tastes better very fizzy. But that's really an outlier.)
 

Steve Jones
Advanced Member
Username: Stevej

Post Number: 544
Registered: 08-2001
Posted From: 164.89.253.13
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 12:41 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Chris Storey,
2 weeks ago at our club campout I served up a keg of the Chiswick bitter that I brewed in early April. So it was exactly 4 months old.

It was 1.038, 1.009, 3.8% ABV. The keg was primed with 2 oz corn sugar, fined with gelatin, and served on a beer engine.

Of the 19 kegs there, it was the first to blow. I heard a lot of good comments on it. I kept it kegged and chilled the whole time.
 

John Baer
Intermediate Member
Username: Beerman

Post Number: 277
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 141.158.20.2
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 03:19 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Anyone care to share a recipe for a bitter or mild?

JB
 

Graham Cox
Senior Member
Username: T2driver

Post Number: 1798
Registered: 11-2004
Posted From: 68.32.253.156
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 03:56 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I've got this on tap right now - very tasty! Use some gypsum if your water is low in calcium and sulfate.

* * * * *

Standard Bitter

A ProMash Brewing Session - Recipe Details Report

Recipe Specifics
----------------

Batch Size (Gal): 5.25 Wort Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.88
Anticipated OG: 1.039 Plato: 9.84
Anticipated SRM: 9.6
Anticipated IBU: 30.8
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70 %
Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes


Grain/Extract/Sugar

% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
85.7 6.75 lbs. Pale Ale Malt (Maris Otter) England 1.038 3
4.8 0.38 lbs. Biscuit Malt Belgium 1.035 24
6.3 0.50 lbs. Crystal 56L Great Britain 1.034 56
3.2 0.25 lbs. Crystal 86L Great Britain 1.034 86

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Hops

Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------
1.00 oz. Styrian Goldings Pellet 4.20 18.2 60 min.
0.80 oz. Goldings - E.K. Pellet 4.75 12.6 30 min.


Yeast
-----

WYeast 1028 London Ale
 

ChriSto
Intermediate Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 415
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 05:27 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Here's my "Midder" recipe for a mild bitter
1.037 OG, 1.011 FG, 8 SRM, 30 IBU, 5 gal
6 lb. British pale
.75 lb. British crystal 50-60L
.25 lb. Victory or Biscuit
.7 oz. Willamette (3.3% AA, 60 min.)
1 oz. Willamette (3.3% AA, 30 min.)
1 oz. Fuggles (4.75% AA, 15 min.)
WL002
Mash at 156F

In addition to 1st place in comp, the remaining 4.5 gallons of this beer disappeared in less than 3 hours at a beer party at my house last year with 17 other beers (cases and kegs) on hand.

Used Phoenix hops in my present batch currently in primary in lieu of Willamette this time as had some in freezer. Also used S-04. We'll see how that goes.

A similar mild recipe:
1.038 OG, 1.008 FG, 15 SRM, 17 IBUs, 5 gal
6 lb. 4 oz. British pale
8 oz. British crystal 50-60L
6 oz. British crystal 135-165L
2 oz. American chocolate
.625 oz. Willamette (3.3% AA, 60 min.)
.5 oz. Fuggles (4.75% AA, 30 min.)

Graham dinged it for being slightly too roasty at NHC, though this one again was drained in 3 hrs at Club Night. I think probably going with WL002 would have balanced it better (used S-04 and I think it dried it out a little too much) though I enjoyed it tremendously!

Gotta love those session beers!
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1203
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 08:36 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I tend to brew mostly in the 1.044-1.052 range and lean towards balance. Don't get me wrong I enjoy an occasional Hop Bomb but I don't really like them enough to have 5-10 gallons hanging around.

I also believe, as this post points out, it is much more difficult to brew good low gravity beers. I have managed to do a few that I think are very good.

One is a mild that started out as a brown ale that I go horrible efficiency on and ended up with a 1.030 OG. I very rarely rebrew beers so I have yet to try and do this again.

Grain Bill:

8 lb Briess Pale ale
4 oz Briess Special Roast
4 oz British Crystal 60L
4 oz American Chocolate

Hop Bill:

1 oz EKG 5% 60min
1 oz EKG 5% Flameout

Mash Schedule:

Single infusion
1.25 quarts per lb 170F strike
156F mash 90 minutes
6 Gallons 190F for mashout and batch sparge

Second was a Scottish 60 Schilling that was brewed for Club Only

Grain Bill:

6 lb 2-row
4 oz Carapils
4 oz Briess Munich
6 oz Roasted Barley

Hop Bill:

1 oz Kent Goldings(4.8%) 45 min.

Mash Schedule:

Single infusion
153F 60 min
165F 10 min

I also boiled down the first gallon of running on this to about 1-1.5 quarts which I believe added some interesting flavor and mouthfeel.
 

Paul Erbe
Senior Member
Username: Perbe

Post Number: 1204
Registered: 05-2001
Posted From: 64.233.251.195
Posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 - 08:39 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I think the Mild was Windsor and the Scottish was 1728 for sure.
 

Michael Boyd
Intermediate Member
Username: Mlboyd

Post Number: 364
Registered: 02-2003
Posted From: 69.19.167.139
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 03:33 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill, that’s so funny. At one of our club get-togethers I was roundly laughed at when I said I drink my starters. Some of my starters turn to be very good beer and one, a saison, turned out excellent, IIDSSMS. So at our yearly club camp-out I brought a starter to let the naysayers have a taste.

The editor of our monthly newsletter asked me to write an article about my process.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9164
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 06:29 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Well, Michael, if you repitch the yeast from a previous batch you are drinking the yeast starter (the previous batch). As I said, I'm an advocate of healthy pitching rates, and it just seems foolish to waste good extract and pour that much beer down the drain. So I have been hopping my larger (a gallon or more) starters and drinking them. The result is beer of relatively low alcohol, but isn't that essentially the same thing as session or table beer? I can say that in many cases these starter beers are very drinkable indeed.
 

Joakim Ruud
Senior Member
Username: Joques

Post Number: 1044
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 84.208.79.179
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 03:05 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

My Ordinary Bitter:

Green Dragon Ale (A nod to Green King, with their 3,5 ABV so-called IPA)

For a keg's worth:

3 kg Maris Otter pale malt
0,5 kg Thomas Fawcett Dark Crystal (About 120 Lovibond)

OG somewhere around 1.035

Mash 60C/140F for 15 minutes, then infuse with boiling water to reach 70C/158F.

30 grams / 1 ounce EKG hops at 4,8 % alpha for mild bitterness (haven't even run the numbers)

Ferment with WY1028. FG should be around 1.014

Ready in a week!
 

Mike Huss
Senior Member
Username: Mikhu

Post Number: 1950
Registered: 03-2003
Posted From: 69.21.247.113
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 03:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You guys are cool, I like you all. I now feel inspired to brew a mild or ordinary bitter.

I've tried cream ales and a kolsch, but the macroswill drinkers haven't cared for them (although they've gone over well with the craft brew fans I know, so I don't think it's my brewing skills anyway. ) I think I'll try one of these as my next beer for the lightweight beer drinkers in my life.
 

Bill Pierce
Moderator
Username: Billpierce

Post Number: 9166
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 24.150.192.193
Posted on Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 03:30 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

You may be surprised at the reactions of your swill-drinking friends, Mike. I brought a corny keg of mild ale (Jeff Renner's Lucky Penny recipe) to the bike ride across Iowa this summer, along with a pony keg of Your Father's Mustache CAP. The folks in the bike club are a little more adventuresome than the average crowd, but most of them regularly drink only BMC. The mild was a bigger hit than I would have thought. It disappeared in short order and produced comments such as "that's exactly how I think English ales should taste," and "it sure was easy to drink a lot of it."
 

Jeff Preston
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Username: Jeffpreston

Post Number: 330
Registered: 02-2004
Posted From: 142.161.175.232
Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2008 - 01:27 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

As a rule , I,ve found my milder brews are always better with some flaked adjuncts. I generally don't brew many beers over 6% any more. Just my 2 cents.
 

Cory K.
Member
Username: Galaxy51

Post Number: 209
Registered: 04-2006
Posted From: 63.228.178.138
Posted on Sunday, August 31, 2008 - 09:22 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I have intended to brew at an OG of 1.042 or under but while formulating recipes I consistantly drift toward my favorite number of 1.048 and sometimes a bit higher. I keep thinking of how easy it is to pour about an inch of filtered water in my standard sized beer glass before heading out to the beer refrigerator. The result is roughly what I would have got with an OG of 1.042.
 

Joakim Ruud
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Username: Joques

Post Number: 1045
Registered: 10-2005
Posted From: 78.82.250.209
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2008 - 07:17 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Cory, that's not entirely accurate. You might get the same ABV, but the body would probably be off. When you brew a beer in the 2-3 ABV range, you need to brew it to a higher final gravity so it won't be watery. You wouldn't get that extra body by adding water. That's just watering down the beer, which I believe has carried the death penalty at various points in history :-)
 

Dan Listermann
Senior Member
Username: Listermann

Post Number: 5784
Registered: 03-2004
Posted From: 74.41.156.172
Posted on Monday, September 01, 2008 - 01:40 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Joakim, MIller Lite, and I suppose other "light" beers as well, are brewed at a high gravity for dilution at packaging. In, at least Miller's case, the final gravity of the finished high gravity beer is less than 1.000 due to the alcohol and lack of other things that make beer good. When the beer is diluted with water for packaging, it actually gets heavier . . . .

PS The South Rim of the Grand Canyon today!
 

HEU Brewer
Intermediate Member
Username: Heu_brewer

Post Number: 388
Registered: 01-2002
Posted From: 146.137.152.40
Posted on Tuesday, September 02, 2008 - 02:21 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

"Chumley, I found that nothing you do to a low-alcohol beer will make it taste right if you don't also back off on the carbonation. Too much fizz will make any beer seem thin and unsatisfying. I recently made a 70/- and carbed it to about 1.8 volumes. Even that is too high. I'll aim for 1.5 volumes next time."


This is a key point to making bitters and milds.
Also a flavorful yeast such as WYeast 1968, 1318, WL English, or a Ringwood Yeast is also key.
To be honnest I never tasted the benefit of overloading a bitter with a lot of specialty grains.

Caledonian Deuchars IPA is the benchmark we all must stive for. This beer has a wopping 1.038 OG and it is by far the best beer I have had the pleaseure of tasting. From the website we have the following ingredients. Pretty Simple really

Malts: Golden Promise and Optic.
Hops: Fuggles, Super Styrian Goldings.
 

ChriSto
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Username: Christo

Post Number: 419
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2008 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Kegged my Midder Friday and first taste yesterday. Man ,IIDSSM, this is some good ! Beautifully clear and coppper. Finished at 1.010 and moderately dry but not watery at all. Lots of toffee/caramel & biscuit and a good hop bitterness, though definitely firmly entrenched in the "Midder" category - a mild bitter - since did not modify the hop schedule even though the gravity was 7 pts higher due to better efficiency than usual (diluted at end of boil by adding 1/2 gallon of boiled water) - probably in upper 20's in IBUs in the end. Bitterness brought out some more by moderate carbonation. Finished 3 pints before I was even aware of it!

This one is definitely closer to a pale mild than past bitter "projects". Still, it's amazing all the flavors available in a 1.040 beer. All of this from 7 lbs of malt!

And, I just scored 4 oz. of EKG hops as a prize for a win in a recent comp, so I'm already looking at making this again in the near future.
 

bill king
Junior Member
Username: Kingwj

Post Number: 28
Registered: 04-2008
Posted From: 68.80.1.27
Posted on Monday, September 08, 2008 - 09:12 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

ChriSto, which recipe did you use? 1 or 2? Both used 7# of grain.
 

ChriSto
Intermediate Member
Username: Christo

Post Number: 422
Registered: 02-2006
Posted From: 216.176.226.154
Posted on Tuesday, September 09, 2008 - 11:42 am:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

Bill King - It was my Midder recipe (#1). I did a 5 hr mash (due to other duties in life getting in the way of my brew day), so ended with very good efficiency of 83% and 1.044 OG. Diluted down at the end of the boil with 1/2 gallon of water to get to 1.040 but the carboy was full at that point.

This is the third time making it and I really like it. It has a very robust aroma and flavor for a reasonably small beer. This batch is probably the least bitter of all (just slightly to bitter side of balanced) - not sure why I didn't adjust the volume at the beginning of the boil or add some additional hops to counter the higher gravity. Still, it's quite tasty.

This is the first time using the S-04 yeast that I can definitely taste the "breadiness" others have discussed. Good for a mild, not as much for a bitter. It works well in my mild-bitter / bitter-mild though.
 

Andrew Bales
Advanced Member
Username: Bales

Post Number: 555
Registered: 10-2002
Posted From: 65.28.48.192
Posted on Tuesday, October 07, 2008 - 01:45 pm:   Edit Post Delete Post View Post/Check IP    Ban Poster IP (Moderator/Admin only)

I take those low alcohol beers camping. I really prefer Yorkshire/LondonIII or other fruity and estery British speciality yeasts that are not available all year. I don't use the standard British strains [like 1098 or others like it] as most don't have enough character for such a weak beer.

I second that low carb, keep the keg at 5psi and server at 50F-60F. I usually take those camping fall and spring and just leave the keg wrapped up outside and unwrapped at night, WITHOUT ICE, and out of the sun. If you have to put it in the fridge, or heaven forbid on ice, well its not going to be as good. A homemade sparkler using a copper line with a cap drilled with holes and a ss ball valve works nice too.

My finals like Chumley's, tend to be 1.005 or so so I hop at about 15 ibus or less, sometimes even just 10ibus, for a 1.032 beer. I also move half of the sparge water directly to the boiler. I only sparge about 4g of water into the mash [10g batch] at the most. Less sparged the better.