Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Mild or Imperial?

It started with a frantic phone call from Mrs Velkyal; a box had arrived at her school and they wanted money, for her to take it off their hands - 832CZK to be precise, about 25 quid. I had forgotten that there is some strange way of paying for mail order goods here - paying the deliverer the entire invoice amount. It all got sorted, and I got to bring home the ingredients for my first homebrew project, ordered from this website (sorry if you don't speak Czech).

Rather than going straight on in to all grain brewing, due to a lack of space and a disinclination to spend tons of money on stuff only few months before moving, I decided to get myself a Munton's Perfect Pint kit, the dark mild to be precise. However, from reading How to Brew I know that it is probably best to use the extract as a base to add other things to my beer. So I dreamed up making a smoked mild, and decided to get a different yeast to use and some extra hops to freshen things up a little.

My ingredients are:

Munton's Perfect Pint Dark Mild hopped extract
Demerera sugar
Weyermann Rauchmalt
Saaz red hop pellets
Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale

My basic plan is to make 3 batches of 8 litres, owing to space restrictions. At the moment I am not sure how much rauchmalt to use (I have 2kg of the stuff!!!), or at what point to use the hops - any advice happily received.

I have also played with the idea of making a kind of Imperial Smoked Mild (contradiction in terms I know) and using all the extract in a single batch, especially as the yeast is well suited to high alcohol brews. Again, homebrewers out there, any advice would be gratefully received.


  1. I just used smoked malt for the first time on Sunday. It made up about 10% of the grist but I can't say it is having a very noticeable effect. It is English malt though, and perhaps the German variety is more potent.

    Your yeast selection is a highly flocculant strain so it will leave a lot of residual extract in the beer - typical of the Scottish wee heavy, and will need rousing to keep it going. This might cause a problem if you go for a low abv mild because it could be cloying. A stronger ale might be better.

    Also, you don't want the brown sugar to make up too much of the fermentable sugar because it won't provide any body and could thin out the beer, but it should add a little complexity.

    Whatever you choose, good luck!

  2. The instructions on the can say to add sugar to the extract, although I am wondering if the smoked malt will have a similar effect by adding fermentable material to the wort. I am coming round to the more potent beer - probably making it more of a Smoked Scottish Ale - I think I will call it Kippered Ale.

  3. Is the smoked malt actual malted barley or smoked malt extract?

    You'll have to mash the smoked malt if that's the case. You said you have brewed before so I'm not certain how familiar you are with the process. It'll certainly add fermentables and body but you'll have to do some work with it first.

  4. It is smoked malt, and I am planning a mini mash for it.

    I have brewed mead before, and made dandelion wine with the wife, but this will be my first beer.

  5. The advice I got was to use 20% rauchmalz to be able to get a recognisable flavour from it. This is what I used for the smoking gun stout, but as I said on the blog, the roasted malts may be crowding it out.

    You might consider doing some extract brews using dry malt extract, as that way you can use as much as you like without worrying about having a can of liquid extract open. And for a shameless plug, here's my guide to using DME :D

    Best of luck with the brew!

  6. Smoked and/or Imperial Mild?! You're sounding more American already, my friend!

    While I do like the idea of toying with Mild (brewed a Maple Mild a while back with a friend that tasted great but fermentation didn't get going on it, and it was in his hands...) it does sound like you'd be better off going with a stronger, Scottish style ale. This way, you'll have plenty of malt sugar to stand up to the desired degree of smokiness. Unless you're aiming for that bacon-in-a-glass Schlenkerla Rauch feel.

    As for adding the hops to the boil, I'd parcel them up and drop them in at 60 minutes and then the rest at 15 to 10 minutes for simplicity's sake. Depending on the quantity, you'll have to figure out how much bittering and aroma you'd like, respectively.

    Good luck, and let us know how it turns out!

  7. I was originally planning to brew last week, when I had my couple of days off work - but the drinking took its toll on my plans, plus I need to sort out a malt bag for the rauchmalt.

    Hoping to get on with the brewing soon.

    Oh and if anyone has experience of dry-hopping with Saaz hops then please let me know.


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