Wednesday, February 8, 2012

International Homebrew Project - the recipe

So here it is, the recipe for the International Homebrew Project. Just a quick recap, I took an executive decision that this year we would brew an historic recipe from 19th century Scotland and gave you good people the choice of a pale, mild, stout or some random surprise. When the voting was done with there was a clear winner, mild.

When many people think about mild these days, they think low gravity, dark session beer, and admittedly this particular iteration of the tradition is something I love to brew and drink myself. It was, though, not ever thus. The origins of the term "mild" refer to beer that was sent out into trade before it had a chance to become old, thus the flavour was "mild" rather than the raciness you would get with older beers. "Mild" did not refer to the strength of a beer, which is just as well, because I think this recipe is going to mess with people's heads on a couple of levels; on what constitutes mild and what defines "Scottish" ales.

This recipe, kindly provided by Kristen England, comes from the William Younger's Abbey Brewery in Edinburgh, and was brewed in 1853.

Firstly then the grain bill:
  • 100% English Pale ale malt
There we go, that was simple wasn't it, the kicker though is that the target Original Gravity is 1.114, or almost 27º Plato.

For the hopping you are looking at:
  • 65 IBU of Goldings for 90 mins
  • 26 IBU of Fuggles for 20 minutes
  • Dry hop with 1.25oz of Fuggles (assuming a 5 gallon batch)
As far as fermentation goes, use the Windsor strain or Wyeast's 1318 London Ale III, as we are looking for this beast to attenuate down to about 1.046, giving our 91 IBU monster an ABV of 9.1%.

Now for some more technical details. The mash should be done at a ratio of 0.95 quarts per pound of malt, or 1.98 litres per kilo, for 120 minutes at 150ºF/65.6ºC. The boil should last 90 minutes.

Here are Kristen's tasting notes:

"Big, thick and rich. Biscuits, sweetened Vienna bread dough. Green tea, hay and marmelade. Ripping tannins and thoroughly bitter. The finish lasts forever and keeps from being sweet by the bitterness. What a bloody nice dram!"

Over the IHP 2012 page you can see a more orderly description of the recipe for you to adapt according to your system. The planned weekend for brewing is the 25/26 of this month, and given the simplicity of the ingredients I think most people should be able to get hold of them. I for one am looking forward to this!


  1. "comes from the Younger's brewery in Alloa . . "

    It's actually from William Younger's Abbey Brewery in Edinburgh.

    Scottish brewing is so confusing. Everyone is called Younger, Deuchar or Aitken.

  2. Not to undermine the good Doctor England, but mild malt might be an interesting substitution for the pale malt.

  3. Craig,

    100% absolutely. If you can find a nice mild malt thats not an American bastardization, use it. I love both Paul's Mild and Fawcett. It will be more malt rich and toasty for sure.



I worked out the other day that each day I was in Prague I walked about 7-8km, which is about 4.5-5 miles in old money. The longest walk tho...