Sunday, January 3, 2016

International Homebrew Project 2016 - Crowdsourcing Style

Around this time of year I start the planning for the International Homebrew Project, which will see its 6th iteration in 2016. In previous years those of us who take part have mainly focused on recreating historic beer recipes, usually from the research of Ron Pattinson. Previous recipes were:
This year however I am thinking about doing something a little different.

Last year I started a project called American Mild Month, drawing inspiration from the Campaign for Real Ale's 'May is Mild Month' in the UK. The project had more than 50 breweries participating across the US, and the 2016 iteration is already looking to better that number.


What better way then to encourage more interest in the brewing of mild ale than to get fellow homebrewers engaged and brewing their own mild ales? However, I'd rather not stick to the accepted understanding of mild back in Blighty, and therefore to attempt to crowd source a new beer style, the American Mild Ale. As part of American Mild Month, I encouraged breweries to try and Americanise mild with the following parameters:
Let's start with color. The SRM numbers for English milds range from 6 to 34, which is basically the entire spectrum of beer. The majority of milds though fall in the dark category, starting at 17 SRM, which is a deep orange to amber color. An American mild then would be deep amber, with red in the mix as well, veering up to brown at the upper limit.

Alcoholic restraint is a hallmark of the modern mild ale, and we believe that an American mild should follow that tradition, topping out at 4.5% abv. We imagine most American milds would fall between 3.5% and 4.5% abv.

Everyone knows that many modern American beers are very hop centric while mild ales tend to be very restrained when it comes to both IBUs and hop perception, remember the official description from GABF...

Hop aroma is very low...Hop flavor is very low. Hop bitterness is very low to low

Clearly then the American Mild is not a hop bomb, but neither need it be a hop free zone. 'Low' is not the same as 'none', it is all about restraint, and with the wide variety of American hops available the range of hop flavors is actually quite broad, whether its the spiciness of Cluster, the grapefruit of Amarillo, or the tropical fruit of El Dorado, there is room here for differentiation, and dry hopping is ok too. Remember though, before going crazy with the hops, an American Mild is not a Session IPA, or a Session Cascadian Dark Ale, it's still a mild. Traditional English milds top out at 25 IBUs, but for an American Mild we would suggest an upper limit of 30 IBUs.

One major departure from the English mild style in a theoretical American mild is the yeast. The classic American yeast strain used by many an American craft brewery is known for being very clean, allowing the other ingredients to shine through without contributing the fruity flavors of the British yeasts.

So there we go, a restrained, darkish ale, with gentle hopping and a clean finish so that the malt and what hops are present, shine through.
Or for those more into lists:
  • OG - 1.032 - 1.048
  • FG - 1.006 - 1.014
  • ABV - 3.5% - 4.5%
  • SRM - 17 - 25
  • IBU - 15 - 30
If there isn't any interest in trying to create a new style, I'll revert to brewing historical recipes using Ron's research as a guide. There is a poll up in the upper right rail, let me know your thoughts by Friday January 8th.

Oh, and happy New Year!

1 comment:

  1. Keep up the homebrew posts!It is really helpful.Thanks for share this post.

    ReplyDelete