April 1, 2010

Notes on a Brew Day: AK-747 Pale Mild

Brew day! English ale = bored dog. She only likes lagers.
Pale mild ale. Trying out a sample sack of a new (to me) malt. New crop EKG ... heaven. Splitting the batch: open fermentation with one half, closed with the other.

Strike water on the left ... Westminster floor-malted Maris Otter (my notes: small kernels, steely for a UK pale malt ... flavor of kernels & aroma of mash reminiscent of lager malt, very doughy, a little DMS - very bready, very nice!) ... coming soon to a homebrew shop named Northern Brewer near you. On the right: what appears to be a comically oversized tun ... hey, it's a small mash. I'm not embarrassed.

Left: a nice boil. Middle: I hate cleaning mash tuns. Right: I should've called it AK-037 'cause of the WLP037 yeast. Now this beer is forever burdened with a complex pun (McMullen's AK Mild from Hertford; the Kalashnikov; and the Boeing) for a name. And it's only 1.034. That's more pun than beer.

Chill, aerate, pitch, seal/leave uncovered. Fast forward to the end of Day 2. And now it's high krauesen and time to do some skimming on that open fermentation with some thoroughly sanitized hardware:

Yup, she thinks British ales are boring. No accounting for taste.

On the left, a shot of creamy yeast from the second skimming on Day 4, which is now under some wort in a flask, waiting for the next brew day. And if you'll skew your peepers starboard, the just-skimmed green beer starts to throw up a new, final krauesen.

And on Day 5 he racked to closed secondaries.

On Day 19, into the keg and force-carbed to somewheres around 1.6 volumes (which felt a bit like pulling a punch ... next time I brew this: cask-style).

And on Day 21, it's well time to drink it.

And what did he taste? Well ... from the open-fermented, WLP037 batch: a beguiling complex of wildflower honey, biscuits, fresh bread, and a striking but not unpleasant waft of sulfur you'd normally expect to find in a pale European lager. Some buttery and citrus fruit notes from the yeast, and a light, obligingly chuggable body. There's some of that good EKG flowers-and-earth in the flavor, but it's almost an afterthought.

Oh, and the recipe:

AK-747 Pale Mild (10 gallons, all grain)
  • 10 lbs Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter
  • 1 lbs Simpson's Caramalt
  • 2 oz Fawcett Pale Chocolate
  • 1 lb dextrose
  • 1 oz East Kent Goldings 7.2% pellets @ 60"
  • 0.5 oz East Kent Goldings 7.2% pellets @ 15"
  • White Labs WLP037 Yorkshire Square Ale (open fermenter)
  • Wyeast 1318 London III (closed fermenter)
Mash low, ferment fast, drink fresh.


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