Merlins Mild – First Brew of 2013

Garage Brewing in January.
Merlin may be mild; the weather isn’t!

You’d think by now I know better – 17 years of homebrewing and I still don’t brew an extra batch near Christmas.  Once again, friends and holidays have left me with nothing but a few pints of Bad Santa in a keg, and two bottles of beer I didn’t mail out as Christmas gifts.

So once again I find myself short on beer and in need of an emergency brew session. This weeks beer is a rapidly fermenting (and thus, quickly on-tap) style of beer called a mild. Rare in North America, this beer is a lower-alcohol brew that features a lot of grain and hop flavours, but with a level of hoppiness below what is typical of most English ales.

This mild is darker than most – the brewshop didn’t have crystal 60, so I replaced it with an equal amount of crystal 80. The alpha acids of the hops were also higher than expected, so I adjusted the recipe to hit 20IBUs and threw the leftovers in at flameout to add some aroma. This is also my second time using yeast from the guild yeast bank that I manage. So the colour’s a bit darker, the flavour a little more towards caramel than sweet, but it should still be a fine brew.

This batch is named “Merlins Mild”; not because of any historical link to the era in which Merlin supposedly lived (although, many beers from that time may have had some similarities). Instead, I was watching Star Gate while putting together the recipe and nerded out over the name…

Recipe below the fold…

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout –
Recipe: Merlins Mild
Style: Mild
TYPE: All Grain

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 24.58 l
Post Boil Volume: 21.84 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 20.00 l   
Bottling Volume: 19.50 l
Estimated OG: 1.035 SG
Estimated Color: 16.6 SRM
Estimated IBU: 19.9 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 75.6 %
Boil Time: 45 Minutes

Amt        Name      %/IBU         
2.50 kg    Pale Malt, Maris Otter             80.2%
0.50 kg    Caramel/Crystal Malt – 80L         16.0%
0.06 kg    Chocolate Malt                      1.9%
0.06 kg    Chocolate Malt (Light)              1.8%
10.00 g    Fuggles [6.50 %] – Boil 45.0 min   10.7 IBUs
25.00 g    Fuggles [6.50 %] – Boil 15.0 min    9.2 IBUs
10.00 g    Fuggles [6.50 %] – Flameout         0.0 IBUs
1.0 tsp    Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)
1.0 pkg    English Ale Yeast (White Labs #WLP002)

Mash Schedule: 
Single Infusion, Light Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 3.12 kg
Name       Description           Step Temp   Step Time     
Mash In    Add 8.38 l, 79.1 C    70.0 C      60 min        

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 19.57l) of 75.6 C water


  • Mash hit 70C, but cooled to 67C 40min into mash.  Added ~2L boiling water to increase temp.  Conversion not complete at 40min, but complete at 50.  Drained MLT at 60min & sparged.
  • Had to reduce hops from 18 bittering & 28 flavor to 10/25 to account for 6.5% AA content.
  • Decided to use some of the extra hops (10g) for aroma at flame-out


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