Thursday, 1 October 2015

Old man's beer...

Gazza has a deep love of mild; it's what he used to drink as a lad back ooop North, and is also fascinated by the extremely rare (and getting rarer) sub-style of Pennine Light; years back there were many of these: Webster's Green label, Bass Light, Robinson's Mild, Hydes Light, Taylor's Golden Best and a few others I forget.... wind forwards to the modern era and the only one remaining is the Taylor's (their best beer IMO, much better than the over-hyped Landlord and one dimensional bitter) and a few new-wave examples.

So, last year, when we brewed this it took many people by surprise; "aren't you the Gazza who loves hops?" I heard quite a few times, to which I replied yes, that's me, but I like other things too!  

This is a beer which had an elephant-esque gestation period and the recipe was rewritten many times until the discovery of Castle Maltings from Belgium and their Biscuit malt which was the missing piece of the jigsaw; crystal malt was out as an ingredient so something else was needed to depose it... and here it was in all it's crunchy, biscuity loveliness.  

It also has a very unusual mashing regime; in most beers the grain is steeped in hot water at around 66c for over an hour, but here the temperature is more like 70c and the mash takes a mere 15 minutes to keep a good dose of unfermentable dextrins for body and mouthfeel, which are essential in a mild.  The other departures from "old school" UK milds are the hops - Polish Marynka, leafy and grassy - and the yeast, our standard US05 American ale yeast, which imparts none of the esters UK beers are famous for but instead ensures a clean, smooth fermentation and flavour with enhanced hop character.

This 2015 "vintage" has had it's recipe amended from the original in several ways, all for the better, and Gazza is hopeful that his modern Pennine mild will challenge and surprise drinkers who thought that all mild was dark and full of fag ends and "pour backs".... 

And the name?  Well, only the Smiths could provide the name for such a Manchester tradition...

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