Brew day: Village Green Mild Ale/Desperate Dan Dark Mild Ale
Until last week.
As recently as three weeks ago we had our Helles Lager, our Doppelbock and our Gose on tap. When our Helles and Doppelbock kicked in short succession, I replaced the former with our Witbier but didn't have anything to replace the latter. Then we brought our Witbier to a small gathering where I thought, at most, a couple gallons would be consumed, and we ended up killing that keg. Plus, when rearranging the kegerator I noticed the Gose keg is feeling rather light. I do have 10 gallons of Altbier lagering, but one of those kegs is reserved for Beerfly Alleyfight and the other won't be ready for at least another week (preferably two).
Bottom line is I need beer, and fast. Last time I was in this situation I came up with our Village Green Mild Ale, a light mild (perhaps better categorized as an AK, an obscure sub-style of the classic British bitter). Leah loved it and has been bugging me to brew it again. But I need both a light beer and a dark beer. At the same time, I've also been itching to brew a dark mild. If only there was a way to do both...
That's when it hit me: I can do both! My light mild ale was just a traditional dark mild ale without the dark grains, and dark grains don't need to be mashed; they can be steeped. As such, since I have two brew kettles and two burners, I could simply split the wort after mashing and steep the dark grains in the kettle for the dark mild ale. And that's just what I did.
Since I have a couple 3-gallon carboys, I decided to shoot for a 6-gallon batch yielding three gallons of each beer. I did a simple infusion at 154°F (two degrees below my target) and collected 7.5 gallons over the course of about an hour. At that point I pumped half from my one kettle to the other. In my second kettle I steeped 2.5 oz. of chocolate malt and 2.5 oz. of dehusked Carafa III malt for about twenty minutes while I brought the first kettle to a boil.
The last thing for me to consider was the name of the new beer. The light mild was named "Village Green" after the most British thing I could think of: the Kinks' "The Village Green Preservation Society." For its dark counterpart, I wanted to stick with the same theme, so I turned to the second verse of the same song. And thus Desperate Dan Dark Mild Ale was born. Can't wait to try the two side-by-side and see the difference 5 oz. of dark malts can make!