Jeff Longland

Relax, don't worry – have a home brew!

Archive for August 2013

Homebrew Milestone: First Place with JLo’s Rye Mild

with 4 comments

Rye MildI am really proud of this beer. It took first place in the English Brown Ale category of the 2013 VanBrewer Awards.  But like every beer, it has a story. To start, this isn’t my recipe and it was actually the first mild I brewed! While it could be written off as a fluke, I think this beer reflects my growth as a brewer.  But more importantly, I think it shows how the homebrewing community has cultivated my passion for this hobby and given me enough knowledge to brew a decent beer, even a style I have never brewed.

The first contributor is VanBrewers – one of the largest homebrew clubs in Canada.  Every month there’s a meeting where folks talk about their beers, equipment, ingredients, process, recipes and more. There’s a good deal of tasting and you can submit beers to be reviewed by BJCP judges. I have gotten a tonne of feedback about my beers and while tasting such a wide-range of styles, I get ideas for my recipes. On the topic of milds, a few guys in the club are very knowledgeable about English ales and specifically milds. This allowed me to try more milds than I could ever access commercially and generally, discover it as a style. Turns out, I quite like milds and I’ve been able to learn a great deal from the English ale ‘experts’.  I always learn something at a VanBrewers meeting – great people and great beers.  I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who wants to get into homebrewing.

The next contributor is the broader homebrewing community, much of it online.  The amount of available knowledge is astounding.  Much of it exists  in forums: HomeBrewTalk, Beer Advocate, Northern Brewer, and Homebrewers Association.  Or in a number of blogs. I most keenly follow: Bertus Brewery, The Mad Fermentationist, The Perfect Pint, and Brew Science.  Lest I forget podcasts: BeerSmith and Basic Brewing. Or magazines: BYO and Zymurgy.  The online community and countless homebrew clubs convene every year at the penultimate gathering for homebrewers: The National Homebrewers Conference (NHC). I still need to write a proper summary of my time at the 2012 conference, but getting back to milds – it was at NHC where I attended Drew Beechum’s session on Brewing On The Ones. One of the recipes that Drew presented was his Rye Mild, of which I was lucky to have a sample.  For a mild it had a great mouthfeel and a touch of caramel-y sweetness, something I’ve found missing in some milds that I’ve tasted.  Drew describes the beer best:

I was going to brew Drew’s recipe, but made a few adjustments: I added a little Briess Blackprinz to darken the beer and add a wee bit of roast flavour.  I also hopped a little more aggressively than the original recipe, which added a stronger earthy spice flavour.  I thought this complimented the spice from the rye nicely.  Small adjustments to a simple recipe.

Instead of my tasting notes, I’ve included notes from the judging sheets (as I said, I’m rather proud of this beer).


  •  Judge A0830 – 2/3 – Great clarity. Rich amber. Thin white head. Low retention.
  • Judge A0969 – 3/3 – Dark coppery colour. Decent head retention. Crystal clear colour. White head.
  • Steward – 3/3 – Super clear, copper amber colour. Ivory coloured head with some retention.


  • Judge A0830 – 8/12 – Fruity, apple like aroma. Light caramel toffee notes (diacetyl?). Low hop character.
  • Judge A0969 – 9/12 – Some caramel coffee toffee notes, hints of fruit with mid subtle hop notes.
  • Steward – 7/12 – Light caramel, chocolate malt aroma. Slight spicy hop background, some fruity esters present.


  • Judge A0830 – 12/20 – Rich crystal flavours and tobacco hop character in support. Balance is slightly bitter (too much for style). Low esters. No acetaldehyde. Finish is roasty and bitter.
  • Judge A0969 – 13/20 – Slight hop bitterness dominates the flavour. Some roasty notes. Would prefer more malts in the balance. Slight metallic notes.
  • Steward – 15/20 – Malty, caramel and chocolate. Some hop bitterness balanced towards bitter, not appropriate to style, but tastes great.


  • Judge A0830 – 4/5 – Mod to mod/low body. Mod-low CO2. Low creaminess. No astringency or alcohol.
  • Judge A0969 – Nice light medium body. Decent carbonation. No slickness. Nice creaminess.
  • Steward – Medium body with low carbonation, some creaminess.

Overall Impression

  • Judge A0830 – 8/10 – Wonderful beer. A bit too bitter for style and balance of the beer. Roast and yeast character is really nice. A touch more CO2 (would be fine as is in a full pint) would balance the creaminess of the already fantastic mouthfeel. Well done!
  • Judge A0969 – 7/10 – The roasted malts have detracted from the sweetness, throwing the hop balance out. Try reducing either the bittering hops or roasted malts.
  • Steward  – 8/10 – Very good beer. Slightly too much hop bitterness for the style. I would drink a lot of this one! Great job!

Rye Mild Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.038 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.040 SG
Expected OG: 1.044 SG
Actual OG: 1.048 SG
Expected FG: 1.013 SG
Actual FG: 1.019 SG
Expected Efficiency: 60.0%
Actual Efficiency: 62.8%
Expected ABV: 4.0 %
Actual ABV: 3.8 %
Expected IBU: 31
Expected Color: 17.9 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

Gambrinus ESB Malt 10.00 lb – 84.2%
UK Rye Malt – 1.50 lb – 12.6%
UK Briess Blackprinz – 0.38 lb – 3.2%

East Kent Goldings (6.1% alpha) 43 g – First wort hopped

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale
Mashed at 157F


Written by jlongland

August 13, 2013 at 4:59 pm

Posted in Homebrew

Tagged with

Apollo Pale Ale

with 2 comments

Apollo Pale AleContinuing with my effort to catch-up on recipes and tasting notes. Going back to January 5, 2013 with this beer. I was planning on brewing a barley wine, but rather than making a huge starter, I decided to make a pale ale. For a simple beer that started out as a means to another, bigger, maltier beer – I was shocked by the result. Keeping the recipe simple was definitely the way to go:  Golden Promise + Crystal 70-80 + Apollo + Wyeast 1968 = an easy going pale ale. It was so tasty that I don’t seem to have any tasting notes. I do have 21 checkins on Untappd, thankfully, to inform the tasting notes below.

Appearance – Copper colour and clear, clear, clear!  Between the highly flocculant Wyeast 1968 and my transition to kegs, this beer cleared spectacularly well after ~2 weeks of cold-conditioning.

Aroma – It’s been a few months, but I can still recall the smell of this beer: clean malts, some citrus, and that English ale yeast aroma.

Taste  Slight English esters w/ light, clean bitterness from Apollo hops on finish. Can easily identify the sweetness from the Golden Promise malt.  Malt tastes very fresh.  Hops flavours are earthy, spicy with slight citrus.

Mouthfeel  Light and easy-drinking.  At 4.4% ABV that’s to be expected.  Tasted back-to-back with Powell Street’s Old Jalopy Pale Ale, I found this beer to be much thinner.  The next batch could use a little more mouthfeel.

Drinkability/Notes  Very pleasant English Pale Ale.  I wish I had saved a few bottles to enter in competitions, but it was too tasty and far too tempting when I got home from work in the evening.  A refreshing, low ABV pale ale.  Will definitely brew again, but with some adjustments to get better mouthfeel.

Apollo Pale Ale Recipe

Wort Volume Before Boil: 7.00 US gals
Wort Volume After Boil: 6.10 US gals
Volume Transferred: 6.00 US gals
Volume At Pitching: 6.00 US gals
Final Batch Volume: 5.00 US gals
Expected Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG
Actual Pre-Boil Gravity: 1.045 SG
Expected OG: 1.051 SG
Actual OG: 1.048 SG
Expected FG: 1.015 SG
Actual FG: 1.015 SG
Expected Efficiency: 65.0%
Actual Efficiency: 65.7%
Expected ABV: 4.7 %
Actual ABV: 4.4 %
Expected IBU: 75
Expected Color: 11.1 SRM
Boil Duration: 60.0 mins

UK Golden Promise 12.00 lb – 92.3%
UK Dark Crystal (70-80L) – 1.00 lb – 7.7%

Apollo (18% alpha) 14 g – First wort hopped
Apollo (18% alpha) 14 g – 15 mins
Apollo (18% alpha) 28 g – 0 mins

Other Ingredients
Yeast: Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale
Mashed at 152F

Written by jlongland

August 13, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Posted in Homebrew

Tagged with