Jeff Longland

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

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

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4 Responses

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  1. Good on you! Glad you’ve hit on a combination that works outstandingly well for you!

    Drew Beechum

    August 15, 2013 at 11:56 pm

  2. Thanks Drew! And thank-you for the BOTO theme you’ve introduced to my brewing. I scrutinize every recipe now, looking for opportunities to simplify. I’ve definitely found my simpler beers are my better beers. Cheers!


    August 17, 2013 at 12:50 am

  3. Congrats on your first place finish, that was a tasty mild. And I enjoyed the video that you embeded, now its time to re-think a few recipes that just were not there for me, and I think I made the classic newbie move and made them way too complicated.


    Chris Murray

    August 20, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    • Thanks Chris! Now, I just need to reproduce it… Second batch wasn’t close – which is another post.


      August 21, 2013 at 7:41 pm

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