Recipe: Dark mild

Perfect for winter and enjoying with food.

Hey homebrewers,

The seasons are changing and that means that it’s time to make something that suits sitting by the fireside with. While a big, boozy, bourbon-barrel aged Russian imperial stout would be great for such a thing, you don’t always need to go with a huge, kick-your -liver style. For me, the thing that makes for a winter-warmer are those toasty, roasty, chocolate and coffee notes. These are the kind of flavours you get from a well-made dark mild.

The definition of ‘mild’ has changed over the years. Prior to the late 1800s the term mild was a reference to the aged character of the beer. At this point, Brettanomyces was a typical characteristic of aged English beers, known as ‘Stock’ ales. The opposite of stock ales were ‘milds’, often a similar beer but without the aged characteristics. While milds now are typically low in alcohol, milds of the past could be up 9% abv!

Today’s recipe is for a low-alcohol, medium-bodied dark mild. The flavour of the beer is a delicious, toasty chocolate malt profile with a soft, English hop flavour. While the alcohol is a bit lower than the BJCP style guidelines, the beer is fantastic and easy to drink.

Beer Profile

Batch volume: 22 L
Pre-boil volume: 25 L
Pre-boil gravity: 1.025
OG: 1.029
FG: 1.011
ABV: 2.3%
Bitterness: 22 IBUs
Colour: 14.5 SRM
Efficiency: 80%


Grains % of Fermentables
2.2 kg Maris Otter Pale Malt (3.75°L) 86.7%
220 g Crystal Malt (60°L) 8.7%
78 g UK Chocolate Malt (425°L) 3.1%
40 g De-husked Carafa III (470°L) 1.5%
Kettle Hops IBUs
23.3 g Fuggles Leaf [6.1 AA] – First wort 20.5
7.8 g Fuggles Leaf [6.1 AA] – First wort 1.5
1 Packet Safale – S-04
Other Ingredients
1/2 tablet Irish Moss – 10 mins
1 tsp Gelatin – at Kegging
Target Water Profile
Ion Target (ppm or mg/L)
Calcium 40
Magnesium 5
Sodium 10
Chloride 100
Sulphate 50
Bicarbonates 0


Mash the grains at 69ºC for one hour. Fly or batch sparge at 78ºC for 10 minutes or until you have reached the pre-boil gravity. Add the first wort hops as the wort heats up. Wait for the hot break to form and boil for 60 minutes. After 60 minutes and add the last hop additional and cool quickly using a chilling device. Aerate and pitch rehydrated yeast. Begin the ferment at 16ºC raising the temperature 1ºC after 24 hours and every 24 hours thereafter until you reach 20ºC. After the FG stabilises, clarify your beer if you so choose and rack into a keg or into bottles.

Carbonation and Storage

Carbonate to between 1.5 to 2 volumes and if bottling store for at least 30 days prior to drinking.

Tip: Don’t serve this beer too cold and instead serve at “cellar temperature”, around 7ºC. Drink it by the pint.

Note: This beer took a gold medal at the 2018 Royal Perth Beer Show with a total of 17.2 points of a possible 20.

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