Such a melodramatic title with so many adjectives for a post about a 3% abv beer! Let’s start over:
Two Maris Otters, both alike in dignity, in fair Minnesota, where we lay our scene, something something something brewing.
Longtime readers will recognize your author’s perhaps slightly creepy feelings for the floor-malted Maris Otter from Warminster Maltings in Wiltshire, England. It is a fantastic base malt, and – to declare my bias in the third paragraph of this post – I’ve loved it in every style I’ve used it in, from ordinary bitter to barleywine.
I have decided the only sensible thing to do is to make them fight for my affection.
The proving ground will be a SMASH MILD – the whole thing is an acronym, which I love. At least some of you are no doubt familiar with SMASH – Single Malt And Single Hop; but MILD may be new to many. It stands for Mild I’d Like (to) Drink. A pale mild, mind you.
Both are nice and uniform, but advantage Gleneagles for plumpness. Aromatically, Warminster is lighter and brighter, Gleneagles more toasty and warm. Warminster has a definite grainy, doughy, cooked-oatmeal sweetness in its flavor and is visibly a bit paler. Because Gleneagles is a shade darker, its flavors are a bit more developed, as you’d expect – more warm bread crust than bread dough, or oatmeal cookies instead of porridge.
John Barleycorn having made the acquaintance of Mr. Mill, it’s time for some side-by-side brewing:
Target OG: 1.037
- 100% floor-malted Maris Otter – Warminster in one mash, Gleneagles in another
- 154°F for 75′
- 170°F for 10′
- UK Fuggle (pellet, 4.5% aa) at 60′ to 24 IBU
- Chill to 65-66°F, O2 and pitch each batch with Wyeast 1203 Burton IPA Blend – fermenting on the cool side to promote neutrality in the floor-malted death match.
Purely in terms of extract, advantage Gleneagles for overshooting the target OG by a couple points and yielding ~5% more than the same grist weight of Warminster. (I will note here that both malts were milled with the same gap setting, so all other things being equal, the malt with plumper kernels probably got milled a little finer).
In terms of sensory:
SMASHWAR displays that terrific rising-yeast-dough sweetness that I, and at least some readers here, know and love. Tasted alongside the other wort, this one is bright and comparatively fruity. It came out of the boiler a rich gold with big gorgeous snotty gobbets of cold break (no kettle finings used in either boil).
SMASHGLEN breaks toasty instead of doughy: warm biscuit and roasted peanuts in the shell beneath a general mash aroma of warm Grape Nuts – it’s an undertone, not an overtone like with a biscuit malt. Its flavor has more of that warm bread crust character, somewhat reminiscent of Munich malt. The color is pale orange rather than deep gold – definitely but not drastically darker than the other wort.
UPDATE: tasting notes here.