Homebrew Recipe: Wild Rice Mild

Key points for key pints

Diastatic power in the base malt. I’m calling for Rahr 2-row, a great all-rounder and diastatic powerhouse that will easily do conversion work on the wild rice. If you prefer, go ahead and use a more traditional English base malt like Maris Otter—just make sure it has the diastatic power to handle about 15 percent unmalted adjunct.

Mash low (if you’re me). Just because it’s malty doesn’t mean it has to be sweet. My personal bias is for dry beers, so the steps below call for a pretty low mash temperature to help our English ale strain attenuate well. If you’d prefer a beefier FG and sweeter flavor out of your mild, you may consider tweaking the mash rest up a degree or three.

Don’t oversparge. When brewing low-gravity ales like this one, avoid the temptation to keep sparging and sparging in order to hit the target pre-boil volume in the boil kettle; that way leads to tannin extraction and harshness. Instead, either start with a more diluted mash and/or add top-up water directly to the boiler, and stop collecting once the runnings from the lauter tun reach about 1.008 (around 2° Brix on your refractometer).

To the homebrewery

Note: these steps are general guidelines and assume you’re already familiar with the all-grain brewing process. Refer to the instructions for your brew system, and adjust as needed based on experience with your own particular equipment.


1. Cook the wild rice according to instructions prior to the brew session.

2. On brew day, collect strike water and heat to approximately 165°F.

3. Mill the grains, or have it done for you at the shop.

Mash & sparge

1. Add all grains plus the cooked wild rice to strike water and mix to achieve a uniform temperature of 150–152°F. Rest the mash at this temperature for 60–90 minutes. While the mash rests, collect and heat sparge water.

2. When the mash rest is complete, heat it to 170°F for mashout.

3. Sparge and collect the wort in the boil kettle.


1. Bring the wort to a boil. Add glacier hops when the wort begins to boil, and boil for 60 minutes.

2. Cool it!

Fermentation and beyond

• Transfer the cooled wort to a sanitized fermenter, aerate well, and pitch yeast.

• Aim for a fermentation temperature of 64–66°F. When fermentation activity begins to slow, allow the fermenter to warm up to 70°F for a one- to two-day diacetyl rest. By the end of the resting period, the young beer should be clear and ready to package without a secondary.

• Our Wild Rice Mild will be ready to drink as soon as it’s carbonated, and will be best fresh. Drink it before it’s time to shovel snow.

Until next time: Drink it like you brewed it.

Like this recipe? You can find it and 63 other witty and detailed homebrew recipes in Michael Dawson’s book, “Mashmaker: A Citizen-Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home.” In each recipe, Dawson includes suggestions on how to modify and customize each beer, along with all-new essays on Malt, Hops, Yeast, and Water, giving readers critical insight into the building blocks of every successful brew. On sale now for $24.95 at mashmakerbook.com.

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