Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, and may have some fruitiness. The malt expression can take on a wide range of character, which can include caramel, toffee, grainy, toasted, nutty, chocolate, or lightly roasted. Little to no hop aroma, earthy or floral if present. Very low to no diacetyl.
Appearance: Copper to dark brown or mahogany color. A few paler examples (medium amber to light brown) exist. Generally clear, although is traditionally unfiltered. Low to moderate offwhite to tan head; retention may be poor.
Flavor: Generally a malty beer, although may have a very wide range of malt- and yeast-based flavors (e.g., malty, sweet, caramel, toffee, toast, nutty, chocolate, coffee, roast, fruit, licorice, plum, raisin). Can finish sweet to dry. Versions with darker malts may have a dry, roasted finish. Low to moderate bitterness, enough to provide some balance but not enough to overpower the malt. Fruity esters moderate to none. Diacetyl and hop flavor low to none.
Mouthfeel: Light to medium body. Generally low to mediumlow carbonation. Roast-based versions may have a light astringency. Sweeter versions may seem to have a rather full mouthfeel for the gravity.
Impression: A dark, low-gravity, malt-focused British session ale readily suited to drinking in quantity. Refreshing, yet flavorful, with a wide range of dark malt or dark sugar expression.
Comments: Most are low-gravity session beers around 3.2%, although some versions may be made in the stronger (4%+) range for export, festivals, seasonal and/or special occasions. Generally served on cask; session-strength bottled versions don’t often travel well. A wide range of interpretations are possible. Pale versions exist, but these are even more rare than dark milds; these guidelines only describe the modern dark version.
Ingredients: Pale British base malts (often fairly dextrinous), crystal malt, dark malts or dark sugar adjuncts, may also include adjuncts such as flaked maize, and may be colored with brewer’s caramel. Characterful British ale yeast. Any type of hops, since their character is muted and rarely is noticeable.
Commercial Examples: Banks's Mild, Cain's Dark Mild, Highgate Dark Mild, Brain’s Dark, Moorhouse Black Cat, Rudgate Ruby Mild, Theakston Traditional Mild