Archive for the ‘English Bitter’ Category

Grey Squirrel Best Bitter (3 gallons)
3.88 lbs Maris Otter (Paul’s Malt
0.30 lbs UK Dark Crystal II (Paul’s Malt) 120 SRM
0.22 lbs Wheat Malt
0.60 oz Fuggles 4.2% (60 mins)
0.45 oz Fuggles 4.2% (30 mins)
0.45 oz Fuggles 4.2% (15 mins)
0.30 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
0.60 tsp Irish Moss
1.80 grams Gypsum
Wyeast 1882 Thames Valley II Lot#0935084 Mfg: 04/05/11 500mL Starter

Mash @151ºF @1.0qt/gallon.  Add 2 gallons to mashout.  Sparged twice to reach 4.3-4.4 gallons preboil.

Predicted OG = 1.042
OG = 1.041 (78.9%)
FG =1.010
ABV = 4.0%
IBU = 31.5
SRM = 9.6

05/01/11 – I decided to continue my quest of experimenting with different yeasts for this batch.  Wyeast released one of their quarterly special reserve yeasts called “Thames Valley II”.  It is from a now defunct English brewery.  I figured, what better style to brew with an English yeast than an English Bitter.  I’ve honestly only tasted one bitter in my life, and wasn’t all that pleased with it, but I think that was due to some funktastic hop choice by the brewer.  Anyways, after reading the chapter on bitters and pale ales in “Desigining Great Beers” and multiple forum posts, I came up with the recipe I brewed today.

I used a little bit of a darker crystal malt than I normally would have, but I liked the character I got from Dark Crystal I in my mild, and figured I’d give Dark Crystal II a shot in my bitter.  I brewed a “Best Bitter”, which is the mid range of the style which feature increasing IBU’s and gravity and goes: Ordinary Bitter, Best Bitter, and Extra Special Bitter (ESB).  I added a little wheat malt for head retention.

I mashed really thick for this one, as “Designing Great Beers” suggested it.  After an hour my mash temp dropped from 151ºF to 147ºF, so I added part of the mash out to bring it up to 152ºF and let it sit another 15 mins or so just to make sure conversion was complete.  The drop in temp was due to the really thick mash.  It was so thick that it was basically like wet grain.  I then boiled the rest of the mash out water to bring the temp up to 168 for mash out.

Wyeast 1882 is supposed to give off light stonefruit esters (i.e. peaches, plums, apricots).  I smelled the starter before pitching and it smelled wonderfully of honeydew and plums.  I can’t wait to see how this carries through to the final beer.

05/15/11 – Didn’t notice too many fruity esters, though I’m guessing they’ll come through in the finished product.  This yeast REALLY accentuates the malt character of the beer.  I’ve never tasted Maris Otter so bready and doughy.  It really screams an English beer.  Came out at a nice 4% too.

05/28/11 – The dark crystal does not come through as crazily as I thought it might, which is a good thing.  It adds a slight toasty sweetness to the very bready/biscuity Maris Otter malt.  I’m not sure if Maris Otter is usually this “biscuity” or if it’s a combination of the malt and yeast.  There are slight fruity characteristics that are somewhat hidden by the breadiness of the beer.  Overall, it tastes pretty awesome and spot on what a bitter should taste like.  The aroma is wonderful bready with a slight toasted fruit note.  I bottled it with ~.85oz of corn sugar to make it 1.4-1.5 carbonation volumes.  Typically, this beer is served even lower because it is usually served at natural CO2 levels from the cask.  Bottled versions are sometimes 1.5-2.0 volumes.  I figured I’d hit a happy medium.