Originally Posted by Nugent
If this website of JZ's is correct, it appears that WLP0023 is the same strain at Wyeast 1275. This is great since I can only get wyeast at my LHBS.
Thanks for the tip.
While that yeast list has them listed as the same strain, I get different results from them. The thames valley has had an almost dirty kind of flavor in the couple beers I used it in while the burton ale has been more flavorful and without the muddy kind of flavor. It could be that something infected that thames valley culture I had since all the beers I made with it came from a washed sample from the same smack pack.
As for the original question in this thread, I also have been pursuing the perfect bitter and have a few suggestions that closely follow several other good posts in this thread.
First, get a little british crystal 55 in there. Don't use american crystal, it tastes completely different. You can kind of think about it like this, the british crystals are a bit more complex toffee while the american crystals are more simple sweet caramel. Theres a bit of burnt sugar/roastiness in the british crystals. You don't have to use much, just 3-7% of the grain bill to start. And let that be your only specialty grain. Don't worry with biscuit or victory malt yet. You should get enough toasty/bready flavors from your base grain. The gambrinus esb malt should be fine if you can't source some maris otter. I think I remember hearing it is traditionally floor-malted and kilned to the slightly darker colors like british base malts.
Second, work on that water profile. There are several sources to calculate mineral additions, beersmith being one, if you have it. I find that if I try to hit the Burton profile exactly, the resulting beer is too minerally. If I add minerals to about half the levels of burton, the beer is much better.
If you do that and use good british style hops (I really like fuggles mixed with my EKG, and bramling cross, challenger, and styrian goldings are also very good in a bitter) and a good british yeast, you'll be making great bitters that while drinking will make you swear you're back at the pub, well almost.