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Old 02-24-2009, 10:00 PM   #1
KingBrianI
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Default New Take on Ordinary Bitter

I'm attempting to develop a house bitter in order to satisfy several criteria and I think it is going to be a bit of a new direction for me. I brew mainly British ales, and this will be no different, though I'll be treating it slightly different. When I look at the beers I have tapped, and those in the pipeline, I realize they are almost all pretty malty with some residual sweetness, and while I enjoy them, sometimes you just want something kind of dry to chug. I also realize it's going to start warming up soon, and these heavy, malty beers are going to become difficult to enjoy when I'm hot and sweaty. So here's what I'm thinking.

All my bitters are usually heavy on crystal malts and generous in chocolate/roasted malts too, giving them all a sweetness and dark color I really like. For this recipe though, I'm going to minimize the crystal malt, mash lower than normal, and aim for a lighter colored beer. Not wanting to sacrifice mouthfeel, however, I will be adding a little flaked barley, haze be damned.

Here's the recipe:

OG 1.037
IBU 20.8
SRM 8.1
ABV 3.6%

6 lbs maris otter
8 oz flaked barley
6 oz british caramalt (35L)
4 oz victory malt
1 oz british chocolate malt

1.13 oz willamette (4.6%AA) (60 min)
0.25 oz east kent goldings (5.4%AA) (5 min)

wyeast thames valley ale yeast

mash at 152 for 60 min.

Hopefully it will be a easy-drinking light, toasty ale with a bit of earthiness from the hops and yeast perfect for drinking with dinner, to wind down after getting home from work, or after mowing the grass.

What do you say?

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Old 02-24-2009, 10:53 PM   #2
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Sounds like you've been brewing sweet browns An Ordinary Bitter should have a dry finish, so this will be close.

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Old 02-24-2009, 11:28 PM   #3
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I don't know if you're shooting for commercially-brewed English examples of the style, but...

Keep in mind that most finish dry and crisp. Presumably this is due to the relatively high levels of sugar and/or adjuncts in the grist. Daniels has an excellent discourse on the subject in Designing Great Beers. I strongly suggest you take a look at that option!

I include a pretty hefty amount of sugar in my take on London Pride; 80% Maris Otter, 10% Medium Crystal, 10% Demerara sugar. Hopped with Challenger or Target to ~34 IBU, finished with a mix of Fuggles and Goldings.

Cheers,

Bob

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Old 02-25-2009, 01:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NQ3X View Post
I don't know if you're shooting for commercially-brewed English examples of the style, but...

Keep in mind that most finish dry and crisp. Presumably this is due to the relatively high levels of sugar and/or adjuncts in the grist. Daniels has an excellent discourse on the subject in Designing Great Beers. I strongly suggest you take a look at that option!

I include a pretty hefty amount of sugar in my take on London Pride; 80% Maris Otter, 10% Medium Crystal, 10% Demerara sugar. Hopped with Challenger or Target to ~34 IBU, finished with a mix of Fuggles and Goldings.

Cheers,

Bob
I typically use 10-15% crystal and mash at 154. They ferment down to within style parameters, but retain a bit of sweetness. I'm usually making special and extra special bitters as well, which leads to a bit more maltiness.

Realize I meant this bitter would be new to me, not to the style. Although it will be a bit lighter than the typical bitter with a crystal malt presence on the low side of the style.
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Old 02-25-2009, 06:33 AM   #5
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I've brewed Jamil's summer bitter recipe and was impressed. I'd do it again but have gotten into brewing lagers which I'm gearing up again for the upcoming warm weather.

Jamil's Summer Bitter

8# Maris Otter Pale Malt
0.5oz Amarillo (8.4% AA) @ 60min
0.5oz @ 20min
0.5oz @ 1min
0.5oz dry hop

Mash at 154
Wyeast 1098 British Ale

GT

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Old 02-25-2009, 12:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
I typically use 10-15% crystal and mash at 154. They ferment down to within style parameters, but retain a bit of sweetness. I'm usually making special and extra special bitters as well, which leads to a bit more maltiness.

Realize I meant this bitter would be new to me, not to the style. Although it will be a bit lighter than the typical bitter with a crystal malt presence on the low side of the style.
I did realize that. What I was trying to get across is that world-class, CAMRA Champion bitters are brewed to far less complex grists than yours, and none of them are all-malt. Most of them are base malt, a bit of crystal, and adjunct (sugar or maize).

What I think you want is something a bit lighter than the typical homebrew bitter, with a touch of crystal sweetness. My advice is to keep 5 pounds of the Maris Otter and all the Caramalt, toss in a pound of flaked maize to make it dry. If required, 6 oz of wheat malt will help with foam, but you should be able to enhance foam with your mashing schedule. Try a 122F rest for no more than 20 minutes, then whatever saccharification rest temperature you like best.

Cheers!

Bob
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Old 02-25-2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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That is very similar to what I'll be brewing on Thursday, although lighter on Victory and Chocolate malts.(As you said you were intending)

It's also closish to what I bottled yesterday with biscuit malt instead of Victory......I'm loving it. I just KNOW it will never reach full carbonation. It tastes too good to wait for.

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Old 02-25-2009, 05:03 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Laughing_Gnome_Invisible View Post
That is very similar to what I'll be brewing on Thursday, although lighter on Victory and Chocolate malts.(As you said you were intending)

It's also closish to what I bottled yesterday with biscuit malt instead of Victory......I'm loving it. I just KNOW it will never reach full carbonation. It tastes too good to wait for.
Can you post the recipe for the one you just bottled? If it's too good to wait for I'd like to hear more about it.
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Old 02-25-2009, 05:35 PM   #9
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Yup, I tend to like bitters a little light in body and color similar to a Boddington's. Don't get me wrong, most of my ESB's are dark red but the light summer bitter is one of my all time favorites.


For 10 gallons

14.0 lb Maris Otter
.5 lb Victory® Malt
.5 lb Caramel Malt 40L
mashed at 154F

2.0 oz Fuggle (4.8%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min
3.0 oz Fuggle (4.8%) - added during boil, boiled 10.0 min
2.0 oz East Kent Goldings (5.5%) - added during boil, boiled 10.0 min

2.0 ea Fermentis S-04 Safale S-04

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Old 02-25-2009, 08:05 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
Can you post the recipe for the one you just bottled? If it's too good to wait for I'd like to hear more about it.

Haha!! I just pulled up the recipe and realised that it's NOTHING like yours! I had forgotten that I dicked around with it at the last moment. The main change was that I had some 1 year old Mount Hood lying around, and threw that in at the end. So I moved the EKG to 30 mins.

I think that what is making the difference for my tastes is the Mount Hood. That is out of the bitter style, I know. The reason I had them was that for my first ever extract brew I was at an LHBS that knew just about as much as me at that time. I ended up buying a mish mash of all sorts that looked like they might make a bitter.The Mt Hood was one of those eronious substitutions. That first extract turned out to be my best. I loved it!!

Anyways, I saw them lying around and decided to put them in this beer also. It has a slightly spicy bite. Better suited to a winter beer, but it is very subtle. I'm gonna order some more Mount Hood for my next order. I definitely need to play around with it some more. Like I said. It's not in style, but it worksfor me

Batch Size: 10.00 gal
Boil Size: 12.00 gal
Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
Estimated Color: 13.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 27.9 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
Amount Item Type % or IBU
15.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 90.91 %
1.00 lb Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM) Grain 6.06 %
0.50 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 3.03 %
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 9.6 IBU
1.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 8.6 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (30 min) Hops 7.4 IBU
1.00 oz Mt. Hood [6.00 %] (5 min) Hops 2.3 IBU
0.55 tsp Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 min) Misc
22.00 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
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