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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > Holy shizz I love bitter
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Old 11-21-2009, 02:20 PM   #11
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I haven't had an ordinary bitter yet, but last night for the first time I had an ESB -- Fuller's, to be exact.

Wow. I could not stop raving about it. My wife is not a big beer drinker, but since she's slowly coming around (and liked the Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout) I thought she might enjoy it. I told her that, despite the name, it really wasn't bitter at all.

She took one tiny sip, puckered her lips and said, "Oh, that's bitter."

Oh well, I loved it. I'll be looking for more of the style soon, as well as the ordinary bitter.

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Old 11-21-2009, 02:26 PM   #12
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All the English pale ales are a tasty brew to treat yourself on. I agree I wish more American breweries would brew some. My only BOS beer was a Bitter, man I love that stuff.

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Old 11-21-2009, 02:32 PM   #13
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I dont believe I have ever had a bitter (as per the classification here) before. Ive seen the Red Hook ESBs a couple of times, but our beer selection here is limited at best.
I have a loose interpretation of an IPA right now that was FWHed with an oz of magnums.
THAT my friends is bitter...
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:15 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by remilard View Post
In the US? The unwashed masses wouldn't drink it because it is different or because it has a lower alcohol content. That leaves the beer nerds. Go check out Beer Advocate and see how popular ordinary bitter is among that crowd.

Basically there aren't enough British expats and beer style geeks (vs big/weird beer geeks, of which there are many) to make it worth while.

A lot of places will make things they call a bitter or even a mild with 5% abv (which of course makes them more like an ESB or a brown ale) but authentic lower gravity versions are pretty darn rare. I wish it were different but it won't be until people will line up outside for hours to get a historically important style versus an over the top imperial stout.

That's the problem with a lot of European styles. Unless they're extra strong, extra bitter or have some name recognition (i.e. Urquell), most of them will be overlooked in the US. You really have to have an appreciation of the beauty of the beer styles and how they developed to really search out and alt or a kolsch or a helles, etc. Even among beer geeks, I bet the majority couldn't tell you what makes a kolsch or alt or bitter.
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:25 PM   #15
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Victory has an awsome bitter that I love.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/345/4173

Always on cask and always delicious.

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Old 11-21-2009, 03:27 PM   #16
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. And I would also suppose some marketing egghead would claim (correctly) that the term "bitter" doesn't market well.
I pity the guys who first used the terms "Bitter" and "Mild'

In those simpler days, who could have suspected what a future marketing nightmare they were creating?

Edit: "Bitter" and "Mild' make great tattoos for lady's nipples though.
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Old 11-21-2009, 05:04 PM   #17
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Victory has an awsome bitter that I love.

http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/345/4173

Always on cask and always delicious.

Based on the reviews, it doesn't look like they bottle that one. Bummer.
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:16 PM   #18
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Would you be willing to share the recipe?

I just bottled my first attempt at an ordinary bitter, although I'm a bit pessimistic about this one. I tried .75 lbs. of amber malt, and my taste at bottling seemed pretty whole wheat bread grainy...we'll see what happens with time though.
I made this recipe word for word. Only "substitution" was using the cargill ESB base malt instead of a british maltster's base malt. I tasted the two british pale ale malts side by side at my LHBS, and it seemed more flavorful than the briess equivalent.

The beer has these tiny roast and cocoa notes in the flavor. I'll be brewing this beer regularly.
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:24 PM   #19
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As for brewing them, they are not just lighter versions of the pale ales and ESB's. It is a base malt-centric beer, and it should finish dryer than the bigger ales, hence the "drinkability". Limit the amount of crystal to 5-7% and if you like, no more than 10% of a "character" malt like biscuit, munich, victory, or even wheat. Mash low at about 150. Hop early and late and be a bit restrained on the late. I FWH the bittering hops and add a flavor/aroma at 15 min. and dry hop with the same. And crucial...low carbonation and serve a bit warmer, I like 50 degrees or so.
This is pretty in line with my bitter on tap at the moment, I primed with half my usual sugar I'd use when kegging and raised my keg fridge's temp a smidge.

The character malt in that recipe is special roast. It plays well with the base malt.

The brewing classic styles book is really outstanding for recipes. Buying it was a smart 20 bucks.
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:33 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by philrose View Post
I made this recipe word for word. Only "substitution" was using the cargill ESB base malt instead of a british maltster's base malt. I tasted the two british pale ale malts side by side at my LHBS, and it seemed more flavorful than the briess equivalent.

The beer has these tiny roast and cocoa notes in the flavor. I'll be brewing this beer regularly.
half a pound of crystal 120?!

I would think that would make it too "raisiny" and thick
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