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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Beer Discussion > what gives the distinctive flavour to a spitfire or bishops finger bitter ale?
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:03 PM   #1
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Default what gives the distinctive flavour to a spitfire or bishops finger bitter ale?

I understand that there is specific IBU for all the beers....but what gives the kinda bitter (sometimes even unpleasant....compared to more aromatic india pale ales) flavour to some bitter ales?

Is it the hops? I mean it must be.....but for instance the IBU of an india pale ale and a bitter ale...sometimes can be similar, but the tastes are soooo damn different. I guess it is simply the hop-selection. If yes, then what hops do people normally use in bitters and use in india pale ales?

NOTE: it seems to be that the answer is that these beers are cask-aged/conditioned. That gives them that distinct, interesting flavour.

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Old 06-09-2013, 03:35 PM   #2
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I haven't had one of those beers, but a lot of the time is just a different water profile.

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Old 06-09-2013, 03:49 PM   #3
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Really any sort of bittering hop can be used. Most recipes will use UK earthy, resiny hops. Keep in mind that sulfates play a big role in hop profiles.

You may need to modify your water and bring the sulfate levels up to 200-300ppm to bring out the desired hop profile

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Old 06-09-2013, 04:27 PM   #4
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I'd say it's the water quality and the type of bittering hops used. Sometimes you hear people refer to a certain hop having smooth or harsh bitterness. I'm not a huge fan of most English hops so I can't recommend one over another though.

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Old 06-09-2013, 04:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elysium View Post
I understand that there is specific IBU for all the beers....but what gives the kinda bitter (sometimes even unpleasant....compared to more aromatic india pale ales) flavour to some bitter ales?

Is it the hops? I mean it must be.....but for instance the IBU of an india pale ale and a bitter ale...sometimes can be similar, but the tastes are soooo damn different. I guess it is simply the hop-selection. If yes, then what hops do people normally use in bitters and use in india pale ales?
It could be old or mishandled beer. Those are both good beers fresh, but also hard to find fresh in the US.
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