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Old 05-19-2008, 07:39 PM   #1
HumeBrew
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Default English Bitter - looking for advice

I've brewed a couple batches from kits so far with OK results. My next brew will be an Ordinary British Bitter that I'd like to make w/o a kit. This was the simple recipe I was thinking about using:

3.3lbs John Bull Maris Otter LME
1.5lbs amber DME
0.5lbs crystal malt 60

1.5oz East Kent Goldings (60 min)
1oz East Kent Goldings (5 min)

Wyeast London Ale III (#1318)

From what I've gathered, the crystal malt should be steeped in the water while its heating and taken out just as the water begins to boil. Is that correct?

Suggestions/recommendations? Specifically, I was wondering about the extracts. I was thinking about using only the John Bull (5lb), but I didn't know how I would store the remaining ~1.5lbs of extract. Then again, it would be cheaper to go with the amber DME. I'd really appreciate any and all feedback on this, as it is basically my first recipe. What say ye?

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Old 05-19-2008, 07:49 PM   #2
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Here is one from Orfy in the recipe section...linky to extract post..

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showpost...7&postcount=17

-JMW

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Old 05-19-2008, 07:50 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by HumeBrew View Post
I've brewed a couple batches from kits so far with OK results. My next brew will be an Ordinary British Bitter that I'd like to make w/o a kit. This was the simple recipe I was thinking about using:

3.3lbs John Bull Maris Otter LME
1.5lbs amber DME
0.5lbs crystal malt 60

1.5oz East Kent Goldings (60 min)
1oz East Kent Goldings (5 min)

Wyeast London Ale III (#1318)

From what I've gathered, the crystal malt should be steeped in the water while its heating and taken out just as the water begins to boil. Is that correct?

Suggestions/recommendations? Specifically, I was wondering about the extracts. I was thinking about using only the John Bull (5lb), but I didn't know how I would store the remaining ~1.5lbs of extract. Then again, it would be cheaper to go with the amber DME. I'd really appreciate any and all feedback on this, as it is basically my first recipe. What say ye?
If you're going to start doing your own recipes (without kits) I'd suggest skipping the learning curve and getting Brewing Classic Styles by JZ and JP.

In lieu of that---go with the maris otter extract, half a pound of crystal 120, and 4oz of Special Roast. Use either WLP002 or WLP005...though if you already have the WY1318, that'll work too.

For steeping grains, they obviously need to be crushed. Then you steep them for 30 minutes in 150f water (I think...it's been a long time since I did extract). Take them out, then bring to a boil as usual.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:54 PM   #4
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I would go with all light extract. Use your 3.3lb can of John Bull, but then forgo the amber extract and just get a pound or so of light DME. When I was doing extract, the only thing I wanted from my extract was the fermentables. I got my color and flavor from steeping grains. I would suggest the same.

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Old 05-19-2008, 07:55 PM   #5
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From what I've gathered, the crystal malt should be steeped in the water while its heating and taken out just as the water begins to boil. Is that correct?
Boiling is too hot, 150-160deg for 30-45min should get you what you need.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:57 PM   #6
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I would go with all light extract. Use your 3.3lb can of John Bull, but then forgo the amber extract and just get a pound or so of light DME. When I was doing extract, the only thing I wanted from my extract was the fermentables. I got my color and flavor from steeping grains. I would suggest the same.
+1, you will get your color from those crystal/caramel grains. Always use light or extra light extract, unless going for something specific like Marris Otter or Munich extract.
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Old 05-19-2008, 07:57 PM   #7
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I'd dump the amber extract and just stick with the using specialty grains for color. Crystal 60 is pretty good in English ales so maybe just up that to reach your desired color range. Half your EKG for finishing to .5 oz and see if you like the result. English bitters should have low to medium hop flavor and aroma.

Steep your grains at constant 150 degrees for about a half hour. Bringing to boil will extract tannins and give off flavors.

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Old 05-19-2008, 08:05 PM   #8
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All very good advice.

As far as making your own recipes goes - I would second the book that Evan! recommended. It is a good resource and can help prevent the odd bad batch from a faulty recipe. But I commend your jump into recipe formulation - I did that myself and have had pretty good results with the occasional winner - although the move into AG will cause me to pretty much start over.

Good luck - Cheers.

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Old 05-19-2008, 08:10 PM   #9
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Designing Great Beers - Ray Daniels
Another great book, and my personal favorite. Learned a lot about recipes formulation from this book.

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Old 05-19-2008, 09:06 PM   #10
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Thanks for all the feedback. The general consensus seems to be that I should use light DME in lieu of amber DME. I'll add a little special roast to help bring up the color. Thanks also for the book recommendations. I'll definitely look into them. In the meantime, though, I think I'm just going to jump in headfirst with this recipe and see how it goes. Wish me luck!

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