Gnaughty Gnome Special Bitter
I had two main objectives with this beer.
The first objective was that I wanted a good session bitter that I could brew as a substitute for the typical English pint that I used to drink in the pubs of southern England. This is not intended to knock anyone's socks off, make their lips pucker into their cranium or any other such thing. It is intended as a simple honest southern pub pint.
The second objective was to have the ability to brew this beer with as little reliance on the LHBS as possible. My intention was to be able to simply buy a sack of Maris Otter, a few pounds of hops and be good to go for a few brews. By washing yeast, buying the other ingredients from the local grocer store and home roasting the Maris Otter, I feel I have finally achieved my goal.
It is a very simple and basic recipe. It is very easy to tinker with to make it heavier or lighter according to tastes simply by adjusting the existing ingredients, and always turns out well.
The recipe as listed gives LHBS equivalents of the home roasted grain. The methods for roasting are listed below.
Recipe: Gnaughty Gnome
Brewer: T Clark
Style: Special/Best/Premium Bitter
TYPE: All Grain
Batch Size: 10.50 gal
Boil Size: 12.57 gal
Estimated OG: 1.047 SG
Estimated Color: 11.5 SRM
Estimated IBU: 33.7 IBU
Brewhouse Efficiency: 80.00 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Amount Item Type % or IBU
13.00 lb Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM) Grain 81.25 %
1.00 lb Biscuit malt (See below for instructions (27.0 SRM) Grain 6.25 %
0.50 lb Oats, Flaked (1.0 SRM) (Quaker quick oats) Grain 3.13 %
0.50 lb Crystal malt (160.0 SRM) (See below for hoime roast) Grain 3.13 %
2.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (60 min) Hops 17.8 IBU
2.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 16.0 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.00 %] (0 min) Hops -
2 items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 min) Misc
2.00 gm Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 min) Misc
1.00 lb Brown Sugar, Dark (50.0 SRM) Sugar 6.25 %
2 Pkgs Nottingham (Danstar #-) Yeast-Ale
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, No Mash Out 154F
Total Grain Weight: 15.00 lb
Roasting your 160L Crystal malt (My thanks to Dontman for this method)
You first need to hydrate the grain by soaking it for 24 hours in chlorine free water. You don't want to flood the grain, just use enough water to cover it. Keep an eye on it as it soaks. You may need to add water to make sure that the grain is saturating with water.
You will need an oven thermometer that can be set in the centre of your oven and seen through the door. DO NOT trust the temperature setting of your oven. It is a liar, and can really screw the process.
Then you basically will be mashing it in the husk. First drain, and then put the wet grain in the oven at ~160-165 for 3 hours in a casserole pan that keeps the grain bed depth at around 2 inches. Cover this pan with a cover or tin foil to keep the grain's moisture. This will convert the starch to sugar. EDIT: This is the most important step by far. If you do not properly convert the starch you will not have sugar to caramelize. For that reason you want to make sure the grain bed is actually between 155-165 degrees. Any warmer and the enzymes will get denatured and not convert the starch.
Then you will need to brown and caramelize this crystal malt. This is a pretty long process to get to 180l but it is well worth it. It will be the best Special B you ever had. First split the grain into 2 or more pans so that the grain depth is ~ 1 inch. Turn up the oven to 220. Stir the grain every half hour until the grain gets dry and crisp and starts to darken. Maybe 2 hours. (At this point you will have 15-20l crystal malt) To take this to 180l I would spritz with water now and moisten so that the grain will continue to caramelize. Raise the temp to 300. Over the course of an hour to 2 hours this grain will go through the progressing levels of lovibond darkness. Keep close track. When you hit around 80l raise the temp to 350 and watch carefully, stirring every 15 minutes or so until you get to a point that is approaching, but less roasted than Special B. It will continue to darken some out of the oven and it is always darker than you think. Always.
Total roast time will probably be in the 4-5 hour range.
The biscuit malt is much more simple.
60 mins at 300F. Just keep moving it around.
You've done it! Eureka! :rockin:
I used your home-made crystal malt method recently. The beer is still fermenting, but the hydro sample tasted good. I'll give the biscuit a shot, next!
Thanks for posting this!
I've been waiting for this recipe! I'll have to cook some malts to get ready for it. Do you wait the requisite 2 weeks after roasting the malts to brew with them?
And out of 6700+ posts, one about beer! :D
Looks like some good information on making dark British crystal. I'm going to try that out soon.
I'm kinda nervous about posting this recipe. It may well be a lot less forward in all the ingredients than I'm used to seeing and tasting in American craft brews. Please, people....don't shoot the messenger! :)
I kow you've spent a lot of time tweaking this recipe and I feel like the experiments you've done might be of interest and help to all of us. Did you try this recipe, or similar, without the oats and brown sugar? Do you find the oats add any flavor or texture to the beer? Does the brown sugar change the flavor? I've brewed with both, but never tried a recipe with and without them to see what exactly it changes. I'm also curious about the two types of bittering hops. Did you find this added something to the beer?
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