Barn Floor Best Bitter

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Well-Known Member
Dec 29, 2004
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San Francisco Bay Area
We were going to make our house common bitter as the second batch of the day yesterday (another story entirely), but it was such a mind-numbingly gorgeous day to be outside in Northern California yesterday that we decided to try our hand at a Best Bitter (Also called Special Bitter).

18 lbs British Pale malt
2 lbs. Flaked Barley
.5 lb 60L Crystal malt
1 oz Black Patent malt

3 oz Fuggles(3.4%) - 60 minutes
2 oz. East Kent Goldings(4.5%) - 60 minutes

The numbers are dead-on for style. They look like this (calculated):

OG - 1.044
IBUs - 30
SRM - 7.2

Standard infusion mash. We mashed it pretty hot, about 156-158. Pitched it onto the slurry of White Labs British yeast we had going and it was fermenting hours later. Airlock is going 3-4 times per second this morning.
The more I read about your daily life, the more I envy you, ya bastard. Workin' from home with taps in sight...40 acres, gorgeous weather, brewing weekly...sounds like Eden, for cryin' out loud! Good for you, man.
what size batch is this for janx? 12 gallon? i'm gonna break it down to a five gallon batch cause bitter was next on my list. i'm thinking about pitching it ontop of a whitelabs german ale/kolsh yeast slurry so it technically wouldn't be a true bitter, but i think it will be good enough for me :)

so 12 gallons or 15 so i can begin my dodgey math equation. ;)
thanks mate!

ok i gathered up my ingredients.

i am still doing mini-mashes/partial mashes so i did like this...

4 lbs british pale malt
1 lb flaked rye, they had no flaked barley
.5 lb crystal
.5 oz black patent

the dreaded three lbs of Light DME ;)

2 oz fuggles
1 oz e kent golding

some whitelabs irish ale yeast...

so it's a bit different than yours but along the same lines it should be good!!! :)

Well, I kegged this one this weekend after three weeks (one in primary, two in secondary). I am absolutely thrilled with this beer. It's authentically British tasting like nothing I have ever made. I have never used British base malts, and that, combined with the hops and yeast strain makes this taste very much like something out of a Sam Smith's bottle. I have a hunch that the White Labs English Ale yeast (this is the actual strain I used...not the British as listed above) is Sam Smith's yeast strain.

In any event, it has this great, nutty, toffee kind of flavor. It has a nice bitter backbone, but not too much. It fermented dry as a bone, and seems to be fairly potent. This one is gonna get served on the nitrogen tap in a week or two.

I'm no Michael Jackson...I've never played "peek-a-boo" with a little boy. I'm also no Michael Jackson and I can't describe beer flavors like most of us can describe the weather. The bottom line on how this one tastes to me is lots of rich, toffeeish malt. A medium brown color. Solid hop bitterness. Unmistakably, undoubtedly British as all hell. There is no way you'd mistake this one for an APA.

Cheers! :D
If your yeast was the White WLP002 "English Ale", a lot of people say that's Fuller's yeast. I love this style of beer and will be trying your recipe soon!
I'm going to brew this bitter next Monday when I transfer the IPA--using its WL London Ale yeast cake.

Bitters are my favorite. I haven't been good about keeping a keg because most of our friends prefer the APAs/IPAs.

What did that Nitro system set you back, Janx?
I got everything I needed at just need a shank, the nitro faucet and a CO2 regulator. Beer gas, at least in my neck of the woods, goes in a CO2 tank, so the regulator is the same as the one you already have. I got another so I could use both gasses at once, and I lease the tank.

So, I'm not sure what it totalled, but no more than $150 for the parts I don't think. It's by FAR my favorite tap, and I kind of wish I had two of them sometimes. It pours sooo nice. This Best Bitter is on tap on it right now and it pours a nice creamy long-lasting head. Yum! Cheers! :D