Englisch Pale Ale - Tips and Advice

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TasunkaWitko

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Note - recipe in opening post has gone through a bit of evolution - read and scroll down to see how it ends up.

Englisch Pale Ale - Tips and Advice


My next two brews will include a straight-up American Pale Ale and a straight-up English Pale Ale; this thread is for the English Pale Ale.

This project is inspired by my reading of the book, Beer Craft: A Simple Guide to Making Great Beer , which is written specifically for small-batch brewing:

https://www.amazon.com/dp/1605291331/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

What I really like about this easy-to-read book is how it introduces you to a versatile spectrum of 10 beer styles (pale ale, brown ale, porter, stout, saison, wheat, pilsner, Scottish ale, abbey ale and barleywine), with good descriptions and back-stories to each style. The book also includes basic, no-frills recipes for perfecting the fundamentals of each style (with some suggestions for possible variations) as you progressively learn to become a well-rounded brewer. This, to me, is a stroke of genius, and this brew represents the beginning of my quest to brew my way through those 10 styles, along with a possible variation or two along the way, such as in the case of the Pale Ale (English and American).

My goal for this brew is for a stripped-down, non-complicated English Pale that reflects a few things about me. I am not consciously attempting to duplicate or emulate any commercial beer, but I do want it to conform to the style in general. I want this ale to be a malt-forward beer with good hop flavor and aroma, and a bitterness that is at the low end of the pale ale scale (see what I did there?). My name for the beer (Englisch) is a nod to my German roots, and the Maris Otter malt that I will be using is one that I have really come to admire. My chosen hops (Fuggle) were the hops that I used in the first beer that I ever brewed, and their characteristic flavour and aroma remain among my very favourites.

Here is the recipe that I have come up with, following the guidelines in the book for a basic Pale Ale:

Englisch
Pale Ale

By TasunkaWitko

1 gallon

OG - 1.060
FG - 1.013
ABV - 6.11%
IBUs - 31.40
SRM - 32.23


Fermentables

1.8 lb Maris Otter
0.2 lb Carastan 30/37L


60-Minute Mash @ 152 degrees

60-Minute Boil


Hops

0.15 oz Fuggle hops (5.9% AA) @ 60 minutes
0.25 oz Fuggle hops (5.9% AA) @ 15 minutes


Yeast

See below


I consider this recipe to be “in development,” and welcome input that will steer me toward a good English Pale Ale that is within my goals stated above. I have some very good suggestions and comments from discussions on a couple of other threads, and I hope that they might be repeated here; if not, I can probably go over them tonight in an attempt to integrate them into this discussion.

Regarding the yeast, I am still not sure which would be “best” for what I am trying to do. I want it to be a dry yeast, and from what I have read, Windsor would not be a great choice. Based on that, Nottingham and S-04 are the top contenders, but I am very open to suggestions that will help me reach my goals.

I’ll be ordering the ingredients soon, and hope to brew this beer next week or the week after.

I have absolutely no experience with English Pale Ales, so I am looking forward to learning about them. As always, I welcome feedback and suggestions with this - I consider myself to be very much a beginning brewer, and batting ideas around is always good for learning new things. Please feel free to chime in, follow along or otherwise participate in the discussion.

More as it happens, etc. &c....

Ron
 
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Gnomebrewer

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English pale/bitter is my favourite beer style, and I brew lots of them. This is all just my opinion and what suits my tastes though.....

Get some British crystal malt in there (I use simpsons because it's what I can get) - 80L is my favourite.

Use some corn or invert sugar. I prefer about 10% flaked corn.

Use a liquid yeast. So far, for my taste, none of the dry yeasts are anywhere near as good. IMO S-04 is closer to US05 than it is to WY1968. WY1968 is my favourite, but there's a lot of love around here for WY1469.
 

RM-MN

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English pale/bitter is my favourite beer style, and I brew lots of them. This is all just my opinion and what suits my tastes though.....

Get some British crystal malt in there (I use simpsons because it's what I can get) - 80L is my favourite.

Use some corn or invert sugar.
I prefer about 10% flaked corn.

Use a liquid yeast. So far, for my taste, none of the dry yeasts are anywhere near as good. IMO S-04 is closer to US05 than it is to WY1968. WY1968 is my favourite, but there's a lot of love around here for WY1469.
It would seem to me that these 2 items fight each other. The Crystal malt will add unfermentable sugars, the invert sugar would be completely fermentable and would tend to dry the beer.

Mashing at a higher temp is supposed to get you a more malty beer. I'd be tempted to mash at 156 to enhance the maltiness.
 

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Use a characterful yeast and water with a fair amount of sulfates and other minerals. I like 1469, 1275, 1028. The descriptions are accurate, pick one that sounds like what youd like. I dont have experience with dry yeast, so i can help you there, hopefully someone else can.

Many english bitters/pale ales are a bit drier than the homebrew literature will have you believe. Adding invert or corn will help with that, as many of the more flavorful english yeasts are on the low end of attenuation. If you want the englis toffee flavor in there, use the carastan or an english 55L, or a dark invert syrup. Just be aware that crystal malts will add some body, mash lower or add sugar to keep it drinkable.
 

FlyDoctor

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Carastan is British crystal. Also, it's very common for British bitters to have crystal and some invert sugar (I use lyle's golden - at the grocery store near the pancake syrups) - it adds character but it does reduce body. You. An mash higher to combat that. Is looks like a solid basic English pale. Mostly in the yeast for this style, so I agree to go with a liquid strain, wlp002 or wyeast 1968 are old standbys. Ferment in the upper 60's
 

Gnomebrewer

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It would seem to me that these 2 items fight each other. The Crystal malt will add unfermentable sugars, the invert sugar would be completely fermentable and would tend to dry the beer.
British crystal malt give a lot of flavour as well as unfermentables (particular flavours that only come from British crystal malts). Invert sugar or corn are common in many English beers - they dry the beer out a bit (as has already been commented, English bitters are often more dry than commonly quoted) but also add interesting flavours (especially darker invert sugar). Brewing ingredients are about more than just OG and FG numbers.
 

JKaranka

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A few notes. I think your choice of ingredients is fine, but you could tweak how you use them.

If you are making a British pale ale / bitter it shouldn't be malt forwards as you describe. It should be balanced. It should also be definitively bitter but have a restrained hop profile. It's kind of the opposite of American styles that try to make the most out of the hops while restraining the bitterness.

Use crystal malts carefully. You don't need them in these beers but many do have a small amount (up to 5%, often as little as 2-3%). Flaked maize and invert sugar are a good call, specially at 1.060OG to keep the body low enough. British beers tend to be less thick and malty than American ones. About half have those caramel flavours that American forums go on about. You can brew a bitter perfectly well as a SMaSH.

Don't trust what you read written by American homebrewers or aimed at them. However, some informed people have contributed to this thread already.

Strength. If you want the archetypal British pale ale experience you should try a best bitter strength around 1.045. Bitters and pale ales with British hops with an OG of 1.060 are exceptionally rare, and often become 'strong ales'.

Keep an eye on your water. You want to burtonise enough for your hop bitterness to be clean and direct. It has to be a clean pop. The finish should be dry and clean. If the finish is medium dry or sweet it will taste like badly brewed homebrew.

Yeast: S04 is fine. You can use more neutral yeasts than what home brew forums make you believe. Not all British beers are bursting in esters. US05 is fine, Mangrove Jacks New World Strong Ale is fine. It's more personal preference than anything else. Obviously, avoid anything Belgian.

Mash temperatures: Keep them low to moderate. You want the finish to be dry and the body to be moderately light. The beer has to go down at two to three pints an hour. For several hours. If people are sipping it, you've done something wrong. It has to go down in gulps that leave you wanting more straight away.
 
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TasunkaWitko

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I wasn't able to order the stuff for this over the weekend as I intended, but will probably do so this coming weekend. No worries; it will give me time to read up a bit.

Thanks much for the replies so far, and please keep them coming. I had a busy weekend, but I will read and respond as I can. I appreciate all the input, and look forward to brewing this ~

Ron
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Now that I've got my American Pale Ale pretty well figured out, I've got three days to the English Pala Ale organized, so that I can order the ingredients for it on Friday.

I'll read through the information that I have, and modify my original recipe as necessary, keeping my goals in mind. I'll leave the recipe in the opening post as-is, for comparison.

Thanks again to all for the assistance -

Ron
 
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TasunkaWitko

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For further reading -

BCJP Guidelines for English Pale Ale:

http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style08.php#1c

A couple of articles about the style:

http://www.winning-homebrew.com/Extra-Special-Bitter.html

https://byo.com/bock/item/600-esb-style-profile

If I am reading these correctly, the descriptions very closely dovetail with what I've been learning here from JKaranka and others. l'll finish reading, then will try to make a few tweaks to the recipe in the opening post that reflect what I've learned.
 
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TasunkaWitko

TasunkaWitko

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Thanks, JKaranka - I will do that now.

Following this link, it looks to be Item 11C, on Page 20:

http://www.bjcp.org/docs/2015_Guidelines_Beer.pdf

Also, after doing some reading, it looks as though the Danstar London ESB might not be the best option. I'm still torn between S04 and Nottingham...maybe I should use a spoonful of each? LOL :fro:

Modified recipe coming soon....
 

JKaranka

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You could also look at 11B. S04 is used by some breweries I know in the UK, so that is a safe bet.
 
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TasunkaWitko

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S04 it is, then - I will put that baby to bed and stop worrying about it. :mug:

I'm in the middle of reading all of the "bitters." It's a challenge not to think of the same connotations that we would normally think of over on this side at the word. I'm definitely seeing that balance is the key, so I will strive for that.

I appreciate all your assistance, sir.
 
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TasunkaWitko

TasunkaWitko

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JKaranka said:
1. Use crystal malts carefully. You don't need them in these beers but many do have a small amount (up to 5%, often as little as 2-3%).

2. Flaked maize and invert sugar are a good call, specially at 1.060OG to keep the body low enough.

3. Strength. If you want the archetypal British pale ale experience you should try a best bitter strength around 1.045. Bitters and pale ales with British hops with an OG of 1.060 are exceptionally rare, and often become 'strong ales'.

4. Mash temperatures: Keep them low to moderate. You want the finish to be dry and the body to be moderately light.
JKaranka (or anyone else, if interested) -

In attempting to finalize my recipe, I've got a couple-three questions following up on the points above. I feel as though I might be putting my goal of a "simple, no-frills ale" at risk; but on the other hand, I'd like to end up with a good, archetypical and above all recognizable English Pale Ale.

So far, I've modified my recipe to the point where it is 95/5 (Maris Otter and Carastan 30/37). This has brought the OG down to 1.053, which seems to be "more desireable" than the 1.060 that I had, but not quite as far as your 1.045 that you suggested.

If you could provide some additional insight, I'd be grateful.

On the points above:

1. Would you consider the Carastan 30/37 to be a good choice? I'm looking more for flavor than colour, if appropriate. Some have mentioned darker varieties, and I'm certainly willing to consider them, if they would "work better."

2. I'm a little unclear where this is concerned; however, if adding some to the beer would make it a more "typical" example, then I will definitely consider it. For the invert sugar, how much would you say is appropriate for 1 gallon of ale? Light or dark?

3. I've managed to bring the OG down to 1.053; would you say this is "good," or should I look for a way to reduce it further?

4. I'm currently considering 150 degrees, but if you have a better suggestion, I am certainly open to it.

As for the hops schedule, I think I have come up with one that would more closely conform to what you have mentioned before - keeping balance in mind. I am currently considering 4.5 grams @ 60 and 5 grams @ 20, which appears to produce the results that you and others have suggested, so that part of the mystery is, hopefully, solved.

Many thanks, again -

Ron
 
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Taking everything into account, here is my modified recipe, subject to input regarding the questions posted immediately above.

Englisch
Pale Ale

By TasunkaWitko

1 gallon

OG - 1.053
FG - 1.012
ABV - 5.37
IBUs - 31.88
SRM - 7.5 (Morey)


Fermentables

1.9 lb Maris Otter (95%)
0.1 lb Carastan 30/37L (5%)


60-Minute Mash @ 150 degrees

60-Minute Boil


Hops

4.5 grams of Fuggle hops @ 60 minutes
5 grams of Fuggle hops @ 20 minutes


Yeast

Safale S-04
I will leave the recipe in the original post as-is, for comparison.
 

JKaranka

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Is SRM as high as 15? That recipe looks good. You could add something like 5 grams of black patent malt if you want it darker. I'd increase the bittering addition slightly to hit 35 IBU at least. (I might use 35 IBU for a 1.042OG beer.)
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Hi, JKaranka, and thanks -

Regarding the SRM, my software got "knocked" to "ECB Morey," whatever that is. Setting it back to "SRM Morey," the reading went down to 7.5, which is probably what it should be. I have modified my post above to reflect this.

Regarding the IBUs, bumping the bittering addition up to 5 grams (so that both additions are the same amount) gets me to 34.00. I can add another half-gram, of course - would you recommend adding that half-gram to the first or the second addition? Or should I split it between the two and keep things even? I do not plan to dry-hop or anything like that.

Thanks again - I wish I could send a bottle of the finished product over ~ :mug:
 
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TasunkaWitko

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I know, and I do apologize ~ my hop-bitterness phobia is showing very badly, to my shame. :eek:

I'll try this, unless you think it's a bad idea: I'll go 6g @ 60, 5g @ 15, and 4g @ knock-out; this will give an IBU rating of 35.92, which is higher than I ever thought I c/would make it. My original intent was to go with only the 2 hop additions, but my thinking here is that adding at knock-out might give a chance to add hop flavor and/or aroma without the "hassle" of dry-hopping, which will go back to my "simple, no-frills" goal.

I very much appreciate your honest assessment. We're going to be in Great Falls next week (a metropolis, compared to my town), and I will be looking for a chance to try 2 or 3 beers of this style, in order to actually see what I should be looking for. I do believe that will help more than any reading I could possibly do.
 
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JKaranka

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I'm not quite sure how many of these you can find there. American "ESB" is a maltier and darker beer than what you get here. Maybe bottled beers? Black Sheep ale? Ringwood? London Pride? Timothy Taylor Landlord?
 

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If you are brewing a classic English Bitter, the BJCP guidelines for this style say "Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales." You might want to consider 6 grams of hops @ 60 minutes, and 3-4 grams @ 10 minutes.

TomVA
 
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TasunkaWitko

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I'll keep an eye out for those, JK - in Great Falls, there is a shop that sells a very wide variety of bottled beers, but I am not sure if any of their imports will be "good" examples. I'll look for the names you mention.

Tom - thanks for reminding me of that. I modified the hops schedule for what I think should be the last time (unless I hear/read otherwise). It's only a hair lower than the 6/6/6 schedule, but it does reflect the BCJP passage regarding the more aggressive bittering addition. I have modified the post above to reflect this. If the addition at knock-out strikes anyone as a bad idea or going against the style, I'll remove it.

I know my bitterness is a bit on the low side, but looking at all of my brews to date, it is actually the second-highest-IBU beer I've ever brewed...and I haven't yet sampled the highest.
 
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TasunkaWitko

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You could add something like 5 grams of black patent malt if you want it darker
JK - I see what you mean now; using the 2015 BCJP guidelines, I am indeed a hair low on the SRMs (7.5 vs 8). I did add just a touch of black patent malt per your suggestion, which brought the colour into range.

As for IBUs, I've decided to follow your suggestion (and Tom's reminder): 6g for the bittering addition; then 5 for the late addition (15 minutes). I'll try dry hopping 2 grams, as well. It occurred to me that I am doing this to try to learn the style, so I should jump right in with it! :mug:

Thanks for your help (and your patience) throughout ~

Ron
 

JKaranka

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JK - I see what you mean now; using the 2015 BCJP guidelines, I am indeed a hair low on the SRMs (7.5 vs 8). I did add just a touch of black patent malt per your suggestion, which brought the colour into range.

As for IBUs, I've decided to follow your suggestion (and Tom's reminder): 6g for the bittering addition; then 5 for the late addition (15 minutes). I'll try dry hopping 2 grams, as well. It occurred to me that I am doing this to try to learn the style, so I should jump right in with it! :mug:

Thanks for your help (and your patience) throughout ~

Ron
I don't think you'll be disappointed!
 

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I'm a big fan of fuggles too. One thing to keep in mind is that your late addition fuggles flavors will mature lagering your finished beer over a 1 to 2 month period.
 

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Your malt bill is fine, and you can't go wrong with Fuggles.
If you decide to use liquid yeast, try Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire (the Timothy Taylor strain). I've used it in a number of British style ales including several bitters, a strong ale, and a sweet stout, and it's my favorite. I'm a big fan of more traditional style English ales, and I'm glad to see that you're not overdoing the hops.
Btw...it looks to me like your stats are all within the 2015 BJCP guidelines for a British strong bitter.

HOME BREW RECIPE:
Title: Strong Bitter

Brew Method: All Grain
Style Name: Strong Bitter
Boil Time: 60 min
Batch Size: 1 gallons (fermentor volume)
Boil Size: 2 gallons
Boil Gravity: 1.026
Efficiency: 70% (brew house)


STATS:
Original Gravity: 1.053
Final Gravity: 1.011
ABV (standard): 5.42%
IBU (tinseth): 35.42
SRM (morey): 8.92

FERMENTABLES:
1.8 lb - United Kingdom - Maris Otter Pale (90%)
0.2 lb - United Kingdom - Carastan (30/37) (10%)

HOPS:
0.15 oz - Fuggles, Type: Pellet, AA: 5.5, Use: Boil for 60 min, IBU: 19.38
0.25 oz - Fuggles, Type: Pellet, AA: 5.5, Use: Boil for 15 min, IBU: 16.03

MASH GUIDELINES:
1) Infusion, Temp: 152 F, Time: 60 min
Starting Mash Thickness: 1.25 qt/lb

YEAST:
Danstar - Nottingham Ale Yeast
Starter: No
Form: Dry
Attenuation (avg): 77%
Flocculation: High
Optimum Temp: 57 - 70 F


Generated by Brewer's Friend - http://www.brewersfriend.com/
Date: 2017-03-09 10:09 UTC
Recipe Last Updated: 2017-03-09 10:08 UTC
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Thanks much, everyone ~ I think we're ready to go with this!

My current plan is to order the ingredients on Friday, and hopefully brew sometime during the week of 19-25 March.

I'm very appreciative to all who have helped with this, and I hope that the results will do justice to the tradition.
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Alright, this really is the final version, and I think it should be pretty good ~

Englisch
Pale Ale

By TasunkaWitko

1 gallon

OG - 1.053
FG - 1.012
ABV - 5.37%
IBUs - 35.90
SRM - 8.28


Fermentables

1.9 lb Maris Otter (94.9%)
0.1 lb Carastan 30/37L (4.9%
0.05 oz. (1.42g) Simpson's Black Patent (0.2%)


60-Minute Mash @ 150 degrees

60-Minute Boil


Hops

6g Fuggle hops (5.9% AA) @ 60 minutes
5g Fuggle hops (5.9% AA) @ 15 minutes


Yeast

Safale S-04


Dry Hop

2g Fuggle Hops (5.9% AA) for up to 7 days after 7 days in primar
The dry-hopping schedule is just a guess - I've never dry-hopped before! If there is any flaw in it, let me know and I will modify it.

My plan is to order any needed ingredients this coming Friday, and then brew this beer sometime during the week of 19-25 March.

That's it for now...we'll see how it goes!
 

Gerry_P

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You should check out "Brewing Classic Styles" by Zainasheff/Palmer. It's a comprehensive guide to brewing beers of just about every style. It's fun to read too.

I'm curious, are you using a brewing calculator and if so, which one? I'm asking because I'm getting slightly different numbers than yours, mostly in the SRM and IBU departments.
http://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/464832/strong-bitter
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Hi, Gerry, and thanks - I probably will look into that book, once I've brewed my way through this one. Learning those styles seems to be a great way to pick up a lot of fundamentals. I've picked up a ton of information just on this first pale ale project, both on the English and American side.

I did use Brewer's Friend as well, in the form of an app on my iPod. My IBU setting is on "Tinseth" and my SRM setting is on SRM Morey. One thing is that my original recipe is just slightly different from my final one, so that might account for the different numbers?

A couple of other details: Adding that tiny touch of UK Black Patent did bring the colour up...right where it needs to be, I think. Also, the package on my Fuggle hops at home reads 5.9% AAs, instead of whatever the default is on the app.
EDIT - mystery solved, I think...see below! :mug:
 
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TasunkaWitko

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Gerry - I just noticed that your IBU and SRM settings are the same as the ones I'm using, so I'm not sure what the difference is.

One thng - I've noticed that when I switch a lot of things around in Brewer's Friend, it sometimes gives readings that are a tiny little off. I'll re-enter everything, and see what I get. Also, my boil volume is set at 1.25 gallons, since that seems to be about the average for when I brew.
 
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Gerry - one more thing - I lowered my mash temperature to 150, rather than 152. I forgot to correct that in my "final version." Will do so, now.
 
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Gerry - final thing (I think) - It should be .05 OUNCES of Black Patent, not .05 pounds. That might account for the differences, as well.
 

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Alright, this really is the final version, and I think it should be pretty good ~



The dry-hopping schedule is just a guess - I've never dry-hopped before! If there is any flaw in it, let me know and I will modify it.

My plan is to order any needed ingredients this coming Friday, and then brew this beer sometime during the week of 19-25 March.

That's it for now...we'll see how it goes!
I would not touch it now. It's set to go and looks good. Everything about it seems like a recognisable beer at this side of the pond. I'd just crack on with it and if there is anything you don't like it's something you can address in a couple of months time. As it is now it will be spot on on the style.
 
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TasunkaWitko

TasunkaWitko

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Awesome -

Many, many thanks, JK - For me, a lot of it is about learning the traditions and doing it so it would definitely be "plausible" where originally done. I'll go right with this, and I'm guessing that I will like it - that Maris Otter is very hard to beat, and the Fuggle hop is right among those at the very top of my list - what's not to like?
 

Gerry_P

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Gerry - final thing (I think) - It should be .05 OUNCES of Black Patent, not .05 pounds. That might account for the differences, as well.
The differences aren't a big deal, the recipe looks good. Then again, I thought your original version was fine the way it was too!
Note that Timothy Taylor Landlord's malt bill is 100% Golden Promise. I made a SMASH version with that, 100% Styrian Goldings, and Wyeast 1469, and I was very happy with it. It just goes to show you that even the simplest recipes can make good beer. :mug:
 
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