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fartmancometh

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Hey everyone, haven't posted here before but have learned a ton just lurking. Had a question about a bitter style beer I'm looking to brew for the holidays. Here's the recipe I'm playing with:

10 gallon

15 lbs Maris otter
1 lb TF pale chocolate malt
60 min with EKG - probably 1-2 oz depending on the batch I get and maybe some late additions or whirlpool? Looking for just enough bitterness for balance.
Yeast - London [email protected]

Mash at 152-154 for 60

Thinking an OG of around 1.045 getting it down so it's around 4%.

Anyways, my main question is about the chocolate malt. I've never worked with it so not sure how it will work in this recipe or if it's too much. Any suggestions or advice? Thanks!
 

BigEd

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Hey everyone, haven't posted here before but have learned a ton just lurking. Had a question about a bitter style beer I'm looking to brew for the holidays. Here's the recipe I'm playing with:

10 gallon

15 lbs Maris otter
1 lb TF pale chocolate malt
60 min with EKG - probably 1-2 oz depending on the batch I get and maybe some late additions or whirlpool? Looking for just enough bitterness for balance.
Yeast - London [email protected]

Mash at 152-154 for 60

Thinking an OG of around 1.045 getting it down so it's around 4%.

Anyways, my main question is about the chocolate malt. I've never worked with it so not sure how it will work in this recipe or if it's too much. Any suggestions or advice? Thanks!
Lose the pound of chocolate malt unless you want to make a brown ale. For a basic bitter I'd recommend 5% of a nice, medium (50-60L) British crystal malt with the remaining 95% your pale malt. If you insist on using chocolate malt keep the addition to 1-2 TBS (.5-1 oz) which will help give you a nice copper color.

IBU/OG ratio is generally 3:4 or 75% of the OG # (OG 1.044, then IBU is 33).

I would suggest a 90 min boil if only from my experience that it seems to work well for the style and is the traditional time. Two hop additions are also traditional, one for full boil and a second for 15/20 minutes. Again, I like the way it works and I've tried many hop schedules over the years. Mash time & temp are fine.

This is a simple and delicious beer style. After years of my trials and errors, don't overthink it, keep it simple, and you will be rewarded.
 
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fartmancometh

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Lose the pound of chocolate malt unless you want to make a brown ale. For a basic bitter I'd recommend 5% of a nice, medium (50-60L) British crystal malt with the remaining 95% your pale malt. If you insist on using chocolate malt keep the addition to 1-2 TBS (.5-1 oz) which will help give you a nice copper color.

IBU/OG ratio is generally 3:4 or 75% of the OG # (OG 1.044, then IBU is 33).

I would suggest a 90 min boil if only from my experience that it seems to work well for the style and is the traditional time. Two hop additions are also traditional, one for full boil and a second for 15/20 minutes. Again, I like the way it works and I've tried many hop schedules over the years. Mash time & temp are fine.

This is a simple and delicious beer style. After years of my trials and errors, don't overthink it, keep it simple, and you will be rewarded.
Thanks for the reply! I have some crystal 60 kicking around so I can definitely do that. Not sure why I was thinking chocolate malt - maybe for a bit darker colour and it sounded delicious. I'll be taking all your advice though - can't wait to brew it! Thanks again!
 

Gameface

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First response is really good.

Yeah, 1lb chocolate in that recipe is way too much.

I make a strong bitter about 60% of the time I make beer. I have taken first in my local beer comp (400-600 entries each year) in the English Bitter category 6 out of the last 7 years, with two of those years my Strong Bitter taking 3rd place best of show.

A close approximation of my recipe would be:

15lb MO
1lb carastan (pretty much C35)
1lb English C60
1/2lb Victory

That's for a beer that came out at about 5.3%abv. You could easily cut the MO to 14lb and eliminate either of the crystal malts or reduce them both by half.

I do all EKG, but I do some as a first wort hop, some at 60 and although not traditional I do a 180f @ 30min whirlpool addition. When I wasn't doing a whirlpool I added it with 10min to go.
 
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fartmancometh

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First response is really good.

Yeah, 1lb chocolate in that recipe is way too much.

I make a strong bitter about 60% of the time I make beer. I have taken first in my local beer comp (400-600 entries each year) in the English Bitter category 6 out of the last 7 years, with two of those years my Strong Bitter taking 3rd place best of show.

A close approximation of my recipe would be:

15lb MO
1lb carastan (pretty much C35)
1lb English C60
1/2lb Victory

That's for a beer that came out at about 5.3%abv. You could easily cut the MO to 14lb and eliminate either of the crystal malts or reduce them both by half.

I do all EKG, but I do some as a first wort hop, some at 60 and although not traditional I do a 180f @ 30min whirlpool addition. When I wasn't doing a whirlpool I added it with 10min to go.
Will take all this advice as well. Was looking at ordering some Victory but didn't. Will definitely be getting some on my next order.

Thanks for helping out, much appreciated!
 

EnglishAndy

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Anyways, my main question is about the chocolate malt. I've never worked with it so not sure how it will work in this recipe or if it's too much. Any suggestions or advice? Thanks!
Pale (low colour) chocolate malt works very well in a bitter but not at 6% of the grist. Use at about 1% combined with about 3% medium crystal and make up the rest with pale malt. EKG for the hops - of course you can't go wrong there.
 

Conehead

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I haven't brewed mine yet, but I have 9% Brown malt - 90 L. Too much? I do have TF choc malt included, 1/2 an oz. for colour - 400 L.
 

Gameface

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I haven't brewed mine yet, but I have 9% Brown malt - 90 L. Too much? I do have TF choc malt included, 1/2 an oz. for colour - 400 L.
Seems like a lot or brown malt. I don't really think of a bitter as being a "dark" beer at all, but that's not to say it will not taste really good.

I'd think of it more as a brown ale or scottish ale.
 

ong

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Most of my bitters are 100% base malt. I mash a little higher if I want them sweeter.
 

Conehead

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Seems like a lot or brown malt. I don't really think of a bitter as being a "dark" beer at all, but that's not to say it will not taste really good.

I'd think of it more as a brown ale or scottish ale.
The SRM in the finished beer is 10. I can lower it though.
 

snowtiger1987

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For my Fuller's ESB clone I use 1.5 lbs of Crystal 90L and 18lbs of Marris Otter for 10 gallons. Comes out a pretty mahogany-like red color.
 

thehaze

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I like bitters in the 9 to 12 SRM ( morrey scale ) range with Maris Otter as base and usually a combination of two Crystal malts: a light/medium + a dark one. Hops are a personal choice, but the yeast needs to be English. I've had good results with Windsor for dry yeast and Fullers for liquid.

I've also done bitters using Weyermann and Crisp Vienna malts and came out very good. I've noticed that Belgian Biscuit malt complements the Crystal and base malts in a bitter. But then again, this is my own taste/experience.

You could also just go 100% Maris Otter or 98-99% Maris Otter and throw 1-2% of Extra Dark Crystal malt ( 150-160L ) - this will add enough colour and will not mess as much with biscuitty/bready malt profile.
 

ncbrewer

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Hops are a personal choice, but the yeast needs to be English. I've had good results with Windsor for dry yeast and Fullers for liquid.
About what attenuation do you get with Windsor in a bitter?
 

kevin58

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The largest amount of any dark malt I have ever seen in a traditional Bitter recipe is .99% of black malt in a 1946 Lees recipe.
http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2018/06/lets-brew-wednesday-1948-lees-bitter.html

The darkest SRM I've found is 12. Most are within 8 to 10. There is a 1909 Lees recipe in the book: The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer with an SRM under 7. The fermentables in that one are really simple also being just pale malt and invert #1.

I classify my bitter recipes in the same folder where I keep my pale ale recipes. If they aren't the same they are on the same branch of the family tree.

 

thehaze

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About what attenuation do you get with Windsor in a bitter?
I've made a few batches with Windsor and always got over 70% AA, when most threads found on the Internet talk about 60-65% AA. My bitters will most times have sugar added in the boil. I also mash low 147-149F ( for 60-90 minutes ).
 

EnglishAndy

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The largest amount of any dark malt I have ever seen in a traditional Bitter recipe is .99% of black malt in a 1946 Lees recipe.
http://barclayperkins.blogspot.com/2018/06/lets-brew-wednesday-1948-lees-bitter.html

The darkest SRM I've found is 12. Most are within 8 to 10. There is a 1909 Lees recipe in the book: The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer with an SRM under 7. The fermentables in that one are really simple also being just pale malt and invert #1.

I classify my bitter recipes in the same folder where I keep my pale ale recipes. If they aren't the same they are on the same branch of the family tree.
Bitter over here has long been disparagingly referred to as 'warm brown beer' by those who'd rather drink macro lager and indeed a few decades ago bitter was just that; room temperature and usually some shade of brown between light tan and chocolate. That's not the case any more. Brewers are far more inventive today and bitter now comes in every shade from extra pale to opaque like a stout.

If you're not concerned with following recipes that nobody brews commercially any more then don't worry about the colour. Do worry about over-egging the malt and hop bills and using inappropriate yeasts. Bitters are simple, low gravity, and they should use English yeasts.
 
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