Ordinary Bitter...been too long

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Onkel_Udo

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So while still dialing in my manual eBiab system I made my interpretation of an Ordinary Bitter. All-Grain with an OG about 1.034 and FG about 1.009. It is about 20% Mild Malt, 75% Pale Malt and 5% Special B (because I put that s#$% in everything). Goldings and Fuggles to put out about 23 IBU's. Mashed at about 152 f.

Obviously not shooting for true to style, just a tasty easy drinking summer brew (this tell you how late I was kegging it) and reminder of backpacking through England and Scotland in 1998. Even then traditional bitters where not that common but I had a few and really enjoyed them.

This beer came out very low bodied but a little creamy mouthfeel, beautiful lacy head, subtle bitterness. The hop nose is mostly gone because I did leave it in the ferment for a couple months and no dry-hopping.

Most of what I remember but it has been 18 years! Any true-to-form bitters (without going into ESB or modernized version) widely available in the US just for a comparison that will not have suffered terribly from sitting around forever. I would like to make this my other Summer session beer along side my low alcohol RyePA. Getting my winter session beer going next weekend.
 

ThatVideoKid

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I wish to backpack around scotland someday...enjoy some good british beer...and some scotch too!
 
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Onkel_Udo

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I wish to backpack around scotland someday...enjoy some good british beer...and some scotch too!
In my case it was a no-brainer. I just got finished with a year long internship in Liechtenstein and my return flight was British Airways. They were offering $100 off the flight if you did a minimum 1 week layover in England. It was three weeks to my first interview back in the states for a big boy job and I had $1200 vacation time buy-out burning a hole in my pocket.

I did a bit of Scotch while I was there but I was a bit to poor to enjoy that side. Beer was a different story.
 

ThatVideoKid

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Nice! Hopefully some day I'll make it over there...too poor now, just graduated college. Liechtenstein sounds interesting too...been to all the other german speaking countries...just missing that one! Sadly I was 13 though so I couldn't really enjoy it nearly as much
 

Aristotelian

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Goose Island Honker's Ale is supposed to be a pretty good American take on an Ordinary Bitter. If I recall, Jamil blind tasted it on the Brewing With Style show and actually rated it higher than one of the English beers in the style.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Well, the line is blurry, but BA has GI Honkers Ale at 4.30% listed as an English Bitter (not ESB). Maybe you are confusing it with one of their others?

http://www.beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/1146/1157/
Well Honkers Ale is possible my favorite commercially available session beer...at least of those available at the grocery store. Never even thought of it as anything but and ESB but the alcohol content does put it into the "lower" category.

If we consider that true to style, mine is lighter in body and certainly does not have that "fruity" aroma. It is a full 1% lower in alcohol as well. Color is perfect.

I think I will try the same recipe with a higher percentage of Mild Malt and a touch of roasted barley. Maybe add a flame-out addition of Goldings.
 

Aristotelian

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BJCP lists Honkers as Special Bitter (not Extra), so you are probably right. It's in the English Pale Ale family but not a true Ordinary. Sorry, I can't think of a better example for you.
 

JKaranka

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Yes, Honkers is good as a standard special bitter. Ordinary bitters have quite a range from very pale to brown, mild to bitter, and hopless to hoppy (but in moderation).
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Well, my interpretation of an ordinary bitter tastes much like what I remember...from the hydrometer sample. Oddly it was about the right temp (50 f) and the residual carbonation was not far off what I remember either. Going to have to seriously watch the carb level on this. I tend to serve all beers at about 45 f and 4-6 psi so not far of this...just need to let it warm and degas a bit before drinking each pint if I serve from my kegerator.

I am seriously considering just doing my redneck cask system of swapping dip tubes and inverting the keg..."gas" line goes to atmoshere through a piece of hose above the former bottom of the keg.

Again, have not done this in years but should work and this is being served (5 gallons at least) at the February race so one keg not needing gas is a good thing. Now that I think of it, the stout can be served the same way. Only the brown and the "dirty blonde" will have to be pushed.

I am actually a bit excited. I am on of 4 guys bringing homebrew to the Barber LeMons race and I have not met the other three yet. With over 400 participants, should go quick!

The race is "Southeast" and we are normally Midwest but Barber Motorsports Park is a bucket list track for me so we are making the 14 hours tow.
 
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Onkel_Udo

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Yep, fully carb'ed this one is a winner. This will be in rotation as a house beer.

Smooth, balanced maltiness...really comes into its own over 50 f. Almost "oily" mouth feel that I remember.

I have 5 gallons also with an ounce of US Goldings dry hopping right now which may or may not turn it up a notch. Only an ounce of that hop may be too little.
 
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