Single hop bitter suggestion please

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homebrewjapan

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I'm looking to make an English style bitter using DME and speciality grains. I'd like to use a single hop because I want to get an idea of individual hop flavour - but if that's really not recommended, I can combine hops.

I'm quite limited in my choice of ingredients in Japan.

- I can get Fuggles (5.0%), Northern Brewer (7.5%), and Goldings (5.4%) leaf.

- My DME will be Mnton's Spraymalt - so I need to know whether to use extra light, light, medium, dark, or wheat.

- Grains (can't get a lot of British crystal):
Northwest C15, C40, C60, C75, C150
Weyermann Carared 15.6-19.3 lovibond
Muntons Crystal 42-49 lovibond
Muntons Chocolate (432), Black (550-600), Roast Barley (670), Japanese Roast Malt (394)
Flaked oat, rice, rye

Flavours I like (not limited to English bitters) are Spitfire, Bishops Finger, Fiddler's Elbow, Red Hook ESB.

Any suggestions of beers that have come out well? Or ideas of things you would recommend trying from those ingredients?
 

Laughing_Gnome_Invisible

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Fuggles and Goldings are my go to hops for bitter. You can use them together in different combinations, or you can try them on their own to learn their qualities and still have a great beer.Goldings especially can be used as the sole hop. I like to use fuggles for bittering and goldings for taste and aroma, but you can interchange these two all over the place.
 

HOOTER

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Light extract, Muntons crystal and Goldings hops. Safale S-04 for the yeast. Simple, tasty bitter. That's my .02 :)
 

Nurmey

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I hate to say it and agree with the nutty gnome, but Fuggles is my go to hop too. I use it for almost all my English ales. Goldings is lovely too but I always have Fuggles.
 
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homebrewjapan

homebrewjapan

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A number of bitters (eg Bishop's Finger and Fiddlers Elbow) seem to be based around Goldings, so I'm thinking to go with that. Those same recipes also use wheat malt - I can't get grain for that but I could use a pack of wheat spraymalt. Based on that, this is what I'm thinking of:

2.0kg (4.4lbs) Light Spraymalt
0.5kg (1.1lbs) Wheat Spraymalt
0.3kg (0.65lbs) Muntons Crystal 42-49L

East Kent Goldings 5.5% Leaf
45g (1.5oz) @ 60m
15g (0.5 oz) @ 20m
15g (0.5oz) @ 0m

S-04 yeast
Based on a boil volume of 9.5L (2.5g US) and batch size of 22.7L (6g US), this gives me:
OG 1.037 - FG 1.009
IBU 36
ABV 1% (in line with Japanese regulations, certainly nothing like 3.6%)

I used this page to do the calculations for this: TastyBrew.com | Recipe Calculation

What do you think?
 

22415 Brewery

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Most standard bitters recipes tend to call for just a touch of wheat malt because it helps with head retention. It's not the wheat flavor that you're looking for, it's the added protein from wheat malt that gives the finished beer the head retention and a slightly pronounced mouth feel.

When brewing a low gravity beer the attenuation/fermentability plays a significant role in the overall profile of the end product (F.G.). With extract brews you tend to get a relatively fixed rate of attenuation....and one might find it more difficult to brew an outstanding malt-forward, low gravity beer with just extract and steeping grains.

As you know most low alcohol english ales such as the english mild or the ordinary bitter tend to have a lot of malt character while being significantly low in alcohol and original starting gravity (as compared to american ales) and are perfectly balanced by the bittering hop addition.

This can be easily achieved through longer and higher mash temps (if doing all-grain) and by using a richer base malt such as Maris Otter. The combination of the two will produce a less-fermentable wort that will finish "sweeter" in fermentation.

So this begs the question...
"how do I achieve a malt-forward product with extract?"

1. Use a less-fermentable extract, Weyermenn is less fermentable than Briess, and so is Muntons and John Bull
2. Utilize a mini-mash, taking some 2-row english malt (replacing part of the extract) along with your crystal malt and perform a mini-mash in your boil pot at a relatively high mash temp...or better yet a step-mash...then adding the extract at the start of the boil
3. overboil your extract. So, for example if you have scheduled a one hour boil...extend it to two hours but keep the same hop schedule. The kettle caramelization will produce melanoidins that will add to the sweetness/mouthfeel of the finished ale and produce a less fermentable wort...just top up with water in primary
4. check your water pH, try to reproduce the medium sulfate water chem that is so essential to brewing a classic bitter

If you think about it, doing all four of the above would definitely not hurt in trying to produce an Ordinary Bitter.

As for hopping....this is your preference. I typically prefer the slightly fruitier Fuggles in my bitters and the more floral Goldings in my english pales...but it's really all about what you like and what you want to drink. More importantly if you are trying to brew to style....an ordinary bitter really shouldn't display tons of hop character....it should be bitter yes...but no wafting hop aromas.
I recently brewed a batch of Mild with both Fuggles and Goldings. And if you think about it, Sam Calagione dry-hops his DFH 90-minute IPA with Goldings in the secondary.

Also remember that this style is all about character. Your yeast selection is critical...because this is not necessarily a malt-forward or hop-forward ale, the yeast plays an important role in defining the overall impression of your beer. Choose one with a lot of character...for dry yeast I like Windsor by Lallemand, it's estery and produces a fine 'character', liquid yeasts can vary based on what is available to you.

Good Luck and Happy Brewing!
 
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