Best Bitter Yeoman Special Bitter

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bierhaus15

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Recipe Type
All Grain
Yeast
WY1968 London ESB
Yeast Starter
Yes
Batch Size (Gallons)
5.5
Original Gravity
1.040
Final Gravity
1.009
Boiling Time (Minutes)
60
IBU
28
Color
9.0
Primary Fermentation (# of Days & Temp)
21 [email protected] 65-68F with diacetyl rest
Tasting Notes
Perfect balance of rich malt, biscuit and floral hops with a smooth bitterness
My original intention was to create an ordinary/special bitter that best represented the cask bitters I had while traveling around England. Something that was complex, full flavored and malty, yet light enough to have three or four pints and still be able to play darts. Well, after three years of tinkering with recipes and many more batches, I finally have a bitter I am 100% happy with. This beer is named after the pub where I had my first “proper” pint of British ale. I brew this about once a month – it goes fast!

Amount Item Type % or IBU
7.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 87.00 %
0.50 lb Home Toasted Malt (25.0 SRM) Grain 6.00 %
0.32 lb Carmel/ Crystal (45.0 SRM) Grain 4.00 %
0.25 lb Caramel/Crystal (120.0 SRM) Grain 3.00 %

1.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (60 min) Hops 25.0 IBU
0.50 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (10 min) Hops 3.0 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (flame out) Hops 0.0 IBU
1.00 oz Goldings, East Kent [4.50 %] (Dry Hop 4-5 days)

WY1968 or WY1275 yeast

Mash at 154F for 60 min.
Whirlfloc for last 10 min of boil

Notes:

For the toasted malt: Spread pale malt on baking pan and toast in a 300F oven for 15 – 20 minutes, turning frequently. You will know it’s ready when it tastes just like cheddar goldfish. I let my toasted malt age for a minimum of 1 week before use, as to prevent grainy flavors. Victory would be an ‘ok’ sub, though you get a better result with the homemade stuff.

I found a shorter dry hop provided a nice floral aroma while still allowing the malt and yeast aromas to shine through. A longer dry hop is fine, though it can throw the balance off if left too long.

Carbonate to 2.0-2.2 volumes, drink within two month of bottling/kegging.
 

KingBrianI

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I'm attaching the pic to the thread for you:



Sounds like a good recipe, though I can never get 1968 to attenuate that far.
 

sundaybrewingco

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I found a shorter dry hop provided a nice floral aroma while still allowing the malt and yeast aromas to shine through. A longer dry hop is fine, though it can throw the balance off if left too long.
Hey, do you dry hop in the last 5-7 days of the 21 total days of fermenting?
 
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bierhaus15

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Hey, do you dry hop in the last 5-7 days of the 21 total days of fermenting?
Usually I will dry hop the beer after its done a full three weeks in the primary. Though if you had a really good fermentation and a solid D rest, you could start a dry hop as early as day 15 or so with no adverse effects. However, I prefer to let it sit a little longer on the yeast cake.
 

Hex

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Thanks, I am interested in your recipe, this is where I was going with my SMaSH MO/EKG.
 
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bierhaus15

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Thanks, I am interested in your recipe, this is where I was going with my SMaSH MO/EKG.
Nice! It's a good recipe and pretty much spot on for a British pub bitter. A close variant of this beer won me best of show at a local competition. Let me know if you brew it or have any questions.
 

Hex

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I just ground 14 lbs Marris Otter, 1 lb toasted Marris Otter, 2/3 lb Crystal 45, 1/2 lb Crystal 120 for what I hope to be a double batch. I am going to collect the runnings, split the wort into two batches, boil one and then the other pitching each with a different yeast--1968 and 1275. I've got plenty of East Kent Goldings, 4 oz pellets, 10 oz whole cone.

Should I bitter with the pellets, and flavor and dry hop with the whole cone???

Wish me luck, this will be my first '10 gal' batch. :mug:
 
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bierhaus15

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Should I bitter with the pellets, and flavor and dry hop with the whole cone???

Wish me luck, this will be my first '10 gal' batch. :mug:
Awesome! I'd do the same, pellets for bittering and the whole hops for the flavor/dry. Hope the brew day goes well, 10 gallons is a pretty big step! Let me know if you have any questions. Cheers.
 
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bierhaus15

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Thanks for sharing. Looks like it was a long brewday, though one well worth it!
 

Skyforger

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What do you think substituting Amber malt for the toasted malt would do? Would it add too much flavor? Less flavor? I've never toasted malt before, not sure what to expect from it.

edit: I wrote the above expecting to get both the amber and some uncrushed pale malt so I would have the option of either. But the LHBS, it seems, has taken to precrushing some of their bulk grains, so I only got the Amber. It's Thomas Fawcett. Should I use this? Or should I try to toast some old American 2-row I have sitting around?
 
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bierhaus15

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What do you think substituting Amber malt for the toasted malt would do? Would it add too much flavor? Less flavor? I've never toasted malt before, not sure what to expect from it.
Amber malt would be a fine substitute, I use it all the time in my English ales, though it will give a completely different flavor to the beer. It's more burnt toast crust/slight cocoa powder flavor than the toasty/biscuit you get from toasted malt. Also, if you do use the amber malt I would probably cut it back to around 3-4% of the grist as it has a pretty strong flavor, especially in this type of beer. Though, it will still make a very tasty pint.

Aside, I make a beer very similar to my posted recipe (86% Maris Otter, 7% Crystal 40L, 4% Amber malt, 3% Crystal 120L) that turns out very well too, as amber malt goes especially well with a good base of crystal malts.
 

Skyforger

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Okay, thanks. Guess I'll do that. Good thing I didn't just add all the amber to the grist....I almost did. For some reason I tend to become somewhat impulsive while in the LHBS.

I'll have to try to more accurately follow the recipe next time. Maybe order online or something.
 

HOPCousin

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I'm planning to brew this up for summer and will need to get my grains crushed. I saw you said Victory would work as a substitute. It looks like the grav stays the same but would you recommend any change in the amount of Victory in terms of flavor?
 
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bierhaus15

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I'm planning to brew this up for summer and will need to get my grains crushed. I saw you said Victory would work as a substitute. It looks like the grav stays the same but would you recommend any change in the amount of Victory in terms of flavor?
If your not up to toasting your own malt, Victory is an 'ok' substitute though I'd go no more than 4% of the grist, or around 0.25lb per 5 gallons. If you are using all Maris Otter for your base malt you could skip the victory and/or home toasted malt altogether. However, the home toasted malt adds a rich maltiness that the victory malt doesn't quite have. Also, if you can find it, Amber malt at around 4% of the grist makes a great pint too.

The key to this beer is an even balance of biscuit, caramel malt, and floral hops. Though, the %'s of each can be changed around to whichever flavor you like best. I have nearly 7 different versions of this beer (slightly differing grain bills) that I brew quite often and equally enjoy drinking. Earlier in this thread I mentioned a similar grain bill (86% Maris Otter, 7% Crystal 40L, 4% Amber malt, 3% Crystal 120L) that is equally as good, though a bit more caramelly than biscuity - it won me two BOS' and was on tap at my local brewpub.

If you have any more questions, feel free ask.
 

HOPCousin

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In terms of toasting my malt do you figure I could pick up the 8 oz's of malt and toast it and then bring it back in to crush it with the rest of the grains? Obviously the weight will be off because I would have removed some moisture? I would prefer to do it with greater flavor but I don't crush my own grain. Any thoughts on how to make this happen would be cool. Also, what type of water profile are you using? I usually use a mix of distilled, spring, and a touch of additional calcium chloride to help the flavor and yeast.
 
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bierhaus15

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In terms of toasting my malt do you figure I could pick up the 8 oz's of malt and toast it and then bring it back in to crush it with the rest of the grains? Obviously the weight will be off because I would have removed some moisture? I would prefer to do it with greater flavor but I don't crush my own grain. Any thoughts on how to make this happen would be cool. Also, what type of water profile are you using? I usually use a mix of distilled, spring, and a touch of additional calcium chloride to help the flavor and yeast.
That wouldn't be a problem - no need to worry about moisture. Also, if you don't have access to a barley crusher or corona mill, you probably could get a decent crush with a heavy rolling pin and a hard surface.

My water is pretty much conducive to brewing darker styles, so I will usually buy spring/RO water from the supermarket and add salts to achieve a better profile for my bitters. Though I don't usually mess around with my water unless I am brewing something for a competition. I wouldn't worry too much about water chem, unless you really like all that stuff!
 

stevebuscemi

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Hey I brewed this one up about two weeks ago with Hex's ten gallon recipe and am anxiously awaiting the finished product. Though I did make a few changes because I had some American hops and used WLP023 'burton' yeast.

HOPS I too don't have a mill but what I did was buy a 50 lb bag of grain and actually used a blender to crush all the grain. I started with a rolling pin but it is so tedious that I had to find another method. People talk about blending being bad cause you will crush the hull and get astringency from it but since this was my first time doing so I can't comment yet. But many people have said that it is the only way they crush their grain and have had no ill effects, also my efficiency went all the way to 79%. Lastly I 'burtonized' my water little in the mash and little in the boil not sure what it will do to the taste since it was my first time doing that as well. Will let you know when done fermenting.
 

cwhouston

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I've just brewed this this weekend, using WY1469 - expecting big things! It's really helpful to have access to a tried and test recipe, so thanks Bierhaus, I'll let you know how it turns out for me.
 
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bierhaus15

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I've just brewed this this weekend, using WY1469 - expecting big things! It's really helpful to have access to a tried and test recipe, so thanks Bierhaus, I'll let you know how it turns out for me.
Let me know it turns out for you! I've never tried this recipe with 1469, although I bet it'll be lovely.

Also, the last time I brewed this, I used the wlp006 Bedford Bitter yeast (available now until September) and it turned out fantastic. Really amazing yeast for bitters.

http://perfectpint.blogspot.com/2012/01/brew-day-session-bitter.html
 

Warrior

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Looks like a good recipe. Going to brew a 24 gal batch of this on Friday. I'm just going to step the gravity up a little to be about a 1.048 and will adjust the hops acoordingly. Shooting for about a 4.5 alc, will mash around 155 to leave a little more unfermentables. Would like to see a finish around 1.014.
 

Warrior

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Bierhaus,

Thanks for sharing a good recipe. I'll be brewing this again probably as a regular beer. My maltmill was out of adjustment and my crush wasn't what it should've been. Ended up with 1.040 gravity as your recipe called for but I was shooting for 1.048. Good easy drinking session Ale, I prefer the lower alc beers as I'm getting older. I can drink for a session and don't get as stupid as I used to:)
 

duckmanco

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I don't own a mill, and my LHBS crush is quite consistent. So, would anyone recommend any of the following?

1. Buy all but the .5 lb crushed, then toast the non crushed malt at home and then (brace yourselves) crush the toasted malt in my magic bullet (I've read how to do this)
2. Or go with the victory malt subsitute


I'm really not afraid of crushing the malt in the magic bullet given that its only 8 ounces of malt, and even if it gets ground up, my batch sparge hose braid rig can handle it. Thoughts? I'm obsessed with bitters as of late, and this seems like a great one.
 
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bierhaus15

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Victory or biscuit or even amber malt are fine substitutes for the toasted malt, or you can just go without it if you are using a good quality basemalt.

Just to reiterate, if toasting the malt, let it air out for a few days before brewing with it.
 

cwhouston

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Bierhaus - this bitter with the 1469 rocks. I'm very pleased indeed except that I only have two bottles left, that is. Thanks again for sharing the recipe. I'm going to do a split batch soon - 1882 into one half and not sure about the other, I have s04, 1318, 1028, 1275 and 1728 in the library.

What would be really cool would be trying yeast blending, anyone done that with the English strains and this / other bitter recipes?
 

duckmanco

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Bierhaus15 - what's your preferred ferment temp/schedule for the wlp006?

I just snagged a vial from my local and will be toasting the malt tonight to allow it to sit for a week or so, then this batch will get the batch sparge "no sparge" treatment. Can't wait.
 

stevebuscemi

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I just want to get in on this because of my idiotic posts up top is from when I was first starting brewing. In regards to the milling if you are looking for an alternative to a roller millthis is a good option ,albeit probably a slower one it has work for me. Also if your only crushing 8 oz of grain just but it in a ziplock and crush it with a rolling pin, pretty much can't over do it that way.
To the recipe, if I recall correctly my "burtonizing" of the water went overboard and my beer was too bitter and minerally. But hopefully when my hops arrive in a few weeks I might give this one another try.
 

tennesseean_87

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I'm thinking of brewing this up as a partigyle. I'll steep the dark crystal and add to the second runnings (with a little first runnings mixed in) and try to hit 1.045ish. I started a thread about it here. The first runnings will be an American IPA. Any help is appreciated.
 

duckmanco

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Brewed this up today, no sparge (except for holding back 2 gallons of the 8 needed total as a boiling mashout/attempt infusion) and hit 88% efficiency... I realize this is probably something not to whine about, but my low gravity beers are killing me. I wanted 1.040 and got 1.046... I'm running of 7 gallons to boil down to 5.5 in an hour. Frustrating

.. Anyway, went with first gold for flavor and aroma as mentioned on the blog belonging to the OP, and they did smell like sweet oranges. Pitched a 1.5l starter of wlp006 and gave it 60 sec. of pure O2. Set ferment temp to 64. Can't wait.
 

duckmanco

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Posting my results as I enjoy a pint of this.

After first getting it into the keg I didn't care for this beer at all. Tasted harsh, overly hoppy and tannic like. Fast forward to time in the keg and now it pours beautifully clear, brite and the first gold hops have calmed down to lend a nice orange candy marmalade like character to the beer.

Overall a very nice beer, and I might give wlp006 a shot again in the future, but so far out of my meager British ale yeast trials of wyeast 1968, wlp002 (same yeast), so4, Nottingham, and wyeast 1469 - 1469 is the hands down winner at this point. Either way, these first gold hops have some serious potential in other beers as well... I'm thinking American IPA.
 
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bierhaus15

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Glad to hear it turned out well for you in the end. Wlp006 can be a tricky yeast, as it does require some time in the keg for it to settle out and mature. It's a lot like the Marstons' yeast in that regard; tastes great one day, the next you're like "WTF happened?" and then right when you've given up all hope, the heavens part and the beer sings like no other. Wy1469 is a nice yeast too, a bit stone-fruity for my tastes but it has a lovely malt character when fermented cool.

First Gold hops are certainly one worth keeping around. Great for golden ales, bitters, and they'd probably make a nice hoppy saison or APA.
 

brewingdan

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Just finished a 6 day primary using wyeast 1028 London Ale yeast. Taste great straight from the primary, hydrometer sample went bottoms up.

I can't wait to taste it after the 5 day dry hop and a bit of cold conditioning / carbonating.
 

fbaillargeon

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Finishing a keg of that, it's pretty tasty, I wanted something different than the Common Room ESB as I got a pound of EKG earlier this year, it's quite a good brew.

Will brew again. :mug:
 

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Working this up right now to work on my system with some tweaks.

1469, West Yorkshire Ale yeast. Evaluating whether to make this my "house" English yeast. Super easy to top crop it and keep it around.

Using Bairds Crystal 50-60 instead of Caramel 45. A bit darker, but the closest I could find easily in an English Crystal.

Using Bairds 135-165 for the C 120. Same as above.

Just toasted my MO as per original post. Would have liked to brew tomorrow. But, OP said let toasted grain sit at least a week.

I'll report back. Very much looking forward to this Special Bitter.
 

Merkur

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I am an ex-pat home-brewing Brit in NJ and I'm always looking for a recipe for the quintessential British pint. Your Yeoman Special Bitter seems to have the qualities I look for in a beer however I brew 5 Gallon batches and have not done whole grain before.

Can I mash the grain bill in a bag at 154 for 60 mins in my 8 gallon kettle and then drain the wort out via the tap and stainless bazooka screen? Maybe sparging with another 1-2 gallons of water at around 160F for a total volume of around 6.5gallons which will boil down to 5G?

Am I way off base here or should I be looking at another recipe/technique? I have done a lot of brewing, but never ventured to all grain before.

Thanks,

Paul
 

FlyDoctor

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I am an ex-pat home-brewing Brit in NJ and I'm always looking for a recipe for the quintessential British pint. Your Yeoman Special Bitter seems to have the qualities I look for in a beer however I brew 5 Gallon batches and have not done whole grain before.

Can I mash the grain bill in a bag at 154 for 60 mins in my 8 gallon kettle and then drain the wort out via the tap and stainless bazooka screen? Maybe sparging with another 1-2 gallons of water at around 160F for a total volume of around 6.5gallons which will boil down to 5G?

Am I way off base here or should I be looking at another recipe/technique? I have done a lot of brewing, but never ventured to all grain before.

Thanks,

Paul
You could get darn close by using the Maris otter syrup from northern brewer and substituting ? Biscuit for the toasted MO. Otherwise the crystal can be steeped.
 

ophillium

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Brewed this in August and finally had my first bottle this week (and my second through twelfth) - absolutely delicious! Stuck to the recipe more or less, except that I started with a wee bit too much strike water that didn't boil out completely, and then later had to dry-hop with Fuggles due to availability (which I found nice and mellow).

This will definitely be in regular rotation along with my Guinness clone. I'm actually (literally) boiling the wort on a second batch right now as I type. Would have liked more of a hop kick than my first batch gave me, which is either because of the fuggles or because I live/drink on the west coast of canadia, so I'm upping the amounts to 3oz total (1 bittering, 1 at flame out, 1 in secondary).

Cheers to a great recipe bierhaus15!~
 
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