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Style of the Week: Ordinary Bitter

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September 13, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Ordinary Bitter

Handsome Standard English Bitter in a proper English Imperial Pint glass ☺

In the world of worts, few beers can’t be brewed well by most home brewers. I like to brew beers that I either can’t get, or are way to expensive to indulge in. One of my favorite styles to brew when I want a lot of flavor without too much alcohol is either the Ordinary Bitter, or the Scottish 60 Shilling. At 3½% ABV, and around 25 IBU’s, these beers are what’s often referred to as “session” beers, or beers that can be consumed by the pint without being too intoxicated. While the recipe for this style is fairly simple, the complexity arises from the fermentation. Using a full bodied British strain of yeast will bring out the richer flavors of the malt and the hops. Below is a recipe of mine that can be ready to drink in as little as 6 days if you keg, or 3 weeks if you bottle.

Extract version:

OG: 1.036 TG: 1.008

6 lbs. Light LME

¼ lb. Special Roast

½ lb. Special B Crystal Malt

1 oz. Goldings hops for 60~90 minutes

1 oz. Goldings hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Goldings hops at 7 minutes

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

¾ gm. Burton Water Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.)

Wyeast 1968, WLP002, US-04

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Steep specialty grains for 20~30 minutes, strain, wash and remove from kettle and place in composter or feed to pets.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add 1 oz. bittering hops.
  • At 20 minutes add 1 oz. flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.
  • At 7 minutes add remaining 1 oz. aroma hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off heat and cool mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or using a wort chiller.
  • Add mixture to fermenter, removing hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using non-distilled bottled water or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 62°F to 65°F. for up to two weeks, allowing to age an additional two weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

OG: 1.036 FG: 1.008

7½ lbs. Maris Otter or Golden Promise Pale Malt

¼ lb. Special Roast

½ lb. Special B Crystal Malt

1 oz. Goldings hops for 60~90 minutes

1 oz. Goldings hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Goldings hops at 7 minutes

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss

¾ gm. Burton Water Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.)

Wyeast 1968, WLP002, US-04

 

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 150°F for 90 min.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Adding bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 75 more minutes.
  • Add flavor hops at 20 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 10~15 minutes.
  • Add aroma hops at 7 minutes remaining to the boil.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. 2/3 cup), or kegged to 15 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50~55°F in a 20 oz. Imperial pint glass, share and enjoy!

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