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Style of the Week: English Style Bitter

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November 21, 2014 by fhsteinbart


Local Pub

This was the local pub I went to enjoy fine ales brewed in the area.

Before I became an advocate of making and using starter’s in my beers, I used to make a lot of what would today be considered “small” beers. These are beers that are around 2½~3½% Abv, and around 25~30 IBU’s. While they may not sound very enticing, the more flavorful ones come across as nutty, caramelly, biscuity, and or graham cracker like. Also, the terminal gravity of these beers is such that they seem bigger than they actually are. When I was stationed at Woodbridge RAF near Ipswich, I really liked one of the local beers called “Headknocker”, which was labeled as a mild real ale. The only thing mild about that beer was the alcohol. It was nicely hoppy, strongly flavored of pecans, currants, and caramel, and it was a true “session” beer if ever there was one. Rather than droning on and on about such a great beer, below is a recipe for you to be able to enjoy such a beer for yourself.

Extract version:

OG: 1.035 FG: 1.015

4 lbs. Light DME

½ lb. Crystal 15L

½ lb. Crystal 150L

5 AAU’s Golding’s hops for 60~90 minutes

5 AAU’s Golding’s hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Golding’s hops at 7 minutes

1 oz. Golding’s hops at end of boil (steeping hops)

2 oz. Golding’s hops (Dry Hopped)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss at last 15 minutes

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

Wyeast 1098, WLP007, or Nottingham yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 20 minutes add the flavor hops.
  • At 15 minutes add Whirlfloc tablet or Irish moss.
  • At 7 minutes add the aroma hops.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off the heat, add the last addition of aroma hops, then cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller.
  • Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 64°F to 68°F for up to two weeks.
  • Add the dry hops at 4th or 5th day of fermentation, for 10~14 days.
  • Allow to age an additional 1 to 2 weeks before packaging up as usual.
  • If you cannot get the terminal gravity to be around 1.015, add 1 lb. of Malto-Dextrin powder to the finished beer as a boiled and cooled syrup.

 

All Grain version:

OG: 1.035 FG: 1.015

6 lbs. British Pale Ale or ESB Malt

½ lb. Crystal 15L

½ lb. Crystal 150L

5 AAU’s Target hops for 60~90 minutes

5 AAU’s Golding’s hops for 20 minutes

1 oz. Golding’s hops at 7 minutes

1 oz. Golding’s hops at end of boil (steeping hops)

2 oz. Golding’s hops (Dry Hopped)

1 Whirlfloc Tablet or ½ tsp. Irish Moss at last 15 minutes

Wyeast 1098, WLP007, or Nottingham yeast

¾ gm. Burton Water Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and boil

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 160°F for 90 min with the Brewing Salts.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Add the rest of the Burton Water Salts after the boil commences.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours.
  • Then add the bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 60 more minutes.
  • Add the flavor hops at 20 minutes remaining.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 15 minutes.
  • Add the first aroma hops at 7 minutes remaining to the boil.
  • Add the second charge of aroma hops at flameout.
  • Add the dry hops at 4th or 5th day of fermentation, for 10~14 days.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 100 gms. corn sugar (approx. ¾ cup), or kegged to 15 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50~55°F in a 20 oz. British pint mug, share and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming weeks, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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