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Recipe – Bitter with Homemade Invert Sugar


I’m quite fond of both making and drinking English bitter – they are relaxing to make and just the right kind of session beer. Although I wouldn’t say that they are also boring to make, I still welt that I’d like to do something different this time.  A good source of inspiration when you are looking for ideas is the blog Perfect Pint that has a strong emphasis on Bitter. An idea that I read about from there and have wanted to try for a while is making brewers invert sugar, an ingredient with a long history in the British brewing industry. The instructions linked here were quite easy to follow and I managed to cook a patch of invert that is to my eye between no. 1 and no. 2 leaning more to the colour of no. 2. Next time I’ll have to cook it a bit longer but I’m happy with the flavour which is very sweet with some fudge-buttery overtones. It also leaves a taste in your mouth that reminds me of (and this will sound funny) of Finnish whipped porridge. Not unpleasant at all, just surprising.

Other than using the invert, this batch is quite typical. Maris Otter for the base malt with a bit of pale crystal, both from Thomas Fawcett. For yeast I’m again using Mangrove Jacks Burton Union that behaved so well in the last Micro-IPA. It will be interesting to taste the results in a less hoppy beer. For the hops I’m using a new bittering hop from the 2012 crop, Admiral and for later additions Goldings, this time Whitbread Goldings (I was unable to source Kent Goldings at the time I ordered the 2013 crop but trying out new varieties is part of the fun). Since I’m a bit worried that the sugar will make the body too thin I increased the target OG slightly to 1,041 which is a tad stronger than my usual Bitter but still well in the session beer range.


This beer is well on its way, here is the recipe :

Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,85 / 6,28
Anticipated OG: 1.041
Anticipated SRM:  6,8 (? Contribution from Invert unknown)
Anticipated IBU: 31,5
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

84%  2,4kg / 4,85 lbs  – Maris Otter pale ale, Thomas Fawcett
7%  200g / 0,44 lbs  – Pale Crystal malt, Thomas Fawcett
9%  250g /0,55 lbs    – Invert Sugar, homemade

10,0g / 0,35 oz. Admiral (Pellet, 16%  AA) @ 60 min for 23  IBU
20,0g / 0,7 oz. Whitbread Goldings (Plug, 6% AA) @ 15 min for 8,5 IBU
20,0g / 0,7 oz. Whitbread Goldings (Plug, 6% AA) 20 minute hop-stand

½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
4g / 0,14 oz Gypsum in mash
½ Teaspoon Calcium Chloride in mash


Mangrove Jack’s M79 Burton Union

1 packet rehydrated

22 Litre BIAB @ 67 Celsius for 60 mins (5,81Gal/152F)

13/5/14 uneventful brewday, wort left to ferment in ambient 20 centigrade, Some activity spotted after 6 hours or so, this yeast starts of slow

14/5/14 Much more activity, temperature 22 Centigrade, 2C above ambient

16/5/14 Just a few bubbles per minute, seems to be mostly done

19/5/14 Weather warmed up suddenly, 23 ambient. Some activity still visible in the BB

23/5/14 Weather has gone crazy with temperatures at 26C – have to rack the beer off the yeast cake and hope that no off-flavours develop. Main fermentation happened at about 20C so hopefully the beer is ok. Ordering that fermentation fridge today…

2/6/14 After naturally carbonating for a week I lifted the beer to the kegerator and pulled a pint of yeasty beer out. FG at 1.012, Abv ~4% 71% attenuation. Nice pear-apple esters but body on the thin side.

Tasting here

From → Recipes

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