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Recipe – First Gold Bitter



Mmm, Bitter. Having brewed a few “normal” strength beers I’m really keen to make a session beer for a change. One of my favorite styles is the humble Ordinary Bitter which, when done right, has just the right balance of malt, hops and yeast influence. Speaking of which, I’m using a new yeast for this one, White Labs 006 Bedford British. A platinum series yeast only available in the autumn, The Perfect Pint speaks highly of it especially when brewing Bitter. One of my “local” online shops had it on the shelf and I decided to take a chance and order it. I’ve written before about the quality problems that I’ve had with liquid yeast but the risk is bigger during the summer when the vial has to travel for days in hot boxes. This time the 006 seemed healthy and the 1,5 litre starter took right of.

Less is more when brewing and especially when brewing English Bitter. For malts the base is Maris Otter from Fawcett which gives a nice biscuity and nutty flavour. A pale crystal malt gives a bit of toffee taste and for a slight burnt sugar note I’ll throw in just a few grams of dark crystal. When brewing a lower gravity beer like this one I usually use more crystal malts percentage wise than I do in a bigger beer. A thinner beer benefits from the sweet notes and body that crystal malt gives when the same percentage used in a bigger beer would be cloying. For hops I’m using First Gold which is quite similar to East Kent Goldings. I did think of trying out a more complex hop schedule with more variety but in the end decided that with the new yeast it’s better to keep the other ingredients familiar so that I can more easily judge the impact that the Bedford yeast has on the beer. Perhaps I’ll wash some of the yeast and try it with different hops after this one.

Here is the recipe :


Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,25 / 4,96
Anticipated OG: 1.035
Anticipated SRM: 8,3
Anticipated IBU: 28,3
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes


88,9%   2,0 kg / 4,4 lbs     Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett)
8,9 %    0,2 kg / 0,44 lbs    Pale Crystal Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
2,2 %    0,05 kg / 0,11 lbs    Dark Crystal Malt (Thomas Fawcett)


15,0g / 0,52 oz. First Gold (Plug, 7,5%  AA) @ 60 min for 18,9  IBU
15,0g / 0,52 oz. First Gold (Plug, 7,5%  AA) @ 15 min for 9,4 IBU
30,0g / 1,04 oz. First Gold (Plug, 7,5%  AA) @ Flame Out


½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
2g Calcium Chloride in mash
5g Gypsum in mash


White Labs Bedford British 006, 1,5 Litre starter


22,6 Litre BIAB @ 67 Celsius for 60 mins (5,97Gal/152F)



Edit 20/10/14 Corrected the amount of dark crystal malt.

19/10/14 Uneventful mash, overshot my gravity by two points. Added a litre of water during boil. Seems that my current values do not work perfectly with low gravity beers. No hop-stand, just added the last hop dose at flame out and cooled to 17C/62F. Racked to a better bottle and shook for 2,5 minutes. Pitched the decanted starter and shook a few times. About 17,5 litres  (4,6 gallons) of wort collected, OG = 1,036. Fermentation chamber set to 18C/64F. Used a blow-off tube since there is very little head space.

20/10/14 Strong fermentation going on in the morning. Doesn’t seem to be a top-cropper.

21/10/14 Krausen has fallen but fermentation seems to be going strongly.

22/10/14 Fermentation slowing down.

24/10/14 Lifted the temperature to 20C/68F for diacetyl rest

29/10/14 Some bubbles still float up, have to give it some more time

4/11/14 After crashing the beer at about 5C/41F for two days I ragged it to a flushed keg with 30 grams / ~1 ounce of sugar and left it to carbonate naturally. The sample tasted great, can’t wait to have this one on tap.

11/11/14 Porter kicked, lifted this one to the kegerator. Sample was already crystal clear. Final Gravity 1.010 ABV 3,4%

Turned out excellent, tasting here


From → Recipes

One Comment
  1. This little one has been very talkative. 😉 *brrrrrb brub brrrrrb*

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