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Styrian/Kent Goldings Bitter

14/01/2016

Ordinary bitter is one of the styles that I’ve brewed most often. It’s fairly simple to brew and a “session beer” in the true sense of the word with ABV usually below 3,5%. As I have written often before a beer with such a low gravity is, at least to my experience, more difficult to brew than say, an Indian Pale Ale. Don’t get me wrong, brewing a truly good IPA is no simple task but when you are making a small beer that also isn’t blasted with a load of hops there is very little to hide any defects in your recipe or process. You are also trying to avoid making the beer feel and taste “watery” while still using fairly small amounts of malt. I find that in order to make a good ordinary bitter two things are especially important: a good base malt and a yeast that gives a nice balance of ester character and lets the malt come through in the beer. A bitter fermented with a neutral yeast just doesn’t work.

I think that I’ve improved with every OB that I’ve brewed and have the basics locked down but as usual I wanted to try something a bit different. Though I feel that Maris Otter with just a bit of Crystal malts is quite satisfactory, I wanted to add just a dash of amber malt to see if it would give a slightly roastier end result. I also wanted to try Wyeast 1968 (supposedly the Fuller’s strain) again using the yeast harvesting method I have imitated from Brulosophy, a site that I very much recommend. I have had one bad patch with 1968, probably as result of under-pitching and can’t recommend it to anyone who bottles their beer since it has a tendency to “wake up” in the bottle resulting in over-carbonated beer but now that I’m kegging that won’t be a problem. It has a low attenuation percentage which I’m hoping will work well in a small beer. The hops used are Styrian and Kent Goldings which are fairly traditional and should work well together with the Styrian being more “earthy” and Kent Goldings giving that traditional “bright” hop character.

Here is the recipe:

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Target Batch Size (Litres/Gallons): 17.00 / 4,49
Total Grain (Kg/Pounds): 2,45 / 5,4
Anticipated OG: 1.036
Anticipated SRM: 6,8
Anticipated IBU: 25,2
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Fermentables
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89,8%   2,2 kg / 4,85 lbs     Pale Malt, Maris Otter (Thomas Fawcett)
8,2 %   0,2 kg / 0,44 lbs     Pale Crystal Malt (Thomas Fawcett)
2,0 %   0,05 kg / 0,11 lbs    Amber Malt (Thomas Fawcett)

Hops
—–

10g / 0,35 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5%  AA) @ 60 min for 8,3 IBU
10g / 0,35 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 3%  AA) @ 60 min for 5,0 IBU

10g / 0,35 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5%  AA) @ 15 min for 4,1 IBU
10g / 0,35 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 3%  AA) @ 15 min for 2,5 IBU

20g / 0,7 oz. East Kent Goldings (Pellet, 5%  AA) @ 5 min for 3,3 IBU
10g / 0,7 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet, 3%  AA) @ 5 min for 2,0 IBU

Extras
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½ Tablet of Whirlfloc @ 10 Min.
½ Teaspoon of yeast nutrient @ 10 Min.
2g Calcium Chloride in mash
3g Gypsum in mash

Yeast
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Wyeast London ESB Ale 1968, 1,5 Litre starter

Mash
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22,5 Litre BIAB @ 67 Celsius for 60 mins (5,93Gal/152F)

Tasting here – one of my best bitters to date.

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