Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Tiny English Gentleman (Best Bitter) - Recipe & Brew Day

This beer kicks off the first of many brews in my "Tiny Beer" series. No, not tiny in flavor or batch, but in lower on the alcohol side. With the warmer weather and longer nights comes many a lazy weekend summer days/nights of parties, cook-outs and backyard drunken Badminton. And with the crackdown on drunk-driving and the lowering of the legal Blood Alcohol Content in many states, I wanted to start a "brew" series of sessionable beers. This way, friends and family can enjoy a few of my liquid bread concoctions and not get all tipsy at the same time.

While spending a few weeks up at my Aunt and Uncles place in the Seneca Lake region of upper state New York, I came across a small brewpub called Rooster Fish Brewing, which had an amazing Extra Special Bitter on tap. I instantly fell in love with the style and when I got back home started buying English-style Bitters. There is just something about these very quaff-able beers, with their light bodies, moderate carbonation, somewhat assertive hop presence and fruit, biscuity, bread-like, toasty, malty notes, that makes them delicious.

After searching the Interwebs for recipes, I came across Jamil's Ordinary Bitter and Jamil's Extra Special Bitter, which seemed like a nice place to start. I settled on taking parts from both recipes and brewing a Best Bitter. I couldn't find the Special Roast Malt, although I did have Victory Malt, which is by no means a substitute, but it will have to do.

The brew day itself went fairly smooth, other than my drill breaking down and I had to hand crank the grain mill, but no mistakes on the brewing side, or missed target gravities this time. The Best Bitter came out at about 1.047, which is on the higher end of the starting gravity. After pitching my 1600ml starter, I put the fermenter into my newly converted chest freezer controlled fermentation environment and set the dial for 68*F. Within 5 hours fermentation kicked in and the airlock was a bubbling.

The Tiny English Gentleman (Best Bitter) – Recipe & Brew Day Stats

Brewed: Sunday: June 20, 2010

Racked: just primary fermentation

Bottled/Kegged:July 3, 2010

Batch Size (Gal): 10.00

Brewhouse Efficiency: 70%

Wort Boil Time: 90 Minutes

Original Gravity: 1.047

Final Gravity:1.015

SRM: 11

IBU: 31

ABV: 4.32%

Grains/Sugars (Total Grain Bill (Lbs.): 18.02)

15.83 lbs. Maris Otter Pale Ale Malt (2~Row)

0.83 lbs. Crystal 120L Malt

0.83 lb. Aromatic Malt

0.52 lb. Victory Malt


0.25 oz. Mt. Hood, 4.70%, pellet, 60min

2.00 oz. East Kent Golding, 4.50%, pellet, 60min

1.00 oz. East Kent Golding, 4.50%, pellet, 15min

1.00 oz. East Kent Golding, 4.50%, pellet, 1min


WLP002: English Ale Yeast 1600ml. starter


2 tsp. Irish Moss, 15min


H2O/Grain Ratio: 1.33 qt/lb

Sacch. Rest Temp/Time: 152*F/75min

Mash Out Temp/Time: 165*F/10min

Sparge Temp/Time: 170*F/30min

Pre-Boil Vol: 12

Post-Boil Vol: 10

Evaporation Rate(per hour): 10%

Ferment Temp: 68°F

Primary Fermentation (Days):13

Secondary Fermentation (Days): N/A

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