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Exceptional Bitter recipe?

Anyone have an exceptional bitter recipe, something around 4-4.5%? I say exceptional not to poke fun at the “special” or “extra special” varieties (although the joke is well suited), but rather that I will be brewing up a batch for my wedding this fall and want something that is a crowd pleaser. I also have a saison, an IPA, and a brown to go along, but the bitter will be the only one on draft.

I know what I am going to do for the most part as far as base malt and yeast are concerned (maris otter and wyeast london esb), but if anyone has had great success with a specific recipe I’m all ears. Specifically any specialty malts worth mentioning or hop combinations. Also open to other yeast strains if something comes highly recommended, or any general brewing tips.

Thanks!

To be totally honest, I REALLY like NB’s ESB recipe. It is one of the best bitter recipes I have made.

It doesn’t exactly fit all the style guidelines but I love the Surly Bitter Brewer Pro Kit. OG is 1.040 and is certainly one of my favorites to have around during summer. I prefer the tart orange-ish flavors from the Glacier hops used over the herbal flavors from English hops usually found in bitters but that is just a personal preference.

[quote=“chaglund”]Anyone have an exceptional bitter recipe, something around 4-4.5%? I say exceptional not to poke fun at the “special” or “extra special” varieties (although the joke is well suited), but rather that I will be brewing up a batch for my wedding this fall and want something that is a crowd pleaser. I also have a saison, an IPA, and a brown to go along, but the bitter will be the only one on draft.

I know what I am going to do for the most part as far as base malt and yeast are concerned (maris otter and wyeast london esb), but if anyone has had great success with a specific recipe I’m all ears. Specifically any specialty malts worth mentioning or hop combinations. Also open to other yeast strains if something comes highly recommended, or any general brewing tips.

Thanks![/quote]

The commercial bitters I enjoy and the best ones I have brewed have something in common: They’re made from simple recipes. Don’t over-complicate a bitter. A base of good UK pale malt, some crystal for color and a touch of background sweetness and some nice UK hops in two additions. This is my version of Bluebird Bitter and it always seems to please. This is a ten gallon recipe but it can easily be scaled to batch size. Challenger hops are what they use and they do work very well in this beer.

15.5 lb MO Pale malt
.75 lb UK 55L crystal

Mash for 60 minutes @ 151F/66C.

2 oz Challenger @ 90 minutes
1 oz Challenger @ 15 minutes

:cheers:

Innkeeper is my staple bitter always on tap.
Use wyeast 1469 is all I will say.

Bulldog ESB
OG: 1.061
SRM: 10.9
IBU: 40.7
5.4% ABV

10.0 lb Marris Otter
1.0 lb Victory Malt
0.25 lb Crystal 120L
0.50 lb Crystal 20
L

2.0 oz Willamette @ 60 min
1.0 oz Willamette @ 0 min
2.0 oz 131 Westchester hops (55% Zeus, 44% Magnum, 1% Cascade) Dry Hop

Wyeast London ESB 1968

Here’s the article I wrote for it as well. I’ve made this twice - the second time with a limited-edition ESB yeast from Wyeast.

http://freshbeereveryfriday.blogspot.co ... g-esb.html

I just bottled this, and the sample taste was great.
My LBS came up with this when I asked to try and
replicate a bitter something like Goose Island Honker’s Ale.
The sample tasted right on.

5 gallon

8 lb Maris Otter
1 lb Crystal 120L

60 minute mash @ 155F

1 oz East Kent Goldings 60 min
1/2 oz East Kent Goldings 30 min
1/2 oz East Kent Goldings 1 min

For the yeast, I was using a yeast cake from a US05 brown I had done.
Perhaps there is a more appropriate yeast.

My taste was just a sample before I bottled, but it was really good, and I think it would appeal to an average crowd. I must admit to forgetting to take the OG, but the FG was 1.008, and I think this recipe would be in the range you are shooting for.

Here is my favorite- Scored 40 & 41 in the last 2 comps I entered. You can choose any yeast you want but I prefer 1318 or 1028 but 1968 is good as well with this recipe.

Whitechapel’s Best

6.0 Gals

OG 1.048
FG 1.012-14
8 SRM
37 IBU
ABV 4.5%
Malts:
93% or 9.375 lbs Simpsons Golden Promise
2% or 3oz Extra Dark British Crystal 135-165L
sprinkle of Black Malt for color. I use about 1/2 oz
Adjuncts:
5% or .5lbs Turbanado Sugar can use Cane as well added at beginning of boil.

Hops:
60mins- .75oz First Gold, .75oz Whitbred Goldings, .50 East Kent Goldings
Flame out- .25oz First Gold, .25 Whitbred Goldings

Mash 152 until conversion.

If using WY 1318 cool wort and pitch adequate amount of yeast at 68F- ferment until terminal. I rack mine to a keg at about 10 days depending upon how the beer tastes. I usually have it tapped at about 3 weeks and it drinks well for about a month or so.

Good luck on whichever recipe you decide.

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