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Problems with surly bitter brewer kit

I brewed the bitter brewer all grain kit a month ago. It turned out way too dark, almost like a brown ale and didn’t really taste like bitter brewer at all. I contacted NB and they sent me a replacement kit which I brewed today. It turned out the exact same color. Has anyone else had this problem? To me it looked like there was way too much roasted barley in the mash. Recipe only calls for .05 lbs.

Is there something I could be doing wrong to make the color this far off?


I brewed the partial mash version of this recipe. I’m not sure exactly what the color is supposed to be, but I ended up with a SRM around 9.5.

Here is a poor photo of the beer from sometime in March.


I didn’t directly compare with the Surly version as the keg died before Bitter Brewer came out in May. When I tried the real version, I thought that the partial mash was pretty close in flavor.

Was your beer much darker than this image?

Yes mine was much darker, both times I brewed it. It looks like a brown ale. The one you made looks about right.
In this picture the beer on the right is the one I made a month ago, the one on the left is the wort from today.

Wow. That’s a dramatic difference. It has got to be the recipe. I don’t think anything in the mash or boil could impart that much dark color.

As you suggested, there must be a measurement error with the roasted barley.

Are you sure you did not order the Surly Bender? Which is a brown ale?

Done the kit recipe (or a modification) of several times and mine has always turned out like Scott’s. Guessing something is hosed up on the pull sheet in the warehouse for it to happen twice.

Yeah looks like bender which is a awesome beer the bitter is allot lighter.

It wasn’t bender. I thought that too at first… maybe they sent me the grains for the bender kit. But it didn’t taste like bender at all and both kits said bitter brewer on the bag of grains. I talked to customer service and they are giving me a credit and he said he though they must be adding too much roasted barley to the kit somehow and was going to look into it.

That’d be my guess, too: someone transposed a number. 0.05 lbs is 0.8 ounces. Playing around with beersmith, 8.0 ounces of roast barley starts to get the color you’re showing.

Here is a picture of the mash from that day. Definitely looks like more than .05 lbs of roasted barley.

So how does it taste?
(Wonder if they have a lot of those already pulled? Watch for a newly named kit from NB!)

It doesn’t taste terrible and would probably pass for a crappy brown ale, but im going to dump it.

I realize you have not paid for the brew, but don’t you have someone that would drink it instead of dumping it?

Augh, don’t dump it! I made a Stone Levitation clone that had a similar issue: recipe called for 7.1 ounces of black patent, when it was really 0.71 ounces. It’s a bit different–and certainly isn’t Levitation–but tastes nice for what it is.

I only have one keg though and I am brewing again this weekend and need to free it up. I may bottle some of it and drink some of it before I need the keg.

I had the same problem with NB’s Belgian Golden Ale all grain kit. It was indeed all grain, but it certainly didn’t turn out golden. It’s much more like a huge dubbel. Good, but now what I wanted. Hopefully they’ve edumacated the person filling orders.

Edumacated lmao!

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