Split British Bitter Batch Suggestions

I just bought NB’s bitter recipe kit. All my 5 gallons kegs are filled and I have two 2.5 gallon ones I want to use to keg the bitter, but seeing as it’ll be split anyway, I want to do a split fermentation (or secondary) and get creative with the 2nd.

But I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a real English bitter, and am not sure what would be a good addition. Fruit? Spices? Wood? Extract? What kind?

I’d go with two different dry hops. EKGs and Fuggles, for instance. Or get crazy and go with EKGs and something like Cascade or Amarillo. Only other option I’d consider is two yeast strains, but then you’re tying up two fermenters and two kegs.

I’d keep all of the nonsense-- fruit, spices, etc, out of any bitter. It’s a subtle beer that is a real balancing act between malt, hops, yeast, and condition (temp and carbonation)… to then come and steamroll that with a bunch of watermelon seems to be kind of missing the point.

The suggestion for different dry hops is a really good one. There are some less common British hops that you could play with, too - such as Northdown and Bramling Cross. A bitter with the gold-standard EKG hops dry-hopped with Bramling Cross is fantastic!

You could do a side mash with 5% chocolate malt and a bit more crystal and make a porter. You can also add a bit of black patent if you like a little more roast or color. The bitterness is about the same, and both styles have some hop flavors.

Parti gyle!

Run off a big ale with your first running and boil. Then run off your second runnings and boil. You get one big beer to enjoy throughout the year and a day-in-day-out beer to quench your thirst.

The suggestion to use different hops is good, but I would personally avoid that, because it would lengthen the brew day. I would ferment using two different yeast strains.

  • dry hops.