Saturday, November 9, 2013

#13 ESB - Recipe

Recipe     -     Brewday     -     Tasting

To be honest, I've never really been a huge fan of English bitters--or really most beers not from the good ol' USA--but several things lined up to make this a great time to brew an English bitter.  First of all, the last brew was a clone of the Samuel Smith Oatmeal Stout, so it would be nice to have something lighter on hand as a complement.  Another English beer would fit nicely, and on our trip trip to Europe last winter, my dad loved the English ales.

During the Nottingham leg of the trip, we made a pit stop at Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem--a pub claiming to be the oldest in England, and a favorite of knights on their way to join the crusades--for a pint and some fish and chips.  While definitely a local favorite, this place was literally a hole in the wall; the tiny building was nestled against Castle Rock, with tables and booths tucked into natural caverns in the cliff.  My Dad's Olde Trip from Greene King Brewery was his favorite beer during our travels, and among the bitters we tried it would be tough to argue against it.

On top of all that, I happen to be sitting on 40 lbs. of Maris Otter malt left over from the oatmeal stout.  What's special about Maris Otter?  Well for starters it's an English barley varietal bred specifically for brewing English ales.  But more interesting than that is the malting process: English malt was traditionally "floor malted" or spread out on the floor of the maltings to dry after germination and turned periodically.  This resulted in less even drying and kilning than modern malts, meaning a more interesting and malty character.  While I have heard that this maltster, Thomas Fawcett and Sons, no longer floor malts the Maris Otter sold here, it is still darker than most American malts.  I've been interested in how this actually comes across, so since I have the stuff on hand I like the idea of brewing a beer that really showcases it.

The recipe I'm going to use is pretty basic, like most bitters.  Malt, water, yeast, hops.  English beers tend to be smaller than American craft beers, but make up for that with techniques that maximize body and flavor.  At 1.050, this will be fairly big for the English (est. ABV 4.5%, as compared to Olde Trip which at 4.3% is the strongest draft ale in Greene King's lineup) but the smallest beer I've brewed in awhile.  This should give some room to play with English mashing techniques while still having a decent beer if I can't get the body I'm looking for.  I'm going to do another split batch to try out a couple English yeasts, the Whitbread Dry strain (S-04/Wyeast 1098 WLP007) and Worthington White Shield.  Like with the Maris Otter, I'm interested to see the difference the English variety makes over the classic American yeast I've been using.  Plus as a bonus, this batch will serve as a giant yeast starter for my next brew: a Russian imperial stout.

Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal
Estimated ABV: 4.5 %
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated FG: 1.014 SG
Estimated Color: 9.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 39.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 55.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 68.7 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Amt        Name                                     %/IBU         
13 lbs     Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)         92.9 %
1 lbs      Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (80.0 SRM)    7.1 %
2.00 oz    Goldings, East Kent [6.30 %] - Boil 60.0 31.3 IBU
1.00 oz    Goldings, East Kent [6.30 %] - Boil 15.0 7.8 IBU
1.0 pkg    British Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1098)    -
1.0 pkg    London Ale Yeast (Wyeast Labs #1028)     -

Mash Schedule: BIAB, 156F
Total Grain Weight: 14 lbs
Estimated Cost: $32.92

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