Bletchley’s Best Bitter (Surefire Extract Recipe)

DSCN0129

It’s not an enigma. It’s a simple, delicious ale.

A few months ago, I ran a series of five beer recipes and titled them “Surefire Extract Recipes.” The name pretty much explains the idea — malt-extract-based recipes with a high probability of success. I’ve decided to go with three more and here’s the first of them, Bletchley’s Best Bitter. Situated between ordinary bitters and extra special bitters in the ranks of English pale ales, best bitters are balanced ales that walk the line between “weak” session beers and stronger English ales. Bletchley’s Best Bitter features British pale ale malt with a healthy dose of crystal malt. A firm hop bitterness and flavor of and aroma of Kent Goldings hops mingle with the estery fermentation character of the yeast. The crystal malt and yeast strain yield a full-bodied beer, without being cloyingly sweet. Brew this with quality malt and hops and you will love the flavor.

 

Bletchley’s Best Bitter

by Chris Colby

Extract; English units

 

DESCRIPTION

A pale ale with an overall balance between the malt with a caramel touch, aromatic hops, full body and moderate carbonation.

INGREDIENTS (for 5 gallons)

 

Water

carbon-filtered tap water, with 1/4 oz. (roughly 2 tsp.) gypsum added

Malt and Malt Extracts (for an OG of 1.046 and 14 SRM)

1.0 lb. British 2-row pale ale malt (3 °L)

1.0 lb. crystal malt (60 °L)

5.0 lbs. light liquid malt extract (British type, made with Maris Otter,  if possible)

Hops (for 36 IBU total)

Target hops (31 IBU)

0.75 oz., at 11% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes

Kent Golding hops (3 IBU)

0.50 oz., at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 10 minutes

Kent Golding hops (2 IBU)

0.50 oz., at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 5 minutes

Kent Golding hops

0.50 oz., at 5% alpha acids, added at knockout

Yeast (for a FG of 1.012 and an ABV of 4.5%)

Danstar Windsor dried ale yeast

Option

1 tsp. Irish moss (or one tablet Whirlfloc), boiled for 15 minutes

 

PROCEDURES

In your brewpot, begin heating 2.0 gallons of water to a boil. Aim to reach boiling when the grain steeping (actually a small mash) is done. In a separate, large (8-qt. or larger) pot, heat 2.8 qts. of water to 164 °F. Place crushed grains in a steeping bag and submerge in this second pot. Hold temperature around 153 °F for 60 minutes. In a third pot, heat 2.0 qts. of water to 170 °F to use as sparge water. After the grains have mashed, place a colander over your brewpot, set the grain bag in it and pour the wort through it (to filter out solid pieces of grain); then, rinse it with the sparge water. Stir in half of the malt extract and bring the wort to a boil. You should have about 3.0 gallons of wort. Do not let wort volume drop below 2.5 gallons during boil. (Top up with boiling water, if needed.) Once boil starts and the first bits of hot break show, add your bittering hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add remaining hops at times indicated. Add Irish moss with 15 minutes left in boil. Stir in the remaining malt extract in last 10 minutes. (Dissolve it in a small amount of wort first to make it easier to stir in.) Chill the wort to 68 °F and transfer it to your fermenter. Add cool water to make 5.0 gallons and aerate thoroughly. Pitch yeast and let ferment at 68 °F. Keg or bottle and carbonate to 2.32 volumes of CO2.

Screen Shot 2014-03-25 at 8.30.16 PM

Bletchley’s Best Bitter

by Chris Colby

Extract; metric units

 

INGREDIENTS (for 19 L)

 

Water

carbon-filtered tap water, with 7 g (roughly 2 tsp.) of gypsum added

Malt and Malt Extracts (for an OG of 1.046 and 14 SRM)

450 g British 2-row pale ale malt (3 °L)

450 g crystal malt (60 °L)

2.3 kg light liquid malt extract (British type, made with Maris Otter,  if possible)

Hops (for 36 IBU total)

Target hops (31 IBU)

21 g, at 11% alpha acids, boiled for 60 minutes

Kent Golding hops (3 IBU)

14 g., at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 10 minutes

Kent Golding hops (2 IBU)

14 g, at 5% alpha acids, boiled for 5 minutes

Kent Golding hops

14 g, at 5% alpha acids, added at knockout

Yeast (for a FG of 1.012 and an ABV of 4.5%)

Danstar Windsor dried ale yeast

Option

1 tsp. Irish moss (or one tablet Whirlfloc), boiled for 15 minutes

 

PROCEDURES

In your brewpot, begin heating 7.6 L of water to a boil. Aim to reach boiling when the grain steeping (actually a small mash) is done. In a separate, large (8-L or larger) pot, heat 2.6 L of water to 73 °C. Place crushed grains in a steeping bag and submerge in this second pot. Hold temperature around 67 °C for 60 minutes. In a third pot, heat 2.0 L of water to 77 °C to use as sparge water. After the grains have mashed, place a colander over your brewpot, set the grain bag in it and pour the wort through it (to filter out solid pieces of grain); then, rinse it with the sparge water. Stir in half of the malt extract and bring the wort to a boil. You should have about 11 L of wort. Do not let wort volume drop below 9.5 L during boil. (Top up with boiling water, if needed.) Once boil starts and the first bits of hot break show, add your bittering hops and boil for 60 minutes. Add remaining hops at times indicated. Add Irish moss with 15 minutes left in boil. Stir in the remaining malt extract in last 10 minutes. (Dissolve it in a small amount of wort first to make it easier to stir in.) Chill the wort to 20 °C and transfer it to your fermenter. Add cool water to make 19 L and aerate thoroughly. Pitch yeast and let ferment at 20 °C. Keg or bottle and carbonate to 2.3 volumes of CO2.

 

Related articles

Amber Socks Red Ale

Stringbag Mild Ale

Pharming Polly Scottish Heavy

Molassunami Brown Porter

Fugmission Brown Ale

Comments

  1. How necessary the 60 min steeping is? In other recipes I’ve seen, time for steeping is around 30 min (in my recipes, with dry extract).

    Thanks!

    • Chris Colby says:

      With low-enzyme British malts, 60 minutes is a good idea. This is a partial mash and you need some starch conversion to occur in the pale ale malt. If you know how to do an iodine test, you could do this and end the mash when it shows a negative result (no starch indicated). Or, you could probably cut the time to 45 minutes and not have any problems most of the time. 60 minutes is the safe recommendation, but you could try shorter times if you’re comfortable with risking some starch haze in your beer.

Speak Your Mind

*