Best Bitter Recipe- would like your expertise please!

Discussion in 'Recipes for Feedback' started by Michael_biab, Jun 8, 2018.

  1. Michael_biab

    Michael_biab Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Ohio
    Hi All! I'm looking for some feedback on how to improve my favorite British Bitter recipe. Specifically, I entered it in a BJCP competition and it got a 33.5 or "Very Good" but I'd like to improve it to the "Excellent" range (knowing that achieving World Class Example is very very difficult).

    In terms of process, I'm using Brew in a Bag (BIAB), being careful to use a consistent mash temperature. I calculate and monitor Ph closely but did not adjust in the latest batch. I sanitize and watch my cleanliness carefully.

    In terms of ingredients, I'm using the freshest (British) ingredients I can source. I also used a liquid yeast culture that I've had success with before (it's fairly complex) and used a yeast starter. I kept the (pellet) hops British for the sake of authenticity, but wonder if I don't need more since the judges didn't seem to pick up too much aroma. I use tap water and campden tablets to deal with chlorine, and adjusted my water slightly with gypsum to harden it.

    I'm not sure what I can do and am hoping you have ideas. Thanks in advance!

    Here's a link to my recipe:

    https://www.brewersfriend.com/homebrew/recipe/view/577808/union-jack-it-best-bitter
     
  2. Ozarks Mountain Brew

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2012
    Messages:
    7,767
    Likes Received:
    3,977
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Managment
    Location:
    The Ozark Mountains of Missouri
    pretty standard bitter you might try Golden promise excellent grain, its my all time favorite but it does have a slight sweet taste to it some times
     
    Michael_biab likes this.
  3. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2016
    Messages:
    3,476
    Likes Received:
    2,694
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Austin, Texas
    #3 J A, Jun 8, 2018
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2018
    ^^^That...or Maris Otter.
    Recipe looks fine, though I might not use anything as dark as Carafa III. Maybe a slightly larger quantity of Special B or something. Hard to read the notes, but one mentions light body. Not necessarily a fault unless it's watery but a little Carapils or little higher mash temp might bring some body back into it and that's never a bad thing with a lighter beer. Hopping looks good...not sure I'd go changing that too much.
     
    Michael_biab likes this.
  4. Hogarthe

    Hogarthe Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    528
    Likes Received:
    264
    Trophy Points:
    63
    For a best bitter you have a fairly large dose of hops. Id change mash temp to 152-154 range. Your final gravity is pretty low so upping mash temp will give you a fuller beer. Other than that it looks solid. You could also try different brands of base malt to see if you like one better than the rest.
     
    Michael_biab likes this.
  5. KC

    KC Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2015
    Messages:
    323
    Likes Received:
    179
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Location:
    NY Capital
    My Strong Bitter got its best feedback with fuggle as aroma hop vice others I've tried. I'd like to try Whitbread Golding if I can find it.

    11B. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty.

    Using up to 1/3 white wheat, biscuit, victory, and/or toasted malt will achieve that and add the color you want without a specific color agent like carafa. Carastan covers the toasted part but any more and you may have too much toffee.
     
    Michael_biab likes this.
  6. thehaze

    thehaze Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2017
    Messages:
    177
    Likes Received:
    108
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I second Golden Promise or Maris Otter for base malt, or a combination of both. I use Golden Promise for pretty much everything and it works much better ( and better suited in many styles ) than MO, but that's a different discussion.

    I would not ever use any heavily roasted malts in a bitter, not even in a Extra Strong one. The roast flavour is detrimental to the overall flavour of a bitter, at least for my taste. If you want a hint of dryness / toastiness in your bitter, use Maris Otter and a combination of Crystal malts, something like a 45-60L Crystal and a little of Crystal 90L-120-160L.

    My best bitters use a flavourful base malt and a combination of Crystal malts, though never over 10% of the whole grain bill. An English yeast is a must ( The Yorkshire strain is a personal favourite ), English hops ( some US/AUS/NZ varities work well as well ) and a good water profile, with a little sulfate to help dry out the beer.
     
    Michael_biab and hundel like this.
  7. Hawkbox

    Hawkbox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2017
    Messages:
    3,759
    Likes Received:
    2,990
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Occupation:
    IT Manager
    Location:
    Edmonton
    Finding Golden Promise here is almost impossible so I use Marris Otter.
     
  8. illingwd

    illingwd Member

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2017
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Agree you should ditch the carafa. I guess the classic best bitter would use mostly maris otter or equivalent and up to 10% of British crystal malt. In terms of hops, I have a recipe (yet to try it) which recommends:

    First wort: Challenger 20g
    10 mins: East Kent Goldings 50g
    5 mins: Challenger 30g
    1 min: East Kent Goldings 50g
     
    Michael_biab likes this.
  9. Michael_biab

    Michael_biab Member

    Joined:
    Dec 4, 2017
    Messages:
    38
    Likes Received:
    14
    Trophy Points:
    8
    Location:
    Ohio
    Thanks everyone! Sounds like I have a couple of good suggestions to try to bring this one up to award level. I'll keep at it and let you know
     

Share This Page

arrow_white