Mainline bitter - a traditional dark English Bitter

Discussion in 'Complete and Brewed Recipes' started by foxbat, Oct 5, 2017.

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  1. Oct 5, 2017 #1

    foxbat

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    Sometimes you just need to put down those American hops and get back to basics with a proper English Bitter. This is my recipe that's just come really good after 4 weeks bottle conditioning. Tasting notes are caramel and toffee on the nose, moderate bitterness, smooth and caramel in the mouth and a dry finish with earthy flavours from the Fuggle. I love it and it sort of reminds me of Cameron's Strongarm from 20 years ago. Enough waffle and on with the recipe:

    Code:
    Recipe Specifications
    --------------------------
    Estimated OG: 1.043 SG
    Estimated Color: 26.9 EBC
    Estimated IBU: 33.5 IBUs
    Brewhouse Efficiency: 70.00 %
    Est Mash Efficiency: 75.2 %
    Boil Time: 60 Minutes
    
    Ingredients:
    ------------
    Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
    29.28 l               Tesco Ashbeck                            Water         1        -             
    4.00 g                Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins Water Agent   2        -             
    3.00 g                Calcium Chloride (Mash 60.0 mins)        Water Agent   3        -             
    3.00 g                Epsom Salt (MgSO4) (Mash 60.0 mins)      Water Agent   4        -             
    3.62 kg               Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC)         Grain         5        93.5 %        
    0.19 kg               Caramel/Crystal Malt - 80L (240.0 EBC)   Grain         6        5.0 %         
    0.06 kg               Chocolate Wheat Malt (1000.0 EBC)        Grain         7        1.5 %         
    15.00 g               Challenger [12.25 %] - Boil 60.0 min     Hop           8        22.3 IBUs     
    10.00 g               Fuggle [5.80 %] - Boil 60.0 min          Hop           9        7.0 IBUs      
    3.00 g                Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)              Fining        10       -             
    15.00 g               East Kent Goldings (EKG) [5.90 %] - Boil Hop           11       3.9 IBUs      
    10.00 g               Fuggle [5.80 %] - Boil 1.0 min           Hop           12       0.3 IBUs      
    1.0 pkg               Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007)     Yeast         13       -             
    
    Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
    Total Grain Weight: 3.88 kg
    ----------------------------
    Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
    Mash In           Add 24.28 l of water at 70.8 C          68.0 C        60 min        
    4ml 60% lactic acid added to mash water (Bru'n'water calcs)
    
    Carbonate to 1.9 vols.
    
    Target ABV was 4.1% but my WLP007 was a bit more hungry than Beersmith thought it would be, finishing at 1.008 instead of the predicted 1.011 so it's 4.6% which is fine by me because I prefer a dry finish to a bitter.

    pint-2-weeks-small.jpg
     
  2. Aug 26, 2018 #2

    BrewCurious

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    Hi Foxbat. I see you are online at present. Just brewing your Mainline bitter. Can you confirm what time for the EKG hop addition. I have guessed at 10 mins from the IBU contribution. Recipe template seems to have run out of space! I really like the sound of all your recipes on here and am planning the Fuggle duck with the remainder of my fuggle hops.
     
  3. Aug 26, 2018 #3

    Clint

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    Looks great...I might have to have a go! Only got std choc malt though but got torefied wheat if needed.
     
  4. Aug 26, 2018 #4

    foxbat

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    You can miss out the chocolate wheat altogether. I only used it for colouring. The darker sweeter crystal in my mind feels more 'right' in a darker colour beer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2018
  5. Aug 26, 2018 #5

    foxbat

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    Hi, 10 mins is right for the EKG. I must do this one again soon myself, maybe with a lighter crystal to see how that works out. I really enjoyed it right down to the last bottle.
     
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  6. Aug 26, 2018 #6

    darrellm

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    Just curious - is there any particular reason why you used Challenger and Fuggles for bittering, and those particular quantities?

    I'm still trying to get my head round building recipes, I always just use a single bittering hop and juggle the late hops but perhaps I'm missing something with these more complex recipes?
     
  7. Aug 26, 2018 #7

    foxbat

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    For this recipe I think I started with the hop combo for Old Peculiar in GW's book and then scaled it a bit to put the IBU where I wanted it for the lower ABV then added some late Fuggles because, well, I like the earthy Fuggle flavour a lot.
     
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  8. Aug 26, 2018 #8

    BrewCurious

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    HaHa. I might be there! I only had EBC 80 crystal so used that but upped the Chocolate wheat malt to keep the lovely dark colour! Looks great in the testing jar. I have just over 23L at 1042 in the FV (probably 1.5litres of trub in there) so pretty happy with efficiency (for me) . Will be pitching MJ New World yeast so sorry its become a bit of a bastardisation of your recipe-but definitely 'based on'. acheers.
     
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  9. Aug 27, 2018 #9

    Portreath

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    I do like a good English bitter, and this looks like a right cracker. I'll be noting this one down and getting one on soon. Thanks for sharing.
     
  10. Aug 27, 2018 #10

    foxbat

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    There are some easy customisations you can make to tailor this to your taste .

    WLP007 is very dry. If your yeast tends to finish higher then a bit less crystal might be appropriate. If you use dry yeast I think S04 or Nottingham would be best.

    If you prefer floral flavours to earthy then EKG at the 1 min point may work better for you. Likewise if you like the challenger flavour I'm sure that would work too.
     
  11. Feb 8, 2019 #11

    pilgrimhudd

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    Brewed this one this morning ( not stalking you foxbat I promise :laugh8:), got an OG of 1044, it's a lovely colour. I used Safale us-04 instead, appears to be bubbling away nicely.
     
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  12. Feb 8, 2019 #12

    Nicks90

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    Pretty similar to my ag#3 which is a lovely dark ruby bitter.
    It's still young but tastes lovely with a chocolate caramel winter warmer snuggly blanket type bitter.
    Your recipe is definitely a keeper for my next dark ale ,as a tweak to what I did previously
     
  13. Feb 9, 2019 #13

    foxbat

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    I hope your brewday went smoothly. Please do keep us updated with how it turns out when it's done.
     
  14. Feb 9, 2019 #14

    Zephyr259

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    Along with Fuggle Duck your recipes look so appealing @foxbat, I'm out of my Yorkshire bitter so was going to try FD but brewed a EKG/Saaz pale ale which is currently conditioning and I'd planned an 80/- using a recipe from @JonBrew. So maybe in a month or two.
     
  15. Feb 9, 2019 #15

    pilgrimhudd

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    I will do! Brewday went like clockwork, underestimated the boil off so only got 8.5 litres in the fv but happy with that. Only potential problem being that i splashed a load of sink water from the bottom of the stock pot into the fv just before i sealed it up. Hopefully no infection brewing!
     
  16. Feb 9, 2019 #16

    BeerCat

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    Looks like another cracking beer! Never brewed a bitter but i had a fantastic one from @dan125 which has really made me want to give them a go. For English yeast i have London ale 3 or British ale 2. I dont understand water chemistry unless using a blank slate so could you tell me what the alkilinity was and the chloride/sulphate ratio. I do have epsom salts but never used any.
     
  17. Feb 9, 2019 #17

    foxbat

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    I brewed with Ashbeck so the alkalinity was 25 to begin with. After adjustment, sulphate: 126, Chloride 77. I targeted pH 5.30 and used lactic acid to get there. All calculations done with Brunwater.
     
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  18. Feb 9, 2019 #18

    BeerCat

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    Thanks mate, this is definitely on my to do list. Only just started using brewing software to calculate my water and finding it fascinating. Looking forward to sharing with friends.
     

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