Mainline bitter - a traditional dark English Bitter

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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:
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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
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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
 

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.
 

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.
 

foxbat

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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.
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.
 
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foxbat

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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.
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.
 

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?
 

foxbat

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

BrewCurious

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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.
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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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.
 

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
 

foxbat

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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.
I hope your brewday went smoothly. Please do keep us updated with how it turns out when it's done.
 

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.
 

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!
 

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.
 

foxbat

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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.
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.
 

BeerCat

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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.
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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