The Quest for the Perfect Bitter

Help Support The HomeBrew Forum:

Sadfield

Landlord.
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
3,424
Reaction score
2,360
Location
Macclesfield
In my experience, it's clean for a Norwegian yeast in that it doesn't taste of orange peel etc, but it's not tasteless. I made a version of Simonds Bitter with it early last year and it fermented at around 18C. The beer had an indescribable element to it, which I recorded as "whiff of sea breeze" in a pleasant way- nothing to do with iodine or rotting fish. That gradually faded away leaving a very decent beer. Certainly there was nothing in common with the ester profiles we might expect from Windsor of London III or even West Yorkshire.
I've got some kveiks knocking around in the fridge: I might use the Voss if we ever see the sun again, and there are some other strangley named strains which I haven't tried. So far, Opshaug is the only one I would readily reach for.
I've been playing about with Ebbergarden, which is often cited as being one of the cleaner ones. It isn't though compared to American or Lager strains, and certainly not bland even in a beer that was pale malt and very little hops.
 

RoomWithABrew

Landlord.
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
941
Reaction score
574
Location
Paremata New Zealand
Well I'm a Brit down here in NZ so yes I do like bitter, have a beer engine but was just throwing an oats recipe in that could be a bit ter controversial! I've started to use Opshaug instead of WLP001 if the recipe wants a fairly neutral input from the yeast. I did leave this open for the first 48 hours but then put it under pressure as I didn't want any stonefruit type aromatics from the yeast in this beer. It is much less expressive than other Kveik beers I've tasted.
I agree you need an ale yeast to make ale and bitter to me is an ale. I haven't tried fermenting with Kveik cool so I'm not sure how that goes.

Getting the perfect bitter is a real challenge from grain to the glass, down here it's over hopped beers each way you look in the bars. Lucky that there are so many craft breweries in Wellington but they do seem to chase the end of the rainbow and it's not unusual for all the beers to be over 6 % which isn't very sessionable.
I've tried a couple of times to make Harveys best but that's a beer that does really need their yeast and I won't be able to get a sample to export until the borders open and I can get back to the UK. Unless someone wants to try sending the dregs of a brew in a PET bottle.
 

RoomWithABrew

Landlord.
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
941
Reaction score
574
Location
Paremata New Zealand
@Sadfield
I've made a couple of pseudo lagers with the Opshaug as well and the guys at homebrew club couldn't believe it was 3 weeks from starting, hot fermented but I did brew it under pressure straightaway and this really neutralises the esters from the yeast. I'm not a lager fan but do like to have one of the taps available in case any lager guests turn up.
 

Sadfield

Landlord.
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
3,424
Reaction score
2,360
Location
Macclesfield
Continued my own quest on Sunday and have the following fermenting away in a shallow(ish) open fv. Due to the infrequency of brewing British styles I'm following the advice I read from Adnams headbrewer and experimenting with a dry house blend, all the benefits of dry yeast without the decades of maintaining a culture. I'm using 50% Liberty Bell, 25% Windsor and 25% Safale BE-256.

18L batch to c3.8% and around 38 IBUs

Plumage Archer 2500g (92%)
Simpsons DRC 108g (4%)
Wheat Malt 108g (4%)

50 minute mash at 66c.

75 minute boil with.

Galaxy - 6g First Wort.
Challenger - 10g First Wort.

Challenger - 10g @ 15'
Styrian Goldings - 10g @ 15'
First Gold - 10g @ 15'

Styrian Goldings - 10g @ Flame out.
First Gold - 30g @ Flame out.

Water treated to match Graham Wheelers Bitter Profile

Ca - 150
Mg - 10
Na - 40
CO3 - 15
SO4 - 273
Cl - 137
 

An Ankoù

Landlord.
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
6,683
Reaction score
5,498
Location
Brittany, France
That looks very interesting. P A gives a very pale wort so the DRC should give it a bit of colour. Why did you use Galaxy as part of your bittering charge? I'd be very interested to know how that one turns out.
 

Sadfield

Landlord.
Joined
Oct 8, 2016
Messages
3,424
Reaction score
2,360
Location
Macclesfield
That looks very interesting. P A gives a very pale wort so the DRC should give it a bit of colour. Why did you use Galaxy as part of your bittering charge? I'd be very interested to know how that one turns out.
Without trying to fire up a previous argument. To see if it gives a combination of bitterness qualities or a more complex carry through of flavour from the bittering addition. I found the last brew, using just challenger for bittering, was a bit polite.

Another minor reason was that the galaxy and First Gold were pellets, so adding a bit more leaf in helped with filtering.
 

moto748

Landlord.
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,491
Reaction score
1,362
Another minor reason was that the galaxy and First Gold were pellets, so adding a bit more leaf in helped with filtering.
/
Are you saying that leaf tends to produce a clearer beer than pellets?
 

An Ankoù

Landlord.
Joined
Feb 2, 2019
Messages
6,683
Reaction score
5,498
Location
Brittany, France
Without trying to fire up a previous argument. To see if it gives a combination of bitterness qualities or a more complex carry through of flavour from the bittering addition. I found the last brew, using just challenger for bittering, was a bit polite.

Another minor reason was that the galaxy and First Gold were pellets, so adding a bit more leaf in helped with filtering.
Fair enough. I'd do the same.
In fact I half regret getting pellets by the kilo from GEB even though the prices are excellent. I've since bought in 300g each of EKGs, Fuggles, Saaz and Magnum for exactly the same reason. I sure wish CML did leaf. In fact I've started containing the boiling pellets in one of those fresh produce bags you can find in Sainsbury's (I'm told, my son got them for me). The mesh is really fine and the bags are big. Confining them doesn't seem to reduce the bitterness and they got a lot more circulation than they would in a spider.
 

moto748

Landlord.
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,491
Reaction score
1,362
Really enjoying this Five points bitter clone.
Five Points Best – Best Bitter | The Malt Miller
Based on details from the brewery and recipe on the malt miller site and the Craft beer channel episodes about brewing it.

I aimed for 30.5 litres in fermenter and used

4.9 kg Maris otter
0.223 kg Bairds amber malt
0.223 kg Med crystal
0.223 Wheat malt

Yeast nutrient, carrageenan and the hops .

Fuggles all the way.

I went with 50 g for 60
50 g for 15
100g at flameout


WLP 013 recommended


reply from the Five points brewery re the water.

Regarding the water profile for Best, I have this from the head brewer: "Hi mate, if you could pass to on aim for ~190 ppm calcium, 200 ppm chloride and 330 ppm sulphate."

Given the discussion above about hops and tending towards IPA seems even more hops here but definitely a bitter.
Really great drinking served from beer engine with a sparkler ( their recommendation ).

Have been stocking up on Fuggles for the next batch.
View attachment 47323 View attachment 47322

No finings used.

I am interested in this but it struck me that 4.9 kg of base malt doesn't sound much for a 30 litre batch size. I bunged the figures into a BHE calculator and it looked to require an unfeasible (for me) efficiency of 77% just to reach a modest 1044 OG.

But obviously you brewed it, RoomWithABrew, what OG did you aim for or achieve?
 

Galena

Landlord.
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
1,673
Reaction score
938
Location
Peak District
For what it's worth I developed my own recipe for Five Points from the YT video and for a 21L batch I used 3.56Kgs Base malt plus 170g each of Amber, Crystal and Wheat and I had an OG of 1045 and an ABV of 4.3%
 
Joined
Jun 10, 2019
Messages
5,772
Reaction score
5,961
Location
on the island
You will never get a perfect bitter, you will get one that most folks like but the perfect one is like searching for the lost chord, In my younger days i used to frequent a pub in blackrod just of the A6 Gorden the landlord served the most amazing pint of greenhalls bitter ever, just up the road was the Gerrard Arms in Aspull who had boddingtons to die for, this was back in late 70s early 80s, so no the perfect bitter is a myth
 
Joined
Aug 26, 2019
Messages
4,557
Reaction score
4,287
Location
Warrington
You will never get a perfect bitter, you will get one that most folks like but the perfect one is like searching for the lost chord, In my younger days i used to frequent a pub in blackrod just of the A6 Gorden the landlord served the most amazing pint of greenhalls bitter ever, just up the road was the Gerrard Arms in Aspull who had boddingtons to die for, this was back in late 70s early 80s, so no the perfect bitter is a myth
You've proved your point. Greenall Whitley beers were absolutely awful and that's from the experience of growing up in Northwich where every pub was GW. A perfect bitter is a personal thing that will also change with age and experience.
 
Joined
Oct 5, 2019
Messages
1,589
Reaction score
1,380
You've proved your point. Greenall Whitley beers were absolutely awful and that's from the experience of growing up in Northwich where every pub was GW. A perfect bitter is a personal thing that will also change with age and experience.

So much of that kind of thing is down to the pubs though, it used to be that there were only two pubs in central Leeds that had decent Tetley, most of them were either watering it down or just didn't know how to keep it.

And throughput makes such a difference for trad bitter - I've had beer from a brewery not known for its quality, but during an event where I imagine they were selling 9 gallons every 15 minutes or so, and it was absolutely singing. Went back a few hours later when it was quiet, and it was its usual dull self.
 

BlackRegent

Regular.
Joined
Nov 11, 2016
Messages
350
Reaction score
207
Location
NULL
And throughput makes such a difference for trad bitter - I've had beer from a brewery not known for its quality, but during an event where I imagine they were selling 9 gallons every 15 minutes or so, and it was absolutely singing. Went back a few hours later when it was quiet, and it was its usual dull self.

I've found the same with homebrew. The first session from a freshly brewed and properly conditioned keg of bitter can be a delight, but it loses its magic over the days and weeks it takes to finish it.

I also think context is important to your appreciation of a beer. The best bitter I recall having in recent times was a pint of Landlord at the White Swan in Fence, but that was probably because I'd been up and down Pendle Hill and was looking forward to some good food
 

moto748

Landlord.
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,491
Reaction score
1,362
You will never get a perfect bitter, you will get one that most folks like but the perfect one is like searching for the lost chord, In my younger days i used to frequent a pub in blackrod just of the A6 Gorden the landlord served the most amazing pint of greenhalls bitter ever, just up the road was the Gerrard Arms in Aspull who had boddingtons to die for, this was back in late 70s early 80s, so no the perfect bitter is a myth

That's just down the road from me, Rod!

Not that I've been in either. Yet.
 

moto748

Landlord.
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,491
Reaction score
1,362
For what it's worth I developed my own recipe for Five Points from the YT video and for a 21L batch I used 3.56Kgs Base malt plus 170g each of Amber, Crystal and Wheat and I had an OG of 1045 and an ABV of 4.3%

Thanks, Galena. That is slightly more base malt than RoomWithABrew's but you are both clearly considerably more efficient than me! Easy enough for me to make a small adjustment, anyway.

What yeast did you go with, if you don't mind me asking?
 

Erik The Anglophile

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 8, 2021
Messages
138
Reaction score
110
Location
Pålänge, Sweden
I've seen some discussion here about Tinseth IBU formula often overestimating the bitterness contribution of later hop additions.
For my next bitter brew I plan on adding 0.5g/ liter of EKG at 15 min left, and then do a 20 min hopstand at 80c with 1g/L EKG. Should I just in beersmith, add my desired amount of Challenger at 60 minto reach a bitternes ratio of 0.8 and ignore the suggested contribution of the other hop additions?
I don't really mind if the actual ratio ends up a point or two higher but prefferably not lower.
 

Galena

Landlord.
Joined
May 27, 2020
Messages
1,673
Reaction score
938
Location
Peak District
What yeast did you go with, if you don't mind me asking?
I have used WLP013 London Ale Yeast every time except the last brew of it when I decided to use WLP023 Burton Ale Yeast, this last brew is the best version but that may because of the yeast, that I gave it a more bitterness, or that I kegged rather than bottled for the first time.
 

moto748

Landlord.
Joined
Jul 15, 2010
Messages
1,491
Reaction score
1,362
I'm thinking of giving this a go for my next brew. I have the grains. I will mull over the yeast!

Can I also ask what hops you used, please, Galena?
 

Latest posts

Top