I’m thinking that my extract beer is probably going to be the best of the beers I’ve made so far and the only one without a “kit” feel to it, so before making the Kriek, I want to do another extract beer.

Since I have two IPA’s on the go at the moment (All Centennial IPA and Triple Cock(-up) IPA), I want to do somethings different – maybe an English style ale or bitter.

Here’s the ingredients I could order from Advance Brewing:

Hops:
Fuggles (5.0%), Northern Brewer (7.5%), and Goldings (5.4%) leaf.

DME:
Munton’s Spraymalt – extra light, light, medium, dark, or wheat.

Grains (can’t get a lot of British crystal):
Northwest C15, C40, C60, C75, C150
Weyermann Carared 15.6-19.3 lovibond
Muntons Crystal 42-49 lovibond
Muntons Chocolate (432), Black (550-600), Roast Barley (670), Japanese Roast Malt (394)
Flaked oat, rice, rye

My initial thought is this to make a single hop – so that I can get an idea of what that hop does. A number of bitters (eg Bishop’s Finger and Fiddlers Elbow) seem to be based around Goldings, so I’m thinking to go with that. Those same recipes also use wheat malt – I can’t get grain for that but I could use a pack of wheat spraymalt.

This is what I’m thinking of:

2.0kg (4.4lbs) Light Spraymalt
0.5kg (1.1lbs) Wheat Spraymalt
0.3kg (0.65lbs) Muntons Crystal 42-49L

East Kent Goldings 5.5% Leaf.
45g (1.5oz) @ 60m
15g (0.5 oz) @ 20m
15g (0.5oz) @ 0m

S-04 yeast

Based on a boil volume of 9.5L (2.5g US) and batch size of 22.7L (6g US), this gives me:
OG 1.037 – FG 1.009
IBU 36
ABV 1% (in line with Japanese regulations, certainly not 3.6% or anything like that)

Alternatively I could make 21L (5.5g US) and get:
OG 1.040 – FG 1.010
IBU 40
ABV 1% (not 3.9%)

Update 20th April 2009: I made a mistake with the beer calculator, choosing “steeped” for the wheat malt extract instead of “extract”. No idea how I did that. The result is that the OG/FG values above are too low. See here for the actual recipe I used – I had to adjust down the malt by 0.5kg, 1.1lbs.

However according to the Tasty Brew calculator (which I used to make this recipe), that’s at the high end of the “Bitter And English Pale Ale, Ordinary Bitter” style, so I would probably need to go for 6g.

I’ve posted this bitter challenge and my idea to some forums. Let’s see whether my recipe gets the thumbs up or there are better suggestions.

Update

The best feedback I received was this by Little Egypt on Northern Brewer.

while I agree that you’re probably better off with plain extra light spraymalt, don’t hesitate to use the wheat. At that O.G. and percentage of wheat extract (which I’m pretty sure is 50/50 wheat / barley), I don’t see much influence. Other than that, I think you’re off to a good start for your bitter. Goldings is a good choice if you’re looking for a single hop English bitter.

If you’re looking to match something like Bishop’s Finger, first off it’s not a bitter but an “English Pale Ale – ESB” (Shepherd Neame calls it a “strong ale”) http://www.bjcp.org/2008styles/style08.php . The bottle I brought back from England says (*pulls bottle off shelf*): 5.4% EtOH/vol; hops – only locally grown east Kent Goldings (I’m sure your goldings will be fine); malt – from locally grown Kent barley (no wheat mentioned but they may not list everything); water – from our artisan well (here’s where you run into trouble – best bet is to use RO or distilled water and add some Burton salts but not a ton – maybe 1/2-1 teaspoon). Aim for an O.G. around 1.053 with extra light spraymalt and 2-2.5 Kg of your medium crystal. Keep your hop schedule and yeast as you presented. Ferment around 70F (21C).

That will put you in the ballpark and you can tweak the next batch to your liking. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with a lower EtOH version if that’s what you prefer. If the beer is too estery, ferment cooler or switch to another yeast. US-05 fermented at ~72-75 is nice for this style I’ve found. I’ve consumed and made many bitters and loved every one of them!! Good luck!

I considered changing the amount of malt to reach a higher OG, but after listening to this mp3 recommended by richter (again, Northern Brewer) I decided I wanted to stick with a lighter bitter that can be chugged down. I’ve just ordered from Advance Brewing – the first time for me to order from them and to order by myself in Japanese. Unfortunately had to substitite the Muntons Crystal 42-49L for plain Crystal 40L since they’ve run out of the Muntons. I also ordered Weyermann Carared 15.6-19.3, though I’ll probably keep that for another time. Total cost will be around 6500yen, about 65USD/44GBP.

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