An English Valentine

 This Valentine’s Day I brewed yet another English bitter.  This time it was planned to be a Premium or Best bitter and it actually turned out to fit the style.  There’s the style dilemma again, but I wanted to make something along the lines of Fuller’s London Pride and from what I’ve read, that’s the style in which Fuller’s places the beer.  At least it’s a good place to start. 

I say that it actually turned out to it fit the style because in the past I’ve made bitters and as is easy to do, I went too heavy on the hops.  I do love hops, but I also love the malty flavor of a good English bitter and in my previous attempts, the hops have overpowered the malt.  It’s just too easy, while brewing, to toss in extra hops because they are there, I don’t want to englishbitter1have an opened bag in the freezer, or at the time, I just think more is better.  Beer Alchemy gave me an estimated 24.7 IBUs for my hop schedule so that’s right at the low end of the style guidelines.  Speaking of Beer Alchemy, I plan to write something about the now three different recipe programs I have used.  Stay tuned, as they say.

I also forced myself to follow the recipe on brew day and keep the starting gravity around 1.045 instead of playing around and throwing in more extract as I am known to do.  I actually hit 1.044 so that’s just about perfect.  I want a middle ground bitter that’s malty but with some bitterness, some hop flavor and aroma, and something in the 4 – 4.5% ABV range.

As for yeast, I used Wyeast # 1768 English Bitter.  I was too busy and lazy to make a starter so I just pitched the smack-pack.  I think everything will be fine with the relatively low starting gravity and the fermentation temperature around 66 – 70.  After two days in the fermenter, there was a reasonably thick layer of krausen on top and a constant, but gentle burble from the blow-off tube.

It’s been a week now and the krausen has fallen.  When I switched the blow-off tube to a regular bubbler airlock, the beer smelled clean and bread-like.  By clean I mean that I didn’t smell a lot of yeast character.  So far so good.

As for a name for this one, I may just call it My English Valentine since it was made on Valentine’s Day.

The Adequate Brewer


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