Monday, April 16, 2012

A Little Bitter Would Be Better

About this time last year I decided that I wanted to brew a best bitter but ended up falling way short on the gravity I was looking for and made the beer an ordinary bitter instead. Skip forward a few months and Fuggold Bitter, named for obvious reasons, was, I felt, the weakest of the various beers I entered in the Dominion Cup. The world being full of little quirks, my bitter placed ahead of a couple of ESBs to take gold for the English Pale Ale category.

Coming back to 2012, one of the local breweries here has decided to work with the homebrew club I go to, the Charlottesville Area Masters of Real Ale, to pick a medal winning beer from 2011 for the Great American Beer Festival's Pro-Am competition later this year. Hence I brewed a new batch of Fuggold Bitter yesterday.

I tweaked the recipe in two ways yesterday, last year the beer was a mini-mash to supplement dry malt extract and was fermented with the Windsor yeast strain, this year the beer is all grain and I am using Safale US-05 as it is similar the brewery's house ale yeast.

The recipe itself is quite simple really:
  • 67% Maris Otter
  • 13% Amber Malt
  • 13% Brown Malt
  • 7% Crystal 10
  • 19 IBU Fuggles for 60 minutes
  • 10 IBU Kent Goldings for 15 minutes
  • 1 IBU Fuggles for 1 minute
  • Safale US-05
I hit my gravity just right at 1.038 and within a couple of hours of pitching, the Safale was doing a right number on the fermentables. If everything goes well, I will have a 3.7% abv bitter to bottle in a couple of weeks.

Knowing the standard of the other brewers taking part I will be quite surprised if Fuggold Bitter gets the nod, but you have to be in it to win it.

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