British Series: Timothy Taylor Best Bitter

Ever since a three-week vacation in the UK a couple years ago, I’ve had a thing for researching and brewing British ales.  While there I picked up copies of Dave Line’s Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy and Graham Wheeler’s Brew Your Own British Real Ale.  Having had quite a few of these beers on cask in various pubs made the whole experience that much more awesome.

Since I have all the ingredients (except the yeast) we’ll brew Timothy Taylor Best Bitter, since renamed Boltmaker.  A few notes:

  • Malt: Wheeler simply states “pale malt” but a bit of research indicates that Timothy Taylor may use Golden Promise, at least for Landlord.  There are few references to Best Bitter/Boltmaker, and none state the specific malt used.  In any case, I have Maris Otter on-hand, so that’s what I’m using.  On the other hand, I only have Crystal 60L while Wheeler recommends 120L – 150L, so this brew will be a bit lighter in color and a bit less toffee flavored.
  • Hops: Wheeler refers only to “Golding” hops, and does not specifically mention any particular variety such as East Kent or Whitbread.  I have some generic UK Goldings at 5.5% AA, so in the pot they go.
  • Yeast: It appears that Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire is the actual yeast Timothy Taylor uses, based on quick research.  Quick trip to the store and we’ve got it.

The Recipe

Expected OG: 1.039
Expected FG: 1.009
Mash: 90m @ 151F

6.68 lbs (3030g) Muntons Maris Otter
5.7 oz (160g) Muntons Light Crystal 60L
0.9 oz (26g) British Black Malt

1.23oz (35g) UK Goldings @ 90m
0.42oz (12g) UK Goldings @ 10m
Whirlfloc @ 10m

Wyeast 1469 West Yorkshire Ale

The Process

I hit strike temperature exactly but since there’s a couple degrees difference between the MLT and the HLT due to the pumps and coil, the temp dropped to 148 for the first few minutes.  I brought it back up to 151F about 10 minutes later and adjusted to pH 5.25 with some lactic acid.

Mill me some Best Bitter

After a 90 minute mash and mashout at 168F my first runnings were about 1.040.  Because I was lazy I ended up with 8.5 gallons @ 1.025, while my pre-boil target was 7.5 gallons @ 1.030, so boil down we go.  40 minutes later we’re at 7.5 gallons @ 1.030, so I toss in the first batch of Goldings, and start the clock on the boil.  11:00 o’clock rolls around and the chilled wort is kegged and the yeast added, ending up with 5.5 gallons @ 1.040.  Not too shabby.

Cleanup lasts longer, unfortunately.  I really need to find ways to make brew days shorter, though my main breaker tripping while heating the strike water didn’t help.

This morning the airlock is bubbling every 10 seconds or so, and the chamber is set to 66F which is on the low side of the Wyeast recommended range of 64F to 71F.  I prefer to ferment low to reduce esters.