The recipe for this special bitter (slightly stronger than an ordinary bitter, but not as strong/malty as an ESB) was heavily guided by my experiences with Golding Medal Bitter and Landlord Clone I've posted about previously. The grist was very similar to Golding Medal except that I swapped out the amber malt for home toasted Maris Otter, used a darker crystal, and added some flaked barley for better head retention. The hop bill was closer to Landlord, relying solely on Styrian Goldings for bitterness and hop aroma. Despite what their name suggests Styrian Goldings are Fuggles: "Styrian is thought to be Fuggle introduced to former Yugoslavia circa 1900."(although the different growing conditions give them more floral/citrus aroma than their earthier English brothers).
Wyeast 1968 London ESB has become my favorite strain for English beers because it accentuates the toasty malt, adds a bit of fruit, and flocculates quickly (often dropping bright within a week of pitching). Other strains I've tried bring too much mineral character (WL Burton Ale, and WY Thames Valley Ale) or are painfully slow to flocculate (WY West Yorkshire Ale). The only issue with 1968 is that sometimes it flocculates too quickly, sinking to the bottom before fermentation is complete; to help counter this tendency I swirled the yeast back into suspension once a day for a few days after fermentation slowed.
I keg conditioned this beer, partly as a nod to tradition, but mostly because I didn't have a spot for it to force carbonate in my kegerator. As soon as one of the taps opens up I'll cool the keg down and see how this summer session ale turned out.
Styrian Golding Special Bitter
Batch Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.25
Anticipated OG: 1.044
Anticipated SRM: 9.8
Anticipated IBU: 49.6
Brewhouse Efficiency: 77 %
Wort Boil Time: 75 Minutes
84.8% - 7.00 lbs. Maris Otter
6.1% - 0.50 lbs. Flaked Barley
6.1% - 0.50 lbs. Home Toasted Maris Otter
3.0% - 0.25 lbs. Crystal 120L
1.00 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet 5.15% AA) @ 60 min.
1.00 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet 5.15% AA) @ 20 min.
1.00 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet 5.15% AA) @ 15 min.
1.00 oz. Styrian Goldings (Pellet 5.15% AA) @ 5 min.
0.50 Whirlfloc @ 5 min.
0.50 tsp Yeast Nutrient @5 min.
WYeast 1968 London ESB
Profile: Filtered Washington DC (plus 5 g gypsum)
Sacch Rest 60 min @ 150
4/9/11 Toasted 9 oz of Maris Otter at 400 F for 20 minutes. Made a 1.5 L starter with 6 week old yeast. Started very quickly.
4/10/11 Brewed with Luke
Batch sparged with 180 F water. Collected 7.25 gallons pre-boil.
Added 5 g of gypsum to the boil. The last dose of hops was accidentally added too early so we ended up with a 15 min addition instead of a 10 min.
Chilled to 66 F, shook to aerate, and pitched the decanted starter (amazing how fast that happened). Left at 60 F to ferment. Solid fermentation by 12 hours. Rose to 65 F ambient over the next 48 hours. Roused several times to get the yeast back into suspension. At 48 hours moved the beer to 70 F to ensure that it finished fermentation.
Added an airlock when I was sure it was not going to overflow.
4/21/11 Racked to a keg, down to 1.012. Added 2.75 oz of cane sugar and left at 70 F to carbonate. Nice fruity/hoppy flavor, should be ready to drink shortly.
7/7/11 Tasting of the last glass of this batch, kicked much faster than I expected. Solid beer, Styrians were a bit more potent than I wanted, but otherwise close to my ideal Best Bitter.