Brew Day: Premium English Bitter (Beer #31)

February 12, 2012 by Jack

Vital Stats:
Target OG: 1.047 Actual OG: 1.047
Target FG: 1.013 Actual FG: 1.011
ABV: 4.8%
Color: 11.2 SRMĀ (Calculated)
Bitterness: 30.8 IBU (Calculated)
Yeast: Wyeast 1968 ESB

I brewed the Northern English Brown ale on a Friday night after work. The following morning (Saturday, January 14, 2012) I got up and brewed a batch of English Premium Bitter. The recipe, as usual, came from Brewing Classic Styles. Much like the batch the night before, I used the “scale recipe” function in BeerSmith to adjust the recipe to account for my system’s efficiency. It came up with this grist bill:

– 7 lb. 4.8 oz. Munton’s Maris Otter
– 8.2 oz. Aromatic (26°L)
– 8.2 oz. Crystal 120°L
– 4.1 oz. Special Roast (50°L)

Much like the previous recipe, after scaling the recipe I hit the target pre-boil and OG values. So far so good for assuming 78% efficiency and scaling to meet it.

The beer fermented out in three days at 68°F. I let it sit for two more days, then crash-cooled the carboy in the fridge for three days, then kegged it up. After getting it carbonated I realized I had a problem: major diacetyl bomb. It was bad. I named the beer “Bitterscotch” when I took a liter of it to the T.R.A.S.H. meeting to have people taste.

The beer was overwhelmed by butterscotch flavor. I felt it ruined the beer. But there was hope. Some friends from T.R.A.S.H. suggested it could be saved by pitching in an active starter of fresh yeast. This process – called krausening – was worth a try. I moved the keg to a warm (70°F) spot in my house and waited until Batch #33 (APA) was ready to be racked to secondary for dry-hopping. I harvested the APA’s yeast (Wyeast 1056), brewed a 1 liter starter, and added a healthy cup of the washed yeast to the starter. I let it run overnight on the stir plate and build up a good krausen. In the morning I pitched the active starter right into the keg of Bitter and left it at ~70°F for a week. It’s still sitting there, but it has to be as done as it’s going to get after that much time. Soon I will rack it to a new keg (to separate it from all the American Ale yeast I pitched into it) and put it in the keezer to re-equibrilate it’s carbonation. Hopefully the diacetyl is toned down enough to make the beer decent.

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