BIAB#2 – Navy Pier Special Bitter


Tight git that I am these days, I was determined to re-use the yeast slurry from my first BIAB effort, Tailgunner Best Bitter. This recipe is based on a clone recipe I found for the wonderful Goose Island Honkers Ale. So how does this recipe differ from my last special bitter? Well, I’ve left out the torrified wheat and will be using a much bigger amount of plain wheat malt. I’m expecting a significant flavour contribution from this as it’s not there simply for head retention. This is also a much hoppier beer, with three large additions of Fuggles. (Goose Island is reported to use all Styrian Goldings and Fuggles were the closest match I had available.)


Boil Size: 12.00 l
Post Boil Volume: 10.00 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 15.00 l
Bottling Volume: 15.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 10.9 SRM
Estimated IBU: 29.3 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 60.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


2.600 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM), 79.0 %
0.395 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (2.0 SRM), 12.0 %
0.140 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 40L (40.0 SRM), 4.3 %
0.140 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 75L (75.0 SRM), 4.3 %
0.016 kg Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM), 0.5 %
23 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 19.6 IBUs
21 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 20.0 min, 6.5 IBUs
0.50 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins)
21 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 1.0 min, 3.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Fermentis SafAle S-04

01/01/2013 – I wanted to test my process to see if I can get a consistent efficiency with my BIAB process, even if that efficiency is very low. So I used the same volumes of water and the same method of sparging. I think I may have rinsed the grains a little better in the sparge pot this time though. My OG, which I measured after topping up to about 13.5 litres was 1.052! So I topped up further to the 15 litre mark. This beer is understandably a little darker than my Fool’s Gold Bitter because it has a greater amount of crystal malt. I pitched about 400ml of the S-04 yeast slurry into my 15 litre fermeter and it’s bubbling away like a beast. Hopefully I can get another 25 bottles out of this batch.

I was feeling so smug that I immediately set about doing another batch of beer. Bad move, as it turned out. Here’s the post about it, “Pie-O-My” Amber Ale.

10/01/2013 – Bottled to 2.2 volumes using 75g table sugar. I got 25 bottles out of the batch as expected.

18/02/2013 – I can’t believe I haven’t posted any tasting updates on this beer as I’ve had a few tasters at this point. It’s suffering from the same S-04 bite that has plagued my Tailgunner Best Bitter so far. It’s much murkier also, but it remains to be seen whether this is due to the sizeable portion of wheat malt or whether it just hasn’t dropped bright yet. As you’d expect, it’s got much more caramel and hop flavour, a bit fruitier perhaps. The Tailgunner seems to only now be getting better after 6 weeks in the bottle, so maybe the same will apply here. I’ll taste again at the end of the month.

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