AG#12 – Bad Landlord Special Bitter

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The goal of this beer is to make a beer reminiscent of Timothy Taylor’s Landlord. Landlord is probably my favourite English beer and it’s a popular choice for homebrewers doing clone recipes. I’ve scoured the internet and come up with this recipe. It relies heavily of Scottish Golden Promise base malt, as does the commercial beer. I’ve only got 3 kg of Golden Promise though, so I’ll be supplementing the grist with some Maris Otter. There’s no crystal malt in the recipe, which is a first for me in an English ale. There’s also a little wheat malt in there, just for head retention. Hopping will be generous – lots of EKG, Fuggles and Styrian Goldings.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 25.40 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.40 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.049 SG
Estimated Color: 8.8 EBC
Estimated IBU: 33.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.2 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients

3.000 kg Pale Malt, Golden Promise (5.0 EBC) Grain 1 61.9 %
1.300 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (4.8 EBC) Grain 2 26.8 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC) Grain 3 6.2 %
0.250 kg Light Dry Extract (15.8 EBC) Dry Extract 4 5.2 %
22 g Fuggles [4.30 %] – Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 13.8 IBUs
17 g East Kent Goldings [6.90 %] – Boil 60.0 Hop 6 15.6 IBUs
15 g East Kent Goldings [6.90 %] – Boil 15.0 Hop 7 4.0 IBUs
25 g Styrian Goldings [3.60 %] – Boil 0.0 min Hop 8 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg English Ale (White Labs #WLP002) (400ml of slurry from Tailgunner Bitter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.850 kg
Mash In Add 12.88 l of water at 74.6 C 68.0 C 60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun, , 17.63l) of 77.0 C water

Brew Day 06/04/2014 – Mash temp 67C. Wort is really pale. Had a stuck mash and couldn’t get much of a run-off, so I had to stir and re-float the grain bed. It worked bu got a disappointing volume of wort and topped up with water. I measured my pre-boil gravity and naturally was coming in a few points below my target, so I added just a bit of DME to make up the loss. I didn’t do any calculations on the amount of DME to use. I didn’t take an OG reading, or at least, I didn’t record one…

08/04/2014 – I knew there was something wrong when I walked into the room and got a massive bang of sulphur! I didn’t think the English ale yeasts threw out sulphur like that, but it seems the temperature was just too low. I took a temperature reading of 17.4C, not especially low, but a little below WhiteLabs’ recommended range of 18.4-20C for this strain. Moved it to a warmer room and just a few hours later the temperature had risen to just over 19C. It seems a bit more active also. Hopefully that sulphur aroma will fade out with some vigorous fermentation for a couple of days.

27/04/2014 – Bottled with 120g corn sugar (17.5 vol @ 2.6 vol). Got 34 bottles from the batch.

04/09/2014 – I’m really disappointed with the lack of notes on this beer. It turned out really good, probably the best English bitter I’ve done to date. I think the difference, apart from the liquid ale yeast, is the generous quantities of hops I put in the brew. I milled through most of this beer just before the summer but I haven’t really been keeping an eye on what’s in the cellar over the summer months, so I was surprised to see a few bottles of this left. I can’t believe they’ve held up so well being stored in a hot shed over the course of the summer. It’s very crisp, low-moderate head retention, good carbonation, gold in colour, and the hop flavour is still there. I might stash a couple of bottles to put in the competition next year as I don’t have anything else “English” to enter. Will do this recipe again. I’m not sure how much of a “clone” recipe it is, but it’s a satisfying bitter. It’s a source of much online speculation as to how TT get the dark colour in Landlord. Some people speculate it’s through the use of caramel, though others disagree. A lot of home brewers use a small charge of black malt or chocolate malt to darken the wort, and I think that is what I’d do next time. Though at the moment, it’s hard to see me changing anything about the recipe as it makes a fantastic golden bitter as it is.

23/10/2014 – I remember drinking this during the summer and being quite taken with it, but if anything I think it’s improved even more. It’s a revelation really – that a single malt variety could bring so much character to a beer. Is the Golden Promise malt solely responsible for the fantastic flavour, or would I get the same quality from a good Maris Otter malt? The beer is a beautiful pale colour, and still plenty of hop bitterness and flavour there to balance the malt. I was a bit ambivalent about the series of English bitters I did earlier in the year, but my realisation of how good this beer is has changed my mind. Definitely a re-brew of this needed, with perhaps a little pinch of choocolate malt to adjust the colour and make it more “Landlord” like. The challenge will be getting my hands on Golden Promise malt. It’s not available in any of the shops at the moment, even in the UK. Though it is probably only available at certain times of the year.

24/11/2014 – Still tastes pretty decent. Though I’m not sure it could be deemed a blonde ale or a summer bitter, as it’s a bit darker than I remember. Good flavour, but perhaps not as medal winner.

18/12/2014 – Drank the last bottle of this and while it has possibly faded a bit, it still tastes good. I’d love to have a keg of this on the go. Might have another attempt at this with the WLP005 I have in the fridge.

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