AG#34 – Tailgunner Best Bitter


This is re-brew of the excellent Special Bitter I did last year. It’s essentially the same recipe, but I’m subbing the small amount of amber malt for biscuit malt, to see what effect that has. This third iteration has more in common with the first version of this beer I did in 2013. As English bitters go, it’s a complex grist, but I hope this will give the beer plenty of complexity. I hope to keg this one in order to have a nice bitter on tap during the summer months. Some water treatment is essential for these styles of beer, so I’ll be “burtonising” the water with gypsum and Epsom salts. This will the beer a dry, mineral-like quality which will keep the beer crisp and emphasise the English hops.

Recipe Specifications

Boil Size: 27.92 l
Post Boil Volume: 23.92 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 19.00 l
Bottling Volume: 17.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.048 SG
Estimated Color: 18.2 EBC
Estimated IBU: 32.7 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 60.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 72.6 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes


5 g Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
2 g Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulfate) (Mash 60.0 mins)
4.200 kg Pale Malt, Maris Otter (5.9 EBC), 87.5 %
0.300 kg Wheat Malt, Bel (3.9 EBC), 6.3 %
0.200 kg Caramel/Crystal Malt – 60L (118.2 EBC), 4.2 %
0.075 kg Biscuit Malt (45.3 EBC), 1.6 %
0.025 kg Black (Patent) Malt (985.0 EBC), 0.5 %
22 g Goldings, East Kent [6.50 %] – Boil 60.0, 18.5 IBUs
15 g Fuggles [5.10 %] – Boil 60.0 min, 9.9 IBUs
15 g Fuggles [5.10 %] – Boil 10.0 min, 2.0 IBUs
15 g Goldings, East Kent [5.70 %] – Boil 10.0, 2.2 IBUs
1.0 pkg Dry English Ale (White Labs #WLP007) (1.2 litre starter)

Mash Schedule: Bubbles’ Single Infusion, Full Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.800 kg
Mash In           Add 13.44 l of water at 74.6 C          68.0 C        60 min

Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (Drain mash tun , 19.79l) of 77.0 C water

Brew Day 25/05/2015 – Hit an OG of 1.058, which happened the last time I brewed this beer! Can’t explain the sudden jump in efficiency. Beer tasted great going into the fermenter. It was also the clearest wort I’ve ever seen, practically no cold break in the fermenter.

05/06/2015 – Kegged this into one of my new cornies. Also did 4 bottles and primed with carb drops. Should be a great session beer for the summer months.

14/09/2015 – Dreadful disaster with this batch. The few bottle that I bottle conditioned turned out to be completely overcarbonated. I can’t even taste the beer there’s so much prickly carbonic acid. Very disappointing. Even worse was the kegged version which tastes completely of cola. Must be from the seals on the cornies. What a waste of time this batch was!

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