Posts Tagged 'special bitter'

AG#12 – Bad Landlord Special Bitter


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


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.

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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