Adventures in Beer Making: English-Style Ordinary Bitter

Key Ingredients:


I brewed a new batch of beer this weekend.  The recipe came from The Complete Joy Of Homebrewing, a tome of infinite experience, wisdom and humour penned by the Homebrew Yoda, Charlie Papazian.  The recipe itself ("Humpty Dumpty English-Style Ordinary Bitter", pp. 341-3) was a hoot to make and I learned a lot!  There involved a few ingredients & processes that were new to me.  Without further delay, here are the beautiful grains: 

I picked up the ingredients (and a few pieces of equipment) from a snazzy homebrew supply store called Noble Hop, in the west-end of Toronto (Dundas & Dufferin).  Great shop with a really helpful owner.  You should check it out.

Back to the recipe... The mash was a bit longer than I'm used to (75 mins), with a multistep temperature increase throughout.  Fun stuff.  I was really excited about using Fuggle hops, partly because it sounds like something/someone from the Harry Porter universe.  The hops' smell is wonderful: earthy, woody, a bit musty.  It's been described in Make Some Beer as having the aroma of "old man". Lolz.  You can almost smell it through this picture:

Weighing hops.  For a scale good enough for drug dealers and jewellers check out the AWS-100

The recipe also calls for dry hopping, and this is the first time that I've used this technique.  The samples that I've tasted throughout the process have been really good and I'm excited for the final product.  I've got to wait a few weeks before I can drink the finished brew, but, for now, the yeast are farting up a storm and the fermenter is bubbling away happily.  Here it is in my "cellar" (an old-timey, hand-me-down liquor cabinet).  Yeast go blub, peep dat kraeusen.

I'll let you know how it ultimately turns out during the last week of February.  Hopefully, it will be good enough to share!  For now, I leave you with this:

Hops in Fuggle form.

Hops in Fuggle form.

UPDATE: Turned out pretty well!  An extra week in the bottle really helped clean things up. More conditioning time also increased carbonation, which in turn brought out more of the hops' flavor.  I even shared this batch with my co-workers!  They seemed to enjoy it, so yay! Until next time...  Maybe a rye ale?