English Bitter

Ordinary bitter is gold to copper-colored with medium bitterness, light to medium body and low to medium residual malt sweetness. Hop flavor and aroma character may be evident at the brewer’s discretion. Mild carbonation traditionally characterize draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester character and very low diacetyl (butterscotch) character are acceptable in aroma and flavor, but should be minimized in this form of bitter. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Bitters are classified into three sub-styles that become increasingly hoppy and alcoholically strong: ordinary, best and strong (or ESB).


  • 3/4 pound English crystal malt

  • 2 pounds English amber DME

  • 3 pounds English light DME

  • 2 ounces Fuggles hops

  • 1-1/2 ounces East Kent Goldings hops

  • 2 teaspoons Irish moss

  • Wyeast 1098 British ale yeast

  • 3/4 cup corn sugar


  1. Place the crushed specialty grains in a nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150 water for 30 minutes.

  2. Drain and discard the spent grains.

  3. Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the extract and 1 ounce of the Fuggles hops.

  4. Return the brew kettle to the heat source and boil for 30 minutes, then add the rest of the Fuggles hops.

  5. Boil for an additional 10 minutes, then add the Irish moss.

  6. Boil for an additional 13 minutes, then add 1 ounce of the EKG hops.

  7. Boil for an additional 6 minutes, then add the rest of the EKG hops.

  8. Boil for an additional 1 minute, then remove the brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77 F.

  9. Once the wort has cooled to below 77 F, take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add enough cool water to create 5 gallons.

  10. Once the wort has been transferred to the primary fermenter, pitch the yeast, stir the wort vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment at approximately 68 F for a week.

  11. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and allow the beer to finish fermentation.

  12. Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer to a bottling bucket, prime with the corn sugar and bottle and condition as usual.

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