English Bitter

Recipe #002 - English Bitter



90% Briess Brewer’s

10% Briess Extra Special

Hop Schedule

27.4 IBU East Kent Golding @ 60min

5.5 IBU East Kent Golding @ 20min


Fermentis S-04


Mash In @ 50C, 0min

Beta Rest @ 60C, 30min

Alpha Rest @ 70C, 30min

Mash Out @ 78C, 15min

Boil, 75min


Ferment @ 20C, 7 Days

OG: 11.5P — IBU: 32.9 — ABV: 4.8%


Specific Aromas

Dark Toffee, Apricot, Dried Fig, Vanilla


Specific Flavors

Dark Raisins, Apricot, Toffee, Wood


Light, Dry, Bitter

The Ale

I’m fascinated with English-Style Ales, particularly the bitters. I read & then dream on how their biscuity malt blend harmoniously with their English hops, their pull from a beer engine fill each pint with a dense, creamy head, & the cellar temperature opens the door for the aromatics & flavors to entertain the senses. Of course, I don’t have an English pub nearby, nor a brewery or bar that serves on a beer engine, so the best I can do is brew one at home & bottle condition for the most authentic ‘real ale’ experience.

With this particular ale, I dabbled with Briess’s Extra Special malt. Briess’ analysis states it creates aromas & flavors like prunes, wood, coffee, toast, & toasted marshmallow. After smelling & tasting the grain, I thought it would pair well with English hops & yeast. When I brewed, I implemented a step mash to dry the ale out, & bottle conditioned for 4-weeks before tasting.

The ale pours crystal clear thanks to S-04, with a medium off-white head & a beautiful amber copper color with cherry red hues when held to a light. It is one of the most striking beers I’ve ever home-brewed.


It. Is. Pretty. I’d rather look at it than drink it. Appearances aside, the specialty malt from Briess really stands out. Though I don’t get marshmallow, the English hops bring out the wood, prunes, & dark caramel flavors, creating a very ‘Earthy’ experience on the tongue. The ale is very drinkable, finishes dry, & (I think) compliments what English ales bring to brewing.

Next Time

It finishes bitter. Too bitter, so I would reduce the IBUs. It also finishes dry (in a good way), but could use more malt backbone, so I would try a darker-kilned base malt. I’d like to try brewing the same recipe with Briess’s Ashburne Mild as the sole base grain. I’d also like to add a toasted specialty malt to accentuate the toasty bready-ness I always read about in English Ales.

Overall Preference

A poll on people's preference for the ale, updated regularly, based on a scale of 1-5 & organized by # of people for each rating.
It tastes very caramel-y & malty. Like a caramel malt. Thats what it is, isn’t it...?
— My Wife