Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Brew #43: Extra Special Bitter

This beer is a fairly bold ESB, both in original gravity and hops. It also has quite a bit of specialty malts, much more than I've had in any of my earlier attempts. I used mash hops with this brew, and it is the first time I try this in a British beer. The few times I've done this, with good results, have all been with hoppy American beer styles.

Again, I'm trying to get rid of my stock of old, but still usable yeast. I have a couple of vials of liquid yeast that I just have to throw away, but with this brew I should be left with a pretty decent set of fresh yeast packs, especially if I manage to squeeze in a double brew on Sunday. I used both the 11 grams packs I had just to be on the safe side. Even though it was past its best before date I'm sure it is more than enough of vital yeast for a beer like this. I store all my yeast, both dry and liquid, in the kitchen fridge.

The incredibly useful Mr. Malty's Pitching Rate Calculator™ says that the yeast in this particular beer must have a viability of minimum 67% for the two packs to be optimal. Go check it out. I'm sure you'll soon realize that you're underpitching. I sure did when I first tried to calculate the amount of yeast to pitch in my own beers. Since then I've tried my best to improve my pitching rates. Also make sure that you read Jamil Zainasheff's (Mr. Malty) Proper Yeast Pitching Rates article. It's almost scary how much vital yeast you need. Anyway, it is very helpful and makes you realize that yeast is extremely important to the quality of your beers.

The batch was brewed 2007-03-14.

Extra Special Bitter
All grain, batch sparge
30 EBC (Copper)
40 IBU
5200g Maris Otter pale malt
750g Ambermalt
400g Wheat malt
450g Crystal 60L
200g Crystal 40L
250g Melanoidin malt
66C, 60 min
76C, 10 min (mashout)
73% efficiency
50g First Gold pellets 7.3%, mash hops
50g Fuggles pellets 5.1%, 60 min
50g First Gold pellets 7.3%, 10 min
50g Fuggles pellets 5.1%, 1 min
Safale S-04, 2 packs, best before 2007-01
90 min
OG: 1.066 FG: 1.016 (estimated)


Jonathan said...

We actually just bottled our FIRST ESB, so I'm anxious to see how it turns out. It was our last batch still using a bit of extract. We've since brewed 2 all-grains. Considering your all-grain ESB experience, I'll probably be back for advice.

Travis said...

Nice, I am stoked for the ESB's.

I just brewed one that had a similar recipe to what you used. I had an OG of 1.060 and I racked it last night with 1.012 showing so I feel pretty good about it.

I was a little worried initially because I did not use a starter and the Wyeast 1028 I used bubbled up fast and hard. It all worked out in the end though.

Can't wait to try it!



grove said...

Yes, I love ESBs. My first ever brew was an ESB made from a can of English liquid malt extract and some dry extract. It was actually pretty good -- and good enough for me to continue brewing.

In retrospect I see that this particular beer is too strong for the ESB style, effectively making it an English Strong Ale. The final abv is 6.7%.

The hop character seems to be a bit restrained, so I'm considering to dry hop it in the keg.