Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Two Headed Lion English Bitter & Tasting Session

An, almost proper pint

I've never brewed a traditional English Bitter.  The more I think about it, the more I'm upset I get.  It's no secrete that I love hops, but a well made English example could be rich in hop flavors and aroma.  Maybe it's because a English Bitter isn't a popular style in America?  Whatever the reason, I've really missed out on not brewing one because this one is fantastic. 

Aroma:  Hints of yeast and a breadiness that I can't pinpoint.  The more I smell, the more this beer smells like beer, just good plain old fashioned beer.  I feel like this is not the best quality to proclaim, but I mean this in all the best ways. I feel like I should be sitting in England drinking this.

Appearance:  A golden haze that stays in suspension, topped by a small resilient head, reminiscent of a English Ale planted firmly on top of the glass. I was hoping it would clear, but without any finings this hope is quickly fading.  I do really like the thin everlasting head on this beer.  It really portrays an English feel to it. 

Flavor:  Hoppy without being so, the flavors start off as bready and full bodied, ending in a bang of sorts.  Not hop driven, just finishing so sharply from the yeast .  This yeast add such a noticeable addition to the beer it's almost unfair.  The flavors all add up to the smell of warm bread in the oven.  I really don't know how else to describe them.  Getting no off flavors, the beer is so quaffable, it's hard to describe.

Mouthfeel: The level of carbonation gives this beer a bitter bite that rides the line with an American Pale ale.  Yet you know it never could be one, given the flavor differences. 

Overall Impression:  I am very impressed with this beer.  It's a show stopper,  but not in a typical way, it's not flashy or gimmicky.  It's just good.  Honestly, it might be the best example of a  "True Style" recipe that I've had the pleasure of brewing.

Brewing Timeline/Notes:  This beer was brewed Aug 16, 2013 and quickly drank before this even posted.  At only 3.8% this was a great drinking beer, which have a special place in my heart. 

Two Headed Lion
Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Type: All Grain Date: 8/16/2013
Batch Size (fermenter): 5.50 gal Brewer: Chris Lewis
Boil Size: 6.34 gal Asst Brewer:
Boil Time: 60 min Equipment: Lewys Tower
End of Boil Volume 5.72 gal Brewhouse Efficiency: 72.00 %
Final Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal Est Mash Efficiency 72.0 %
Fermentation: Ale Taste Rating(out of 50): 39.0
Taste Notes:  Posted Above
Amt Name Type # %/IBU
7 lbs Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (3.0 SRM) Grain 1 79.1 %
1 lbs Vienna Malt (3.5 SRM) Grain 2 11.3 %
9.6 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM) Grain 3 6.8 %
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L (120.0 SRM) Grain 4 2.8 %
1.50 oz Willamette [5.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 5 32.2 IBUs
1.10 Items Whirlfloc Tablet (Boil 15.0 mins) Fining 6 -
1.10 oz Willamette [5.50 %] - Aroma Steep 5.0 min Hop 7 0.0 IBUs
1.0 pkg Bedford British Ale (White Labs #WLP006) [35.49 ml] Yeast 8 -
Beer Profile
Est Original Gravity: 1.041 SG Measured Original Gravity: 1.039 SG
Est Final Gravity: 1.011 SG Measured Final Gravity: 1.010 SG
Estimated Alcohol by Vol: 4.0 % Actual Alcohol by Vol: 3.8 %
Bitterness: 32.2 IBUs Calories: 128.1 kcal/12oz
Est Color: 9.2 SRM
Mash Profile
Mash Name: Single Infusion, Light Body, No Mash Out Total Grain Weight: 8 lbs 13.6 oz
Sparge Water: 4.63 gal Grain Temperature: 72.0 F
Sparge Temperature: 168.0 F Tun Temperature: 72.0 F
Adjust Temp for Equipment: TRUE Mash PH: 5.20
Mash Steps
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Mash In Add 11.06 qt of water at 168.2 F 156.0 F 75 min
Sparge Step: Fly sparge with 4.63 gal water at 168.0 F
Mash Notes: Simple single infusion mash for use with most modern well modified grains (about 95% of the time).
Carbonation and Storage
Carbonation Type: Keg Volumes of CO2: 2.3
Pressure/Weight: 10.59 PSI Carbonation Used: Keg with 10.59 PSI
Keg/Bottling Temperature: 41.0 F Age for: 30.00 days
Fermentation: Ale, Two Stage Storage Temperature: 41.0 F
Fermentation Notes
Primary Fermentation:  65 Degrees for 6 days, then ramped up to 73 for an additional 5 days.
Created with BeerSmith


  1. I don't brew the style nearly often enough either. I just blew through 10 gallons of Dawson's Boat Bitter recipe and loved every drop. I plan to have it around more often. I love you color of your example.

    1. Thanks for the comment. I really think we as Homebrewers should brew more styles not readily available as commercial examples. It might be my 2014 Homebrewing Goal.

    2. I couldn't agree more. I've only made 4 bitters in 10 years of brewing, but they've all been a refreshing change from what I normally make. I like your recipe. I'd like to rebrew it with First Gold hops instead of the Willamette, same yeast. What do you think?

    3. I think the yeast choice is perfect, however it is a platinum strain and only available in June.

  2. Glad to see you brewed a bitter and that you used the Bedford yeast. IMO, it is the best yeast out there for traditional English bitters, although most people don't know about it. It also makes a superb English IPA and does well with American hopping when fermented cool. Cheers.

    1. Will, the beer was awesome. I really don't think I would change anything on the recipe. Even with the low ABV it was really enjoyable to quaff down. I might have to take a couple extra viles next time around for some more English style beers.

      FYI: The yeasts behavior was very strange on the stirplate/starter. It seemed like it never took off, or cared to. The color was a silver-ish cloudy looking thing. Kinda mindblowing and scary at the same time.


Thanks for Commenting, Prost!