Best Bitter

British ale yeasts are the workhorse house strains of breweries the world over. Their versatility across styles is due to their capacity to provide, in different conditions, a distinct clean profile or a wide range of fruity esters. They fit the bill for rich imperial stouts, bracing American IPAs, or, in the case of our recent trial, the uncomplicated best bitter. A best bitter should seek balance between three elements: British malt, British hops, & British yeast. For our trial, we split the recipe below between 6 of our strains, including our DIPA Ale (OYL-052), more commonly known for use in Northeast IPAs but with an English origin; its peachy esters bind well with the nutty orange of Maris Otter malt, fresh toast of our housemade amber malt, & noble earthy spice of East Kent Goldings hops.

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OG — 1.042
FG — 1.008 — 1.012 (dependent on yeast strain)
ABV — 3.9 — 4.4% (dependent on yeast strain)
IBU — 35

For 5 gallons (~19 liters)

Add grain to 7 gallons water at 158°F for a target mash of 152°F. Hold mash temp for 60 minutes. Recirculate mash until wort is free from large amounts of grain. Drain off wort into boil kettle for approximately 6.5 gallons (sparge as needed for a pre-boil gravity of 1.034). Boil for 60 minutes, adding hops as noted above. Pitch yeast at 68°F.

Characteristics from tasting panel

DIPA Ale (OYL-052) — Stone fruit, mint, lemon”
British Ale II (OYL-007) — Cherry, peach, toast”
British Ale VI (OYL-013) — Nutty, citrusy, tea”

DIY Amber Malt Recipe

  • Put unmilled pale ale malt in a foil-lined cooking pan (½” depth preferable)
  • Roast in oven at 225°F for 40 minutes, stirring often.
  • After 40 minutes, raise oven temperature to 300°F and roast for at least an additional 25 minutes. During this time, break open a few kernels to determine the color of the endosperm. Once you have achieved a beige/amber color, remove from oven.
  • Allow 24 hours before milling for off-gassing of volatile/unpleasant flavors.


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