Off-schedule brew for competition

This year, I’ve been trying to enter at least one beer in each of the Lone Star Circuit homebrew competitions.  I entered three into the Bluebonnet Brew-off and another three into the Alamo City Cerveza Fest, but the next one, the Celtic Brewoff caught me by surprise since it has a restricted/modified list of BJCP categories.

This meant that even though I have close to 8 beers on-tap in my garage, I didn’t have anything that I could submit. I happened to have an older beer that had been aging over at my friends house available, so I ended registering one of my favorite brews, Makkuro Kurotsuki, an Russian Imperial Stout (Category 13F). But I wanted one more.

I dug through my list of recipes in Beersmith and found a lighter and easier (meaning faster) beer that had been a big hit in the past. Ed’s Best Bitter.

Ed's Best Bitter fermenting at 68F

Ed’s Best Bitter fermenting at 68F

Now that I had my recipe selected, it was time to brew. I normally brew twice a month on a Friday night. I invite a bunch of my friends, some who help out and others who come to enjoy the show and drink some homebrew. However, I couldn’t wait if I wanted this beer to be done in time for the competition.

So I did a complete brew, from grain to fermentor including the cleanup in about 4.5 hours. Starting at 8PM when the kids go to bed, my head hit the pillow at 12:30.

Not bad without any help.

The brew session went as expected. Targeting a mash pH at room temp (25C) of 5.5, I ended up with 5.4 @ 23C. Pre-boil gravity was a few points low (1.033 instead of 1.035) and subsequently, O.G was as well, 1.045 instead of 1.048. But that works out OK since the style is meant to be lighter in alcohol.

Here’s the recipe

Recipe Details

Batch Size Boil Time IBU SRM Est. OG Est. FG ABV
5 gal 60 min 27.8 IBUs 9.2 SRM 1.048 1.013 4.5 %
Actuals 1.046 1.01 4.7 %

Style Details

Name Cat. OG Range FG Range IBU SRM Carb ABV
Special/Best/Premium Bitter 8 B 1.04 - 1.048 1.008 - 1.012 25 - 40 5 - 16 0.8 - 2.1 3.8 - 4.6 %


Name Amount %
ESB Pale Malt (Gambrinus) 8.25 lbs 91.03
Crystal, Medium (Simpsons) 13 oz 8.97


Name Amount Time Use Form Alpha %
Goldings, East Kent 1 oz 60 min Boil Pellet 5
Fuggles 1 oz 15 min Boil Pellet 4.5
Goldings, East Kent 1 oz 0 min Boil Pellet 5


Name Amount Time Use Type
Calcium Chloride 5.40 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Gypsum (Calcium Sulfate) 3.10 g 60 min Mash Water Agent
Epsom Salt (MgSO4) 0.40 g 60 min Mash Water Agent


Name Lab Attenuation Temperature
London ESB Ale (1968) Wyeast Labs 69% 64°F - 72°F


Step Temperature Time
Saccharification 152°F 75 min
Mash Out 168°F 10 min


Bru'n Water calculates a mash pH of 5.5
Did a 1L starter of 1968 24 hours before pitch.

2013-03-24 — Measured gravity after 4 days, 1.016 with activity still going, hoping to hit 1.011 or 12 by Wed, 2013-03-27.
2013-03-26 — Measured gravity after 5 days, 1.012, start cold crash
2013-03-27 — Racked 5 gallons into keg, force carbing to ~2 volumes of Co2.

2 thoughts on “Off-schedule brew for competition

  1. Pingback: Splitting Fancy Lad, English Mild | Woxford Brewing Co.

  2. Pingback: A beer for myself | Woxford Brewing Co.

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