Boddingtons Bitter Clone Recipe

I’d not done a brew day for a while after the Green Hopped Munich Dunkel (and an Imperial Stout which needs it’s own write up) as we’d had quite a lot of building work going on over the lead up to Christmas and into the new year which had prevented any brewing.

The Dunkel had just run out on keg (I have 6 liters lagering in a demijohn for bottling still to do) and my thoughts in January generally turn to new beers and replenishing the home brew stock.

I was very tempted to brew my stock lager but i thought it might be fun to try brewing a beer with close ties to me historically and geographically.

I’m a little too young to have drunk Boddingtons Bitter at its best on cask – but growing up in Manchester, it could be good in the mid to late 90s if kept well and it was one of the first beers I had when I embarked on my drinking career.

I’ve had half an eye on brewing a clone of the classic 1970’s cask version for a while, but since 2018 is going to be the year of heritage brewing (brew them and it will happen) I cast around for some information on replicating what had been quite a celebrated beer back in the day (insert stories from my Dad of a coach load of drinkers turning up en mass at the Packet House in Eccles from some far flung corner of the UK to sample the cask Boddingtons here). I found some great information from various sources (Ron Pattinson’s shut up about barclay perkinsĀ blog was a great inspiration – as was the Boak and Bailey beer blog) on historical records and other brewers attempts to replicate it and January seemed like a good time to brew a pale lower ABV bitter.

Boddingtons Bitter Clone

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 29.60 l
Post Boil Volume: 27.60 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 23.00 l   
Bottling Volume: 21.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.041 SG
Estimated Color: 11.6 EBC
Estimated IBU: 32.1 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 74.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 85.3 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes
Amt                   Name                                     Type          #        %/IBU         
3.68 kg               Pale Malt (2 Row) UK (5.9 EBC)           Grain         1        87.6 %        
0.20 kg               Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (118.2 EBC)   Grain         2        4.8 %         
0.12 kg               Wheat, Torrified (3.3 EBC)               Grain         3        2.9 %         
0.10 kg               Cara-Pils/Dextrine (3.9 EBC)             Grain         4        2.4 %         
0.10 kg               Sugar, Table (Sucrose) (2.0 EBC)         Sugar         5        2.4 %         
30.00 g               Northern Brewer [8.50 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop           6        24.9 IBUs     
20.00 g               EK Goldings (EKG) [5.00 %] - Boil 30.0 m Hop           7        4.8 IBUs
0.30 tsp              Irish Moss - Boil 10 min                 Fining        8
25.00 g               Fuggle [4.75 %] - Boil 5.0 min           Hop           9        2.3 IBUs      
1.0 pkg               British Ale (White Labs #WLP005) [35.49  Yeast         10        -             
Mash Schedule: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Total Grain Weight: 4.20 kg
Name              Description                             Step Temperat Step Time     
Mash In           Add 12.19 l of water at 72.3 C          66.7 C        60 min        
Sparge: Batch sparge with 2 steps (7.47l, 15.55l) of 76.0 C water

A fairly standard brew evening really, but I feel like I could do with a bigger hot liquor tank and mash tun somehow!

The Mash

The Mash temperature was bit overshot, but a slight addition of some cold water brought it back down into the correct range.

I do think I need a sign in the cellar home brewery that reads: “Not less than a 90 minute mash” as my efficiency took a hit with only a 60 minute mash. Grain crush could come into it but from experience a 90 minute mash just seems to do the trick for my system.

The Run Off

I had treated myself to some new tubing! This made a big difference to transferring the wort compared to the old stuff I had. Much more sturdy and heat tolerant. Seems to clean up a lot easier too.

The Boil

As ever, I was a little over the pre-boil gravity and I thought that this would have impacted the reduced efficiency in sticking the planned 60 minute boil.

The Hop Additions

I thought a mix of classic English (ish – excuse the Northern Brewer for bittering) hops would work well. The hopping schedule was fairly classic in the 60, 30 and 5 minutes aiming for a pretty robust 30 odd IBUs.

I have a sneaking suspicion that this base recipe would be great with the hops substituted for my left over New Zealand hop stock and loads of late additions and dry hopping!


I did however seem to more or less hit the final post boil volume which probably lays the blame for the reduced efficiency on the mash rather than the slightly larger pre-boil volume or vigour of the boil.


I ended up with a FG of 1036 rather than the expected 1040 ish – so my hope is that the WLP005 does the trick of attenuating a bit lower to get me closer to the expected ABV – and the table sugar in the recipe to dry it out should help with that.

First samples of the wort the next morning had a good bitterness.

As I pitched the yeast without a starter – it did take a day or so to get going. Again, past experience tells me that even a very quick starter made up just a few hours when the brew days begins ensures a really vigorous start to fermentation.

Hopefully this will turn out to be a fair approximation of the target beer. Hopefully it should be a quick beer to finish and condition ready to review very soon.

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