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 perkins 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
Ingredients:
------------
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!

IMG_0976
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.

IMG_0977
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.

IMG_0978
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.

IMG_0979
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!

IMG_0980

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.

Expectations

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.

Black Cat Porter

Well, what a great Christmas and New Year that was!

To help celebrate, I kept good on my promise and made a shorter all grain brew to have a Porter ready for Christmas drinking

  

The Boil and Hop Additions

 

This was based on a recipe I had done back in May 2015 for a partial mash: part all grain – part liquid malt extract. I wanted to see if a smaller all grain batch would be any different, without the additional extract to bulk up the size of the batch. I had found that this had a slight twang to it – which seemed to be the one downside against getting a bigger batch in using the partial mash method.

I settled on the following BIAB recipe:

 

2.63kg Maris Otter

0.30kg Munich Malt

0.12kg Crystal 120

0.07kg Black Patent Malt

0.07kg Chocolate Malt

0.07kg Aromatic Malt

0.07kg Wheat Malt

0.07kg Carafa Special I

 

17 ltr Liquor

Mash @ 67C for 60mins

Sparge with 3-4 ltr @ 70C

 

15g Target (30mins)

11g Fuggles (15mins)

11g E.K Goldings (15mins)

11g Bramling Cross (15mins)

 

Pre Boil Gravity: 1044

Boil: 60mins

Original Gravity: 1047

 

1 Pack of dry Windsor Danstar / Lallemande Yeast

Added 150g of a split of 50g each of demerara, muscovado and brown sugars (briefly boiled and cooled) during fermentation

Final Gravity: 1014

 

So to explain:

 

  1. I love Munich malt. It seems to end up in all my recipes. Don’t judge me – I have a favourite ingredient, ok?;
  2. This was more porter like than stout (my 2015 porter had verged more on the stout than porter side) so I was well pleased with this beer matching the style. The Carafa I is a de-husked roasted grain and this may have had an impact in keeping the harsher roast flavours in check;
  3. I really like Bramling Cross hops at the moment. They give a slight blackcurrant note to a beer and this was definitely evident in this. I could even suggest raising the late Bramling Cross addition to up this even more;
  4. I was off on my anticipated OG by quite a margin (I can’t rightly recall the numbers I was supposed to hit). I decided to add a few different brown sugars after the boil and once fermentation had started, to increase the alcohol level. I had read somewhere (mental note – one for a historic brewing post perhaps?) that porters had traditionally been brewed with a proportion of simple sugars and thought this would do well. I certainly could not taste anything off about this and it may have added something in the overall scheme of things;
  5. The Windsor yeast worked really well. I did re-hydrate it before pitching, and added some warmth during fermentation as it was so cold in the cellar (why did I not do a lager!);
  6. In a small barrel it carbonated well and was probably one of my best efforts yet. I bottled the other half in 500ml swing top bottles. I used carbonation drops but I think that the carbonation level was a little too much in the end.
  7. The head retention wasn’t great. It would pour well, but the head didn’t linger and certainly didn’t leave the lacing that you (or at least, I) want to see. I put the wheat malt in to supposedly help with this, and had stayed away from other adjuncts to avoid getting into Stout territory. I’ve found most of my brews have not had great head retention, and I’m not quite sure what to do to improve on this yet.

So to summarise: a great brew in the end although I was off my numbers. I have found the BIAB method to be a great start to All Grain, but my efficiency has been off and the constant watching of the mash temperature has probably played a big part in this, as has the crush of my grains.

The end result was brilliant and probably one of my most successful batches yet in terms of taste and drinkability. It even passed the “Dad” test – my Father and Father-in-Law both declaring it the one they have liked the best so far.

As seals of approval go, you can’t get much better than that.

Honey, I’m brewing a Saison…

It’s been a while but this brew evening felt a bit special. It was definitely long overdue.

I’ve wanted to brew a Saison for a while and I had some odds and ends of some grain that I could use up. So this was the perfect opportunity to cycle through my stock – and stay true to the origins of this Belgian farm house style, and get back into the brewing swing of things after the unplanned hiatus of the last month or two.

I also invested in a digital thermometer from Lakeland so I could also try this out too! The realtime measurements and programable alarms for max and minimum temperatures really helped keep the mash within the planned target of 64 degrees C. Definitely worth the money.


As you can see, I was bang on!

The recipe was made up on the fly but mostly based on the Brewing Classic Styles recipe from Zainasheff and Palmer less the cara steeping grains as I have mostly just crystal malts at the moment for British style ales.

I decided to use honey rather than table sugar to achieve that dry finish that characterises a Saison. Mostly for additional flavour, but also as it was simplicity itself to just pour it in from the squeezie bottle rather than measure out table sugar (it also seemed a bit more historically accurate somehow opposed to refined sugar).

The mash work out well and hit the expected OG of 1.067. I suspect that the 90 minute mash makes all the difference in this BIAB method based on my equipment.

A 90 minute boil with this modest hop addition of Hersbrucker and Saaz made this simplicity itself to brew.


Fermentation is proceeding nicely with a thick foamy chocolate coloured Krausen at 20 degrees C. The brew belt is to ramp up the temperature to ensure a complete finish and high attenuation. Otherwise the cellar is keeping a fairly regular 18-20 degrees C at the moment.


All good fun, and hopefully some good beer at the end of it.
(I’m posting this by phone so I plan to upload the recipe as a separate post to keep them separate.)

So, what was your longest break between brews? Is your next batch on the go as the wort leaves the kettle, or have you waited decades between your batches? All comments great fully received.

Wonderweizen?

So this was the first all grain recipe I made using my new boil kettle, mashing bag and homemade wort-chiller.  Initial thoughts were that it was tainted in some way, but after a few weeks in the bottle the consensus appears to be that this is actually quite good, but a little on the weak side at 4%.

I was having a bit of fun trying a few different wheat beers / hefeweizens from local shops and I am lucky to have a local pub that has Weinhenstephaner Hefeweizen on draft (The Steamhouse), when I decided that this would be a good style to try and brew a small batch of all grain to see if I could make a stab at All Grain Brew in a Bag.

I got myself some wheat and lager malt with a little Vienna malt to mix it up a little and played around with some beer recipe sites, programmes and books (more on these another day!) to get a 13 litre batch into the fermenter:

In hindsight: my hop addition was too low because my Hallertaur was only 2% not 4%, my strike water was off temperature compared to the temp of the grain, I mashed at too high a temperature and the water to grist ratio was less than would allow for the full boil volume. This meant I had to add 3 litres or so back to the pre boiled wort. My pH was probably wrong too. Other than that – it was perfect!?

The only true success is my homemade wort-chiller…

The chill factor!
The chill factor!

This was really simple to make: I had a length of small gauge copper piping from various central heating repairs left over and coiled it round a paint can leaving one short straight inlet to the top and a longer straight outlet from the bottom. The inlet is the cold water and the outlet is the “waste” hot water. A few jubilee clips pipes and a tap connector and hey presto!

It can cool 20 litres of hot wort to 24 degrees centigrade in about 20-30 minutes. There are refinements I could make such as turning the inlets over so that it can rest on the edge of the boiler, but as a quick 30 minute project it was really easy and cools small batches really well.

After fermenting probably too hot (White Labs WLP351) and bottling I expected this to be a really estery brew. Turns out not so much. I would describe it as peppery / spicy, but it does lack banana like notes. It was also quite thin until the carbonation level improved.

If you are interested in the recipe here it is:

 

BeerSmith 2 Recipe Printout – http://www.beersmith.com
Recipe: Whitless Wonder
Style: Weizen/Weissbier
TYPE: All Grain
Taste: (30.0)

Recipe Specifications
————————–
Boil Size: 18.64 l
Post Boil Volume: 16.64 l
Batch Size (fermenter): 13.00 l
Bottling Volume: 10.00 l
Estimated OG: 1.061 SG
Estimated Color: 6.3 EBC
Estimated IBU: 8.4 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 91.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 112.0 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
————
Amt           Name                                                Type          #        %/IBU
1.25 kg       Lager Malt (3.9 EBC)                                Grain         1        45.5 %
1.25 kg       Wheat Malt, Ger (3.9 EBC)                           Grain         2        45.5 %
0.25 kg       Vienna Malt (6.9 EBC)                               Grain         3        9.1 %
15.00 g       Hallertauer Hersbrucker [4.00 %] – Boil 60 minutes  Hop           4        8.4 IBUs
0.25 tsp      Irish Moss (Boil 10.0 mins)                         Fining        5        –
1.0 pkg       Bavarian Weizen Yeast (White Labs #WLP351)          Yeast         6        –

Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 2.75 kg
—————————-
Name                Description                   Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification    Add 20.32 l of water at 69.0  66.7 C           75 min
Mash Out            Heat to 75.6 C over 7 min     75.6 C           10 min

Sparge: If steeping, remove grains, and prepare to boil wort
Notes:
——

Created with BeerSmith 2 – http://www.beersmith.com
————————————————————————————-

 

Definitely a style and recipe I will try again to improve upon.