Codename : Westfort Best Bitterthorpe

With this batch, I am trying something a little different, utilising a technique called high gravity brewing. That is, I reduced the initial water requirements, brewed to a higher specific gravity than required, then added water in a step called fermenter top-up The choice of using one litre was completely arbitrary, using a best guess of how much water would be needed for the mash. Spoiler alert, nailed it.

While reviewing the Beer Judge Certification Program requirements for a Best Bitter, using some sugar is an acceptable practise, so I did! From the characteristic ingredients section

Pale ale, amber, or crystal malts. Most contain sugar. May use a touch of caramel or dark malt for colour adjustment. May use corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.


  • 1 lb 4 oz Maris Otter (3.8L)
  • 2 oz Crystal dark malt (100L)
  • 2 oz Caramel malt (30L)
  • 1 oz Torrified wheat (2L)
  • 1/4 Campden tablet when preparing strike water (optional)
  • 0.2 oz Cascade hops at 30 minutes
  • 1 oz white sugar at 20 minutes
  • 0.2 UK Bramling Cross hops at 15 minutes
  • 1/4 tsp Irish Moss (optional) at 15 minutes
  • 0.2 UK Bramling Cross hops at 0 minutes
  • 2 ml London dry ale yeast.

Vital Stats

BJCP Style : Best Bitter
Anticipated ABV : 4.2%
Anticipated IBU : 33
Anticipated SRM : 13

Pre-boil SG : 1.039
Post-boil SG : 1.058
Original SG : 1.042
Target SG : 1.010
Brewhouse (in)efficiency : 70%

Brew Day

  • If you don’t want to do the mash steps, do the whole mash at 152F for 75 minutes, then skip to the part about lifting the bag out.
  • Prepare 5.2L strike water at 122F.
  • Add the milled grains to the bag.
  • Place the bag in the hot water, set the timer for 15 minutes, and maintain the temperature at 122F.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Raise the temperature to 145F, set the timer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Raise the temperature to 158F, set the timer for 30 minutes.
  • Stir occasionally.
  • Calibrate the sonic screwdriver.
  • Lift the bag out of the water, and allow it to drip into the pot. Every bit of sugar that can be extracted will benefit the end ABV.
  • Bring up to a boil, 212F, set the timer for 30 minutes. Add hops, sugar and Irish moss, as prescribed above.
  • Sanitise everything required for fermentation.
  • Cool to room temp, an ice-bath or a snowbank work effectively.
  • Prepare the yeast mixture.
  • Pitch the yeast to the carboy.
  • Transfer the wort to the carboy, splash the wort around to aerate the contents.
  • Add one litre of water for the top-up to the carboy.
  • Put the airlock on the carboy.
  • Store in a cool dark place for primary fermentation for 10-14 days.

Bottling Day

Brew Notes

  • Nominal revisionist history, BHE was increased to 70% as the gravities were just a wee bit higher than anticipated. Everything lined up!
  • Using the Campden tablet in the strike water, is an optional step to aid in water conditioning. There is some chlorine in our city water, this addition aids in neutralising the taste/effects.
Ferment the bitter in a carboy for 7-14 days

Brew day : 18-Sept-2023