Special Bitter //  Apricot Ale
Home Brewing Recipes
Baker Street Ales Associate Brewer
Arny Lands
Beer Nexus
the crossroads of the beer world
Hello again folks.  Thanks for all the e-mails.  I really enjoy the feedback.  And it's
because of your requests that I'm giving you some great recipes today.  The first
is for an English special bitter.  I like it because it's a full-flavored, full-bodied beer
that only has a moderate ABV.  I've been lucky enough to win a few awards for it
and I hope you have the same success.  For less experienced brewers who need
general step by step guidelines please check  my "
Never Fail Guidelines". Here
we go:


•1 lb. Hugh Baird English crystal malt, 40° Lovibond
• 3.3 lbs. Edme dry malt syrup
• 3 lbs. amber dry malt extract (domestic Northwestern)
•2 oz. Cascade hop pellets (11% alpha acid), for 60 min.
•0.5 oz. Fuggle hop pellets, for finish
• Liquid British ale yeast or Wyeast 1098
•2 tbsp. gypsum
•1 tsp. Irish moss, for 15 min.
•3/4 cup dextrose or 1.25 cup dry malt extract for priming

1.Add gypsum to cold water and heat to 170° F.
2.Steep crushed crystal malt in straining bag for 15 minutes at 170° F.
3. Remove bag, add malt extracts and Cascade hops, and bring to a boil for 45
4. Add Irish moss and boil 15 minutes more. Total boil is 60 min.
5. Add Fuggle hops when heat is turned off.


Now that the warm weather is here how about trying a refreshing fruit beer? Give
this Apricot Ale a try and you won't be disappointed


• 3 lbs. Briess wheat dry malt
• 2.2 lbs. Morgan's wheat malt extract
•2 oz. Tettnanger loose hops (4.2% alpha acid), 1 oz. for 60 min., 1 oz. for 10 min.
•Munton's ale yeast
•4 oz. Apricot extract
•3/4 cup corn sugar for priming

1. Add malt extracts to 6 gals. water and bring to boil.
2. Add 1 oz. hops and boil 50 minutes. Add 1 oz. hops and boil for 10 minutes
more. Total boil is 60 minutes.
3. Cool. Pitch yeast and ferment at 65° to 70° F in glass.
4. After one week transfer to carboy. Add apricot extract.
5. Bottle after one to two weeks. Age six to eight weeks.


After looking at my mail it seems that many of you enjoy it when I add some
general tips on home brewing.  So in answer to your requests here are a few:

Cheap vodka makes a great sanitizer. Use vodka in your airlock instead of water.
If any pesky little critters try to get to your bubbly barley concoction, they are
killed instantly! Keep some in a small mist-style spray bottle and use it to spray
the opening of your carboy before pitching your yeast. Keep the spray bottle
handy for those times when you need some sanitizer, but don’t have the time to
mix up a fresh batch.

Many first-time brewers write me with complaints of over-bittered beer. AMy
educated guess is that they simply misunderstood how to read a recipe. Hop boil
times in a recipe read: 60 min., 15 min., 1 min. A first time brewer reads this as a
76 min total boil, however these are the points during the boil when you should
add the hops, not the total boil time. Be sure you understand the hop additions
when reading recipes.

Never rely on airlock activity because it doesn’t tell you much about fermentation.
Always use your hydrometer to monitor fermentation. Use the airlock activity as
a gauge but not an end-all, be-all tool for fermentation. If you pitch your yeast and
don’t see activity in your airlock after a day, it doesn’t mean the beer is not
fermenting. It could mean that there is a leak somewhere in the lid, gasket or
rubber stopper. During fermentation there is a lot of CO2 produced and some is
absorbed into the wort. Because of this you could potentially still have airlock
activity after fermentation is complete and that activity is nothing but residual
CO2 being released.

To cool partial boils, a lot of books say to mix the boiling wort in the fermenter
and then add the cold water. This is thermodynamically backwards and makes
reaching pitching temperatures difficult. A far better way is to recognize that in
the boiling pot, you have a high temperature differential, a small thermal mass
and a conductive container as opposed to trying to cool a plastic bucket filled to
five gallons (19 L) of 115 °F (46 °C) wort which can take hours to cool. Just place
the pot in a sink of cold water and stir it a bit, changing the water as it heats.
After about 30 minutes it will be at body temperature and can be mixed with your
cold water in the fermenter, instantly bring it to pitching temperature.

                  That's it for this month.  Hope to see you next time!

      Good Brewing and Cheers!

              Arny Lands
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