Friday, April 15, 2011

Burton Salts

After my beer tour through Britain it was time to bring it all home by trying to replicate a traditional English best bitter in my own wee brewery. I have brewed a best bitter before but with a NW twist - NW hops and a bit hoppy for style - I called it a NW Best Bitter.

Jeff adds the salts
This best bitter is intended to be a truly authentic English best bitter, ringing in at 4.3% ABV. So off I went with the Beerax to Steinbarts and loaded up on Maris Otter malt, East Kent Goldings hops and Wyeast's Thames Valley II yeast. All fine as it goes, but this time I really wanted to try and replicate that wonderful minerally quality of British bitters and so we came home with some Burton salts.The salts are supposed to both accentuate the sweetness the malt and make the hop bitterness more crisp.  We will see.

Ready to vorlauf
We were ready to buy all the salts - calcium chloride, calcium sulfate, etc - but BeerCraft has a nice mixed salts which is perfect if you are starting from totally neutral water. Luckily Portland has beautifully clean water - there is absolutely nothing in it. So for the first time ever I amended the wonderful water of Portland with Burton salts. We were conservative, only getting about half way to Burton-on-Trent.

The scene on the only sunny day we saw in March in Portland.
The final results will not be known for a few weeks, but I am very optimistic and I look forward to tasting it along side the beer from my new favorite brewery: St. Peter's. It is a 100% East Kent Golding bitter and I am excited to taste the EKG in a single hop beer (something I relish in general - single hop beers are a great way to really get to know a hop).

Jeff and I thought that we should honor the debut of the the MLS Timbers in naming the beer.  Stay tuned...

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