Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Session Bitter Tasting

Session. Bitter. Can there be any better words to describe beer perfection? I think not. Regardless, my friends and I have been enjoying this beer for about a month and a half now and I might just be in heaven. In a world of big-flavors and endless variety, it is easy to get carried away by the promise of new beer and forget about the little things we used to enjoy. We forget that satisfaction often lies in the little things and that sometimes the biggest rewards come from those beers we least expect. It is nice to know an English bitter can set us straight. All mumbo-jumbo aside, if you have a particular bitter you like to drink, grab a pint or two and enjoy the reality check. Bitter. Mmmm.

Yeoman Bitter : English Special Bitter            

Appearance - Pours a brilliantly clear, copper - amber color with a two finger white head. Retention is better than usual for a bitter and leaves lacing. A nice looking pint.

Aroma - First impression is of warm, toasted/biscuity malt and light toffee followed by some flowery hops. Esters are low and have a lightly fruity character. No diacetyl. The home toasted malt really makes a difference here. Better than biscuit or victory malt for sure.

Taste - Similar to aroma, lots of warm, toasted malt with a light crystal sweetness. Much of the flavor is squarely on the malt, though the beer has a pleasant, light fruit esters and some flowery/spicy hop character at the end. The esters are low and the beer has a very nice layered flavor and finishes clean and balanced. The hop bitterness is medium-high and does a good job of balancing all the malt flavors without seeming 'bitter.' The beer finishes dry and crisp.

Mouthfeel - Carbonation is medium-low and sufficient for the style. 
Drinkability & Notes - Overall, I can't ask for a better result. I kegged this beer on 29 January and a week after that it was ready for drinking. And each week after that the beer just got better and better tasting. The thing that I am most happy about with this beer, is it has that quality where each part of the flavor profile is clean and distinct. You can practically reach into the beer and pull out each ingredient one by one as your drinking it. The balance of flavors is spot on too. If I had to complain about anything, it might be a bit that the beer is "too" clean for a BJCP English bitter. If the keg lasts another week, I'll probably submit it to a comp. Lastly, I can't say enough good things about the Bedford Bitter yeast. I really hope WhiteLabs releases it again this year, since I can honestly say my best bitters have been brewed with it.

O.G: 1.042, F.G: 1.010, 4.4% ABV, 33 IBU, WhiteLabs 006 Bedford Bitter


  1. Might have to try this one next. No invert sugar in this though, are you moving away from using it in the "perfect pint"? How does Bedford Bitter compare to WLP002?

    1. This recipe pre-dates my homemade invert days, though I bet it would be real nice with a good portion of no.1 instead of the light crystal. Also, Bedford Bitter is a much drier and attenutive than the Fullers strain. Whereas you can get a lot of fruity esters and diacetyl with the latter, the Bedford strain is much cleaner and to my palate, crisper. It seems it lets the hop and bitterness character come through better too. In many ways it is similar to something like wy1098/wlp007 or one of the dry whitbreads in terms of attenuation and fermentation characteristics, but what I really like about it is that it has some of those "full" or "rich" yeast derived flavors that I so like in English ales.

  2. You are making me drool with your notes and that delicious looking pint. Let it be known: my next bitter will use Bedford Bitter Yeast.

  3. What would you suggest if you couldnt use the wlp006?

    1. I used to brew this beer with wlp002/wy1968 almost exclusively. It works very well. Really though most English strains would work well enough, though I would avoid the dry strains like notty or s-04.


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