Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Dawson's Boat Bitter

I've spent all summer brewing Saisons almost exclusively, its what I wanted to drink and have been dragging my feet on temp control for the big 60L Spiedel fermenter. Needless to say, the kegerator could use some variety in its portfolio and something session-able for watching football in the fall wouldn't hurt either. Friends of ours also asked if I would brew a batch for their fall wedding so something that a wide range of people would enjoy, and enjoy a few of, was in need.

As fate would have it Michael Dawson posted the recipe for, what he calls, his Boat Bitter. The beer certainly piqued my interest, simple grist, single hopped, interesting yeast strain all things I like to play with. Despite the fact that I don't brew many English beers, I was very interested, but it was posted mid-summer and there was Saison to brew. A few weeks later Chip posted the episode for this beer on Chop and Brew, and with the wedding (and Eagles football) coming up it was time to give it a try. There was so much great info in the brewday episode, and the beer looked fantastic, its a must watch Dawson is a wealth of knowledge.

I had about 15 pounds of Marris Otter laying around so I did not use the Floor Malted version as Dawson did in his recipe, I also had plenty of Crystal 60L on hand so I adjusted to use that instead of the 80L, and the LHBS did not have First Gold so I subbed Challenger, per Dawson's recommendation. So, after all of that I suppose its not true to what Dawson envisioned but it should get us in the ballpark.

Cask Ale Starter.

Kegging the beer 10 days later, biscuity maltiness, really nice. Pre-post kettle finings.

So this is how my version looks...

Brew day: 9/7/2013
Kegged: 9/17/2013

Recipe Specifications
Boil Size: 13.25 gal
Post Boil Volume: 11.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 11.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 10.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.036 SG
Measured OG: 1.040 SG
Measured FG: 1.012 SG
ABV: 3.8%
Estimated Color: 7.4 SRM
Estimated IBU: 37.2 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 79.10 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 70.5 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

97.3% - 14 lbs 10oz Marris Otter
2.7% - 6.5oz Crystal 60L

Boil: 60min - 2.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 28.1 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 1.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 7.0 IBUs
Boil: 15min - 2 Whirlfloc Tablets + 2 tsp Wyeast Yeast Nutrient
Boil: 00min - 1.00 oz Challenger [6.90 %] - 0.0 IBUs

Wyeast 1026 British Cask Ale

Sacch rest - 60 min @ 153 F

Fly Sparge 10.5 gallons of 170f

Misc: 60 seconds of pure O2. Philadelphia filtered tap water, no salt additions. Ferment at 67f for 10 days, or until terminal gravity is reached.

*I used half a packet of Knox gelatin to fine the beer in the keg.

**I boiled off more then expected, post boil was 9.5 gallons at 1.045, I added a gallon of boiled and cooled filtered water to dilute to 10.5 gallons at 1.040.

10/26/13 - Tasting Notes


  1. I just stumbled on your site looking for HopHands ideas. And then I found this recipe and I had to laugh, because its one of my regulars. It is basically "The Conniston Bluebird Bitter." I usually ferment it with 1469. Cheers!

    1. Ive never had the Conniston Bluebird Bitter, and since I loved this beer so much I will have to hunt it down. Its been awhile since I brewed it but its truly a great beer. Cheers!

    2. Agreed! It is one my favorites. Freshness is key with Bluebird. They often have it at the Whole Foods in Plymouth Meeting, but I can't say that it is as fresh as it could or should be. I should harvest some yeast from a bottle one day. Its interesting that I am crossing paths with you and discovering a common appreciation for two very different beers. Cheers!

  2. This was a boat as well, however one which was enormous and fit for holding a couple of the considerable number of creatures on the planet.