My first partial mash batch was 5 O’Clock Ordinary Bitter. Already, while planning that beer close to a year earlier, I knew that my first all grain batch would be 7 O’Clock Best Bitter. That is just how I operate.
I was excited to finally use Maris Otter, the base malt that I had heard so much about and could never take full advantage of without going all grain. I decided I would simplify the grain bill a bit from my 5 O’Clock recipe to let it shine. I still kept the Special Roast, which I think worked wonderfully in the other recipe. Here though, combined with the Target hops, it was a bit harsh and was definitely unnecessary.
Speaking of the Target hops, that is my real problem with this beer. I just don’t like them. They are earthy with some pine, but it is all harsh and unpleasant to my palate. The earthiness boarders more on barn-like. The pine seems old, not fresh and vital like piny American hops. I guess these things are usually used for bittering, which might be okay but I have had a few other beers that used them late in the boil and I’ve never liked the result.
I had a pub exclusive ESB at Victory Brewing once that was made with Target hops. I am a loyal fan of Victory and usually think they can do no wrong. All of their flagship beers are phenomenal and all of their other small batches that I’ve ever had were great too… except this one.
The only other time I’d used Target hops was in Grimmuss. I thought late hopping in general hurt that beer and that it got better as the hop character aged out, it wasn’t until I made this batch that I realized I just didn’t like the hops. Although, it is still true that the dry stout would be better to style without late hops.
The Phoenix hops didn’t seem to come through much at all. I’ve never used them before or since, so I can’t say for sure. This tasted like the trademark Target character that I’ve learned to avoid the whole way through, though.
Recipe issues aside, for a first try at all grain, brew day went extremely well. My efficiency wasn’t great, but I got conversion. The color was spot one, the flavor, aside from the problems I mentioned was good. It was a success. And that is a good thing, too. The Dark Time, which I covered a little bit ago came right after this.
If I hadn’t had this successful all grain batch before my string of infections, I’m not sure what would have happened. I had Plumpkin in there, right in the middle of all the other problems. This and that both had issues of their own, but they were good enough to convince me to keep going. Soon after, I think I finally hit my stride with Old SMaSHy, Dawn of the Red, N.E. Maibock and Berlin(er Weisse) all coming in quick succession, leading into the start of this blog. My recipe is below, though as I said, I would make some serious changes before attempting to brew this again.
7 O’Clock Bitter
Style: Special/Best/Premium Bitter
Brew Date: June 18, 2013
Serve Date: July, 2013
Expected FG: 1.01
Approximate ABV: 5.5%
89% Maris Otter
9% Cara 45
2% Special Roast
1 oz Target @ 60 min
.5 oz Target @ 20 min
1 oz Phoenix @ 2 min
.5 oz Target Dry Hop
White Labs 005 – British Ale (Ringwood)