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30-12-2015, 07:08
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Time to head off up North for some honest. A lovely, straightforward Bitter.

Lees brewed two Milds in the 1950’s, but only one Bitter. Called, er, Bitter. With an OG of 1041, it was a pretty decent strength for an Ordinary Bitter. I’m not sure of the ABV, because Lees couldn’t be arsed to fill in racking gravities in this period. I’ve guessed that attenuation was around 75%, which seems reasonable enough.

Older Bitter recipes are mostly very simple. As is this one – just pale malt, the tiniest touch of black malt and sugar. Oh, and a dash of enzymatic malt. Not sure if you can still get that. It was a big deal in the 1950’s, when brewers saw it as a wonder ingredient. Feel free to just use more pale malt.

The sugar is the problem. In the original, it’s a combination of an unspecified invert, CWA and something called proteinex. I’ve simplified it to all No. 2, though you could use a combination of No. 1 and No. 2.

Nothing is revealed about the hops in the brewing record, other than that they’re English. Fuggles and Goldings seem a reasonable assumption. As this is a Bitter, you could also go with all Goldings. I’d be amazed if the dry hops were anything other than Goldings.

As for the mash, I’ve simplified that a little. There was an initial mash at 148º F for 20 minutes, then an underlet to raise the temperature to 150º F, at which it was held for 100 minutes. Given how common this form of mashing was in the 20th century, I’m surprised how little I’ve seen it mentioned. It was bog standard in London, but was used elsewhere, too.

As it’s so simple, there’s not a great deal to say. Except give the recipe a try and imagine the glamour of Manchester in 1950 as you drink it.

1950 Lees Bitter

pale malt
7.75 lb

black malt
0.008 lb

enzymic malt
0.125 lb

No. 2 invert
1.00 lb

Fuggles 90 min
1.00 oz

Goldings 30 min
1.00 oz

Goldings dry hops
0.25 oz




Apparent attenuation



Mash at
150º F

Sparge at
170º F

Boil time
90 minutes

pitching temp
60º F

Wyeast 1318 London ale III (Boddingtons)

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