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21-03-2018, 06:26
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The mid-1950’s was a good time for British beer. Production was edging up a little and more stronger beers were available.

Tennant’s Best Bitter is an example of a stronger type of Pale Ale that was introduced around this time by many breweries. Relative to the watery stuff that was around in the immediate post-war period, it’s quite potent stuff. A high degree of attenuation leaves it with 4.3% ABV. Not bad for the time.

There are only two malts in the grist, one of which is a small quantity of enzymic malt, which is really just a special type of pale malt. The original contained four types of sugar, in addition to the No. 2 invert and lactose, there was SBS and CWA. I’ve substituted more No. invert for these.

The lactose is a bit of a surprise. I have seen it used in styles of beer other than Milk Stout - Scotch Ale, Mild and Brown Ale – but never in a Bitter before. I’m not sure what purpose it’s serving as the quantity is pretty small. And the degree of attenuation is high.

The copper hops were Kent Fuggles (1954), Worcester Fuggles (1954) and Kent Goldings (1955) with Kent Goldings (1954) as dry hops. Tennant are one of the nice breweries that bothered to list the hop varieties. It takes out the guesswork.

It’s odd to think that this is a beer that my dad might have drunk. The pub on our caravan site was tied to Tennant. And he was a Bitter drinker. They had those horizontal measure half pint electric pumps that were popular in the North. Which were probably dispensing bright beer rather than cask when he was drinking there in the mid-1960s.

1956 Tennant's Best Bitter

pale malt
6.00 lb

enzymic malt
0.25 lb

flaked maize
1.00 lb

No. 2 invert sugar
1.00 lb

0.09 lb

malt extract
0.125 lb

Fuggles 95 mins
0.75 oz

Goldings 40 mins
0.375 oz

Goldings 20 mins
0.375 oz

Goldings dry hops
0.25 oz




Apparent attenuation



Mash at
146º F

Sparge at
165º F

Boil time
95 minutes

pitching temp
60º F

Wyeast 1099 Whitbread ale

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