We’ve had glimmers of Spring here in MN, but as I write this it’s snowing outside on May 1st… Back in late March I thought it would be nice to have a nice malty low ABV pale ale to drink to ring in Spring. I also needed to build up some yeast (WLP002) for a few upcoming batches so an Ordinary Bitter seemed to fit the bill. I had just spent a weekend in Wisconsin drinking New Glarus beers so I decided on a Spotted Cow type Bitter since that’s nice and drinkable – exactly what I’m looking for here. In addition to that I knew I could be drinking it inside 2 weeks.
I stuck with my go-to English base malt in Warminster Floor Malted Marris Otter and decided to just use one specialty malt, in this case Baird’s Carastan (37L). I had some Northern Brewer hops in the freezer and knew they’d be perfect for this one.
Ivy Bush Bitter 1.0
2.5 finished gallons (3.5 gallon batch size – .75 left in kettle, .25 left in fermenter)
60 min boil
Mash @ 150*
90% Warminster Floor Malted Marris Otter (4.5L)
10% Baird’s Carastan (37L)
60 Min Northern Brewer (German) 8% to 30 IBU
15 Min Northern Brewer (German) 8% to 4 IBU
0 Min Northern Brewer (German) 8% equal amount from 15 min addition
The aroma is quite malty, there is a bit of fruity esters, caramel and a hint of toast as well. There is some hop character, but not a lot. The caramel and toast qualities are more pronounced now at about the 5 week mark than they were even a week ago. In short, it smells like an English Beer. The bitterness dominates the flavor until you swallow when you are hit with malt/bread and caramel. There is, again, some fruitiness, but I don’t get a lot of toasty flavors (would like some). There is some hop flavor as well – it hits me as EKG with a hing of noble hops. The finish is dry with no lingering bitterness – just leaves you craving the next sip. As expected the color is pale gold, very clear (no finings needed) with great head retention and small bubbles. Remember to serve these around 50* and keep the carbonation low with these delicate English ales. I probably would not brew this exact recipe again for a MN spring, but this would make a great beer on a hot summer day. This would be a great beer to serve on cask.