The motivation to produce something like this can be traced to an invitation I received to deliver a talk on the “Historical Aspects of Brewing”. I have always made bitters that are not too dark (just having a sprinkling of crystal malt
to provide some colour). The reasoning was that pale malt has the highest diastatic activity (it possesses more of the essential amylases) and that conversion to maltose would be quick – resulting in a wort would be clean-tasting without
charred flavours. Modern malting houses produce pale malt because they have a much better control over temperature that 18th or 19th century ones. I reasoned that the more highly coloured malts were a feature of this somewhat primitive
temperature control – and, therefore, these malts would have predominated in early brewing.
So, to break the habit of a lifetime, I used amber malt for the first time. The resulting bitter is simply gorgeous! I wish I’d experimented
Diastatic amber malt (from Copper Kettle) – 4lbs
Roasted amber malt – 1lb
Pale malt – 5lbs
Crystal malt – 4oz
Goldings hops – 4oz
Gypsum - 1 level teaspoon
Irish moss –
Real Ale yeast
Mash and proceed as normal. This had reached starch end-point after 2 hours, but I kept the mash going for 3 hours.