Kessler’s Rampage Special Bitter

Story: In summer 2012, I saw John Landis’ 1981 film An American Werewolf in London for the first time. The scene at the beginning in a fictitious Yorkshire pub called the “Slaughtered Lamb” reminded me of the time I spent in the United Kingdom a year earlier, much of it in pubs. In homage to the film’s title and concept of an American in Britain, I decided to brew a special bitter with American hops swimming in a sea of English malts. I brewed it first in summer 2012 and again in summer 2013.

The 2012 version used American hops exclusively: mostly Willamette (a US Fuggle derivative) with a little bit of Nugget at the first bittering addition. For 2013, I changed it up with the addition of one English hop – Progress (a UK Fuggle derivative) at the 15 minute mark – with Warrior for bittering as a substitute for the high-alpha Nugget of the original and Willamette only at the end for aroma. Although the IBU difference between the two was less than 1.0, the profiles of the two beers were very different. While the 2012 version was good enough to fool my family visiting from England that summer, the 2013 version has a strong tropical fruit flavor from the Progress hops I’m not fond of, and very little actual bitterness. As of writing (two weeks after kegging) the tropical fruit flavor is mellowing.

The name was inspired by David Kessler, the main character in An American Werewolf in London. No spoilers.

Style: 8B Special/Best/Premium Bitter

2013 Version (w/UK Progress hops)

Grist:

  • 8 lbs Maris Otter
  • 4 oz Crystal 40L
  • 4 oz Crystal 150L

Hops:

  • 0.5 oz Warrior (15% AA) @ 60 minutes
  • 0.5 oz Progress (6.6% AA) @ 15 minutes
  • 0.4 oz Willamette (4% AA) @ 5 minutes

Yeast: Safale S-04 (11.5 grams)

Mash Temp: 155°F

OG: 1.046

FG: 1.010

IBU: 37.3

SRM: 8.7

ABV: 4.7%

2012 Version (All-US hops)

Grist:

  • 8 lbs Maris Otter
  • 4 oz Crystal 40L
  • 4 oz Crystal 120L

Hops:

  • 0.25  oz Nugget (13% AA) @ 60 minutes
  • 1.0 oz Willamette (4% AA) @ 60 minutes
  • 0.83 oz Willamette (4% AA) @ 15 minutes
  • 0.5 oz Willamette (4% AA) @ 5 minutes

Yeast: Safale S-04 (11.5 grams)

Mash Temp: 153°F

OG: 1.044

FG: 1.010

IBU: 36.7

SRM: 8

ABV: 4.5%

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