Special Bitter or Best Bitter
BJCP Comparable Category: 11B - Best Bitter
This is the description of how the Special Bitter or Best Bitter style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Special Bitter or Best Bitter beer style.
When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect English and American hop character.
- Color: Deep gold to deep copper
- Body: Medium
- Malt Flavors & Aromas: Medium residual malt sweetness should be present
- Hop Flavors & Aromas: Very low to medium at the brewer’s discretion
- IBUs/Bitterness: Medium and not harsh
- Fermentation Characteristics: Low carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
- Common Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, and/or crystal malts. May use a touch of dark malt for color adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast.
- Commercial Examples: Adnams SSB, Coniston Bluebird Bitter, Fuller's London Pride, Harvey's Sussex Best Bitter, Shepherd Neame Master Brew Kentish Ale, Timothy Taylor Landlord, Young's Special
Brewing Properties of Special Bitter or Best Bitter
These are the functional brewing properties of Special Bitter or Best Bitter beers, as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, the historical significance, authenticity or a common profile in the current commercial beer market.
The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
|4.2 - 4.8%|
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
|28 - 40 IBUs||SRM
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
–6 - 14 SRM
(12 - 28 EBC)
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
|1.038 - 1.045|
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
|1.006 - 1.012|
If you see an error in our data, please let us know!
Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.