Epsom Special Bitter

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By James Wilson

Recipe is part of Recipe Index

BJCP 2021 Style 11C Strong Bitter

This beer was originally created during the lockdown of 2020 when pubs were closed and I really wanted something like Fullers ESB. The yeast is really key to this beer, it provides a completely different flavour compared to commercial yeasts like WLP002. Since 2023 I've made this with Imperial A09 Pub yeast, which is very close to the current Fullers yeast.

In 2023 I made a version with Chevallier malt instead of Maris Otter. It under attenuated, but tasted delicious so I entered it as a Best Bitter in LAB Open 2023, where it scored 42 and got an honourable mention. The next version used 20% Chevallier, attenuated fully and got a silver at GBBF 2023.


Scottish National Home Brew Competition 2021 (Remote judging 02/2021)

1st - Scotland & England

Great British Beer Festival 2023 (London, 08/2023)

2nd - Premium Bitters


  • IBU 41
  • ABV 5.7%
  • OG 1.055
  • FG 1.010
  • EBC 21
  • 24 litres at end of boil.
  • 21 litres into fermenter.



London water treated to leave 75ppm alkalinity as CaCO3 in mash, 50ppm in sparge liquor.
End wort profile approximately:

  • 110ppm Calcium
  • 75ppm Sulphate
  • 130ppm Chloride


  • Warminster Floor Malted Maris Otter, 6 EBC, 5200g, 91.2%
  • Thomas Fawcett Crystal, 130 EBC, 500g, 8.8%


  • 35g Challenger (Whole) at 60 minutes
  • 35g WGV (Whole) at 60 minutes
  • 25g WGV (Whole) at 10 minutes


  • Yeast grown up from bottles of Fullers 1845
  • Two bottles into 100ml starter wort, then into 1 litre after 48 hours.
  • Alternatively use Imperial A09 Pub



Single infusion at 63C for 60 minutes.

Mash thickness 2.5 litres per kilogram.


60 minute boil, 27 litres starting, 24 litres at end.


Ferment at 19-20C to finish.


Carbonate low - 1.5 volumes

Serve by pouring vigorously to simulate the agitation of a hand pull.