Off-the-Cuff Ordinary Bitter Recipe

While some think of the Ordinary Bitter as nothing more than a bland, low-ABV, thin-bodied ale, at its best, it’s one of the better drinking beers around!

Josh Weikert Apr 14, 2019 - 3 min read

Off-the-Cuff Ordinary Bitter Recipe Primary Image


Batch size: 5 gallons (19 liters)
Brewhouse efficiency: 72%
OG: 1.039
FG: 1.010
IBUs: 31
ABV: 3.9%


6.5 lb (3 kg) Maris Otter
8 oz (227 g) Victory malt
4 oz (113 g) British Crystal 90L


1 oz (28 g) East Kent Goldings [5% AA] at 60 minutes
1 oz (28 g) Fuggles [4% AA] at 10 minutes
1 oz (28 g) East Kent Goldings [5% AA] at 10 minutes


Wyeast 1318 London Ale III


Mill the grains and mix with 2.3 gallons (8.6 l) of 163°F (73°C) strike water to reach a mash temperature of 152°F (67°C). Hold this temperature for 60 minutes. Vorlauf until your runnings are clear, then run off into the kettle. Sparge the grains with 5 gallons (19 l) and top up as necessary to obtain 6 gallons (23 l) of wort. Boil for 60 minutes, following the hops schedule. After the boil, chill the wort to slightly below fermentation temperature, about 65°F (18°C). Aerate the wort and pitch the yeast.

Ferment at 65°F (18°C) and after 3 days, let the temperature rise to 68°F (20°C) and hold. After 10–14 days total, crash the beer to 35°F (2°C), then bottle or keg the beer and carbonate to about 1.25 volumes. You can consider a higher carbonation level, but the lower number is better for a closer-to-authentic-cask impression.

Tips for Success

Dry hopping is an option in this style, but it can overwhelm the delicate grain and bakery flavors in the recipe. If you’d like to go that route, a 0.5 oz (14 g) addition of Fuggles keeps it all in the family. If you want to go the other way and emphasize the bread-grain flavors, consider leaving out the crystal-malt addition for a simpler version of this beer!