King James Special Bitter

As a big fan of Pale Ales, I was very happy to brew this beer.
My brewing partner Eric happened upon Propeller Brewing Company’s Extra Special Bitter a few weeks ago and fell in love with it.
He suggested our next brewing session should be that of a traditional English Special Bitter. No problem here!

We turned to one of my favourite brewing books, Brewing Classic Styles: 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew by Jamil Zainasheff and John Palmer, so we could base our recipe on a traditional version of the style. It’s a fantastic book to reference award-winning recipes for every style listed in the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) style guideline. We had to tweak a few ingredients to suit what we had in stock, so we weren’t 100% true to the style, but the results were nonetheless delicious.

We recently switched to brewing outside now that we’ve got our propane burner set up and working properly. The regulator that originally came with our turkey fryer did nothing but burn bright orange and cover our pot, and everything that touched it, in black soot. My good buddy James stepped up to the plate, and drawing upon his experience in the propane industry, built us a wicked regulator that burns like no tomorrow. This alone cut at least an hour off of our brew day. Now it’s time to step things up to 10 gallons!

Since James’ birthday was coming up, Eric & I thought it a good idea to honour him with the first beer we brewed with the new regulator, aptly titled, “King James Special Bitter”. I wasn’t sure if he was going to like this type of beer, but after repeated requests for another bottle, I think he did.

The label design is courtesy of “The Beer Labelizer”, which I just cutout and glued on with a standard glue stick.

Here’s a small video of the name coming into existence:

Download the recipe here:

King James Special Bitter – All Grain

King James Special Bitter – Extract




4 Responses to King James Special Bitter

  1. Reading through your older posts I saw your nice-looking BK. I’m using a turkey fryer but it has no valve of any type. Did you add yours to a regular pot or is it an actual BK? Details please – it looks pretty nice.

    • Thanks, It’s just a plain Stainless Steel turkey fryer I got with a burner from Bass Pro shops on sale for $99. ( ) It’s worked great so far. The spigot was already included, but I had to upgrade to a proper stainless one ( ) because the original had and odd size threading and was difficult use use. (Risk of burning wort on your hands!) Then I got some high temp. silicone tubing as well to go to my chiller that I built. It takes a bit of investment, but it is so worth it if you enjoy brewing. Do you have an aluminum pot or a S.S. one? you could still add it to what you have. Aluminum is easier to drill, but Eric & I just upgraded to a 15.5 gallon SS pot, and I drilled the hole in it the other day. It was easier than I thought it would be. Just need a good step drill bit and go slow on the drill with a little bit of oil so the bit doesn’t burn. If you take your time with it, you should be good. Oh yeah, and tap a center punch where you want the hole to be, so your drill bit doesn’t travel… I nice Blichman Brewpot would be awesome, but it’s to rich for my blood. I did all this for way less, and it works fine…..

  2. Hi guys,

    Thanks for the tips on the weldless stuff. I ended up ordering a few valves from HopDawgs (valves for the BK and HLT) and in the meantime ran into a used keg so had a guy fix it for brewing.

    I still haven’t givent the Tankhouse a shot but maybe that will be the first brew to use the new BK.

    Thanks again!


    • That’s great on the used keg. I was looking for some of those, but didn’t have any luck.
      Just ordered a grain mill and some other things from Hop Dawgs myself, first time. Nice that you don’t get dinged for import duties since they’re in B.C.
      If you do give the Tankhouse a shot, let me know how it goes! (any suggestions are more than welcome!) I’m in Maui at the moment (for a few more days) so hopefully I’ll be able to try the last batch when we get back to see how it turned out….

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