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AHA Guideline

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Special Bitter or Best Bitter

Special Bitter or Best Bitters are deep gold to deep copper colored. Chill haze is allowable at cold temperatures. Fruity-ester aroma is acceptable. Hop aroma may be very low to medium at the brewer's discretion. Medium residual malt sweetness is present. Hop flavor may be very low to medium at brewer's discretion. Hop bitterness is medium and absent of harshness. Mild carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. Fruity-ester and very low diacetyl flavors are acceptable, but should be minimized in this form of bitter. The absence of diacetyl is also acceptable. Body is medium. English and American hop character may be specified in subcategories.


  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.038 - 1.045 (9.5 - 11.2)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.006 - 1.012 (1.5 - 3.1)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 3.30% - 3.80% (4.20% - 4.80%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) (28 - 40)
  • Color SRM (EBC) 6 - 14 (12 - 28)