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Old 07-27-2008, 10:19 PM   #1
KingBrianI
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Default Anyone have a recipe for John Smith's Extra Smooth?

So I know this is kind of a bland beer, and there are much better choices when in the UK, but John Smith's has a special little place in my heart. I was going to a cookout in Dundee, Scotland earlier this spring and brought a case (I think it had 18 16-oz cans) of John Smith's. Well, I shared some but I think I did better than 12 pints of the stuff that night. I'd like to relive those fond memories and am thinking about brewing up a batch. I can't find any info online though, probably because it's kind of considered a pedestrian beer in the UK. Anyway, if someone could help me out I'd be grateful! So far I'm thinking it needs a maris otter base, some biscuit/victory malt, a little flaked barley, and maybe a tiny bit of crystal. One addition of Fuggles for bittering and ABV of 4%. I could be totally wrong so please help if you can. Thanks!

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Old 07-28-2008, 01:06 AM   #2
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oh yeah, probably needs a little roasted barley to bring it to about 12-15 srm or so. still no suggestions?

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Old 07-28-2008, 09:17 AM   #3
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I don't want to sound like an EAC, but I would imagine the biggest problem with trying to clone John Smith's Extra Smooth would be making it taste bland enough. Adding Fuggles to a beer made with Maris Otter and some biscuit actually sounds quite nice, and I bet it would taste fresher and nicer than the original John Smiths, which gets pasteurised to death, and is generally served cold - both of which kill off a lot of flavor. To get as close as possible though, my guess would be to use a small dose of Fuggles early on (as JSES is neither very bitter nor aromatic) and to ferment it fairly cool to avoid any flavor contributions from the yeast. Safale 04 would probably be a reasonable choice for yeast. I don't think it's sweet enough to need any crystal malt. Also, the beer is very low in carbonation, so go easy on the priming sugar. I think the ABV for the draft version is 3.8%, and (as you say) 4% for the stuff in cans. Good luck with it

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Old 07-28-2008, 11:19 AM   #4
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+1 on Deneks.

JS is really not worth the trouble of cloning.
I'd just go for a good English bitter recipe. There are many MUCH better beers out there.

The roasted barley will not fit in with the recipe. For me the overriding taste of the beer is water.
There is very little bitterness.

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Old 07-28-2008, 01:09 PM   #5
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Man, you guys are taking the fun out of this! Danek, do you think S-04 would attenuate enough? It's been a while since I've had the John Smith's but I remember it not having any sweetness. I was thinking of using Nottingham but if you think s-04 is better I'll go with that. I've come up with a recipe that may not taste like John Smith's, but I think it will be pretty good. How does this sound?

5 lbs. maris otter
2.5 lbs. biscuit/victory malt
1 lb. flaked barley
0.25 lb. british chocolate malt
1.0 oz. fuggles (60min.)

5.5 gal.

OG 1.041
IBU 21
SRM 14
ABV 4.0

How's it look?

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Old 07-29-2008, 08:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
Man, you guys are taking the fun out of this!
John Smiths is our equivalent of BMC. To put it another way, we're just trying to stop you copping off with an ugly bird, because we know there are so many hotties out there that you could be with instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
Danek, do you think S-04 would attenuate enough? It's been a while since I've had the John Smith's but I remember it not having any sweetness. I was thinking of using Nottingham but if you think s-04 is better I'll go with that.
I've not used Notty before, but it does seem to attentuate more than Saf 04, so maybe it would be a better choice.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
I've come up with a recipe that may not taste like John Smith's, but I think it will be pretty good. How does this sound?

5 lbs. maris otter
2.5 lbs. biscuit/victory malt
1 lb. flaked barley
0.25 lb. british chocolate malt
1.0 oz. fuggles (60min.)

5.5 gal.

OG 1.041
IBU 21
SRM 14
ABV 4.0

How's it look?
I think using chocolate malt and an ounce of hops might be overdoing it for John Smiths, as there's really not much roastiness or bitterness there. [To be honest, this is the bit I struggle with - there are dozens of very, very good English beers out there, but here I am helping you take all the flavor out of a beer recipe]. Regardless of the JohnSmithsness of the recipe, though, I wonder if you need to drop the amount of biscuit/victory and up the amount of MO? By way of comparison, this is an English Brown Ale recipe from Jamil's "Brewing Classic Styles":

Jamil's Nutcastle Ale:
9.75 lbs maris otter
0.75 lbs special roast
0.5 lbs victory
0.5 lbs crystal 40
0.25 lbs pale chocolate

1.2 oz Kent Goldings @ 60
0.5 oz Kent Goldings @ 5

Nottingham yeast
OG 1051
FG 1013
13 SRM
26 IBU
5.1% ABV

That is mostly base malt, but it'd still be a tasty brew. Or if you wanted to try a simpler English bitter, I recently made a recipe for Coniston Bluebird. It's pretty simple (and sorry it's in metric ) :

Coniston Bluebird clone:
Maris Otter: 3.25kg
Crystal 120: 250g
Crystal 60: 250g
30g Challenger hops (5.9% a/a) @ 60
30g Challenger hops @ 10
30g Challenger hops @ flame-out

OG: 1040
IBU: 36
Yeast: Safale S-04

I found the recipe posted on various different forums, but I think it's originally from Clone Brews. It turned out really well, anyway, and it beats the crap out of John Smiths. Although so would a nice cup of tea
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Last edited by Danek; 07-29-2008 at 09:47 AM.
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:42 AM   #7
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Danek, thanks for the help. I guess I'll wait until I get back to the UK to have another John Smith's. The Coniston Bluebird recipe looks pretty good. I think I'll try that or some other English bitter instead of John Smith's. Thanks for stopping me before I copped off with an ugly bird! By the way, the couple my girlfriend and I were travelling around the UK with live in Sheffield. It was a fun little city. My only problem with it was that their house only had one bathroom, and it was on the bottom floor!

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Old 07-29-2008, 12:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KingBrianI View Post
Danek, thanks for the help. I guess I'll wait until I get back to the UK to have another John Smith's. The Coniston Bluebird recipe looks pretty good. I think I'll try that or some other English bitter instead of John Smith's. Thanks for stopping me before I copped off with an ugly bird! By the way, the couple my girlfriend and I were travelling around the UK with live in Sheffield. It was a fun little city. My only problem with it was that their house only had one bathroom, and it was on the bottom floor!
Happy to help out, and good luck with it!

By a weird coincidence the guy who got me into homebrewing was also called Brian and from Durham, NC - I met him at a wedding in Oregon last summer, and he recommended the Charlie Papazian book to me then. The one thing he didn't mention was how horribly addictive brewing would be
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Old 09-14-2014, 09:27 AM   #9
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I had the cask version in Yorkshire last night and it's a lot better than the smooth. 3.8%, thin and watery, bitter compared to lager. Although it's amber I'd bet most of the colour is caramel as there is no roast or sweetness to it. There is bitterness but no hop aroma or flavour. Some malt taste but less than on bitters with similar abv. Quite dry finish, I'd bet for an attenuation of 75% if not more. There is a metallic twang with some sulphur like in the smooth version. It's kind of pleasant and sort of the signature of the beer. I assume it comes from the burtonized water and whatever the yeast might do. I'd bet it had between a tenth and a fifth of the OG coming from flaked maize and invert sugar.

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Old 09-14-2014, 09:44 AM   #10
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Was playing with Brewers Friend:

5 US gallons
Gravity 1.038-1.009
IBU 20
75m boil

3.5lb US 2-row
2lb Maris Otter
1lb Flaked Maize
2oz Crystal 50-60
(2oz Black malt for colour, or invert sugar and brewer's caramel)

Boil:
75m - an ounce of Fuggles

Ferment low with Nottingham, making sure the water is high in sulphur and pretty hard. Add gypsum and all that.

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