I thought I would post the results of an interesting experiment I tried recently. I decided to make an ESB without any caramel malt and get the usual color and caramel flavors entirely from kettle caramelization using an extra long boil. In my first attempt I made the following recipe:
10 lbs Maris Otter
1 oz. Challenger FWH
1 oz. EKG @20
1 oz. EKG @5
1 oz. EKG Dry Hop 7 Days
Mashed @148 for one hour
Boiled 3 hours and added RO water to make up 5.5 gallons
Fermented with Wyeast 1968 London ESB
SRM ~9-10? (Found by holding glass next to a white wall beside a printout.)
It came out a little lighter than it appeared in the boil, but it tastes fantastic! Far better than any ESB I've made with any amount or color of caramel malt. Probably the closest thing I've tasted to Fuller's; I wish I could retract the clone recipe I posted. Next time I'm going to do a 4 hour boil (as I had initially planned, but it was 16 degrees out!) to see if I can make it closer to 12 SRM and develop even more of the delicious kettle caramel flavor.
It would probably be more efficient just to boil down the first gallon or so of the runnings to make a darkish wort caramel, so I might give that a try at some point, too. Does anyone know if I can go to the same temps as a normal caramel (maybe adding some DAP?), or are there things in the wort that might scorch?
Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder.