American Special Bitter (ASB) -- I'm Going to Make One! - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > American Special Bitter (ASB) -- I'm Going to Make One!

Thread Tools
Old 11-25-2008, 09:47 PM   #1
KingBrianI's Avatar
May 2008
Durham, NC
Posts: 3,518
Liked 119 Times on 75 Posts

I often find myself thinking up new recipes and sometimes they even sound good! I've been thinking about doing this one for a while. The concept is an ESB, but using completely American ingredients. I've not decided about yeast yet though, will probably go with an English yeast. I thought I was smart and witty coming up with "ASB" but of course when I did a quick google search it seems that a brewery has already come up with the name. I dont care, I'm using it anyway.

So here is the basic idea:
American Pale 2-row
American Caramel 60
and Willamette hops

Gonna aim for a OG around 1.055 or so and bitter to about 40 IBU.

I'd like suggsetions on maybe another grain or two to add to the bill. Something really American. I was thinking something like some American Victory malt or a bit of American chocolate but I'm not sure. And I'm not a huge fan of American chocolate anyway. So let's have it. What really typical American grain should I add, but in keeping with the ESB style?
I'm too lazy and have too many beers going to keep updating this!

Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2008, 10:01 PM   #2
Sep 2006
Posts: 100
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Flaked corn. ~1lb

Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2008, 10:11 PM   #3
StunnedMonkey's Avatar
Aug 2008
Fort Wayne, IN
Posts: 1,133
Liked 21 Times on 18 Posts

My first brew back in August was 10 lbs of 2-row and 1 lb crystal 60. I used Goldings and hopped to about 45 IBU's.

It was OK, but it was missing something, and I think maybe something like Victory would be a nice addition. Chocolate would darken it a bit too much for a Special Bitter and veer towards a brown. I'd give some Victory a shot.
Tap 1:Traditional Bock
Tap 2:Robust Porter
Tap 3:California Common
Tap 4:Old Ale
Tap 5:IPA

Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2008, 10:11 PM   #4
Jun 2008
Martinsburg, WV
Posts: 753
Liked 10 Times on 8 Posts

Hmmmm... How about just a small amount of the chocolate, say 1.5oz for a 5-gallon batch. How about using cascade for bittering hops?

Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2008, 10:34 PM   #5
Bob's Avatar
Nov 2007
Christiansted, St Croix, USVI, US Virgin Islands
Posts: 3,927
Liked 144 Times on 105 Posts

Go with the Victory. Nice warm, nutty flavor contribution, and it gives a nice color, too. Don't go more than a half-pound in five gallons; hell, even that much is pushing it for a beer like this.

I don't want to p!ss in your Kool-aid, but you do realize the style you're talking about is American Amber Ale, right? Or American Pale Ale, depending on the level of crystal/caramel malt used. If you strip AAA and APA to their roots, they're English Pale Ale styles brewed with American ingredients.

Just sayin'.

Fort Christian Brewpub
St Croix, US Virgin Islands

Reply With Quote
Old 11-25-2008, 10:45 PM   #6
KingBrianI's Avatar
May 2008
Durham, NC
Posts: 3,518
Liked 119 Times on 75 Posts

No worries. I always take my kool-aid with one of those little umbrellas in it -- piss proof! I realize what you're saying, my goal was to use american ingredients to make a beer that tastes similar to an ESB from England. Most american ambers and pales use C-hops for that citrusy character. By sticking to Willamette, I was hoping for a more British character. But beer styles are always overlapping so a particular beer could technically be classified under several styles.
I'm too lazy and have too many beers going to keep updating this!

Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2008, 12:44 AM   #7
HairyDogBrewing's Avatar
Feb 2008
Mechanicsburg, PA
Posts: 571
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

I've been working on the same plan!

But I call mine APB = American Premium Bitter.
Thinking of Whitbread Pale Ale with less caramel
and more hop flavor.
I'm shooting for about 1.050 OG and 25 IBUs,
which is well short of ESB range.

Here's one version:
9# Breiss Pale Ale Malt
8oz Gambrinus Honey Malt ( well Canada is in North America ....)
4oz Briess Crystal 120L
Mashed 60 min at 149

Willamette 6.6% AA leaf hops:
0.5 oz First Wort Hop
0.5 oz 60 min
1.0 oz 15 min

I used my in-case-of-emergency packet of Nottingham
(don't ask), sprinkled directly on the wort, and fermented at 65.
The next batch is getting WLP008.

FG 1.010

Hop flavor and aroma up front.
Balanced by a mild maltiness and a hint of sweetness.
Very mellow bitterness at the finish.

I have some dialing-in to do,
but I think I'm definitely on the right track

Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2008, 02:53 PM   #8
Be good to your yeast...
Saccharomyces's Avatar
Jun 2008
Pflugerville, Texas
Posts: 5,447
Liked 118 Times on 71 Posts

OP recipe + 4oz of Victory would be great. Ferment with the Fuller's strain (WLP002). Or you could use the Pacific Ale (WLP041) which is the Americanized British ale yeast RedHook uses in their brews; slightly less fruity but still produces esters and diacetyl like the Fullers strain.

Victory malt is STRONG stuff. I used 8oz in a similar brew to your recipe and it was too much, even after a few months it still stuck out above everything else.
[How to Calculate Mash Efficiency | Do I Need a Yeast Starter? | My Ghetto Fermentation Chamber | Twitter | 6 Gal. HDPE Fermenters | Slanting Yeast | No Sparge Brewing]

Originally Posted by Soperbrew
big brother only monitors facebook and untappd

Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2008, 03:14 PM   #9
jds's Avatar
Oct 2007
Littleton, CO
Posts: 1,913
Liked 24 Times on 19 Posts

I did something similar, malt-wise, except I added some rye and carapils to the mix. I really like Willamette hops, and I think they pair great with Sterling, if you're looking to up the bittering. Your ASB project sounds like a good one. Hope to hear some great results in a month or tow.

Reply With Quote
Old 11-26-2008, 05:05 PM   #10
May 2008
Oakland, California
Posts: 1,415
Liked 27 Times on 14 Posts

For the yeast as an American Special Bitter my vote is on the White Labs East Coast Ale. should give it more esters and some character compared to the West Coast or Cali ale.
Primary:Russian River Redemption clone, Kelly's Melomel, Graham's English Cider 22-23
Clearing:Apple Wine
Aging:Public House Dry Stout, Procrastination Porter, Mr. Brown Ale, Westvleteren 12 Clone, Mead, Duvel Clone, Graham's English Cider 6-21, Belgian Draak Strong Ale, Fig Melomel, Acerglyn, Restorative Tonic Metheglyn

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Red Dog Extra Special Bitter dontman Homebrew Ale Recipes 8 09-16-2009 05:17 PM
Pacific Gem Special Bitter Evan! Homebrew Ale Recipes 4 02-11-2009 03:53 PM
Evan's Special Bitter (ESB) Professor Frink Homebrew Ale Recipes 2 05-31-2008 02:54 AM
Almost Organic Special Bitter scottfro Label Display & Discussion 15 03-21-2008 04:03 PM
Extra Special Bitter Nostrildamus Homebrew Ale Recipes 0 08-10-2007 08:59 PM

Forum Jump