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English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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Puddlethumper

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OK, so it seems almost everyone is into the make-your-nose-run hop forward double, triple and quaduruple IPA's with IBU's over 100. That's fine if you like it. But personally, I enjoy traditional English beers. I get a lot of enjoyment from a very good common bitters, porter, SB or ESB. English beers provide a comfortable easy drinking beer that I can enjoy through an entire evening. Perhaps there are others here who feel the same way.

Would you care to share your favorite recipe? And why do you like this beer?

Thanks to all who care to contribute their views and their recipes.

Cheers! :mug:
 

pricelessbrewing

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I'm with you on the style preferences. Browns, stouts, porters for me. Occasional wheat or belgian. Still haven't tried a bitter, or esb.
Making reapers mild in a week when my temp controller gets here.
 

Braufessor

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I love English beers.... I always have and ordinary bitter or Dark Mild on tap. Two good places to start with ordinary bitters - Northern Brewer's "The Innkeeper" recipe or the "Boddington's Clone" in the Homebrewtalk database.

Good british malts, good yeast..... I have become partial to 1318 or 1469. Also like 1968.

My most recent version is roughly as follows:
90% Maris Otter
2.5% of each of the following -
Carapils
British Crystal 40
British Crystal 120
Wheat

3 additions of EKG - 1 ounce at 60, 45 and 0 (40IBU's).
(I am making about 6 gallons)

Shooting for gravity of around 1.038-1.042

Do not shoot for "burton water".
If you use B'run water - I am targeting water numbers that are basically around this:
Calcium: 75
Sulfate: 125-150
Chloride: 25-35
Bicarbonate:50
Others are all relatively low
Getting Mash pH of 5.2-5.3
I dilute my tap water quite a bit with Reverse Osmosis water (80% or so)

Control ferm temps...... mid-upper 60's beer temps.

Carbonate on the low side.
 

USAFSooner

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I've got an ESB Recipe that came out spot on. PM me and I'll send it to you ( can't recall it from memory)

Edit (I'm in front of Beersmith now)
11.5# Optic Malt
1.5# Crystal 75

0.5 oz Challenger @ 60
0.5 oz Target hops @ 60
0.5 oz EKG Hops @ 15, dry hop

WLP ESB Yeast 002 or Wyeast 1968

My notes say to back off on the crystal ever so slightly. Mine came out just a hair darker than Fullers. Maybe use a 1.25 lb. Fullers also uses Northdown at some point in their recipe but when you scale it you only need 0.1 oz.


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Gameface

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1469 is my "house" strain for making English bitter.

Basically I just use MO, EKG, 1469 and a dash of crystal malts... control ferm temps at the low end of the range, I do 63F for the first 3 days, let rise to 68F on it's own for 3 days, hold for 3 days then cold crash. I'd be happy to give specifics, but it's really that simple.

About 70% of the beer I've made since starting homebrewing has been ESB. I've had some success.
 
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Puddlethumper

Puddlethumper

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1469 is my "house" strain for making English bitter.

Basically I just use MO, EKG, 1469 and a dash of crystal malts... control ferm temps at the low end of the range, I do 63F for the first 3 days, let rise to 68F on it's own for 3 days, hold for 3 days then cold crash. .
That is extremely close to my "house" basic bitter. Although mine takes 1 oz. of black malt and S-04 or Nottingham yeast. My lhbs doesn't carry Wyeast but I definitely need to try the 1469. Thanks for the tip!
 

Braufessor

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If you use 1469 - at least in my experience - keep a handle on temperature for sure. I love it fermented on the cool side 63-66 .... maybe a slight rise to 68 toward the very end. I do not like it if it starts in the upper 60's and goes over 70 - it can throw some weird flavors when it gets a little warm.
It is a really great yeast though for bitters and milds - it can add a lot to a beer.
 

thegreatmaibockaddict

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Keep it simple. I love quality Maris Otter, and these are the ESB guidlines that I like to follow (for simplicity sake I am just going to provide a link to my site)

ESB Recipe

Good Maris Otter does means no specialty grains needed for ESB, Pale Ale, Bitter, or IPA. In fact, the beers come out rather dark.
 

alane1

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Keep it simple. I love quality Maris Otter, and these are the ESB guidlines that I like to follow (for simplicity sake I am just going to provide a link to my site)

ESB Recipe

Good Maris Otter does means no specialty grains needed for ESB, Pale Ale, Bitter, or IPA. In fact, the beers come out rather dark.
I used to use Maris exclusively, I was shocked when I used Rahr for the first time. Maris otter definitely makes a noticeably darker beer.
 

rodwha

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ESB by far. I've yet to brew a British beer, but I'm working on my ESB recipe to brew in a couple of weeks now.

I intend to make mine about 12 SRM's and don't see how that can be done with just M.O.

I also greatly enjoy a barley wine, and am looking into an IPA (the one I had I didn't care for). And then there's a northern brown.

I've been wondering about a british yeast strain that would work for them all as I wouldn't brew any one frequently enough to keep a liquid strain going. I suppose i could just use S-04...
 
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Puddlethumper

Puddlethumper

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I intend to make mine about 12 SRM's and don't see how that can be done with just M.O....
Several English recipes I have call for 75-90 minute boils. That's going to make any malt darker.


I've been wondering about a british yeast strain that would work for them all as I wouldn't brew any one frequently enough to keep a liquid strain going. I suppose i could just use S-04...
My default yeasts for English beers are Nottingham and S-04. Notty if I want it a little dryer and sharper. Windsor is also an old English strain, but I've heard of enough bad experiences with Windsor to keep me from even trying it.
 

rodwha

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An extra 15-30 will darken it that much? Isn't M.O. about 4 SRM or so?

I'll be using S-04 for my ESB in a couple of weeks. I wouldn't think it ideal, though it does have a longer shelf life!
 
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Puddlethumper

Puddlethumper

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An extra 15-30 will darken it that much? Isn't M.O. about 4 SRM or so?

I'll be using S-04 for my ESB in a couple of weeks. I wouldn't think it ideal, though it does have a longer shelf life!
My basic bitter recipe calls for 4 oz. of British medium crystal (60/80) plus 1 oz. of black malt for a 5 gal. batch. I just pulled a pint to check it against the SRM chart (purely for the sake of science you understand :eek: ) and it looks to be about 15. An earlier post recommended straight MO and, with a 90 min. boil I can see how it could easily go 10-15 SRM.

And there's nothing wrong with using S-04 for an ESB recipe. It will be a good beer and good starting point. Try making the same recipe again later with Nottingham or WLP-002.
 

rodwha

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I have some Nottingham in the fridge too. Need to figure something to do with it. Another ESB maybe!

I used (6 gal) 1 lb of Britsh crystal 50/60 and 2 oz carafa I spl for 12 SRM's boiled for just 60 mins.
 

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I've made the common room esb from the database, and it was really good. I'm also working on creating my house esb recipe. So far its 7lbs MO and 1 lb english dark crystal, 1 oz fuggle at 60. I like the malt bill, but I think the hops need work. WLP002.
 

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For typical hoppy british golden ales:


OG 1.038 - 1.046
FG 1.009 -1.012
3.8% - 4.8% abv
IBUs - 35-45
Water treatment suitable for hop forward ales
clean yeast to get the attenuation you desire - I've used us05 fine with this, but any clean-ish reasonably well attenuating yeast would do


95% low colour Maris otter or lager malt
5% torrified wheat


hops - mainly late hops, between 3.5 oz to 5 oz in the boil/whirlpool for a 5US gallon batch. Add appropriate dry hop.

Good for single hop beers. my favourite to date has been citra. Drink ASAP when conditioned
 

CadiBrewer

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I, too, almost exclusively brew English beers. I by MO buy the sack and Fuggles and EKG by the pound. I always have an ordinary bitter on tap, at around 3.5%, for easy drinking all night. I've finally nailed it to the point that I believe it is on par with a commercial beer for quality.

The Old Bitter Bastard recipe in the database is excellent.
 

OleBrewing

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English ales are my favorite styles for session beer. I have been usin nugget for bittering and US goldings aroma. The recipe is the American ESB in the data base. Maris Otter version is a completely different malt flavor than 2 row. But both turned out great. WL007 yeast is a monster and quickly devours sugar and cleans up quickly. Will be using nottingham in next batch.
 
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Puddlethumper

Puddlethumper

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I've made the common room esb from the database, and it was really good. I'm also working on creating my house esb recipe. So far its 7lbs MO and 1 lb english dark crystal, 1 oz fuggle at 60. I like the malt bill, but I think the hops need work. WLP002.

For an ESB you about can't go wrong with EKG for hops. 1 oz. @ 60 and 1 oz. at 5-10 and you have a really traditional English beer. But, IMO, that works best with a malt bill that is mostly MO and only a trace of crystal malts. With the strong crystal malt percentage in your recipe perhaps Target or Challenger for bittering and EKG or Fuggles for aroma. Target's grassy flavor might go well with Fuggles for aroma/flavor. Otherwise maybe Challenger for bittering and EKG for flavor (?).
 

Kingbogart

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For an ESB you about can't go wrong with EKG for hops. 1 oz. @ 60 and 1 oz. at 5-10 and you have a really traditional English beer. But, IMO, that works best with a malt bill that is mostly MO and only a trace of crystal malts. With the strong crystal malt percentage in your recipe perhaps Target or Challenger for bittering and EKG or Fuggles for aroma. Target's grassy flavor might go well with Fuggles for aroma/flavor. Otherwise maybe Challenger for bittering and EKG for flavor (?).
I'm not really attached to the grain bill, it was mainly a starting point. I had been reading How To Brew, and took the idea of the percentages from him. I like the maltiness, not sure about the sweetness of my bill. Though the simplicity can't be beat. I do like EKG and Fuggle, not a huge fan of grassy in general so maybe not so much on the Target. It's all a process I suppose.
 
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Puddlethumper

Puddlethumper

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I do like EKG and Fuggle, not a huge fan of grassy in general so maybe not so much on the Target. It's all a process I suppose.
One of the biggest challenges I've found in brewing English recipes is the availability of hops. There isn't a great demand on this side of the pond for many of the varieties that are commonplace there. And descriptions can be a little misleading if you haven't actually used the variety before. I mentioned "grassy" because that helps associate it with a woodsy flavor instead of a floral or citrus flavor. Woodsy is a good thing, IMO in many British beers. And when used as a bittering hop, most of the flavors will be gone by the end of the boil anyway.

I've been focused on developing a basic bitter and a porter that I can call my "House" beers and the recipe I like for the basic bitter is almost full MO with a little British medium crystal, a pinch of black patent and straight EKG. I have learned that I don't care for Nottingham in this recipe because it dries the beer out so much that it almost tastes "Thin". S-04 has done wonderfully. However, I do have a vial of WLP-002 London Ale yeast that I intend to use on the next batch to see how it goes.

My next porter uses Challenger, Bramling Cross and Fuggles. Challenger is readily available and I buy Fuggles by the pound. But Northern Brewer is the only source I've found for Bramling Cross.
 

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I had some leftovers/extras from my recent run of beers and decided it would work for a bitter. It came out fantastic. I'm not much of a hophead so I love the challenge of making somewhat hoppy/bitter beers that I enjoy, and this nailed it.

This comes across as very light and crisp, a clean hop taste and slight fruitiness, and then the toasty background hits you.

I did a partial mash but this could easily be converted to all-grain with a bunch more Maris Otter.

If/when I make this again I'll probably bump the aroma addition up to 1/2 oz (I just had .25 on hand at the time), and use US Goldings for it. I'll probably try Challenger hops for bittering as well, though I'm sure any bittering hop will work.

Mash @ 153:
3.5lbs Warminster Maris Otter
8oz Carastan

Extract Late Additions:
3lbs Maris Otter LME (Northern Brewer)
1lb Briess Golden Light DME

.5oz Warrior (16%) @ 60 min (shoot for ~32IBU)
.5oz Willamette (5.2%) @ 20min
.25oz EKG (5.6%) @ flameout

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale

OG 1.046
FG 1.011
IBU 33.4
SRM 6.9

Fermented for 10 days @ 63deg, Cold Crashed w/Gelatin for 4 days.
 

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When using American 2-row I usually put in a touch of Crisp amber malt, not the same as MO but it works. As for hops I've been using First gold for finishing, this is a good English hop for those who haven't tried it. My favorite yeasts are WLP002 and S-04. Cheers
 

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If anybody finds a good recipe for Robinson's Old Tom, let me know. It's a brilliant old ale (or strong mild) clocking at 8.5%. I'd bet it's pretty much pale malt and some invert sugar, maybe a pinch of black malt, though. Some reviews, here: http://www.ratebeer.com/beer/robinsons-old-tom-cask/44577/

Overall, drinking here some of the best typically British beers apart from bitters and pale ales are milds. They tend to be 3.8%-4.5% abv around here, and they have some crystal or dark malts (chocolate or black malt), and almost every single time some darker invert sugar. They don't care much for hops.
 
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Puddlethumper

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Might want to try these places as well for Bramling cross as well as other UK varieties
Great suggestion on Hops Direct, etc. I buy my bulk hops from them frequently. But Bramling Cross has a pretty unique flavor profile and I can't see using a pound of it in the time it would take for it to go stale.

Cheers! :tank:
 
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Puddlethumper

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If anybody finds a good recipe for Robinson's Old Tom, let me know.

Overall, drinking here some of the best typically British beers apart from bitters and pale ales are milds. They tend to be 3.8%-4.5% abv around here, and they have some crystal or dark malts (chocolate or black malt), and almost every single time some darker invert sugar. They don't care much for hops.
I don't think I've seen Old Tom available at any of the beverage houses here. I assume they do some export business?

It's good to hear that milds are back. I've read that they fell out of favor for quite a while. I have yet to make one but if I can find a recipe that sounds promising I will definitely try it. Any suggestions? :mug:
 

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JKaranka

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I don't think I've seen Old Tom available at any of the beverage houses here. I assume they do some export business?

It's good to hear that milds are back. I've read that they fell out of favor for quite a while. I have yet to make one but if I can find a recipe that sounds promising I will definitely try it. Any suggestions? :mug:
I like Brains Dark, it's local and fresh. Milds don't keep very well, so once the pub starts serving it the beer is noticeably worse after two days. Mighty Oak's Oscar Wilde is really good as well, but I only get it at beer festivals.

I think you'd get close to Brains Dark with something bittered to 16IBU, 6lb Mild malt, 10oz Crystal, 6oz Brown malt, 4oz Chocolate malt, 4oz Invert Sugar #3. I'll give it a go at the end of the summer and let you know. The cask version is around 3.5% abv and the bottled version 4.0% abv (and a tad hoppier).
 

rodwha

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I'm curious as to why a mild deteriorates so quickly.
 

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low hopping and low abv beers need drunk quick imo, same as bitters really - most cask beers should be drunk within six weeks of being brewed and those beers also lose out a lot when bottled - most are pasteurised at bottling which really doesn't help too. When I make small beers I only do half batches so I can drink them quickly

The best mild I've had recently is Highland Dark Munro

here's an Old Tom recipe, I imagine it's a graham wheeler one

Robinsons Old Tom
Frederic Robinson & Co/Unicorn Brewery/Hartleys, Stockport, Cheshire, UK
OG: 1080
ABV: 8.5%
Grainbill: 83.6% Pale, 7% Crystal Malt, 2.4% Chocolate Malt, 7% caramel Syrup

Early hops: Northdown
Late hops: Goldings
Dry hops: Goldings
IBU: ≈25
Colour: dark brown
Yeast: high attenuating English ale yeast
 

mrdauber64

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I've always had problems with English yeast stalling out, then re fermenting in the bottle resulting in an over carbonated beer. I've had this happen with 1968 and 002. I'm now scared to brew an English beer. Any suggestion as to why? Do English yeast need the temp to be ramped up towards the end of fermentation to fully attenuate?


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Hanglow

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I've had that with 002 as well

I think because they flocculate so well, you should gently rouse the yeast after a couple of days and hold off on cooling it down.

The proper Ringwood yeast is notorious for it too, as it's a dual strain, one high attenuating one and a fast flocculating one - so the one that floccs out also makes the other flocculate as well, which is why beers made with that yeast need constant rousing for them to finish.
 

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You should rouse the beer every now and then. I just give the FV a gentle shake when activity seems to stop and off it goes again for a few hours. Thanks for the Old Tom recipe!
 

JKaranka

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Milds tend to last less than bitters, but hopping and abv are lower. They keep ok if you keep them bottled, but they are most often served from cask.
 
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