English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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duncan_disorderly

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@Erik the Anglophile What yeast are you using? One of the purported Fullers (Pub is my favorite)?

I've done a lot of SMASHY yeast offs' of different English yeasts. That was interesting, but even more interesting was when I did a few yeast offs' against the London Porter recipe below. I was shocked to figure out that the yeasts I preferred in a simple SMASH were quite different in a Porter. WLP085* (WLP002 + WLP007) completely stripped out the chocolate taste. S-04 was the hands down winner in that match up. Suggest you might try a split batch to see what tickles your palate, and what that might mean for your recipe tweaking.

Digression alert: Whilst it seems that brown ale defines London Porters, brown ale isn't for my palate. That same brown ale taste comes through in Samuel Smiths porter and a few other imports I've tried.

Here's a BYO article on 5 British Ale Clones. Whilst this is written by American Chris Colby and does not contain brown ale, I really like his Fuller's London Porter Clone. Nicely balanced with layer flavor. Here's the grain bill:
9 lb. 12 oz. (4.4 kg) British 2-row pale ale malt
14 oz. (0.40 kg) crystal malt (60 °L)
7.0 oz. (0.20 kg) chocolate malt
7.0 oz. (0.20 kg) black patent malt
4.0 oz. (0.11 kg) roasted barley (500 °L)

*WLP085. White Labs won't admit to anything beyond WLP002 and another British yeast. Most wags are for either WLP006 or WLP007. On the plane yesterday back from LA (after a visit to the WL tasting room on Friday), I noticed this nugget in the White Labs Guide to blending yeast strains: Low Attenuation Yeast ◦ WLP002 English Ale Yeast and WLP007 Dry English Ale Yeast together to get the esters and higher attenuation that you want.
I can vouch for that Fullers London Porter recipe, it's great. But I'm not a fan of S04 in that type of beer myself. Verdant or Nottingham for me.
 

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There's also a yeast lab that started up about 4 years ago in Ireland, not far from my home town.
They have 4 or 5 english strains.


At first the prices seem a bit steep but they are for 100 liter pitches.
So might be interesting for someone living in europe who makes bigger batches of beer.

Some of the online Irish homebrew shops have them in smaller quantities too for 22 litre batches.


So maybe if you contact them and order a few different types they will send the smaller size vials.
 

kmarkstevens

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I can vouch for that Fullers London Porter recipe, it's great. But I'm not a fan of S04 in that type of beer myself. Verdant or Nottingham for me.
If I could only choose one yeast to brew with forever, it is probably Notty. Wide fermentation range, pretty clean but some English taste, good flocculation, readily available, etc.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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@kmarkstevens and @Miraculix you also seemed interested in the thread about Brewly yeast. I brewed the brown this sunday, by tuesday morning there was a considerable amount of yeast pooling up on the bottom and it seemed to be slowing down so I raised the temp a bit then and again in the evening to 21c.
Yesterday(thursday) I took a sample and it was only down to 1.015, but in the tube it had that beige-ish, muddy active yeast in suspension color, I roused the FV a little and will try again come sunday.
I suspect it may be one of those yeasts that goes hard in the first phase, then is a bit more sluggish in the secondary phase of fermentation, so you might want to keep in mind to give it a few more days than usual after krausen drops.
Otherwise it tastes promising, no over the top esters or s04 sourdough taste despite being fermented at 19c, I dumped the whole pack in 13L of .47 wort though so it was maybe a slight over pitch, could have gone with like 2/3 of a pack.
Will taste again on sunday and hopefully it has dropped down to .10 or so by then.
 

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@kmarkstevens and @Miraculix you also seemed interested in the thread about Brewly yeast. I brewed the brown this sunday, by tuesday morning there was a considerable amount of yeast pooling up on the bottom and it seemed to be slowing down so I raised the temp a bit then and again in the evening to 21c.
Yesterday(thursday) I took a sample and it was only down to 1.015, but in the tube it had that beige-ish, muddy active yeast in suspension color, I roused the FV a little and will try again come sunday.
I suspect it may be one of those yeasts that goes hard in the first phase, then is a bit more sluggish in the secondary phase of fermentation, so you might want to keep in mind to give it a few more days than usual after krausen drops.
Otherwise it tastes promising, no over the top esters or s04 sourdough taste despite being fermented at 19c, I dumped the whole pack in 13L of .47 wort though so it was maybe a slight over pitch, could have gone with like 2/3 of a pack.
Will taste again on sunday and hopefully it has dropped down to .10 or so by then.
Sounds promising, thanks for the info. I'm always looking for reliable English dry yeasts with character. So far, nothing has beaten verdant IPA for me, but it is always good to have something on hand with a different ester spectrum. If this is the superior s04, it would be great. I love s04 in a stout!
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Sounds promising, thanks for the info. I'm always looking for reliable English dry yeasts with character. So far, nothing has beaten verdant IPA for me, but it is always good to have something on hand with a different ester spectrum. If this is the superior s04, it would be great. I love s04 in a stout!
I will probably have to taste again on sunday and get back, as it didn't seem to have completely fermented out. I also screwed up the mash a little bit I think.
I was gonna be smart and end the mash a bit early, to account for the time it takes to scoop over the mash to the seperate bucket I drain off the first runnings from and use to sparge. This didn't take as long as I thought and probably resulted a bit too short mash.
Hopefully it will get down to 1.012 at least by sunday or monday.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Took a reading today, it had only gone down to .014 and started to clear a bit so I don't think it will go any lower.
I suspect my idea to end the mash early to account for the transfer to the sparge bucket that resulted in a 50 minute mash instead of 60 may be the culprit behind the low attenuation.
On a positive note it did not taste cloyingly sweet despite the high-ish FG, I'll chalk it up as a learning experience and keep doing full hour mashes since the transfer and draining of first runnings takes only about 2-3 min as opposed the 10 I thought.
 

DBhomebrew

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If I could only choose one yeast to brew with forever, it is probably Notty. Wide fermentation range, pretty clean but some English taste, good flocculation, readily available, etc.
I've just collected the goods to brew Kristen England's 1914 Courage Imperial off Shut Up. Might you have any tips on using Notty for that specific recipe? It's my first time with this beast.

 

kmarkstevens

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Notty is a beast that needs no hand holding. You can simply sprinkle in the dry yeast packet. You should aerate the yeast. Which can be just as simple as vigorously shaking the fermenter for 2 minutes. I have an electric drill with a wine aerator (a small paint stirrer works well) and do that for 2 minutes. You could also give it another 2 minute blast 6-12 hours later. Then sit back and watch Notty do it's stuff. It will likely be close or at final gravity in a week and be done within 2 weeks.

Notty has a wide fermentation range from 50 - 72F. I typically ferment at 68F ambient. The colder you ferment, the longer it will take

Notty is pretty clean tasting but has something that feels "english" and it flocculates very well.

FYI, the other W Yorkie strain is also a nice one. Would be more flavorful yeast than Notty, and does not clear as well.
 

DBhomebrew

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Sounds good. I was a bit concerned with such a big beer fermenting at 67° (beer temp), but if you usually do 68° ambient sounds like it'll be just fine.

1469. Yeah, I'd usually go with the more expressive choice, but on this one Notty won out on price and convenience.

Thanks
 

DuncB

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@schmurf

Just so you can see how the 5 points came out. No finings, magic beer.
Ed at Five points submitted the photos to their internal great lacing pictures.

Getting ready to brew the next batch to be ready in about a month.
IMG_20210513_194337.jpgIMG_20210513_200126.jpg
 

kmarkstevens

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@DuncB That is a damn fine looking pint. I bet it tastes just as good!

:D@DBhomebrew Forgot to warn you that you might want a blow off tube or keep this one overnight in a bathtub. Not sure how much headspace you've got but Notty can be pretty active depending on the underlying wort. Big beers can have a big top fermentation.
 

DBhomebrew

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:D@DBhomebrew Forgot to warn you that you might want a blow off tube or keep this one overnight in a bathtub. Not sure how much headspace you've got but Notty can be pretty active depending on the underlying wort. Big beers can have a big top fermentation.
Oh, I think I'm prepared.

3-1/2 gallon batch in 5 gallon fermenter with a blowoff into a gallon jug!

My first dozen or so batches were with 1318. That was a climber.
 

schmurf

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@schmurf

Just so you can see how the 5 points came out. No finings, magic beer.
Ed at Five points submitted the photos to their internal great lacing pictures.

Getting ready to brew the next batch to be ready in about a month.
View attachment 729308View attachment 729307
Looking great @DuncB! Mine is still fermenting, but I'm missing my expected numbers a lot in this brew. I got much better mash effiency than I usually have, maybe because I switched from Crisp to Simpsons in this one... I can't explain it otherwise. And I did an overnight mash which probably made the wort much more fermentable.... I'm down at 1.006 at the moment, hopefully won't get much further. So it looks like it will be a 5.5+ beer... not what I expected and it's much difference than my other attempts.
 

DuncB

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Looking great @DuncB! Mine is still fermenting, but I'm missing my expected numbers a lot in this brew. I got much better mash effiency than I usually have, maybe because I switched from Crisp to Simpsons in this one... I can't explain it otherwise. And I did an overnight mash which probably made the wort much more fermentable.... I'm down at 1.006 at the moment, hopefully won't get much further. So it looks like it will be a 5.5+ beer... not what I expected and it's much difference than my other attempts.
Interesting, mine fermented down pretty dry having used that wyeast 1098 which seems to go on and on.

But as I say all stocked up for the next brew possibly this weekend. Send pictures when you've finished to 5 points brewery they'll like that.
 

cyberbackpacker

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...I'm missing my expected numbers a lot in this brew...I can't explain it otherwise. And I did an overnight mash which probably made the wort much more fermentable....
Bing, bing, you have a winner! You actually have identified why you have such a fermentable wort and are missing your numbers!
 

schmurf

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Bing, bing, you have a winner! You actually have identified why you have such a fermentable wort and are missing your numbers!
Yes it certainly explains the attenuation, i'm looking at AA 87% right now... White Labs states 67-75% for WLP013 so I'm way above it. However, overnight mashing certainly feels like a good way for me to brew and I want to continue doing it if I can bring down the attenuation some. I might try to mash higher next time... maybe aiming for 70C/158F instead of 67C/152.5F? Not sure how much that would change things.

You think the long mash also explains my higher OG/mash efficiency than I usually have? I mean we're not talking a few percent here... I got an efficiency of 90% (Brewfather calculated) instead of my usual 75-ish.
 

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Yes it certainly explains the attenuation, i'm looking at AA 87% right now... White Labs states 67-75% for WLP013 so I'm way above it. However, overnight mashing certainly feels like a good way for me to brew and I want to continue doing it if I can bring down the attenuation some. I might try to mash higher next time... maybe aiming for 70C/158F instead of 67C/152.5F? Not sure how much that would change things.

You think the long mash also explains my higher OG/mash efficiency than I usually have? I mean we're not talking a few percent here... I got an efficiency of 90% (Brewfather calculated) instead of my usual 75-ish.
I would go the full way and try with 72 C. Your long mash also certainly upped your overall efficiency, I experienced the same!

Hard to dial in, but once you got it, you got it. Good luck!
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Any other Swedes or Euros here who have tried the hop variety Hulla Norrgård?
Got my hands on 2 bags and am gonna try them in a singel hop(for flavor and aroma additions atleast) best bitter to see what they bring to the table. From the description at humlegården they seem to be kinda similair to EKG but a bit more spicy.
 

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Any other Swedes or Euros here who have tried the hop variety Hulla Norrgård?
Got my hands on 2 bags and am gonna try them in a singel hop(for flavor and aroma additions atleast) best bitter to see what they bring to the table. From the description at humlegården they seem to be kinda similair to EKG but a bit more spicy.
That sounds promising! Let us know how it goes!
 

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Any other Swedes or Euros here who have tried the hop variety Hulla Norrgård?
Got my hands on 2 bags and am gonna try them in a singel hop(for flavor and aroma additions atleast) best bitter to see what they bring to the table. From the description at humlegården they seem to be kinda similair to EKG but a bit more spicy.
Since the B-word fully kicked in and themaltmiller became less appealing as a source, I've been looking at a Swedish homebrew shop for my next major order. I'm really curious about Scandinavian hops, so please do let us know how it turns out!
 

Erik the Anglophile

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@Miraculix @monkeymath Will report back with tasting notes once the beer is done, but it will probably be awhile with bottle conditioning/maturing and all. The brown ale should be done soon, hopefully it tastes good despite my mash F-up. Historic hops are really interresting, the Hulla Norrgård is mentioned the first time in 1634, but likely it had been grown on farms and homesteads for hundreds of years before that.
I have an 1.077 Imperial Stout fermenting with the Brewly yeast now(with no mash F-ups), it has been fermenting for 5 days but I will let it go 2 more before checking the first gravity sample, looks like there is not much more activity though. So if you are interrested in trying that strain it seems to be a beast when treated right.
 

Miraculix

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Since the B-word fully kicked in and themaltmiller became less appealing as a source, I've been looking at a Swedish homebrew shop for my next major order. I'm really curious about Scandinavian hops, so please do let us know how it turns out!
Same story here... I miss the malt miller :(.

It was my favourite shop back in my UK times.
 

bwible

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View attachment 727945
This is the porter I have on tap at the moment;
70% Maris Otter
18% Brown Malt
6% Crystal 70/80
6% Pale Chocolate
30IBU of Fuggle at 60min
WLP033 Klassic Ale
Was shooting for about 1050 but got 1045 and then low attenuation so a easy drinking 3.7%ABV .
So this would be more like a dark mild? I’d always thought Mild could be done as a second runnings off a Porter.
 

bwible

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I think this guy makes interesting videos, this one in particular might be of interest pertaining to this thread:

I'm making an ESB of some sort for my next brew. I really like the dual crystal idea, using both medium and high L's, found above and will incorporate that.
Great video. Thanks for posting!

I think ESB is no longer its own style or sub-category as of the most recent version of the BJCP guidelines. They lump it into the strong bitter category now. The argument being it is not a style of beer but rather really one beer being produced by one brewery.

Also very noteworthy where he says 28 or 29 winning recipes reviewed over the last couple years, but none of these was awarded best of show. This was my experience also back when I was entering competitions. I have about 11 first place ribbons for Mild Ale, 4 or 5 for English Pale Ale and I never won a best of show. These British styles tend to not do well in best of show rounds. Why exactly that is, I’m not sure. Judge’s preferences/bias? I see alot of things win best of show that are either loaded with hops or are something unusual. I’ve seen “Kellerbier” get it (a cloudy pilsener) or a maple mead.
 

DBhomebrew

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Also very noteworthy where he says 28 or 29 winning recipes reviewed over the last couple years, but none of these was awarded best of show. This was my experience also back when I was entering competitions. I have about 11 first place ribbons for Mild Ale, 4 or 5 for English Pale Ale and I never won a best of show. These British styles tend to not do well in best of show rounds. Why exactly that is, I’m not sure. Judge’s preferences/bias? I see alot of things win best of show that are either loaded with hops or are something unusual. I’ve seen “Kellerbier” get it (a cloudy pilsener) or a maple mead.
I have a suspicion that it has to do with the national beer culture a là Alsworth.

US brewers/drinkers/judges are looking for the biggest, driest, sweetest, fullest, lightest, hoppiest, most malty, least malty, haziest, clearest, newest, etc.

British brewers/drinkers are looking for the most balanced, drinkable beer they can put down all night at the pub.

By definition, the best British-style beer will be understated compared to flashier styles.

What's going to win best of show? A Lamborghini or the Honda that'll take your newborn home from the hospital then to college 18yrs later?
 

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I have a suspicion that it has to do with the national beer culture a là Alsworth.

US brewers/drinkers/judges are looking for the biggest, driest, sweetest, fullest, lightest, hoppiest, most malty, least malty, haziest, clearest, newest, etc.

British brewers/drinkers are looking for the most balanced, drinkable beer they can put down all night at the pub.

By definition, the best British-style beer will be understated compared to flashier styles.

What's going to win best of show? A Lamborghini or the Honda that'll take your newborn home from the hospital then to college 18yrs later?
You said it way more kindly then I would...

I would simply say, it is because the majority of the American people do not know anything about British beer :D

Don't get me wrong... same aplies to Germans. In fact, Germans do not know anything about beer, except for lagers and Hefeweizen, so we are even more narrow minded then you guys from across the pond.

I had life throwing me beer knowledge into my head by kicking my ass out of Germany to live for five years in the UK, so I was lucky. Otherwise I still would not know anything about British beer. What a miss that would be!
 

Northern_Brewer

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I would simply say, it is because the majority of the American people do not know anything about British beer :D
That may be true, but DBhomebrew's point still stands, it's just in the nature of things that "showier" drinks will catch the attention after a long day with tired palates. I well remember a big wine tasting I went to where there were some of the world's greatest Rieslings on one of the last tables I went to, and I just didn't get what the fuss was about. I then had the opportunity to taste them "fresh" another day, and completely got what the fuss was about.

Also I [Edit:don't!!!] think that competitions particularly suit British styles just from a practical point of view - they would much rather be served from a properly stillaged and vented cask rather than a bottle, and many competitions tend to throw everything into a fridge which is too cold for British styles.

So it's not just the US - I'm trying to think if a classic British style has made it into the final 3 of BrewCon UK, I think a porter has, but usually it's a token lager and then something more showy like a DIPA or wood-aged.
 
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Due to the Covid, competitions being done here now are virtual. They are 3 bottle competitions. Judges are assigned the flights and given the bottles and they collaborate by Zoom or virtual meetings. Each of 2 judges has their bottle at their house. The third bottle is for best of show round for the beers that make it. So best of show will not be on the same day as the judging of the individual categories. It will be interesting to see if this changes anything.
 

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So my brown ale is coming along nicely, tasted one yesterday and there was definetely a nutty taste to it, gonna let it sit in the fridge for a week at least so the chill haze drops and it clears back up again. Next time I will probably drop the OG a bit to .44 and mash at 69c/60 min, should give me an AA of about 74-75% to dry it out a little bit more and add some biscuit to the bill to get a bit more toastyness to it. Or perhaps mash at 67c/50 min as last time and add some cane sugar in the boil to dry it out a little.
The yeast worked really good @Miraculix , it's a dry yeast so I don't expect any complexity from it, but there was certainly a little Englishness to it, will probably become my go to for Imp stouts, ordinary stouts, browns and porters, it worked through an Imperial Stout wort .77 to .24 in about 5 days.
 

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So my brown ale is coming along nicely, tasted one yesterday and there was definetely a nutty taste to it, gonna let it sit in the fridge for a week at least so the chill haze drops and it clears back up again. Next time I will probably drop the OG a bit to .44 and mash at 69c/60 min, should give me an AA of about 74-75% to dry it out a little bit more and add some biscuit to the bill to get a bit more toastyness to it. Or perhaps mash at 67c/50 min as last time and add some cane sugar in the boil to dry it out a little.
The yeast worked really good @Miraculix , it's a dry yeast so I don't expect any complexity from it, but there was certainly a little Englishness to it, will probably become my go to for Imp stouts, ordinary stouts, browns and porters, it worked through an Imperial Stout wort .77 to .24 in about 5 days.
Sounds good! Did you also try vardant IPA and can maybe compare?
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Sounds good! Did you also try vardant IPA and can maybe compare?
I haven't tried that one yet. Might do it in the brown sometime in the future. This friday I will probably brew up the best bitter with Hulla Norrgård hops.
I opened a pack and they smelled wonderfully, a faint sweet citrus smell with a more dominating woody, herbal aroma, all very delicate and subtle though, it smells pretty noble hop like.
 

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I haven't tried that one yet. Might do it in the brown sometime in the future. This friday I will probably brew up the best bitter with Hulla Norrgård hops.
I opened a pack and they smelled wonderfully, a faint sweet citrus smell with a more dominating woody, herbal aroma, all very delicate and subtle though, it smells pretty noble hop like.
That sounds perfect for a bitter. I'll be brewing a red ale with Chinook and lutra, not British at all
 

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Going for another crack at the Five points bitter clone.
Have got the water profile exact, mash pH perhaps a bit lower than it should be with a prediction of 5.11
Have got the correct yeast and starter is cooking. Rainy day here on sunday so seems perfect.
Will update with numbers post brewday.
 

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Going for another crack at the Five points bitter clone.
Have got the water profile exact, mash pH perhaps a bit lower than it should be with a prediction of 5.11
Have got the correct yeast and starter is cooking. Rainy day here on sunday so seems perfect.
Will update with numbers post brewday.
I was gonna brew today, but we have newborn boy at home, and the older one has dragged a cold/cough home from daycare so I won't have time. The good news are that we all have taste/smell intact so likely not the 'Rona and we are starting to get better so hopefully on tuesday or wednesday.:)
 

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@kmarkstevens
Certainly did taste good, but you can't be too careful in these cases and I tested another couple just to be sure!
Man, also got this insecurity. I think I also need to check a few bottles of my last bitter... There might be something going on, after three or maybe four I might be sure that everything is safe till Saturday night. Then I might need to check again, for science reasons.
 

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