English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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30_Ounce

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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.
I won best of show and a Pro Am at Odell’s With my Northern English Brown. That beer also won 2nd best of show in a prior competition. I agree with you that judges tend to look at the wow factor in best of show and it takes a very mature judge panel to weed through and find an English beer as best in show. Of course that beer has to be extraordinary.
 

kmarkstevens

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DuncB

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Re five points bitter
Did you look at this website?

The water profile they recommend is on my above post.
Regarding the water profile for Best, I have this from the head brewer: "Hi mate, if you could pass to on aim for ~190 ppm calcium, 200 ppm chloride and 330 ppm sulphate."


Managed to hit 1041 with my brew yesterday of this. I used Golden promise, wheat malt, amber malt and Medium crystal.
Bumped the hops up a bit as my batch was 30 litres, really good starter, ferment going like a rocket at the moment 19 celsius open.
 

kmarkstevens

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@DuncB thanks. I had copied over your link contents but left out the OG, FG, ABV and IBU for some bizarre reason.

Does WLP013 really make this beer or any recommended substitutes? Some place recommend Windsor (which I don't really like and would not torture this beer with)...
 

DuncB

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Well the brewer thinks it's important.

My first crack at it I used Wyeast 1098 and it came out a bit drier than I think it should have been. I thought it was meant to be wLP017 and couldn't get that but WLP013 is a stock item so current brew has that in. Apparently it adds some oakiness to the beer so will wait and see.
I would not use windsor again except just watched David Heath brew a low alcohol IPA using it and that's probably the only thing I'd try it in or to make bread.
I've been having a chat with @schmurf as he's just got a beer engine and was wondering about the flameout hops temp and duration before cooling for the five points beer. I will be enquiring of the brewer about this aspect when I've got some more photos to send them. Will update any info.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Sometimes people get very locked into particular varieties of "ordinary" malting barley like Optic or Propino, I came across this useful graphic of English maltster barley purchases which shows how they come and go really quite quickly. It also shows how irrelevant Maris Otter is in the wider scheme of things, it has a mindshare out of all proportion to how much is grown.

The bottom ones (Venture downwards) are winter varieties, which have really declined at the expense of spring varieties. A lot less was bought last year but it's still strange to see Propino and Concerto fade away, it seems no time since they were introduced.

1623798976678.png
 

schmurf

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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.
So here is the first pull of this Five Points Bitter, ended up with a whopping 5.6% instead of the expected 4.2%... but still a very nice drinkable beer. Still cloudy but I expect it to clear up a bit in the coming pulls. This one is fined with Harris Starbrite, and I have had mixed experience with it... some brews came out very clear and some not. Anyway... it's the taste that matters.
20210616_201011.jpg
 

DuncB

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@schmurf
Showing good progress, did a gravity test on mine last night and removed 500ml of yeast from the collection bottle. Already clearing in the fermentasaurus after 3 days from pitching. Gravity 1.011 and the hydrometer sample tasted promising. Different from the wyeast 1098 attempt.
I'm bumping the temp up a bit for 2 days of diacetyl rest. Looks like I missed the transfer to keg for final conditioning so will clear and condition in fermentasaurus and then transfer.
Any other clues on the taste? drinkable not that descriptive.
I might put some Super F finings in when I move the vessel to the cellar at 14 degrees.
 

schmurf

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@schmurf
Showing good progress, did a gravity test on mine last night and removed 500ml of yeast from the collection bottle. Already clearing in the fermentasaurus after 3 days from pitching. Gravity 1.011 and the hydrometer sample tasted promising. Different from the wyeast 1098 attempt.
I'm bumping the temp up a bit for 2 days of diacetyl rest. Looks like I missed the transfer to keg for final conditioning so will clear and condition in fermentasaurus and then transfer.
Any other clues on the taste? drinkable not that descriptive.
I might put some Super F finings in when I move the vessel to the cellar at 14 degrees.
I thought drinkable said it all :D anyway, it got the smoothness but is less bitter than my previous versions. The extra 1.5% doesn't really show in the taste so I'm pretty happy with it, even if I like it a bit more bitter. And on a side note, I know some people don't like Fuggles, but in a beer like this I think it's outstanding.
Since I've brewed 3 versions of this one, in a rather short time frame, I'm hoping I can do a side by side comparison between them... would be fun to see what the difference in ABV actually does. This current one is the "high gravity" brew, the next finished on much higher FG than expected and resulted in a 3.2% beer, the third/last one got spot on. They are still conditioning though.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Following on from #2,368 BarleyPlanet have also a family tree of recent European barley varieties - to give you an idea, Puffin at the top-rightish was released in 1987 and is a grandchild of Maris Otter on its mother's side. So each row represents just 4-5 years.

1623928852203.png
 

DuncB

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According to this graph, Optic has been out of the picture since 2013, but I just brewed a Surly Bitter with it! I hope it turns out alright :).
Could it be that overseas or over the border maltsters still get it? This chart only for English maltsters.
 

DBhomebrew

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Could it be that overseas or over the border maltsters still get it? This chart only for English maltsters.
Fawcett Optic. Out of major commercial use maybe, not extinct. However, the former may lead to the latter given time.
 

DuncB

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Maybe the name is licensed or it's off licence because they seem to suggest it's called spring pale barley malt now. Perhaps that's why it's not on the chart.
Looks very good for an ale though.
 

Northern_Brewer

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Fawcett Optic.
Fawcett are just maltsters, Optic was bred by Syngenta (well, one of its antecedents).

The way it works in the UK is that the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board produces a Recommended List of up to a dozen or so varieties of each of the major crops, based on the results of field trials in which they are tested for yield, disease resistance, malting performance etc when grown in different parts of the country. Farmers know that if they plant something on the Recommended List then then they should be getting state of the art agronomics combined with a final result that should be acceptable to at least one of the big markets, whether that's malting for beer, distilling or whatever. Varieties stay on the List until they are superceded, often only for 5-10 years; Optic was unusual in lasting 20 years on the List, but finally dropped off it in about 2015. One reason was that it was a good all-rounder, and had full approval for both brewing and distilling which is relatively unusual. As you can see, English maltsters had pretty much moved on to other varieties some time before then but it stayed popular with Scottish distillers for some time after that, and if you are still finding "new" Optic I suspect it's come from Scotland (or overseas, I don't know where else it's grown). But it produces epiheterodendrin (EPH) and the distillers are now moving away from EPH producers for safety reasons.

Maybe the name is licensed or it's off licence because they seem to suggest it's called spring pale barley malt now. Perhaps that's why it's not on the chart.
Looks very good for an ale though.
Nothing to do with licensing the name.

Maltsters encourage the mass market to think in terms of a single "Pale Ale" malt or similar to stop people getting too hung up on individual varieties, when as the chart shows, a typical barley variety only lasts 5-10 years. The named varieties that do survive like Otter and Golden Promise do so by being outside the main Recommended List system. Think of it as a bit like generic vin de table versus named chateaux in wine.
 
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kmarkstevens

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@nothern_brewer That is about an impressive an eye chart as I've ever seen! Is there a link as I'm curious and would like to actually read it for a few minutes. I'm curious if this goes back to Chevallier or is much more recent?

And I don't see Golden Promise on the English Malting chart. Is it such a niche/heritage volume these days it simply does not register?
 

cyberbackpacker

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Recipe adjacent... I just ordered @patto1ro new book AK! and decided to also finally snag Strong Vol. 2 as well (I already own Vol. 1). I'm excited to add these to my collection... I think this brings me to an even dozen of his books in printed format.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Ís ok snœrs ok miðnótts boði landi frá komum
So i've got my Hulla Norrgård bitter fermenting now. Pitched yesterday around 14.30, and when I checked it around 23 I saw some signs of it wanting to crap out early so I swirled it a bit and did it again this morning. Now it's bubbling away though and I am not worried since I've read english yeast might require some persuasion to go to work, just the first time I've encountered it.
 

Northern_Brewer

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@nothern_brewer That is about an impressive an eye chart as I've ever seen! Is there a link as I'm curious and would like to actually read it for a few minutes. I'm curious if this goes back to Chevallier or is much more recent?

And I don't see Golden Promise on the English Malting chart. Is it such a niche/heritage volume these days it simply does not register?
@ BarleyPlanet tweeted it a few days ago. As I said - the top line has Puffin, which was released in 1987. I thought that chart was notable because it concentrates on the recent stuff, whereas it should be easy to find pedigrees for the older stuff. This paper from 1951 gives a good history of early barley breeding.

Everything was a lot slower then - I mentioned Puffin was a grandchild of Otter, well Otter was bred in 1966 from Proctor and Pioneer which were bred in 1952 and 1943 respectively. Proctor was bred from Kenia, a Danish variety, and Plumage Archer, which was bred in 1905 from two landraces. So there's no Chevallier in the Otter lineage, although there's some in GP's lineage. GP is a gamma mutant of Maythorpe, which came from a cross between Kenia's sibling Maja and Irish Goldthorpe, which is a derivative of Chevallier. Maja and Kenia are grandchildren of Hana, the classic Czech landrace. And it's not Scottish in origin - it's English, it was bred by Miln Marsters of Cheshire (now part of Syngenta).

Golden Promise is barely grown in England apart from a few farms contracted to Tim Taylor and I assume malted by Fawcetts, and this nice article on its use in whisky from presumably a few years ago, says that it is <1% even in Scotland, so yep, it's a rounding error. I guess it's debatable whether Simpson's are English or Scottish given that they are based in Berwick, but they're the main maltsters who seem to sell it.
 

Erik the Anglophile

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Ís ok snœrs ok miðnótts boði landi frá komum
My bitter is done fermenting now, will probably bottle tomorrow or the day after.
I forgot to shake my SNS starter a bit after adding the yeast, so it had barely started working when I pitched it and the yeadt was a little tired I believe so it fell short a little bit, about 74%AA so nothing catastrophic though.
The Hulla Norrgård hops seemed really nice, from what I could taste in the gravity sample, subtle floral and herbal notes, with a little citrusy spice, you could probably use these to mimic noble hop character but for a lower cost.
@Miraculix @monkeymath
 

Northern_Brewer

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The dry-yeast thread has got a bit sidetracked about golden ales, which may be of interest here :
 

oakbarn

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I like English Style Bitters and that is the reason I started home brewing. I personally like low carbonation and serving at about 45 Degrees F. 1098 British Ale and Nottingham Yeast. Low HBUs.

Mash around 152.
 

D.B.Moody

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I like English Style Bitters and that is the reason I started home brewing. I personally like low carbonation and serving at about 45 Degrees F. 1098 British Ale and Nottingham Yeast. Low HBUs.
I'm with you, though as an extract brewer. I fell in love with English bitters on a trip to the UK in 1988. Most of my brews are English bitters, no matter what I call them. Even my IPA isn't all that hoppy by today's standards. My basement mini fridge is set so it cools the brews to 45-50, which is about as close as the poor old thing can get to actually doing 45. I use Munton's, S33, and Nottingham most of the time. I also think I prefer some oxidation in my brews, which puts me out of step with current best practices.
 
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z-bob

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I'm with you, though as an extract brewer. I fell in love with English bitters on a trip to the UK in 1988. Most of my brews are English bitters, no matter what I call them. Even my IPA isn't all that hoppy by today's standards. My basement mini fridge is set so it cools the brews to 45-50, which is about as close as the poor old thing can get to actually doing 45. I use Munton's, S33, and Nottingham most of the time. I also think I prefer some oxidation in my brews, which puts me out of step with current best practices.
I'm glad someone uses S33. I've only used it a few times and have trouble with it stalling, but it makes good beer. And as a bonus, it's cheap like me :D. It could be that it's stalling because I'm using it in all-malt recipes instead of malt plus invert sugar. I will try it again when the weather cools off (I'm brewing with kveik yeast now)

My last brew was pale ale malt with homemade dark invert syrup, 10% carawheat malt (45°L), and a little bit of a local malt that I don't know how to classify but it's kind of an aromatic malt or a very dark Munich. (it's 17°L and slightly diastatic.) Golding hops and Voss kveik yeast. I have no idea what to call it; the same thing fermented with a proper yeast would be a strong bitter made with American malt instead of English. I just racked it a couple of days ago and it smells wonderful. If it's any good, or even if it's too dry and alcoholic but shows promise, I might try the same recipe again with S33. I put up a few plastic bottles directly from the primary fermenter so I can sample it in a few days when I bottle the rest. (the bottles are hard already and the beer is clearing but is still too cloudy and yeasty to open one)
 

D.B.Moody

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I'm glad someone uses S33. I've only used it a few times and have trouble with it stalling, but it makes good beer. And as a bonus, it's cheap like me :D. It could be that it's stalling because I'm using it in all-malt recipes instead of malt plus invert sugar.
I use S33 quite often. It goes back to the days of liking it with light and dark Edme malt extract and Edme yeast. At the end of last year and earlier this year I did six batches in a row with S33, even using it in a recipe I had never used it in before. The reason was I was bent out of shape about the price jumps Nottingham had undergone. Notty used to be on the cheap side too.
I don't brew with anything but malt extract and often some steeped grains. No sugar or invert sugar. (I don't even really know what invert sugar is.) As far as I know, my beers don't stall, but I haven't taken a hydrometer reading since 2009, and rarely did so before that.
I'm glad you didn't actually mention using a secondary. It brings out the O2 police. :D
 

z-bob

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I'm glad you didn't actually mention using a secondary. It brings out the O2 police. :D
I ferment in a plastic bucket without an airlock but with the lid snapped down tight (I sometimes have to burp it occasionally the first couple days, depending how aggressive the yeast is) When the beer reaches the target gravity but it still cloudy, I move it to a carboy with an airlock and add a tablespoon of sugar to restart it and scavenge the O2. Then when it's clear, I bottle it directly from the carboy. (I prime each bottle with sugar) I'm not sure the end result is much different than fermenting the whole time in single carboy and then transferring to a bottling bucket.
 

duncan_disorderly

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I'm with you, though as an extract brewer. I fell in love with English bitters on a trip to the UK in 1988. Most of my brews are English bitters, no matter what I call them. Even my IPA isn't all that hoppy by today's standards. My basement mini fridge is set so it cools the brews to 45-50, which is about as close as the poor old thing can get to actually doing 45. I use Munton's, S33, and Nottingham most of the time. I also think I prefer some oxidation in my brews, which puts me out of step with current best practices.
Not tempted to nick some yeast from commercial beers? English strains like London III are pretty common these days.
 

D.B.Moody

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Not tempted to nick some yeast from commercial beers? English strains like London III are pretty common these days.
No, that's beyond my simple approach. I've used liquid yeast only one time. I've never made a starter. I didn't rehydrate dry yeast even back in the day when it was the best practice to do so.
 

duncan_disorderly

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No, that's beyond my simple approach. I've used liquid yeast only one time. I've never made a starter. I didn't rehydrate dry yeast even back in the day when it was the best practice to do so.
No worries. I think it's still very simple though, just add a little wort to bottle dregs, and makes for a really nice change. English ales are very yeast dependent and can be really lifted by a good fresh strain in my experience. Just my thoughts.
 

Beermeister32

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I used to like Timothy Taylor Landlord. Haven’t been able to find it here in Southern California the past few years.

I’ve brewed a clone a few times loosely based on the Northern Brewer Innkeeper recipe. A great beer!
 
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