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English Ales - What's your favorite recipe?

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lowtones84

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All good points. I guess using both for a bittering charge will not really make for a more interesting beer, it will just complicate the recipe. Maybe I'll use target for bittering and ekg for aroma, then make another ordinary bitter of challenger and fuggles, or something along those lines. I do still have around 50 lbs. of crisp mo around so I have a lot of room to experiment :p
 
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Puddlethumper

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I brewed a batch of ESB following the recipe Ihommedieu suggested with a couple of minor changes to make it more authentic to recipes I suspect we would find in England/Wales.
Today I racked it over to secondary and SG was at 1.013 and the beer in the sample jar was delicious. I plan to let this one condition for a couple of weeks before kegging. But it's going to try my patience to wait on this one.
Just a quick follow-up on the ESB I brewed last month. Yesterday I racked it to the keg and took a sample. It came in above 7% ABV but tasted pretty good out of the sample jar. Still waiting, of course, to see how balanced it comes out of the tap. To my thinking 7% ABV is a giveaway that a full pound of invert is too much for a 5 gal. batch.

I also brewed my favorite Irish Red two weeks ago using only 6 oz. of invert. That batch went to secondary yesterday and tasted really good coming in a couple points higher ABV than batches done without invert. Will post another update in about a week.

Do you use invert sugar in your brewing? How do you figure out how much you are going to add?
 

dyqik

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Invert sugar adds OG and reduces FG. Beersmith calculates it in liquid form (Lyle's golden syrup) in the same way as candi sugar, with a yield of 87%, and in dry form the same as corn sugar, with a 100% yield.

It needs to be used in place of some of the base malt, not in addition to it. To replace a pound of base malt, you need to divide by the yield of that malt and then by your mash efficiency, then multiply by 87%, to get the amount of liquid invert to replace that pound of malt with. I'd guess that you want to replace a pound of malt with 0.8lb of invert syrup (or remove 1.25 lb of malt for each lb of syrup), but that depends on your mash efficiency.
 
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Puddlethumper

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It needs to be used in place of some of the base malt, not in addition to it. To replace a pound of base malt, you need to divide by the yield of that malt and then by your mash efficiency, then multiply by 87%, to get the amount of liquid invert to replace that pound of malt with. I'd guess that you want to replace a pound of malt with 0.8lb of invert syrup (or remove 1.25 lb of malt for each lb of syrup), but that depends on your mash efficiency.
I hadn't seen those numbers but they do sort of match up with what I'm learning through experimentation. I exchanged MO for invert 1:1 and that ratio isn't correct. I have come to the conclusion that, at least with my setup, base malt needs to be reduced by somewhere around 1.5 lbs. for every pound of invert.
 

dyqik

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I hadn't seen those numbers but they do sort of match up with what I'm learning through experimentation. I exchanged MO for invert 1:1 and that ratio isn't correct. I have come to the conclusion that, at least with my setup, base malt needs to be reduced by somewhere around 1.5 lbs. for every pound of invert.
That would seem reasonable if you are trying to match ABV rather than OG - remember that invert will fully ferment out, vs maybe 75% attenuation from the malt.
 
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Puddlethumper

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That would seem reasonable if you are trying to match ABV rather than OG - remember that invert will fully ferment out, vs maybe 75% attenuation from the malt.
Yes, definitely trying to match ABV because, at least IMO, the alcohol content of the finished beer will have more impact on flavor, mouthfeel, etc. than OG.
 

lowtones84

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Going to brew up the ordinary bitter from the last page today. Omitting the oats and just tacking on another half pound of MO. Also going with only Target for bittering, .5 oz. For the aroma addition I will do a blend of Target and EKG, and probably the same for a small dry hop. Not sure on the amounts for those exactly yet, as I don't know precisely how much EKG I have left :p
 

lowtones84

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All done and sitting at about 62F, waiting to take off. I made my starter last night and it was nice and active, so hopefully it gets to work quickly on this low gravity beer. I was anxious to pitch yeast, and forgot to take an OG reading beforehand, whoops. But my estimates are usually pretty close. For the aroma addition I went with .35 oz EKG and .15 oz target for a total of .5 oz @ FO. Kinda weird numbers yeah but it worked for what I had on hand. Have high hopes for this one!
 

lhommedieu

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Had the ESB tonight for my BBQ. I thought it was good. A little under-hopped perhaps but the malt undertones made it a delicious and balanced beer. My guests loved it. As per my concerns re. attenuation and the possible use of sugar in the future, I'd have to say that it was dry enough and that sugar is probably not necessary if I pay the proper attention to mash temperature and use the appropriate amount of yeast.

For my next batch I think that I'll follow the same basic recipe of 95% Marris Otter and 5% Chrystal 60, London 1968. I'll probably use Fuggles for bittering, EKG for aroma.
 

JKaranka

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Finally moved house and setting up a ten gallon brewery in the outbuilding. Used existing kit to brew a 1952 Whitbread Export Stout. No black malt or roast barley in it. Had 2/3 of a pound of invert sugars, though. Good one to recreate, even S04 is the old Whitbread yeast. Quite enjoying Pattison's Porter! this far.
 

dzlater

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All good points. I guess using both for a bittering charge will not really make for a more interesting beer, it will just complicate the recipe. Maybe I'll use target for bittering and ekg for aroma, then make another ordinary bitter of challenger and fuggles, or something along those lines. I do still have around 50 lbs. of crisp mo around so I have a lot of room to experiment :p
I use half Target and half Challenger for bittering additions all the time.
I like it, give it a try.
 

lowtones84

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How long do you guys let ordinary bitters ferment? I've been in the camp of at least 2 weeks primary, but some folks think that actually lends to more yeast taste. I'm thinking of bottling after 8-9 days on this because it is a 4 gallon, 1.037 OG batch. I had a healthy 1L starter of WLP 002 and kept temps between 62-66ish (actual, not ambient). Now that it's day 3 I'm just letting it rise to 70ish, will probably toss in the dry hops soon. I know pro breweries don't ferment for all that long, and I figure a low OG beer like this would be fine after a touch over a week. Thoughts?
 

unionrdr

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My ESB started life @ 1.060 & finished & settling in 10 days flat! I pitched the rehydrated S-04 at high krausen & it started fermenting visibly in about 3 hours.
 

dyqik

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How long do you guys let ordinary bitters ferment? I've been in the camp of at least 2 weeks primary, but some folks think that actually lends to more yeast taste. I'm thinking of bottling after 8-9 days on this because it is a 4 gallon, 1.037 OG batch. I had a healthy 1L starter of WLP 002 and kept temps between 62-66ish (actual, not ambient). Now that it's day 3 I'm just letting it rise to 70ish, will probably toss in the dry hops soon. I know pro breweries don't ferment for all that long, and I figure a low OG beer like this would be fine after a touch over a week. Thoughts?
I've done several batches with 5 days for primary (raising temp from 64 to 68F near the end), then cool to 55F for a day or two (usually to being the beer to a weekend) before casking or kegging with dry hops (if using) and naturally carbing over a week or two at 55F. This is for OGs of 1.040-1.050.

With WLP002, you are usually at FG in 2-3 days, and dropped almost crystal clear in 5 days.

I do 2 weeks primary for bigger beers with US-05 or belgian yeasts, and 3-4 weeks for saisons.
 
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Puddlethumper

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The ESB I just kegged was in primary for two weeks then cold crashed in secondary for another week or two. But that was only because I didn't have an empty keg for it. No yeast flavors that I can pick up. Used WLP002 at 67 for 5 days then let it rise to 70 until the move to secondary.

Of note on this batch is the fact that the OG was at 1.056 due to an experiment with invert sugar. Fermented all the way down to 1.011 during that period so this turned out much higher ABV than usual or planned.
 
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Puddlethumper

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As a follow-up to my experiments with invert sugar (if anyone is interested):

The ESB I made subbing invert #2 at a 1:1 rate with MO base malt I found that the beer tastes good, but it is a bit "thin" in mouth-feel. The ABV came in at 7.6% which certainly has a good deal to do with the slight alcohol note to the beer. It is drinkable when cold and carbed. Everyone who has tasted it loves it but it is not my favorite. (Am I turning into a beer snob?) I'm convinced that the recipe is sound but, if invert #2 is to be added it should probably be about 1/2# with a full pound reduction in MO.

On the other hand, the Irish Red I brewed using 6 oz. invert #2 is looking extremely good. Still in secondary cold crashing, but the flavor from the last sample jar was exceptional. Will post final results on this one once it is kegged and carbed.
 

dzlater

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Has anyone just used Belgian candy syrup, in place of invert sugar.?
It seems to me that it's the same thing?
 

JKaranka

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Dzlater: Give me a couple of weeks. Just subbed inv #3/#4 for dark candi syrup.
 

JKaranka

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Puddlethumper: Are you getting good clarity with invert? I've found beer to finish very bright when using it. Sometimes resembling wine when using lots of invert or honey.
 
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Puddlethumper

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Puddlethumper: Are you getting good clarity with invert? I've found beer to finish very bright when using it. Sometimes resembling wine when using lots of invert or honey.
If anything, the ESB might have been a little less clear than others I've made. This is my first use of this recipe and it's the only batch I've kegged where I used invert. I don't think my opinion counts for much at this point.

It is interesting that you've noticed a difference. I wonder if others have as well.
 
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Puddlethumper

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No worries. I did post a Summer Ale recipe that's conditioning on polypins as we speak (probably going to tap one in a couple days).
I remember reading that recipe and making note that it looked very promising. (Probably what got my thinking derailed.) I'd be interested to hear how it turns out.

Cheers!
 

JKaranka

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I read about invert vs candi for quite a while. The source of sugar does not make any difference, but what does is that (at least back in the day) the cane sugar of English invert was unrefined while the beet sugar of Belgian candi had been refined. At least I didn't find any evidence on the contrary of this and I'd be glad to be proven wrong. English brewers were quite proud of their cane sugar!
 

Qhrumphf

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I read about invert vs candi for quite a while. The source of sugar does not make any difference, but what does is that (at least back in the day) the cane sugar of English invert was unrefined while the beet sugar of Belgian candi had been refined. At least I didn't find any evidence on the contrary of this and I'd be glad to be proven wrong. English brewers were quite proud of their cane sugar!
That's interesting, and it would certainly make sense (since the flavor difference between unrefined vs refined sugar is huge).

But end point is that regardless of the reason, Belgian candi syrup and English invert syrup are not interchangeable despite both being inverted. How big the difference is, I've never tried em side by side so I couldn't say.

:mug:
 

JKaranka

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English invert is just meant to have more random molassy crap in it to give flavour :D
 

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English invert is just meant to have more random molassy crap in it to give flavour :D

So it would seem that invert dries out a beer a bit, while adding molasses flavor. If one were not after dryness, would one then presume one could add molasses to approach the English style better?
 

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PuddleThumper, was this what you used?

... After some experimentation, my AG ESB recipe is as follows:

12 lbs Marris Otter (apx. 94%)
12 oz. Crystal 60 (apx. 6%)
.5 oz. Challenger or Northdown hops at 90 min.
1 oz. EKG at 60 minutes
1 oz. EKG at 10 minutes
.25 oz. EKG dry hop in secondary
Wyeast London Ale 1968 (Stir plate)
pinch of Irish Moss at 10 min.

Water/grain proportion in mash tun: 1 qt/pound
Boil for 90 minutes
Build yeast on stir plate for at least 24 hours
Aerate wort prior to adding yeast
Use a yeast nutrient
Put hops in a filter

I dough in with cold water and raise the temperature using direct heat to 154 before transferring the mash to the mash tun. I adjust the temperature to 152 and hold it for at least an hour, sometimes a little more. I mash out, and fly sparge at 168. For my last batch, my pre-boil gravity reading was 1.042.

Boil is 90 minutes or until I've hit my OG and volume. For my last batch, my OG was 1.053.

Generally I'll ferment at 67F for 7 - 10 days before taking SG readings. Then I transfer to the secondary.

I add .25 oz. EKG hops to the Secondary. Secondary is for about week and then I'll start taking SG readings. Once I've hit my number, I'll add a little gelatin and cold crash for 24 hours. Then I transfer to a keg.

I condition the beer for at least 3 weeks and carbonate at a low psi as per the style. I find the beer drinkable at this point but have noticed that it's at its optimum flavor a couple of weeks later - so I wait if I can.

The beer is nicely balanced with malt and caramel providing a background to the hops, at about 32 - 35 IBU. ABV is about 5.0. The color is a medium to dark copper. The result is an ESB with a slightly lower IBU but still within style guidelines.

And did you alter it with:
That recipe looks good, just replace some pale and reduce crystal to 2%, and chuck in the invert. The sources for Northdown and Challenger in White Shield are Michael Jackson and the WS ratebeer page. I'd still dry hop with Goldings. But yeah, remember that British beers constantly evolve, so recipes rarely stay 20 years the same without some changes in colour or hopping.
 
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Puddlethumper

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PuddleThumper, was this what you used?

And did you alter it with:
Yup. Simplified the process by going with a single infusion mash and batch sparge. Subbed 1 lb. MO for 1 lb. #2 invert.

The beer's OK but a little thin and the ABV was way higher than intended. Hence my comments a few days ago re: ratio of subbing malt for invert.
 
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