ESB Hop Schedule Advice Needed

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum:

This site may earn a commission from merchant affiliate links, including eBay, Amazon, and others.
Oct 22, 2013
Reaction score
Hey guys,

I've been brewing for about a year and I've brewed sweet beers, dry beers, light beers, and ones that'll get you plastered pretty quickly. Through all of my different and sometimes exotic recipes I have "borrowed" hop schedules from other recipes.

This go round I'm brewing an ESB, except with some caramel rye to add a spicy malt characteristic. In my hop schedule that I've constructed thus far, the initial goal was to throw hops hand over fist at the end of the boil. Specifically, I have chosen fuggle and fuggle children for the most part to get a consistent flavor (not sure if this is good or bad). Advice and conversation about other recipes or ideas are absolutely welcome!

12# Maris Otter
1# Caramel Rye
1# Victory

1 oz. 90m Willamette
.6 oz. 45m Northdown
1 oz. 15m Fuggle
1 oz. 10m Willamette
1 oz. 5m Fuggle
1 oz. 0m East Kent Golding
1 oz. dry hop Progress
Safale S-04

6.09% ABV
15.45 SRM
50 IBU
Seems like it would be fine, but if you are looking to mimic traditional styles this will probably be closer to an English IPA than an ESB. I think in terms of hop flavor especially although the bitterness is pretty high for an ESB too. To target an ESB I would say you probably have too much biscuit and need more caramel flavor, maybe replace half of victory with some C60?

However if you don't care about creating a traditional ESB and just trying to make what you want to drink then this is fine because American sensibilities are pushing hops to the point where ESBs and true English IPAs do not seem hoppy at all anymore. I recently had a heavily late hopped 62 IBU English IPA where every single judge said it needed more hops :confused:
I usually go 1 oz at 60, 1oz at 45, and 1oz at 5. I think yours will be too hoppy for a traditional esb as well as too bitter with all those early additions.
Thanks for all the advice guys.

for clarification, I'm already using a pound of Caramel Rye, you think that is not sufficient on its own to add some sweetness???

As for the hops. I'm really trying to get a huge aroma punch of english/english style hops more than the bitter. Would you guys suggest just pulling the Northdown at 45, and adding an additional 0.5 oz. of Willamette at 90 (brings it down to 43 IBU)?
I think your caramel rye is fine but that's just my opinion. I like the grain bill I would just move your 90 minute hop addition to 60 and leave the rest if you are wanting that big aroma.
Didn't notice the "Caramel" in the rye, but I've seen it mentioned that is doesn't really add caramel flavor, just rye flavor. Since it looks like you're doing all grain I would use some caramel with rye malt, but not sure how much difference it will make.

For English styles they tend to be more about balanced bitterness and hop aroma. Additions in 5-30 range tend to add more flavor with knockout to dry hopping providing the most aroma so I tend to focus on 60-90 min to set the bitterness level I want. Then knockout steeping and/or dry hopping for aroma with maybe one addition between 3-30 min depending on the flavor I'm looking for.
Alright, so here's what I've changed.

I dropped 2# of the Maris Otter and added 0.5# of Crystal 80 because I think a bit of burnt sweetness would do the recipe good.

I should also mention that the addition at 90 is more of a first wort hop. If I understand the result correctly, I will get more IBU's out of my bittering addition, but it should come out as a smoother bitter.

With the changes I've made using the suggestions, I get these approximate metrics (all in ESB range except the color is on the upper threshold):

OG: 1.055
TG: 1.014
Color: 16.92 SRM
ABV: 5.38%
IBU: 43.3
I'd FWH with Willamette to get ~45 IBU then add nothing more until the ferment is complete. Then I'd dry-hop the bejeebus out of it with as much EKG as I can stomach (and that, friends, is a considerable amount!). In fact, I just brewed 4bbl of English IPA in just that manner a few weeks ago. It's pretty damn good, though I say it myself.

If someone comes into my brewpub and complains that my IPA isn't hoppy enough, I'll chuck his sorry ass into the harbor.

Latest posts