In Recipe

ENGLISH SPECIAL/PREMIUM/BEST

This is maybe my third version of an English Special Bitter, each time I've tried a different recipe/yeast/malt supplier etc. For this one I wanted to start from scratch in terms of the grain bill so I kept it very simple. It's mostly pale malt with some medium crystal and a little wheat malt for increased body & head retention. The hops are mostly East Kent Goldings with some Willamete late in the boil for complexity.

I usually use a combination of EKG and Fuggles but I was out of Fuggles so I used Willamete which is a US version of Fuggles.

For the yeast I decided to give the London Ale III strain from Wyeast a try because I've heard good things about it. I've previously used, WLP002 English Ale, WLP023 Burton Ale & S-04.

So far my favorite is the classic WLP002. It leaves a really nice "soft" malt character, has really nice "fruity" esters & of course it floccs like a ton of bricks which leaves the beer very clear in a minimal amount of time.


English Special/Premium/Best Bitter (BJCP Description)
(6 Gallons, ~70% Eff, Tinseth)

OG: 1.047
FG: 1.012
IBU: 30
ABV: 4.6%
SRM: 8.5

10lbs - Maris Otter (Warminster Floor Malted)
1.25 lbs - Medium Crystal (Simpsons)
.5 lbs - White Wheat (Weyerman)

2 oz East Kent Goldings (Whole Leaf) 4.6% @ 60 Min
.5 oz East Kent Goldings (Whole Leaf) 4.6% @ 10 Min
.5 oz Willamete (Whole Leaf) 5.1% @ 10 Min
.5 oz East Kent Goldings (Whole Leaf) 4.6% @ 0 Min
.5 oz Willamete (Whole Leaf) 5.1% @ 0 Min
.5 oz East Kent Goldings (Pellets) 4.5% Dry Hopped 14 Days


Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London Ale III (2 Liter Starter)

Fermented at 68 for two weeks

Mashed 60 min @ 150, 1.25 qt/lb

Tasting notes:
Look - Deep orange, chill haze, small 1/2 finger head that sticks around, nice lacing
Aroma - Earthy/spicy/sweet almost candy like hops, stone fruit esters, bready/toasty malt, spicy earthy hop aroma/flavor
Mouthfeel - Medium-thin bodied
Taste - Spicy bitterness upfront gives way to a toasty bready malt character, firm bitterness lingers on the back end, very easy drinking.

Notes:
This is definitely a solid English Pale ale and I would have no problem brewing this exactly the same again.

I really like the London Ale III yeast and the fruity esters it produces. They're not sweetish fruits like WLP002, it's more of the stone fruit type esters if that makes sense.

I should note that this yeast loves to hang out at the top of the fermenter. It took about a week for the thick mat of yeast that hung around after fermentation to fall back into the beer. Obviously a very good candidate for top cropping.

It's a very easy drinking Pale Ale, which is nice with the hot weather we have right now. The only complaint I have is that it's a little one dimensional as far as the malt flavor goes. You get the nice marris otter malt character with a little sweetness from the crystal malt but that's about it. I'm going to try and maybe mix in some darker crystal or try a different crystal malt (special B, Carastan, etc.) I'm also going to lower the gravity a little since this almost drink like an ESB. Getting closer...

Crappy Cellphone pic but you get the idea

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