Sunday, March 6, 2011

English Special Bitter Tasting

It took me a few weeks longer than I had planned, but I finally got around to kegging both my batches of English IPA and Special/Best Bitter that I had posted about earlier. I had originally intended on kegging this batch around day 14 or so, but due to an overabundance of beer and not enough kegs, some beers had to wait around a while longer. I was expecting the extra time in the primary to hurt the malt and ester profile on this one, but after a few days on the gas in the cold, it has really turned into a delightful beer. It was dry hopped with EKG for seven days, fermented with wy1318.

Yeoman's Pride: English Best/Special Bitter

Appearance – Pours a somewhat clear, reddish/amber color with a very nice tight head that leaves thick lacing. I used TF & Sons Marris Otter for this beer and it usually takes a bit of time for my beers to get truly clear when using this malt.

Smell – The aroma is very inviting, lots of lovely floral hops and clean biscuity malt. There are some nice fruity esters, though pretty well restrained and just a bit of that dry, toast-cocoa notes you get from amber malt. No diacetyl and not much crystal malt.

Taste – I was pretty surprised after the first sip, it was much better than I expected. Up front you get lots and lots of rich, toasty biscuit and toffee, followed by some amber malt and hops. The malt character is very clean and the yeast derived esters provide some pleasant fruitiness. The beer finishes with the typical 1318 malt sweetness, albeit dry. Bitterness levels are pretty high and balanced with the malt. Some background hop flavor. The balance of this beer is definitely towards the malt and hop aroma.

Mouthfeel – Low carbonation and a very nice creamy mouthfeel. Very drinkable.

Drinkability & Notes – Overall, I am very happy with how this beer turned out. It has a really wonderful biscuit character to it that unlike anything I have ever got before. I keep going back for another pint, just to make sure it tastes as good as I thought it did. My only complaint would be that the dry-cocoa qualities of the amber malt would better suit a beer fermented with a slightly more characterful yeast. I also need to check my water source again, as the bitterness isn't quite as crisp as I would like. Other than that, pretty darn good!

O.G: 1.045, F.G: 1.010, 4.6% ABV, 35 IBU, Wyeast 1318 London Ale III


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