Friday, October 28, 2011

Brew Day: Amalgamated ESB

This is a beer that has been in the works for a long time now. Since I started homebrewing in 2007, I have kept brewing and tasting records of nearly every beer I have ever made, including a whole lot of English Pale Ales. I did this with the intention of being able to look back and see what beers I did and didn't like and to get a sense of what ingredients I think go well together; my own version of Designing Great Beers, if you will. The recipe below is basically an amalgamation of my past recipes and techniques that made some tasty beer. Aside, I do realize that brewing 'great' beer is not as easy as 1+2+3 and that recipe formulation is not nearly as important as yeast health, fermentation, and other such intangibles. All I hope to accomplish with this batch, is to get something that both tastes good and combines the elements of an English pale ale/bitter that I most enjoy. If I am lucky, it might just turn out really good. 

Amalgamated Bitter : Extra Special Bitter

Recipe Specifics:

Batch Size (Gal): 4.0
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.25
Anticipated OG: 1.055
Anticipated FG: 1.014    
Anticipated IBU: 45
Anticipated SRM: 10
Efficiency: 75%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

84.8% - 7.0 lbs. Pale Malt, Maris Otter (TF)
6.1%  - 0.5 lbs. Crystal 40L
3.0%  - 0.25 lbs. Amber Malt (TF)
6.1%  - 0.5 lbs. Invert No. 2

1.0 oz. Challenger @ 60 min for 32 IBU
0.5 oz. Fuggles @ 15 min for 6 IBU
0.5 oz. EKG @ 10 min for 5 IBU
0.5 oz. Fuggles @ 5 min for 2 IBU
1.0 oz. EKG @ Flameout
0.5 oz. EKG @ dryhop 7 days
Yeast: Whitelabs 006 Bedford Bitter
Mash 154F for 75 min
Brewed on 28 October

Water Profile: Ca - 75, Mg - 15, Na - 20, SO4 - 150, Cl - 30, Bicarb - 95.


  1. I've been doing the same with English pale ales for sometime now. It is one of the only ways to get a fresh example. I seem to always be brewing some combination of a famous commercial recipe mixed with what I think I like. Either the Fullers pale ales grists with different hopping, or something from Ron at shut up about barclay perkins.

    This beer looks like its right up my alley. Except for all the late copper hops. I'd probably add them all for 15 minutes and steep them hot for an hour like Kristen England is fond of.


  2. Andrew,

    I'm usually pretty good about keeping my hopping schedule traditional, although I'm finding I like a bit more 'west coast' type hopping in some of my bitters, albeit with UK hops. I'll have to try out that 15 min, 1 hour soak technique. I've never done one that long, though I can see why one would do it. I keep telling myself to brew more of Ron's recipes... maybe do one of his big stouts in a few weeks.

  3. I am of the same homebrewing persuasion. I brew English-style bitters more than any other. After a few years of experimenting, i have mostly settled on recipes for both ordinary and special bitters. So just want to add my 2 cents to the "discussion"...

    My malt bill looks very similar. I tend to add some victory malt, and I also add some flaked maize (3-4 oz.). I save the sugar for the special bitter recipe.

    As far as hops, I bitter with Magnum and Finish with some challenger. Sometimes the special gets a little Challenger in the secondary, too.

    I have tried different yeast strains, but always return to the white labs WLP002.


  4. Troy, I'm starting to come back to challenger as a flavor/aroma hop. I used to brew with it a lot, though for whatever reason I don't use it much anymore - probably cuz I got so much EKG and Fuggles taking up space. Wlp002/1968 is a definite gem of a yeast strain, I find I like it best in bitters and mild.


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