Sunday, May 26, 2013

Brew Day: American ESB

While it is nearly impossible to find an English style bitter on tap in the States that is anything like those traditionally produced across the pond, what we lack in session strength bitters, we more than make up for in ESB's. For in the land of big beers, where finding anything under 4.5% is most often a lost cause, it seems like ESB's are the acceptable form of bitter for the American palate... as they often contain substantial hop and malt character, with a higher alcohol content to boot. With that said, I am not that crazy about the majority of commercially made ESB's. To generalize things, many brewers seem to either take a very simplistic approach to making them - almost like they are trying to do justice to the original style - or they do the complete opposite, using every character malt and C-hop they have at their disposal. Looking around the web for ESB recipes, you'll find many that contain nothing but pale malt and some crystal, often with a mix of US/UK hops (so often EKG and Cascade), and a painfully neutral yeast - OR - recipes that are jammed with biscuit, aromatic, special roast, munich, honey malt, and so on, all in an attempt to add malt complexity.

So instead of going on and on about the lack of 'good' ESB's and what I would rather be drinking, I am giving in... can't beat them, join them. The recipe I am using today is a good approximation of many American ESB recipes, using a few types of biscuit-type malts with both light and dark crystal. In particular, I will be using a new base malt, Gambrinus ESB malt - as it is supposed to mimic the flavor the flavor of Maris Otter type malts (spoiler alert: it doesn't) - and rounding things out with a light and dark English crystal malts, torrefied wheat, and biscuit malt. For the hopping, I was going to go with Cascade/Centennial/Willamette or something similar, but I decided to take a more British approach using Challenger and Bramling Cross. Yeast will be Wyeast 1335 British II, as it ferments out cleanly (almost too much) while providing a nice maltiness. Just so you know I'm not complaining too much, I fully expect to enjoy this beer... after all, there are somethings worth taking from both sides of the coin.

Anglo-American ESB : Extra Special Bitter

Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.5
Total Grain (Lbs): 10.00
Anticipated OG: 1.058
Anticipated FG: 1.010-12
Anticipated SRM: 12
Anticipated IBU: 30
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

80.0% - 8.00 lbs. Pale, ESB Malt
7.5%   - 0.75 lbs. Simpsons Caramalt
5.0%   - 0.50 lbs. Torrefied Wheat
5.0%   - 0.50 lbs. Biscuit Malt
2.5%   - 0.25 lbs. Extra Dark Crystal (150L)

0.75 oz. Challenger @ 60 min for 20 IBU
0.50 oz. Bramling Cross @ 20 min for 6 IBU
0.50 oz. Challenger @ 10 min for 4 IBU
0.50 oz. Bramling Cross @ flameout
1.00 oz. Challenger @ flameout

Yeast: Wyeast 1335 British Ale II
Mash 156F for 60 min
Brewed on 26 May

1 comment:

    I was hoping you were going to use the American Hops, nevermind, I have something Similar planned with Amarillo, for something different than chucking tehm into just another Pale Ale. Hopefuly you do som,ething like this at some stage. I'll be trying some of your other recipes at some stage too.
    Likethe blog by the way, I've left a Link for mine above, if your interested.


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