British Table Beer

Having brewed a lot of bright, hoppy, and sour beers lately, I needed something comfy and toasty but also sessionable enough to drink when it’s hot in the upcoming months. Threw together this recipe for an English Mild, with lots of amber malt and some roasted barley; I love English ales (and milds), but I wanted to make something a little more flavorful and with a little more body than some I’ve had previously. Also figured I’d try out British Ale II from WYeast to see if it stands up to my go-to for English ales, the London ESB strain. My plan initially is to keg 5 gallons of it near term, and age the other half on oak and Brett, but we’ll see. This should be in the arena of 1.044 SG, 26 IBU, and 16 SRM.

  • 14 lb English Pale
  • 1.5 lb Amber malt
  • 0.75 lb Roasted Barley (American, 300L)
  • 0.25 lb Dark Crystal (150L)
  • 0.75 oz Galena (13.9% aa) 60 min
  • 2 oz UK Fuggles (4.9% aa) 10 min
  • WYeast 1986 London ESB
  • WYeast British Ale II

// Mash-in 1.33 qt/lb (5.5 gal) at 154-156 for 50 minutes, raise to 170 for mash-out for 5 minutes. Sparge w/ 10 gal to collect 13.5 gal 1037 pre-boil. Boil 75 mins, collect ~10 gal 1.042 wort. chill to 68F.  Oxygenate w/ pure O2 for 1 min in each carboy. Pitch decanted 1L starters of each. ESB in a plastic bucket, British in a glass carboy. Brewed 4/18/15. //

// Water additions:  0.5 tsp CaSO4, 1 tsp CaCl2, 1 tsp CaCO3 to mash to get 110 ppm calcium, 80 ppm Chloride, 53 ppm sulphate, and a mash pH of 5.5.  0.75 tsp CaSO4, 1.75 tsp CaCl2 to sparge //

PBW’d the glass carboy that used to have Berliner Weisse in it.

Wort had a nice herbal hoppy aroma going into the fermenters. Signs of fermentation only a few hours after pitching.

4/22/15  Fermentation was really quick, basically finished within 3 days but I gave it an extra because I didn’t have time to taste it. Tasted the British Ale first – nice “brown” aroma, some roast, nutty, with English esters and a little apple-ish. Good toasted flavor but also a bit thin. Tasted the ESB next – such an awesome English yeast aroma that is so classic and English. The malt flavors are a little bit more accentuated in this one. I did a blind smell/taste-test right afterwards. I was able to distinguish which was which, but it was really close, just the slightly more estery/apple-y/fruity thing going on in the British gave it away. Overall the flavor is great in both. Both beers were at around 1014/1015 gravity.  Kegged the ESB, then racked the British to a secondary, added a medium toast oak spiral, and bottle dregs from Oude Gueze Hansser.

THE VERDICT

This beer was awesome, especially if you’d enjoy something that’s like an English mild combined with a brown ale. The flavors of the beautiful toasted English malts – light roast coffee, with a little touch of caramel and toffee, butterscotch (probably some diacetyl from the yeast) were in perfect harmony. Both yeasts were delicious and I would have been OK with kegging either when I did, both but the ESB yeast still has my heart. I wish I had cask-conditioned either one of these beers, but the regular force carbonation was just fine too. The lower ABV suited this beer well, but I think it would’ve made a stellar ~5% beer, too. A few times the carbonation got a little high in the keg which detracted from the flavor of the beer since it is a little bit lighter than the average ale, but that was easy to bring back into range. No sign of infection whatsoever in the British Ale which was fermented in the same carboy that had previously fermented the Berliner Weisse, so that was reassuring on the sanitation front!

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Filed under All-grain, Balanced, Brown, English

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