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Fuller's ESB (batch #109)
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kal
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Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

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PostLink    Posted: Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:39 am    Post subject: Fuller's ESB (batch #109) Reply with quote


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Fuller's ESB (Extra Special Bitter) is one my favourite beers and recreating it was one of the reasons I wanted to go to all-grain brewing after 20+ years of doing extract and other variations. I just couldn't get this one right. I brewed it for the first time using all-grain on January 10, 2010 (and many times since then). The recipe below is the one I use now after lots of tweaking over the years. While I would not call it a 100% clone, the recipe is exactly how I like it.

To quote Fullers own website:

Quote:
First brewed in 1971, ESB is unrivaled in flavor and balance. A robust 5.5% alcohol by volume in cask (5.9% alcohol by volume in bottles and kegs), it is brewed from Pale Ale and Crystal malts and from Target, Challenger, Northdown and Goldings hops.

Andrew Jefford, the respected UK drinks critic, sums up ESB's flavor thus: "An ample, grainy-nutty aroma and a broad, authoritative flavor, with lashings of dry marmalade-like bitters". Renowned beer connoisseur Roger Protz describes "an enormous attack of rich malt, tangy fruit and spicy hops in the mouth, with a profound Goldings peppery note in the long finish and hints of orange, lemon and gooseberry fruit".

Awards:

ESB's reputation as the best British beer around is borne out by the amazing number of awards it has won. The US Beverage Tasting Institute named ESB "World Champion Bitter" in 1997 and 1998. ESB received the Gold Medal in the Premium Ales category at the 2003 International Beer Competition and a Silver medal in the same event in 2004. In addition, ESB won another Silver in the Strong Bitter category at the 2002 Great British Beer Festival. And no beer has won more CAMRA awards, including Best Strong Ale in 1978, 1979, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1991, and Champion Beer of Britain in 1978, 1981 and 1985.

If you don't like hoppy/bitter beers, don't let the word 'bitter' in 'Extra Special Bitter' throw you off. English bitters are nowhere near as bitter as American styles. In fact, this ESB (like most English style beers) is all about balance. It's only bitter enough to balance the malt backbone.

Some recipes for this beer will call for flaked maize (corn). Fullers moved away from using that many years ago and now only use British pale malt and crystal malt. If you want do an 'old school' version of this beer, replace approximately 15% of the fermentables with flaked maize. I've never tried it myself and have always found the results to be very close to the kegged version of the beer. One of these days I'd love to get across the ocean however and taste what a FRESH pint of Fuller's ESB actually tastes like.

You may have troubles finding all of the hops needed as some are hard to find. Some hop substitutions will still give you an enjoyable ESB, just try and stick with English hops if possible. You can (for example) make a very nice variant with only East Kent Goldings (EKG) hops as they're much easier to find.

Yeast substitutions should be avoided however. I've tried it with others (including the readily available Safale S-04 dry yeast) and it just isn't the same. One of the keys to brewing this right is to use Fuller's own yeast which is available to homebrewers as Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale liquid yeast or White Labs WLP-002 English Ale liquid yeast. This yeast does not attenuate very well so we purposely mash at a low temperature (148F). The yeast is also highly flocculant (likes to settle out) so giving the bottom a gentle stir once a day during fermentation can help it from falling out too soon.

Serve this beer with fairly low carbonation (the lower the better in my humble opinion, or even better, as a cask ale). If you have the means to serve it through a beer engine with no extra carbonation at all other than residuals left over from fermentation, do it! I think you'll really enjoy the difference. I serve mine on a stout faucet pushed by 30/70 C02/Nitrogen blend to get a nice creamy head and close to flat beer. One cheap and inexpensive way to (sort of) mimic this is to use a syringe. Pour the beer as you would normally and then suck up a syringe full and force it back into the beer, hard. Repeat 2-3 times and you'll knock most of the C02 out of solution leaving a nearly flat beer with a creamy head. Over carbonation destroys a lot of the subtleties of this beer. Don't over carbonate!

Brew up a batch and let me know how you like it!

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Fuller's ESB (batch #109)

Size: 12.0 gal (post-boil)
Efficiency: 95%
Attenuation: 75.9%
Calories: 190 kcal per 12.0 fl oz
Original Gravity: 1.058 (1.048 - 1.060)
Terminal Gravity: 1.014 (1.010 - 1.016)
Color: 13.1 (6.0 - 18.0)
Alcohol: 5.8% (4.6% - 6.2%)
Bitterness: 34 (30.0 - 50.0)

Ingredients:
19.0 lb British Maris Otter Malt (92.7%) (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1.5 lb British Crystal 90L Malt (7.3%) (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1.0 oz Target Hops (UK) (10.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [15.6 IBU] (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1.0 oz Challenger Hops (UK) (7.0%) - added during boil, boiled 60 min [10.92 IBU] (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
0.5 oz Northdown Hops (UK) (9.6%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min [3.59 IBU] (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1.0 oz British/East Kent Goldings (UK) Hops (5.4%) - added during boil, boiled 15 min [4.04 IBU] (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1 Whirlfloc Tablet (Irish moss) - added during boil, boiled 15 min (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
4 packs Wyeast 1968 London ESB Ale liquid yeast (or an appropriate starter*) (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
- OR -
4 vials White Labs WLP-002 English Ale liquid yeast (or an appropriate starter*) (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)
1.0 oz British/East Kent Goldings (UK) Hops (5.4%) - added dry to secondary fermenter (Buy at: Amazon, MoreBeer, HighGravity, AiH, OBK)

Notes:
Add 500mg potassium metabisulphite to 20 gallons water to remove chlorine/chloramine (as required).
Water treated with brewing salts to: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=17, Cl=49, S04=92
(Basically Randy Mosher's ideal Pale Ale numbers with slightly less Sulphate and a Cl:S04 ratio of 1:2 - we're not making a hoppy American beer here so we go a bit easy on accentuating bitterness).
1.25 qt/lb mash thickness. Single infusion mash at 148F for 90 mins. Mashout to 168F.
60-90 min fly sparge with ~6 pH water. Collect 13.9 gallons in boil kettle.
Boil for 60 minutes. Lid on at flameout, start chilling immediately.
Cool wort to 66F and aerate well. Ferment at 66-68F until complete. Dry hop for 7 days.
This yeast drops brilliantly clear without need of any clarifiers.
See above for recommendations on carbonation/packaging.

*For hints on how to make a starter see Chapter 6 of How to Brew and Appendix A of Brewing Classic Styles.

For complete brewing instructions, see our Brew Day: Step by Step guide.

Brew yourself a batch today and let us know how you like it! Enjoy!

Purchasing through our links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!

SEE OUR OTHER RECIPES

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Nov 04, 2014 6:37 pm; edited 25 times in total
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WahooBrewingCo



Joined: 25 Oct 2011
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PostLink    Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 8:54 pm    Post subject: Starting the Fuller's ESB Reply with quote

Kal,
I'm trying two version of this recipe. Much like you split your batches into Ale and Lagers I'm going to run one with some reclaimed WLP001 and then the Wyeast Fullers ESB. With the California Ale yeast it'll flocculate much higher so less startling of the fermentor if I can avoid it.

Will let ya know.

Na Zdrowie! - James

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 4235
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Thu Apr 12, 2012 11:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For what it's worth, I think the yeast in this beer is critical. I'm not sure how I'd like WLP001/Wyeast 1056/US-05 on this beer. You want something that doesn't attenuate too much and gives the beer that English malty taste, with a slight sweetness/fruitiness. I'd much rather split this one across WY1968 (Fullers yeast) and some other English Ale strain like WY1028.

Of course, you may experiment and try anything you like!

Kal

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Kevin59



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Drinking: Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale, Am Wheat, Oktoberfest Ale, Robust Porter, Imp Brown Ale, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Working on: Oatmeal Stout, Robust Porter, ESB


PostLink    Posted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to say that this has turned out to be an excellent beer! I've only had Fuller's one time so I can't really compare the two, but regardless this one came out great! I made a 6 gal batch (5 gal in the keg) and used a single WLP002 pitched from an 800ml starter. I also used Target in place of the Northdown hops.

This one will be made again, and will likely be a permanent resident on one of my 7 taps!
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kal
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Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Tue May 14, 2013 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent! Glad you like it! It's pretty much a permanent resident on my taps as well. Every once an a while I like a nice malty English ESB when I get tired of hoppy Americans.

Kal

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kal
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Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oops! I fixed a typo in the recipe. The amount of Crystal 90L Malt should be 1.5 lbs, not 2.5 lbs. The 7.3% of grist number was correct.

Sorry about that!

I've made this beer with varying amounts (from 10% down to the 7.3%) and different types of crystal malt and keeping it a bit lower seems to work best and avoids an overly cloying / sweet beer. The yeast is not very attenuative so you have to be careful with how much crystal you use as well as mash temp (I keep mash temp low).

Kal

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silverbrewer



Joined: 27 Jul 2013
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PostLink    Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kal,

I have just brewed 12 gallons of this recipe and it has fermented down to 1016 and is sitting in the fermenter with the dry hops in. The beer tastes fine, but has a hint of roughness that I assume will bugger off during maturation? I will try my damnedest to not drink it during those couple of weeks, but may fail....I am only human.

I am going to need to put some in 500cc bottles, and some in 5 litre easykegs so I can treat it like cask ale should be treated.

My question are, how much dextrose powder should each bottle have to carbonate the beer to a low ish level, and how much for the 5 litre easykegs? Also, how much beer should I actually put in an easykeg, and what pressure should I see in the easykeg during carbonation? I am aware that easykegs can balloon if they get over carbonated, and I have a pressure gauge attached to the bung to keep track of this, but I have no idea what pressure I should allow it to go up to, or what pressure our English casks get to while sitting in the pub cellars waiting to cool down and have the pressure released and served.

Any comments are welcome!!

I have a cask aspirator and I have a Firkin, and I have a beer engine, but all that is for later......For now I will be cooling the easykegs to 13 deg C, letting the pressure out gently down to atmospheric, and connecting the bung to a beach ball full of Co2 so it is not pressurized in any way. That should simulate a cellar, a cask aspirator, and cask conditions as near as is needed.

While testing the beer engine with Corny kegs, I noticed the beer engine can easily suck the poppet valve in the lid open and suck in air, so anyone experimenting with this combo may need to be careful. With a cask aspirator connected, you have no way of knowing if the suction the beer engine is providing is offset by the aspirator or the poppet opening, as the cask aspirator is silent when working.

If bottled beer is cooled to 13 degrees C and is then kept at that temperature (stc 1000 and fridge) then you can gently let out the excess pressure in each bottle by lifting the crown caps slightly. The beer now sits at atmospheric pressure with Co2 above it, and is perfectly simulating a cask of beer in an English pub cellar, except for the yeasty hoppy crudd in the bottom.
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kal
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

silverbrewer wrote:
I have just brewed 12 gallons of this recipe and it has fermented down to 1016 and is sitting in the fermenter with the dry hops in. The beer tastes fine, but has a hint of roughness that I assume will bugger off during maturation?

All beer will mellow over time. That said, I don't remember any roughness from my samples during kegging (I've brewed this one 3-4 times now). Now that said, I do brew a lot of really hoppy American IPAs so maybe my definition of rough is a harsher beer than you're used to. ;0

Quote:
My question are, how much dextrose powder should each bottle have to carbonate the beer to a low ish level, and how much for the 5 litre easykegs?

I'm not sure. I haven't used priming sugar in years. It depends on what carb volume you want to go to. There's likely some calculators available out there that can tell you how much sugar to use for the volumes of C02 you want to target. That said, see my original recipe for hints on carbing this beer - I prefer cask or on a nitro/C02 blend instead of straight C02.

Quote:
Also, how much beer should I actually put in an easykeg, and what pressure should I see in the easykeg during carbonation? I am aware that easykegs can balloon if they get over carbonated, and I have a pressure gauge attached to the bung to keep track of this, but I have no idea what pressure I should allow it to go up to, or what pressure our English casks get to while sitting in the pub cellars waiting to cool down and have the pressure released and served.

Sorry - I don't know. I've never used that product. Maybe some others can chime in to help.

Kal

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silverbrewer



Joined: 27 Jul 2013
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 10:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another way of describing the "roughness" would be a slight "earthy" or "leafy" taste! It is not too bad, and the last pint of cask ESB I drank exhibited the same sort of thing, and was worse, so none of this critique is meant to be negative to the recipe quality. I drink a lot of ESB both bottled and cask, and am comparing this brew with how ESB tastes when it is at it's best.....

I will be casking mine within a few brews, but for now it is bottles and tins. I am going to go with 1/4 teaspoon of priming sugar per bottle, which is half of what is used by many, and I will go to an eighth of a teaspoon per 500cc in the 5 litre tins, so lets say 1 teaspoon per tin. Hopefully it will prime up a bit but not too much!!!!

Cannot wait to see the results. I will bottle it all this weekend, and do another 12 gallon brew the weekend after, when I have bought more yeast.
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Jerz



Joined: 17 Nov 2013
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Location: Suwanee, Georgia

Drinking: Ruthless Rye, Imperial Pumpkin Ale...

Working on: Oatmeal stout (kegged), Scottish Heavy, Schwarzbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Red Marzen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WOW... this will be one of the mainstays here at the mancave... I USED to get FULLERS IPA by the keg about fifteen years ago but haven't seen it since.... is there any way at all possible to find that recipe? The Fullers IPA was my absolute favorite; American IPA's IMHO are just WAY over hopped although good but not my favorite by any stretch.
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kal
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Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

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PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting - I've never heard of or had a Fullers IPA. But it certainly seems to exist when you Google it!



Let me know if you ever come across a recipe.

Jerz wrote:
American IPA's IMHO are just WAY over hopped ...

Now that's just crazy talk. I suggest you try this: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=26749

Wink

Kal

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Jerz



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Drinking: Ruthless Rye, Imperial Pumpkin Ale...

Working on: Oatmeal stout (kegged), Scottish Heavy, Schwarzbier, Russian Imperial Stout, Red Marzen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

HA... I saw that Triple IPA and I DEFINITELY will be trying that once I get my build finished... don't get me wrong.... I DO like Grapefruit Juice so those overly hopped IPA's DO have a time and place to be consumed depending on the weather but when I think of Fullers ESB the flavor I think most of is Caramel.... but definitely not sweet. Fullers fresh on tap is definitely my all time favorite.
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kal
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Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 19, 2013 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, mine too. It is indeed a nice change when you don't want something overly hoppy.

Kal

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RBGilbert2



Joined: 26 Dec 2013
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Dec 27, 2013 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal

Curious as to the salt concentrations listed in the recipe. Seems like there's too much calcium for the chloride and sulfate; the water calculators can't find a solution to making that mix from RO. As I recollect, your water is pretty soft.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 4235
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Sat Dec 28, 2013 2:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RBGilbert2 wrote:
Kal

Curious as to the salt concentrations listed in the recipe. Seems like there's too much calcium for the chloride and sulfate; the water calculators can't find a solution to making that mix from RO. As I recollect, your water is pretty soft.


Correct. My city water's close to RO. Looking at one of the times I brewed this, I had my starting water at:

Ca=9.9, Mg=2.4, Na=17.4, Cl=6.5, SO4=28.1

The target from the recipe is:

Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=17, Cl=49, S04=92

So I added:

2.4g Calc Chloride to the mash
3.1g Calc Chloride to the boil

4.5g Epsom salt to the mash
5.8g Calc Chloride to the boil

5.2g chalk to the mash
6.7g chalk to the boil

This got me to:

Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=17, Cl=49, S04=92

I use EZWaterCalculator for this.

Kal

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captacl



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
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Location: Bethlehem, PA USA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would like to brew this for a New Year's Eve party I am going to/hosting and was planning to brew this the day after thanksgiving so its ready in time. I was trying to source all the ingredients for this ESB and the Amber I plan to brew the week before. Unfortunately my LHBS does not have the 90L Crystal Malt or Northdown hops. In the email he suggested using 80L and Northern Brewer hops instead since that's the closest thing they carry to those ingredients. Should I go that route or spend the extra money to get the correct ingredients online from Northern Brewer. Thanks for your input.

Anthony
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Kevin59



Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 849
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Drinking: Oatmeal Stout, Pale Ale, Am Wheat, Oktoberfest Ale, Robust Porter, Imp Brown Ale, Chocolate Oatmeal Stout

Working on: Oatmeal Stout, Robust Porter, ESB


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

captacl wrote:
I would like to brew this for a New Year's Eve party I am going to/hosting and was planning to brew this the day after thanksgiving so its ready in time. I was trying to source all the ingredients for this ESB and the Amber I plan to brew the week before. Unfortunately my LHBS does not have the 90L Crystal Malt or Northdown hops. In the email he suggested using 80L and Northern Brewer hops instead since that's the closest thing they carry to those ingredients. Should I go that route or spend the extra money to get the correct ingredients online from Northern Brewer. Thanks for your input.

Anthony


I had the same issue with the Northdown hops and have been using Target in their place. I've been very pleased with the results, as have others that are ESB fans.

As to the malt my LHBS has 85L which is close enough if you can get that.

If possible you might want to give yourself another week to ferment and condition, but it'll still be a nice ale if not.

Enjoy!
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captacl



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
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PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 3:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think the closest I would be able to get is the Briess 80L Crystal Malt without ordering online. They don't seem to carry much in the way of British Caramel/Crystal Malts. Since its only about 7% of the grain bill I am not sure I would even notice a difference. I also still haven't decided if it is worth ordering Northdown hops or just replacing it with Northern Brewer instead and save money on shipping. Again, either way I will probably still enjoy the results immensely.

I don't believe I will be able to brew this any sooner but I think I should get a good result after a month. I don't think many beer drinkers will be present at this party anyway so a good portion of it will have time to age further.
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ettar



Joined: 10 Nov 2014
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PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this recipe Kal, im trying it next week! Ill split a part of this batch with denny's favorite because i have it on hand and i want to see if it's still viable ( ive cultured it from a starter 2 months ago...)
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 4235
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Amber Ale, Firestone Walker Double Jack, Electric Pale Ale, Russian Imperial Stout, Kolsch, Weizen, Irish Stout, Cream Ale

Working on: Pub Ale


PostLink    Posted: Thu Nov 13, 2014 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

captacl wrote:
I would like to brew this for a New Year's Eve party I am going to/hosting and was planning to brew this the day after thanksgiving so its ready in time. I was trying to source all the ingredients for this ESB and the Amber I plan to brew the week before. Unfortunately my LHBS does not have the 90L Crystal Malt or Northdown hops. In the email he suggested using 80L and Northern Brewer hops instead since that's the closest thing they carry to those ingredients. Should I go that route or spend the extra money to get the correct ingredients online from Northern Brewer. Thanks for your input.

I've made this beer about half a dozen times now, sometimes with hop substitutions. The result's very similar/very good of course. Your subs are fairly minor so it would be very hard to tell the difference.

Kal

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