ESB aka Strong Bitter

For the first time in ages, I decided to keep it standard. While I of course like to get weird, I do also appreciate a classic style. The ESB, or Extra Special Bitter, is one of those classic “styles” that I do enjoy.

Instead of going into the description on it myself, why not use a quote from the brewer, which goes as follows: “Rich mahogany in colour, ESB tempts with aromas of orange marmalade, balanced by soft malt toffee. The hops impart grassy, peppery notes alongside hints of citrus fruit – while the Pale Ale and Crystal malts bring distinctive biscuity flavours. A smooth, delicate bitterness lingers on the palate to give a supreme finish.”

The interesting thing about the ESB is you won’t find it in the BJCP Guidelines. The ESB name was created by Fuller’s and in England today “ESB” is a Fullers trademark. The closest style to an ESB in the BJCP guidelines is the Strong Bitter. Some of the specs have a starting gravity between 1.048-1.060, a SRM 8-18, and IBUs in the 30-50 range. Naturally I will push those to the brink.

I often give a little tidbit of history when I do these things, but why re-write what someone else has gone to the trouble of doing. If one is so inclined, here is a full article on it…or this BYO article.

Brew day:

Recipe:

OG: 1.060
SRM: 14
Est ABV: 6%-ish
IBU: 37
Boil Time: 60 Min

Grain profile:
4.2 lbs (83%) – 2-Row
7 oz (9%) – Victory Malt
4 oz (5%) – Crystal 60L
2.5 oz (3%) – Crystal 120L

Mash:
60 Min @ 154F

Hops:
.20 oz (16 IBUs) Challenger (8% AA) @ 60 min
.20 oz (7 IBUs) Fuggles (3.5% AA) @ 60 min
.25 oz (10 IBUs) Challenger (8% AA) @ 60 min
.25 oz (4 IBUs) Fuggles (3.5% AA) @ 60 min

Yeast:
Crossmyloof Real Ale
US-05

Tasting:

Coming soon, though I did enter this into the 2019 National Homebrew Competition. I entered it before I had tried it. Pray for Jason.

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