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.

2 Comment

  1. Johan says: Reply

    Hi,
    I started brewing about four months ago, the first two failed for reasons i now know. The third one hit the spot bigtime. I then started to develop a passion for brewing. Started watching videos, reading blogs, listening to podcast. I’m writing this to let you know that your videos (have not yet read anything on this site) are the best. You have Fun! You enjoy and you inspire! Great balance of explaination/education and general beer experimental fuckery. In sweden we have an expression to describe someone who does something for others consistantly for years and years without any real material gain corresponding to the effort, just purely for the love of it, thats called an; Eldsjäl (fire soul). This past week ive been thinking about eldsjäl’s and how they seldom get the recognition they deserve. So here you go: Respect! Keep up the good work. You, my good sir, are an Eldsjäl!

    1. Jason says: Reply

      Thanks for the kind words!

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