Saturday, October 30, 2010

Screwy's Recipe # 45 - Extra Special Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)

 While browsing around the forums this week I noticed a post for a 3.5 gallon size recipe aptly named 'Extra Special Bachelor-Party' that's based on a Brewing TV episode of Jake's ESB recipe. Since I will soon have all six of my fermenters empty, after my upcoming bottling days, I figured I would scale that recipe down to fit a 2.13 gallon Mr. Beer batch and post it.

My Pipeline Consists Of Empty Bottles Now

 This recipe stood out among the others I've seen posted recently because it used the same type of hops for bittering, flavor and aroma. The recipe also uses steeping grains and DME which I also have been using lately for my last several brews with very good results. I haven't brewed this style of beer before and I figured it'll be a nice addition to my every growing recipe library.

A little research of the BJCP Style Guidelines showed my that this bitter English pale ale can be low to moderately hopped and also low to moderately malty with a moderately to strong caramel flavor. It went on to say that the hop bitterness and flavor shouldn't overpower the malty sweetness. 

 The carbonation for this style should not be too high, it should come in between 0.75 to 1.3 volumes, something to remember when priming your bottles for natural carbonation on bottling day. Since the residual Co2 of this fermented beer will already be about .83 volumes only a little less than 1/2 a teaspoon full of cane sugar will be needed to hit the higher end of the carbonation range.

  I always buy 2 pound bags of DME and limit my use of steeping grains in the majority of my recipes to 1/2 pound or less. In order to bring up the Original Gravity a bit closer to the style's upper limit while increasing the ABV percentage and adding some alcohol warmth, I added 1/2 pound of honey to the recipe. This late sugar addition should produce a slightly dry finish and work well with the extended DME boil time to produce some needed caramel sweetness.

  I selected Danstar Windsor dry yeast for the fermentation since I like using rehydrated dry yeast, I've found that it really takes off fast if done properly, and this yeast seems to fit in well with the English style recipe. To really suppress any diacetyl production I'll ferment this ale at 65F for at least 21 days before taking a sample for bottling.

 I used qBrew's default 'Extra Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale)' style guidelines to crunch the recipe's numbers.

Recipe: Size 2.13 gallons: Estimated IBU=40, SRU=12, OG=1.056, FG=1.014, ABV=5.5% 
2 pounds Muntons Light DME
1.0 ounce Fuggles pellet hops boiled for 60 minutes
1/4 ounce Fuggles pellet hops boiled for 20 minutes
1/2 pound Honey boiled for 10 minutes
1/4 ounce Fuggles pellet hops boiled for 7 minutes
11 grams Danstar Windsor yeast
Pitched at 65F and fermented at 65F

Boil 10 quarts of filtered water (depending on brewpot size)
Stir in 1/2 lb. DME at rolling boil
Boil 1.0 oz. hops for 60 minutes
Boil 1/4 oz. hops for 20 minutes
Stir in 1 1/2 lbs. DME at 10 minutes then boil until hotbreak
Stir in honey resume boil for 10 minutes
Boil 1/4 oz. hops for 7 minutes
Use Screwy's Cooler until wort temperature cools to 65F
Pour cooled wort into fermenter keg and pitch yeast
Ferment at constant 65F temperature for 21 days


  1. I was just wondering how you make your own labels? Do you have a computer program or special paper that has a sticky back? I wanna put my personal touch on my brews by having a unique label that is MINE.

  2. I actually ordered them from a custom label print house, they printed my labels on vinyl so they won't come off even after repeated washing and sanitizing.

  3. This sounds like a good recipe. I may have to play with it. Since it's an English ale, did you consider adding Demerara sugar instead of honey?

  4. I haven't used Demerara sugar in any of my recipes yet, but I have been interested in using invert sugars in some future brews.