Tag Archives: ESB

Homebrew: K04 Extra Special Bitter

Today we brewed up a large batch of ESB, and for once everything went quite smoothly. We used a simple malt bill of 91% Maris Otter, 6.4% Crystal 100 and 2.7% Crystal 300. We tried conditioning the malt before crushing it, and it had a huge effect on the flow rate through the malt bed! Will definitely continue conditioning the malt before crushing it in the future! The mash went smoothly, and at the end of the day we managed a 74% overall efficiency, resulting in 44 liters of 1.058 wort. We hopped with East Kent Goldings, Styrian Goldings and Fuggles to around 42 IBU (more weight on bitter hops compared to aroma hops). For the yeast, we again chose some Wyeast 1318 London Ale III slurry from a previous fermentation. It will be very interesting to see how this one turns out!

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Evening of brewing and beer tasting

Last Friday me and a group of friends joined together to brew a stove-top BIAB English Pale Ale hopped with East Kent Goldings and drink lots of good beer. We ended up making some minor improvised adjustments to the recipe in the last minute, as the hop pellets contained only 4.1% alpha acids (recipe calculated for 5% AA, so 60, 15 and 5 minute additions changed to 33 grams each) and the pots we had were 21L and 15L (meaning we mashed a little thinner than first calculated). Otherwise the brewday went quite smoothly and we hit exactly the estimated gravity when we topped up with boiled water to a total volume of 15 liters in the fermenter (we got 13.5 liters of 1.063 wort after the boil). Hopefully this turns out good! Only slight fear I have is that it will end up a little estery and have noticeable fusel alcohols, as the beer was fermented at an ambient temperature of around 22 degrees C. I didn’t take all too many pictures during the brewday, but I’ve attached the ones I did below.

Didn’t have time to take any tasting notes either, but the real gems of the day were, in the order we tried them, my Brett IPA (massive tropical fruity nose, with a nice dry and bitter finish), Port Brewing Mongo IPA (fantastic hop tones in a balanced package), Mikkeller Red/White Christmas (skeptical at first, but as the beer warmed up the combination of fruity spiciness and resiny hoppiness worked well), Three Floyds Amon Amarth (a smokey and complex imperial porter/stout), Sad Robot Tyrion (my friend Ingo’s fantastic Imperial Stout, that was packed with roasty tones in a perfect balance), my Imperial Porter (a great package of vanilla, chocolate and coffee tones, but unfortunately a little boozy on the nose) and Alesmith Old Numbskull (great combination of sweet maltiness and resiny and citrusy hoppiness). My homebrewed Belgian Blond was quite well received, while the Belgian Strong Dark Ale was still a bit boozy, hot and overly estery (hopefully this one improves with a couple of months of aging). The Black Lodge Imperial Stout was quite well received as well, but I think it could use a bit more aging. The coffee tones and roasted malts were dominating together with a resiny hoppiness, but there was a slight warming in the finish which I assume is from the chili. The disappointments of the day were Alesmith IPA (although a tasty IPA, it was nothing spectacular), Mikkeller/Cigar City Swinging Harry Tropical Quad (way too sweet), and De Molen Hel & Verdoemenis 666 (a very good beer, but had hoped for more from this as I found the base beer so great). Overall though, a group of very good beers and a fantastic night!


Brewing and beer tasting on Friday

On Friday I will be brewing my first English Pale Ale / ESB ever. After closer to 30 batches of mostly American-style beers, I will join a couple of friends (Ingemar, Marcus N and Rasmus) over at a friend’s place (Marcus L), where we will be brewing and drinking some nice beer. Marcus L doesn’t have any brewing equipment of his own yet, so we will be brewing a stove-top BIAB, using a mixture of equipment that us guests are bringing with us. I designed the recipe (see below) for 15 litres of ESB hopped with East Kent Goldings, and hopefully it will make a tasty beer. Looking at other recipes online, most ESBs seem to have a simple malt bill with 90-95% pale ale malt and 5-10% Crystal malt, so went with something similar. I used three types of crystal malt for some complexity and a large hop addition late in the boil for some nice hop aroma. I have no idea what kind of efficiency we will be getting, so calculated the ingredients using a pessimistic guess of 55% efficiency.

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The list of beers we will be drinking is nice as well, and it includes 4 of my homebrews, which will all have tasting debuts, and 10 commercial beers. The list is:

I will be posting a report, along with pictures, both over the brewday and with tasting notes. I’m already looking forward to Friday!

By the way, Unexpected Predator (my homebrewed American Strong Ale / IPA) got a great review over at Reittausblogi (unfortunately only in Finnish). I’ve really liked the beer myself (only a couple of bottles left), but it’s sweetening up a bit as it ages, and would maybe have liked a bit more bitterness to back up the sweetness. Otherwise a really nice beer, that I would recommend to anyone wanting to brew a hoppy, bitter and malty strong ale.

Bath Ales Gem


  • Brewery: Bath Ales
  • Country: England
  • Style: Extra Special Bitter
  • ABV: 4.7%
  • Size: 500 ml
  • Bought from: K-Citymarket, 3.99€
  • Beer Advocate
  • RateBeer

    Bath Ales Gem is an ESB with a funny-looking rabbit on the label. The marketing text on the label promises rich aroma of hops and malt, with a long, deep, bitter-sweet finish. The beer is brewed with Maris Otter pale malt, and hopped with Challenger and East Kent Goldings hops. Let’s see how it does!

    [easyreview title=”Bath Ales Gem” cat1title=”Appearance” cat1detail=”The beer pours a very deep clear amber-brown color, with a thick tan head, that lasts a long while, collapsing with some lacing along the glass.” cat1rating=”4″ cat2title=”Smell” cat2detail=”The aroma is malt-dominated, with tones of biscuits, bread, caramel and honey. There are some tones of floral and herby hops in the background as well.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Taste” cat3detail=”The flavour is malty, with strong tones of caramel, toffee, biscuits, honey, raisins and fruits. Some herbal, grassy and spicy hop tones become present after a while, and the flavour ends in a quite sweet, and only slightly bitter finish.” cat3rating=”3″ cat4title=”Mouthfeel” cat4detail=”The beer has a medium body and a moderate carbonation level, and is (quite well) balanced towards the malty side of the spectrum.” cat4rating=”3″ summary=”A good and drinkable beer, that is just a bit too much on the malty side for my taste. Could use a bit more hoppiness and bitterness for my taste, but this is still a good bitter.”]

    Thanks to Pia for buying me this!