British Brewer

Recreating the perfect British Pint

08 May

Hyde Brewery Pictures

Back in March I wrote a quick all-grain recipe for a reader (and now regular email correspondent) for Hydes Original Ale.

It turned out not only was this reader (Drew) an avid brewer and Hydes fan he had actually toured the Brewery in Manchester England.

With kind permission Drew has allowed me to republish pictures from the brewery and shots taken of his last batch of all grain Hydes ESB.  If any other readers want to post Brewery pictures please send me the links and I would be happy to post.

Enjoy ūüôā

Brewery Tour


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All-Grain Hydes ESB


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12 December

Recipe: Chiswick ESB (ver 1.0)

The recipe and process can be found online here. Feedback on this recipe can be found here.

Fuller's ESB

This is my first attempt at brewing one of my all time favorite ales, the beer I would drink the most consistently, Fullers ESB. ¬†This ale is one of the first British ales to become widely available in the US, along with Bass. ¬†Unfortunately, as with Bass, the flavour of Fullers ESB in the US pales in comparison to a fresh pint served in a Fullers Pub in London. ¬†Fullers ESB is also the winner of 7 CAMRA Best ESB awards, Two Best Beer of Britain awards, and two US Beverage Tasting Institutes “World Champion Bitter” medals, among many other honors.

Fullers ESB is probably ‘the’ classic London ESB, an Extra Special/Strong Bitter classed English Pale Ale. ¬†As discussed in the post on creating your own beer recipes (here), ESB brews tend to have more of a balance with the malt and bitterness. ¬†This beer is a fine example. ¬†Written up in the The Real Ale Almanac as an:

Explosion of malt and hops and cooper’s marmalade. ¬†Enormous attack of malt and fruit with hop underlay; profound finish with strong Goldings character and hints of orange, lemon, gooseberry and some tannin.

Beer has been brewed at the Fullers Brewery site in Chiswick, known as the Griffen Brewery, since the time of Oliver Cromwell.  The brewery existed as a variety of partnerships with its namesake, John Fuller, joining the firm in 1829.  In 1845 John Fullers son, John Bird Fuller, was joined by Henry Smith of the brewery Ind Smith, and John Turner, Smiths brother-in-law and head brewer. They formed the company Fuller, Smith & Turner, as it is still know today.  Descendants of these 3 families are still actively involved in the day to day running of the company today.  More on Fullers here.

On to the ingredients.  Standard practice these days is for the the brewery to be forthcoming with its basic ingredients and Fullers in no exception.  The site proclaims the malt mix to include Pale Malt (base), Crystal and Goldings, Northdown, Target and Challenger hops.

The Real Ale Almanac confirms the ¬†brewers website and includes the addition of Maize. ¬†Maize is used in brewing to boost the ABV in the same way as cane sugar. ¬†But unlike cane sugar Maize is not 100% fermentable, containing 20% non-fermentable sugars and therefore will not dry the beer as much as cane sugar leaving some sweetness behind. ¬†The almanac estimates the bitterness at 35 IBU’s, colour of 16 SRM and a FG of 1013. ¬†The website provides two ABV values, 5.5% in the cask and 5.9% in the keg or bottle.

Next stop is to input the ingredients into the beer calculus system on and balance the quantities in order to create a workable recipe conforming to the constraints above.

Base Malt: Given this is an extract recipe we need to replace the Pale Malt with a combination of Light DME and Dark DME in order to get the colour and sugar levels high enough without having to use too much crystal malt to boost the colour and in turn overpower the beer.  As stated in our research and from personal experience, this is a balanced beer with neither hop nor malt overpowering.

Specialty Grains: Both the Almanac and the web site state the use of Crystal and Maize as the primary specialty grains.  After fiddling around on the calculator it became clear we need to use Crystal 120L to get both the caramel, nutty flavour and the deeper colour.  Even after using 120 Crystal and the Dark DME the OG of the beer comes in over the recommended 1054-1059 range needed to get the 5.5-5.9% ABV.  After consulting some books the recommendation was to add a tiny amount of Black Malt to kick the SRM up to 16 without having to add too much sugar or altering the flavour profile too much.

Hops: The website and Almanac called for quite the mix of hops.  Due to the hop shortage, which we are told is about to come to an end,  both Northdown and Challenger Hops are really hard to come by.  After some research on the BYO hop chart and Brew365, the recommendation is to substitute the Challenger with Perle given it has a similar Alpha % and taste profile. For Northdown the recommendation is to add additional Target following the same reasoning. Only time will tell if this is the right decision, this is why this recipe is Version 1.0.  Given the tasting notes call for a strong Goldings aroma and flavour we should go with the Goldings for the Flavour hop.  Its now up to Hopville to calculate the appropriate quantities of Bittering and Flavour hops to reach the 35 IBU target.

Yeast: The yeast profile for this brew definitely calls for fruit. The high ABV calls for a yeast with high attenuation. The choice for version 1.0 is Wyeast London Ale.  The strain is from the right region and this is a London Ale after all.  Wyeast London ESB was up for consideration, but the recipe called for a higher attenuation.

Chiswick ESB (BJCP Beer Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter, category: English Pale Ale)

  • 5 Gallon, 90 min boil
  • OG 1059, FG 1013
  • 5.9% ABV
  • 35 IBU
  • 16¬į SRM (Copper to Deep Copper)
  • Ready to drink in 6-7 weeks

Base Malt and Fermentables:

  • 3 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract (90 mins)
  • 3 lbs Dark Dry Malt Extract (90 mins)

Specialty Grains:

  • 11 oz Flaked Corn (Maize)
  • 5 oz Crystal Malt – 120L
  • 1 oz Black Malt


  • Bittering Hop – 0.8 oz Perle (90 mins)
  • Bittering Hop – 0.5 oz Target (90 mins)
  • Aroma Hop – 0.7 oz Kent Goldings (15 mins)


  • Wyeast London Ale (#1028) (Attenuation 73-77%, Flocculation: Medium Low)

Other Additions

  • 1 tsp Irish Moss (30 mins)
  • Packet of Isinglass Liquid (to help remove any lingering proteins given the low flocculation level of the yeast)


  • Please follow the process guidelines outlined in my post¬†here.¬† You will require all the equipment specified¬†here. I found the maize flakes clogged up the strainer while rinsing the specialty grains. I will be researching the best way to incorporate maize when I get a chance.
  • Primary Fermentation: 5-7 days at 65-75¬į
  • Secondary Fermentation: 2 weeks at 55¬į (if you can otherwise just 5-7 days in the same location as the primary)
  • Prime and store in the bottle for at least 2 weeks before consuming
  • Peak flavour will be reached after 4 weeks in the bottle
27 November

Recipe: Kentish Best Bitter

(feedback on original recipe here)

Time to get started on the first recipe.  Almost all of my recipes will follow the process outlined in my last post here.  I will also be adding all my recipes to my account on Hopville is a great free online tool to create and manage your recipes and share with a community of other homebrewers.  They have an excellent brewing calculator that dynamically calculates a recipes gravity, strength, colour, and bitterness as you add various ingredients and alter quantities.

The first recipe is a staple of British Ales, the Best Bitter.¬† A pint of Best drawn fresh from a pub at the end of the day is one of the reasons I miss home. It is a time spent with friends and family relaxing after a hard days work.¬† One of the Best Bitter’s primary qualities is its drink-ability, not too bitter, but enough hops to be refreshing. Smooth going down thanks to the healthy quantity of English 2-Row barley or Marris Otter malt.

The recipe I use is based heavily from a kit from Northern Brewer.¬† I found the original recipe to be overly hopped for a pint of Best but I liked the use of traditional English Fuggle Hops. I also replaced the Simpson’s Dark Crystal with a lighter English Crystal purely for colour and taste.

Malt: If this was an all grain brew the recipe would require over 7lbs of English Marris Otter barley malt.  As we are making extract recipes we will be substituting with 3 lbs of Light DME and 1 lb of Amber DME for the colour.

Specialty Grains: To give the ale its copper colour we will add a little Pale Chocolate Malt, not too much or the ale will become too dark and will over power with malt what is traditionally a more bitter ale.  Pale chocolate malt has a unique toasted flavour and is one of the easiest ways to add rich, toasty malt flavour to an ale.  It is used in preference to chocolate malt when less colour from the grains is desired and a grain with milder flavours is needed.

The second specialty grain is an English 80L Crystal Malt.¬† The “L” stands for degrees Lovibond, the scale by which the colour of beer is measured. The higher the number the darker the beer.¬† Crystal Malt is a form caramelized malt resulting from a modified malting process where the malt is kilned at relatively high temperatures while they are still moist. This results in more of a stewing than roasting or toasting, causing the starches to prematurely convert to sugars and then caramelized.¬† English 80L Crystal Malt will add a deep amber color and a strong, toffee/sweet flavour.¬† We are using a relatively small amount so these flavours will not overpower the final ale. (NOTE: Even though malts are still measured in Lovibond most beers are now compared to the Standard Reference Model (SRM) scale which is essentially the same.¬† We will be using SRM on this blog)

Hops: We are using a single hop variety for this recipe and he one with perhaps the silliest name, the Fuggle Hop. It is rumored to be named after Richard Fuggle of Kent on the SE coast of England in 1861 (hence the name Kentish Best), though this has been questioned by some serious hop scholars.  Fuggles are not typically used as a bittering hop given the low alpha acid range of between 3.5-6% (a bitter hop can have an alpha of over 15%). We will be using a healthy dose of the hop at the top of the boil giving us a not too bitter bitter.  As this is a single hop recipe we will also be using Fuggles as the aroma and flavour hops imparting a pleasant earthy woody character it is famous for and found in so many British Ales.

Yeast: There are so many different strains of yeast we could use for this project.¬† Northern Brewer selected Wyeast London ESB Ale.¬† This yeast strain tends to give a beer more of a fruity flavor which balances nicely with the earthy aroma of the Fuggles Hops.¬† Flocculation levels are also high (this means it forms larger flakes of yeast, attracting proteins also which would otherwise be suspended). These flakes will fall to the bottom leaving very little suspended matter in the ale, leading to very clear ales suitable for casks and kegs (don’t want to clog the lines with crud). I saw no reason to change and its worked for me every time.

Other Additions: We will be using Irish Moss to help clarify the beer and some corn sugar to give the beer a little more strength to get the OG calculation into the recommended BJCP guidelines for Best Bitter without altering the aroma or flavour.

Kentish Best Bitter (BJCP Beer Style: Special/Best/Premium Bitter, category: English Pale Ale)

  • 5 Gallon, 60 min boil
  • OG 1047, FG 1012
  • 4.3% ABV
  • 33.4 IBU
  • 11¬į SRM
  • Ready to drink in 5-6 weeks

Base Malt and Fermentables:

  • 3 lbs Light Dry Malt Extract (60 mins)
  • 1lbs Amber Dry Malt Extract (60 mins)

Specialty Grains:

  • 8oz English Crystal 80L
  • 2oz Pale Chocolate Malt


  • Bittering Hop – 2oz English Fuggle (60 mins)
  • Flavour Hop – 1/2 oz English Fuggle (15 mins)
  • Aroma Hop – 1/2 oz English Fuggle (5 mins)

Other Additions

  • 1 tsp Irish Moss (30 mins)
  • 1lb Corn Sugar (after boil is complete)


  • Please follow the process guidelines outlined in my post here.¬† You will require all the equipment specified here.
  • Primary Fermentation: 5-7 days at 65-75¬į
  • Secondary Fermentation: 2 weeks at 55¬į (if you can otherwise just 5-7 days in the same location as the primary)
  • Prime and store in the bottle for at least 2 weeks before consuming
  • Peak flavour will be reached after 4 weeks in the bottle