British Brewer

Recreating the perfect British Pint

06 April

Tips and Tricks: Check your hops alpha acid

This tip may seem obvious but I have only just started doing it. If you have a brew you like to make over and over this tip is essential in order to produce consistent quality and taste every time.

I recently re-brewed my Flowers Original Clone (updated the recipe to a Partial Mash).  In the original recipe we used 0.5oz (.25oz for  a half batch) of Target hops. The alpha acid for Target is typically in the 9-12% range. In the original recipe the hops I used had an alpha acid value of ~10%.

So when I came to re-brew 6 weeks ago I noticed my new batch of Target hops were 11%. So I decided to go back to BeerCalculus at Hopville (and my spreadsheet) and recalculate the IBU’s.  At 11% alpha acid for the bittering hops I calculated I needed to reduce the amount of the Target hops from 0.5 to 0.4oz. Good job I did because the ale is in the keg and it tastes absolutely fantastic 🙂



18 April

Recipe Update: Old Speckled Hen (10/10)

Old Speckled HenWe really are on a run here.  I have had numerous comments and emails on this blog and Hopville asking for feedback on my Old Speckled Hen clone.  Well I am happy to report we nailed it.  There is really nothing I would change.  It has become a very popular ale in my house and I really wish I had brewed the whole 5 gallons and not limited myself to a 2.5 gallon test batch.

First lets get a reminder of what we were shooting for, from the Almanac:

Nose: Superb Goldings hop aroma
Palate: Full hops and fruit in mouth, long dry finish with hops and delicate fruit notes
Comments: Rich coloured and fruit flavoured strong ale with generous hop support.

I did a side by side taste test with the wife and the malty flavours really come through all mixed up with the fruit and a tinge of bitterness. We drank the ales with a salty baguette with mustard and ham. The commercial version left a lingering aftertaste in the mouth which the clone did not and the mouthfeel of the clone was a little lighter than than the real-thing. My wife actually preferred the clone because there was no aftertaste. We used canned Speckled Hen Draught and I think the BeerGas insert in the can gave the brew a thicker mouthfeel than the bottled.  This clone would make a solid keg ale, especially with BeerGas. Next time 🙂

Here are the photo’s. We went into this exercise with SRM as a variable we did not have any definitive guidance outside of “Amber”.  As the photo’s demonstrate the colour appears to be a match, as is the brightness.

Old Speckled Hen (original canned version)

Speckled Hen Original (Canned Version)

Speckled Hen Clone

Speckled Hen Clone

The recipe we crafted was shooting for an OG of 1050 (mandated by the ales history) and a final ABV of 5.2%. The recipe was perfect and came in at 1050. The Wyeast Thames Valley was very active. The stated max attenuation was 77% which would have given us a final ABV of the 5.2% we were shooting for but the yeast was a little overactive and had an observed attenuation of 82% making a final ABV of 5.6%. It did not detract from the flavour in any way.

So this brew is being promoted to the recipes page along with the Theakston OP.  With my Left Over Ale coming out of the primary tasting good and the soon to be brewed Nut Brown Ale wrapping up the series I am confident we will have at least one more winner out of this group.

17 April

Recipe: Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale

Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale

Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale

So we reach our last brew in the Old and Browns series.  So far we have a Theakston Old Peculier (10/10), an  Old Speckled Hen, a Left Over Old Ale (my own take on the Old Ale style using left over ingredients) and finally we get to the Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale I have been promising.

I must admit to having a significant bias to Sam Smith’s, at the age of 18 I got a job there. The manager (a rather scary Mancuian) took a liking to me and began to teach me the art of cellaring and before you know it I was handling the oak barrels in the cellar, learning how to tap and spile, prep the beer lines, and take care of these hand crafted brews. It was the time I transitioned from drinking beer at parties to really beginning to appreciate real-ale as an art.

Samuel Smith’s brewery is a classic Yorkshire brewery located in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire. Founded in 1758, it is also Yorkshires oldest.  The family owned brewery was not originally founded by the Smith’s. In 1847, Samuel Smith (a cattle dealer for Leeds) asked his son John to purchase a struggling Tadcaster brewery owned by the Hartley family.  John was joined by his brother William and John left his share of the firm in the custodianship of his other brother, Samuel.  William bought out Samuel’s half and moved the brewery next door where another classic Yorkshire ale, John Smiths Bitter, is still brewed to this day. The Smith family has quite the ale legacy.

In 1886 Samuel’s son Samuel Smith inherited the Old Brewery on Williams death and re-opened the brewery under his own name where it still runs as an independent brewery to this day. The firm is fiercely independent. They own over 200 pubs and refuse to carry any expensive branded drinks, they don’t play music to avoid paying the license fees and pass off the cost savings back to the customers by keeping the ales priced really cheap only increasing in price as the cost of raw materials and tax increases.

The brewery has other notable characteristics. It still uses a yeast strain that dates back t0 1900, it draws water from the same well the brewery was founded over in 1758, and still employs the Yorkshire Squares style of brewing. And for all you Vegans out there all Sam Smiths brews are vegan (with the exception of Old Brewery Bitter).

Now onto the beer.  Nut Brown Ale would have been traditionally called a “mild”. Not a reflection on its strength but because it was not sour as some of the aged strong ales became.  These sour ales were then blended with the newer mild’s in the local pubs to the taste of the custodian. It would be defined today as a “Northern English Brown Ale”, a topic we covered in the overview post on Brown Ales.  A Northern Brown is defined as:

Drier and more hop-oriented than the southern English brown ale, with a nutty character rather than caramel.

Research for this ale was tough. The Old Brewery folks are as tight with information as they are with their money.  I must admit to being a little concerned with replicating this ale. On the US importers website page on Nut Brown Ale it is claimed the nutty flavour is derived from the Yorkshire Squares technique. Something I will not be able to replicate.

The taste we are trying to replicate is described as follows (from the brewer):

Walnut-like color and palate of hazelnuts. Wonderful balance of roasted crystal malt and aromatic hops. Long clean finish.

I got some more stats from BeerAdvocate: 5.00 ABV, creamy mouthfeel with light carbonation.  So the rest we must derive from a process of deduction. We know all Sam Smith’s brews (with the exception of Oatmeal stout and the fruit beers) consist only of malt, water and hops with no adjuncts used. We also know the brewery uses the same strain of yeast in all its beers.

From comparing the recipe given for Old Brewery Pale Ale (OBPA) in an old version of Graham Wheelers “Brew Your Own British Real Ale” (the new version has no Sam Smiths recipes), the OBPA review in the Almanac, and both the Sam Smiths recipes in “Clone Brews” book, it is clear all make use of Fuggles as the flavour hop and East Kent Goldings for the bittering hop.

I also found a reference online to another Graham Wheeler book where he apparently has a recipe for Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale. I could not find a list of ingredients but I found the stats listed as 5% ABV, OG 1048, 35 IBU, 36 EBC (~19 SRM). The IBU’s seem a little high to me but I think we can figure the hop load out by referencing some classic Brown Ale recipes. Given the ale is a brown the hop load should be kept low to bring out the malt.

So in compiling this recipe I will follow the other Sam Smith recipes and go with East Kent for bittering and Fuggles for flavour. For yeast I am going to go with Whitbread dry, a popular strain for brewing Northern Brown styles. It has a high attentuation so will finish dry, a requirement for Northern Browns. For malt I will stick with crystal and chocolate malt, a staple in brown ales.  I shall use parameters set in the BJCP Northern English Brown style guide to help construct the recipe. So here goes.

(recipe can be found online @

Samuel Smiths Nut Brown Ale (BJCP Beer Style: English Brown Ales, category: Northern English Brown)

  • 2.5 Gallon, 60 min boil
  • OG 1048, FG 1012
  • 4.8-5.0% ABV
  • 28 IBU (used the Rager formula)
  • 17° SRM (Light to Medium Brown)
  • Ready to drink in 2+ Months

Base Malt and Fermentables:

  • 2 lb 8 oz Light Dry Malt Extract (60 mins)

Specialty Grains:

  • 3 oz British Crystal 60L
  • 2 oz Chocolate Malt


  • Bittering Hops – 0.5 oz East Kent Golding (60 mins)
  • Flavour Hop – 0.25 Fuggles (15 mins)


  • Wyeast British Ale (1098)

Other Additions

  • 1 tsp Irish Moss (15 mins)
  • 1/4 tsp Yeast Nutrient (10 mins)


  • Please follow the process guidelines outlined in my post here.  You will require all the equipment specified here.
  • Primary Fermentation: 7 days at 65-75°
  • Secondary Fermentation: 1-2 weeks in the same location as the primary
  • Prime and store in the bottle for at least 4 weeks before consuming
  • Peak flavour will be reached after 4 weeks in the bottle
10 April

Recipe Update – Theakston old Peculier (10/10)

With the sad passing of my DoA Shakespeare stout clone I decided to crack open an early sample of my Theakston Old Peculier clone, the first of the Old Ales series started back in the beginning of February. Well its been at least 2 months so it must be worth a try.  Old Peculier truly is a classic with its rich, almost porter like quality with heavy molasses and bitter sweet fruit.

What a way to begin a series. The English Pales series started late in 2009, got off to a slow start, finishing strong with a great Flowers Original clone and a Fullers London Pride to die for.  In the case of the Old Ales I seem to have struck gold early. I must admit to being a little worried about this brew. The recipe had a lot of ingredients, some of which I had never worked with before including black molasses and Lyles Golden Syrup. The speciality grains also packed a punch with Chocolate, Black, Crystal and Torrified Wheat all included.

The biggest concern was the use of Trappist Ale, a real leap for this recipe. We were looking for a high attenuating, high fruit yeast, a characteristic that is hard to find. With some inspiration from the Pretty Things Old Ale, inspired by Theakston Old Pecuilier amongst others, and their use of German and Belgian strains we were lead to the Belgian ale strains.  The Trappist Ale yeast worked, I am now convinced Old Peculier uses Belgian yeast as the final flavor characteristics in this clone are on the money with the original.

First the colour and head.  Head is thick, rich and a caramel colour similar to the original. Colour is as close a dark Old Ale can get.  It is almost indistinguishable from the original. The mouthfeel is that of a big Ale. Smooth at the front, hitting you hard at the back. Watch out cause this ale packs a punch.

So what about the taste, something a little difficult to demonstrate on a blog.  It is close, which is why I gave the brew a 9/10.  As a reminder the The Real Ale Almanac presents the following as the flavour profile we are trying to recreate:

Dark and vinous old ale bursting with complex fruit flavours. Massive winey bouquet of rich fruit with peppery hop notes.  Toffee and roast malt in the mouth, deep bitter-sweet finish with delicate hops

The taste definitely lives up to the billing. All of the above is in this clone, its hard to explain how complex this ale is. The hop load is lite considering the amount of malt and the final alcohol content but the peppery Fuggles come through perfectly.  The toffee and roasted malt hit the front of the palate but give way to heavy fruit at the end laced with the peppery hops. Quite delicious.

Despite my initial concerns around the ingredients the ale was easy to brew. The White Labs Trappist Ale yeast (#WLP500, Attenuation 75-80%, Flocculation: Medium-low) worked as advertised, the ale went into the primary with an OG of 1064, was in the secondary for 3 weeks and in the bottle for 4 weeks with the FG coming in at 1012 producing a whopping 7% ABV (the original 5.6% so a little upgrade here but not something I am complaining about).

This recipe is going to be posted on the permanent recipe page, the first of Old Ales to get there. 1-1 is not a bad start. In a week or so we will get to try the Speckled Hen, another popular brew. There are many eyes on the outcome of this batch and I hope it lives up to expectation. 🙂

29 March

On Tap (Mar 29th 2010)… plus a small recipe I made up

Another week another paycheck. Brews are created and consumed and for some reason our Spring, which appeared to be approaching with a vengeance last week, has retreated to the shadows. We have had snow, rain and freezing temperatures all week.  I did have some fun with the brewing though.

Every so often I get a mix of left over ingredients from my various recipes and throw them together to just see what happens.  In this case I had a bunch of Crystal 80L left that has been sitting around for months from my Greene King clone, some flaked Maize from my Fullers Pride and ESB clones, and a little Black Malt.  I also had various amounts of US Goldings, Northdown, Fuggles and Challenger hops in open bags, all drying out and crying out to be used.  In the fridge I had some old Fullers ESB yeast I had captured from the London Pride clone and definitely getting near the end of its usable life.  So I made up a small yeast starter and poured in the captured yeast to see if it had any life left. Sure enough next morning the yeast was a raging. Luck would have it I also had some liquid malt extract and a couple 1 lb bags of Light DME left over from a couple of recent brews.

Off to Hopville I went, put in the ingredients and viola I have a recipe I chose to call my Left Overs Old Ale.  I chose the BJCP Old Ale style as we are doing Olds right now and it seemed the nearest fit in both strength and bitterness. Check it out on Hopville.  It was fun to brew and most importantly it was free! I did not have to purchase a single ingredient.

I also found time to bottle the Speckled Hen and kick off the NB Petite Saison d’Ete. So despite being a crazy cold wet week and a really busy work week I have managed to wind down this weekend with my favorite of all hobbies, my brews.  So whats On Tap?


  • Petite Saison d’Ete (1 day (p) ) – This is a first for me. Thought I would try a Belgium classic with this Saison from Northern Brewer. With all the Old Ales in progress with long conditioning times thought it was time for some variety plus something that would be ready to drink quickly or I risk running dry in a month or so.
  • Left Overs Old Ale (2 days(p) ) – See write-up above, it was fun to brew and even caused a blow-out in the fermenter. The OG came in at 1088, just under the required 1090 limit for an Old Ale.


  • 115th Dream Imperial IPA ( 2 wks (p) 2 week (s) ) – A rather extreme IPA, high in ABV and a whopping 120 IBUs with over a 1 lb of hops using a technique called Hop Bursting I covered a few weeks back. It came out of the primary a whopping 1015 FG, almost 83% attenuation from the mighty American Ale yeast and checking in at over 10% ABV, now on week 3 of its 6 week rest.
  • Lord Fatbottom Ale (1 mth (p), 3 mths 3 wks (s)) – well into the second half of its 6 months rest.

Bottle/Keg Conditioning

  • Old Speckled Hen clone ( 1 wk (p) 1 wk  (s), 2 days (b) ) – I have had a lot of interest in the outcome of this clone. I can tell you the sample from the secondary was very good indeed. It was bright, crystal clear and the taste seemed close.  We won’t know for sure until the ale is conditioned. I am giving this one 4 weeks in the bottle for sampling.
  • Olde Luddite English Strong Ale (1 wk(p) 3 wks (s), 1 wk (b) ) – A new Old Ale kit from Northern Brewer, thought I would add some Old Ale kits to my current Old’s and Browns series. Came out of the secondary a beautiful deep copper, crystal clear and tasting great. Now in week 2 of a 4 week rest.
  • Theakston Old Peculier Clone (1 wk(p) 3 wks(s) 2 wk (b)) – My first pass at this classic old ale, FG came out in range along with the colour, that is all we can ask. Week 3 of a 6 week rest before a sample to check on performance. Might be tempted to lay this case down for a while


  • Twelfth Night Stout (2 wk (p), 2 wks (s), 4 wks (k) ) – A new extract clone recipe of Rogues Shakespeare Stout from Northern Brewer featuring the PacMan Ale yeast strain from Rogue. This one is an ass-kicking 70 IBU stout and is sitting in the keg for its 5th week.  Will be firing up with BeerGas this week and trying some out.
  • Grateful Dead Guy Ale (1 wk (p), 2wks (s), 7 wks 3 days (b)) – Another special edition kit from Northern Brewer featuring the newly released PacMan Ale yeast strain from Wyeast/Rogue Breweries, this one is a Rogue Dead Guy Ale clone. I did a side by side taste test with an actual Rogue Dead Guy Ale, colour and flavour are so close its hard to tell which one was which. Good job NB.
  • Dogfish Head 90 min IPA clone (1 wk (p), 3 wks (s), 4 mths 2 wks (b) ) – Letting them rest again to see what another month in the bottle will bring
27 March

Recipe Help Request: Fullers Vintage Ale

I have never tried this before but given the level of difficulty I am having getting any information on Fullers Vintage Ale I am going to try the blogosphere.  I am asking if anyone who reads this blog knows anything about the Fullers Vintage Ale recipe.  It is doubly hard as Fullers apparently never makes the same recipe twice.  I have tried many from various vintages and they do taste similar.  I am rather partial to the 2007 but not fussy.

So this is what we know. It is a smooth ale with an ABV 8.5%. We also know from the almanac that almost all Fullers ales use a combination of Northdown, Challenger and Target hops.  They also use Alexis and Chariot for the base and flaked maize with crystal for special grains.  Graham Wheeler in ““Brew Your Own British Real Ale”” has both his ESB and Pride clones using a tad of black malt though I can find no evidence that it is used in the original.  Finally Fullers uses the same yeast for all its brews.  I have some Wyeast London ESB in the fridge so I am set there.

So that is what I have. As I get some feedback I will begin to structure a recipe and post hopefully some time next week.

Now off to brew.

26 March

Hydes Original Ale

I am having one of those weeks, travel, long work days. Just really crazy.  It has also been the week I have received my largest volume of reader mail.  I do my best to get through them all and try to work on every request so please bear with me if it takes a few days.

I got asked a great question the other day from local MA student who had recently spent time in Manchester Uni, in NE England. He his home now and was really interested in brewing a full-mash version of a local Manachester brew Hydes ESB.  As luck would have it I actually have a copy of a Hydes Original full-mash clone which I passed along.  I checked the clone with the company’s website and confirmed the malt bill and hops used were the same.

Hydes is a Manchester Brewery founded in 1863, one of the few left in the city since Boddingtons was closed by InBev, and its one of the very few family owned independents left.  For those that want to try the brew I have posted it on Hopville.  Be warned it is a full mash version and not my usual extract but I am sure you can figure out how to replace the base 2-row with Light DME.  Full disclosure, I have not tried this brew and cannot attest to its accuracy.  The source of the clone is Graham Wheelers hot of the press new edition of “Brew Your Own British Real Ale”. I had an older revision but the new one has updated processes and recipes and well worth the few bucks to buy. Happy Friday 🙂

17 March

Recipe Update – Fullers London Pride clone (9/10)

Fullers London PrideWell they say good things come to those who wait and so it has come to pass with this the final clone of the English Pale series, the Fuller London Pride, started at the end of January of 2010 and opened yesterday to much fanfare.  This clone really does have a high standard to reach. Not only is it a very tasty and popular commercial brew but it is also one that is relatively easy to come by in the USA.  So in order to really put this clone to the test I went out and acquired a bottle of the real stuff in order to perform a side by side taste test.  The results were revealing.

The side by side test

The ‘real’ Fullers London Pride

The BritishBrewer Fullers London Pride Clone

First the colour and head.  I have included pictures as evidence, taken at the same time in the same light on the same camera to ensure accuracy.  As the picture demonstrate the brew color is on the money though not as bright due to lack of filtration. The head is slightly off but the clone is bottle conditioned and the commercial bottle is force carbonated. The mouthfeel is identical which I can attribute to the Burtonization of the water.

So what about the taste, something a little difficult to demonstrate on a blog or with a camera.  It is close, which is why I gave the brew a 9/10.  As a reminder the The Real Ale Almanac described the beer as an:

Astonishingly complex beer for its gravity, a marvelous melange of malt, hops and fruit.

and the Brew Your Own British Real Ale” as a:

…fine for drinking on its own or with full flavoured food. A multi-layered delight of malt and hops and a deep intense finish with hop and ripening fruit notes.

The taste definitely lives up to the billing. This beer has a very simple malt bill and its the balance of hops that makes the beer dance on your tongue and it is the hops that I am going to alter to make this ale a 10.  I have been using the Tinseth formula up till now and the one small issue I have with all my English Pale clones has been the strong hop character of the ale.  This is partly a benefit of homebrew as the ales are fresh, bottle conditioned, unfiltered and unpasteurized, so who really knows what a commercial pint of Fuller Pride sampled directly out of the barrel really tastes like.  But I am going to experiment using the Rager formula, which promotes less hops per IBU and I have made the necessary adjustments for the London Pride clone promoted to the permanent English Pales recipe page.

The ale was easy to brew. The White Labs Fullers yeast (#WLP002, Attenuation 63-70%, Flocculation: Very High) worked as advertised, the ale was in the secondary for a week and in the bottle for 4 weeks.  I cannot express how happy this ale makes me, and not just the alcohol, its a true taste of South West London, my home and a place of many memories from rowing past the Fullers brewery to drinking in many a Fullers Pub.

So please enjoy and try your own version.  This wraps up the English Pale series. The next time we brew the Pales it will be to perfect some of the recipes that fell short the first time around. Its been an experience, I have definitely got more comfortable with the ingredients and this probably attributes to why the ratings have improved from one recipe to the next.  Here is the final breakdown:

This is truly a great line up of Ales with a magnificent history, so please brew a couple and pass along your feedback. None of these recipes made 10/10 so we have 1 point to make up.  Next up will be the first review in the Old and Browns series, the Theakston Old Peculier, but given the aging requirements for this ale it won’t be for a while.

Happy St Paddy’s Day to one and all.

28 February

Recipe: Old Speckled Hen (version 1)

Old Speckled HenOnline version with calculator can be found here.

Next up in the series on Old Ales and Browns is another classic Old Ale available in both the UK and US, Old Speckled Hen, brewed by Greene King after its acquisition of the Morland Brewery in 2000.  We have already covered the history of Greene King with the Abbot Ale recipe last year but Morland also has an interesting past.

Prior to its acquisition by Greene King, the Morland Brewery was located in Abingdon, now part of Oxfordshire, in the UK and has a history dating back to 1711.  The original brewery was located in the town of West Ilsley started by a local farmer John Morland to brew stouts and porters, the popular ales of the time.  Over the next 150 years the brewery slowly grew, remaining a family business, eventually acquiring 2 small breweries in nearby Abingdon in 1860.  By 1880 Morland had moved its operations from West Ilsley to Abingdon and by 1885 they incorporated as a limited company registered as United Breweries.  From this point on the company grew rapidly, buying out a number of local breweries.  The company went public in 1994 and was acquired by Greene King in 2000.  Throughout its history the company had a reputation for respecting the breweries they acquired, maintaining the original brewery names and brews.  Post Greene King acquisition though only the Morland name survived, the Abingdon brewery did not and all production is now in the Greene King brewery based in Bury St. Edmunds in Suffolk, UK.

The history of Old Speckled is not so old but is definitely one worth noting.  I found this description on wikipedia:

Old Speckled Hen was first brewed by Morlands of Abingdon in 1979. MG cars celebrated the 50th anniversary of their move to Abingdon, from Edmund Road in Cowley. They asked Morland to brew a special commemorative beer for the occasion, for which they would suggest the name and they would design the bottle label. The name chosen was Old Speckled Hen which took its name from a car which was brought to Abingdon, when the factory moved.

The car was called the MG Featherweight Fabric Saloon made from cellulosed fabric stretched over a wooden frame and was black speckled with gold. It became the factory’s demonstration model and general runabout and as it chugged about the factory people would say “There guz the Owd Speckl’d un”.

The original beer label bore the MG colours of cream and brown. The bottle dressing was finished with a green foil capsule, which matched the background colour of the Borough of Abingdon Arms. The beer was an amber colour and was brewed at a gravity of 1050 to denote 50 years (i.e. 1929 – 1979) of production of MG cars in Abingdon.

According the company website the ale is described as:

“Old Speckled Hen” has a full, smooth flavour and is very easy to drink. Its rich amber colour and superb fruity aromas are complemented by a delicious blend of malty tastes.

Toffee and malt combine with bitterness on the back of the tongue to give a balanced sweetness. This is followed by a refreshingly dry finish.

I can attest to the validity of the above notes for the pre-1999 version. In my experience the current export version is not as balanced or as rich and comes across a little dialed down in the flavour department.  Not to worry though as is what this blog is about, trying to recreate the original and sample the ale fresh  as John Morland intended.

The company website gives nothing away around ingredients, colour, or bitterness. It states the ale comes in 2 varieties, a cask version at 4.5% ABV and a bottled version at 5.2%. We will focus on the bottled.  I consulted with the The Real Ale Almanac (5th edition, last published in 1999, so prior to the Greene King acquisition. Important to note considering many experts on this beer claim the recipe was changed) and it confirms the bottle strength is 5.2% ABV, with an OG of 1050 (a given considering the history of the ale), uses Pipkin Pale Malt as a base, Crystal Malt, brewers sugar, Challenger hops for bitterness, Goldings and Challenger for aroma with a range of 30-35 IBUs of bitterness.

Here are the tasting notes from the Almanac:

Nose: Superb Goldings hop aroma (considering using Goldings for a flavour addition at the end of the boil)
Palate: Full hops and fruit in mouth, long dry finish with hops and delicate fruit notes
Comments: Rich coloured and fruit flavoured strong ale with generous hop support.

(my italics) The only hint we have for colour is it is “Rich” and “Amber” (from the company website). My own experience put the colour as a light amber almost a dark golden colour.  Given we have the OG and final ABV, bitterness and fermentables I believe the colour is a variable that will resolve itself. For yeast I will go with Wyeast #1275 Thames Valley Ale, its high attenuation will give the dry finish and both yeast and ale hail from the same location. So lets get busy and input the ingredients into the beer calculus system on and balance the quantities in order to create a workable recipe conforming as best we can to the constraints above.

Morland Old Speckled Hen (BJCP Beer StyleStrong Ale, category: Old Ale)

  • 2.5 Gallon, 60 min boil
  • OG 1050, FG 1011
  • 5.2% ABV
  • 35 IBU
  • 10° SRM (Gold to Copper)
  • Ready to drink in 2+ Months

Base Malt and Fermentables:

  • 2 lb 4 oz Light Dry Malt Extract (60 mins)
  • 4 oz Cane Sugar (0 mins)

Specialty Grains:

  • 6 oz Caramel Crystal 60L


  • Bittering Hops – 0.5 oz Challenger (60 mins)
  • Flavour Hop – 0.125 oz Challenger, 0.125 oz Goldings, East Kent (15 mins)
  • Aroma Hop – 0.5 oz Goldings, East Kent (0 mins)


  • Wyeast Thames Valley Ale (1275)

Other Additions

  • 1 tsp Irish Moss (15 mins)
  • 1/4 tsp Yeast Nutrient (10 mins)


  • Please follow the process guidelines outlined in my post here.  You will require all the equipment specified here.
  • Primary Fermentation: 7 days at 65-75°
  • Secondary Fermentation: 2 weeks in the same location as the primary
  • Prime and store in the bottle for at least 4 weeks before consuming
  • Peak flavour will be reached after 4 weeks in the bottle
25 February

Recipe Update – Flowers Original Ale 9/10

Flowers Original AleFinally the time has arrived to review the Flower Original Ale clone recipe, the penultimate brew in our English Pale Ale series.  Well the title says it all, its a winner and the first recipe to be promoted to my permanent recipes page.  It really is a pleasure to drink.  It has a light mouthfeel, going down easy as a good session beer should. The flavour is packed with fruit, its fresh with a balanced malt/hop flavour profile with the Target and Goldings hop really coming in on the front and a sweetness from the Crystal coming in the back.  The tasting notes call from a “hop edge and a dry finish”, this recipe delivers.

The brew process went well.  The OG came in at 1042, exactly on the money with the recipe, the colour came out exactly as planned though to be honest I am comparing with memory (unreliable given the amount of this stuff I drank in my youth) and some pictures I found on Google images.  The fermentation process went well with the recipe calculator calling for a 1009 FG which is exactly the measurement on the hydrometer out of the primary.  Aroma seemed close to.  I was indeed hopeful but I have been hopeful before and walked away disappointed.  I bottled the beer after 1 week in the secondary using Cooper Carb drops for priming.  Following my own tip to leave ales primed with Coopers for 4 weeks I waited one whole month before sampling the final brew.  So here we are, our first beer to get promoted to the permanent recipe page, and the first of the BJCP English Pale Ale series. 🙂

So my record in the English Pale Ale recipe section has picked up a bit in recent weeks.  Here is the current roundup with 1 recipe to go:

I have the Fullers London Pride clone conditioning and showing promise. So maybe I can get 2 of my English Pale Ale classification recipes to reach my self imposed 8/10 grade required to be promoted to my permanent recipes page.  Getting to this page ensures its a recipe I have faith in and something I would recommend to other people to brew. I will continue to refine the other recipes that did not make the grade with the goal of getting all of them over 8/10 and therefore enjoyable by all.

I welcome everyone to go ahead and brew this recipe and enjoy a near reproduction of a British classic. Send along your comments, brew notes and suggestions, we still have one 1 point to gain for a 10/10 after all.  Give one to a Bud Lite drinker, it will make them cry, InBev can go……… nite nite