British Brewer

Recreating the perfect British Pint

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.

30 January

Wadworth 6X recipe review (4/10)!!!!!

Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, I was right, my worst fears concerning the use of oak chips in any quantity have been realized.  Big lesson, trust your instincts, that little voice raging inside your head telling you not to add oak chips, it is not required, especially since the beer was doing so well in the primary and came out near perfect without the help of any adjuncts.

Well I didn’t listen, the ale has strong oak notes and a sweetness similar to a chardonay, its not bad to drink it is not a Wadworth though.  Ah well that is why I brew these experimental brews in small batches, its not a big loss and I have tons of other brews in the cellar right now.

So why did I give the ale a 4/10, well the recipe without the oak appeared to be very close. The OG and FG were perfect as was the colour and aroma.  The flavour out of the fermenter showed great promise.  I will brew this again as an experimental batch, little changed from version 1, except NO OAK CHIPS.

So my record in the English Pale Ale recipe section remains poor.  Here is the current roundup with 2 recipes to go

  • My example generic best bitter modelled after the BJCP style using only kent hops, Kentish Best Ale, was a 7/10
  • I have upgraded my Fullers ESB to a 6/10 as aging has improved the flavour some what
  • Green King Abbot Ale – 6/10
  • Wadworth 6X – 4/10

I have Flowers Original conditioning and showing promise (and no adjuncts going in to spoil it either) and a Fullers London Pride in the primary fermenter. So I live in hope that at least one of my English Pale Ale classification recipes 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 other people to brew.  I so have work to do as I want at least one brew in each major English Ale category.