Early in 2019, I made an English bitter that turned out exceptionally. Hoping to capitalize on that success, I did a second iteration at the end of November. The overall recipe is pretty similar, although the base malt brand was Crisp instead of Bairds. Also, I dropped the crystal 90 and used just crystal 80. Finally, I fermented a very slight touch warmer, at 67° instead of 66°.
Farke’s ESB 1.1
- 8.5 lb. Maris Otter malt (Crisp)
- 0.75 lb. 80°L 6-row caramel malt (Briess)
- 0.25 lb. 80°L caramel malt (Briess)
- 1 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 60 minute boil
- 1 Whirlfloc tablet, 10 minute boil
- 1 oz. East Kent Goldings hop pellets (6.0% alpha), 5 minute boil
- 1 pkg. London ESB English Style Ale Yeast
- 60 minute full volume infusion mash, 152°
- 1.043 o.g., 1.012 f.g., 4.2% abv, 28 IBU, 11 SRM
- Claremont tap water
- I mashed in with 7.5 gallons of water at 168°, to hit a mash temperature of 153°.
- After 1 hour, I vorlaufed and collected the runnings.
- In total, I collected 6.5 gallons of wort at 1.040 s.g., for 73% mash efficiency. This was a bit better than expected for a full-volume mash, so I adjusted the boil accordingly to try and hit my target starting gravity.
- I boiled for 60 minutes, adding hops and whirlfloc as scheduled. Then, I chilled down to ~75°, pitched the yeast, and put it in the fermentation chamber. The temperature was set at 67°.
- Starting gravity was 1.045, with the batch brewed on 25 November 2019.
- I kegged the beer on 23 December 2019. Final gravity was 1.008, a bit lower than I expected. This works out to 82% attenuation and 5.0% abv.
- This yeast is described as poorly flocculent–and it was. For the first week or so, the beer poured as a hazy, yeasty mess. It wasn’t terribly pleasant to drink, although it got a bit better as the yeast started to settle somewhat. On January 3, I decided to speed things along and add gelatin, with 1 tsp. in 1 cup of water. Within two days, the beer was pouring (and tasting) much better. It wasn’t perfectly brilliant, but it was much clearer.
- Light amber color, somewhat hazy, with thin off-white head.
- Slight caramel aroma, bready, with light fruity ester. Not much for noticeable hop aroma.
- Light caramel and toffee notes on the flavor, with modest (but not over-the-top) bitterness.
- Off-dry, light bodied, moderate carbonation.
- Would I brew this again?
- Although I really liked this recipe last time I brewed it, I am less of a fan this time around. I’m not sure why it ended up so dry (1.008 final gravity); maybe the mash temperature dropped too quickly, maybe it’s the brand of malt, or maybe I got some contamination that took off on fermenting the sugars? I don’t really taste any off flavors, but the beer is indeed a bit drier than I might like. I think the overall malt character is pretty good, and the ester character is a bit more where I want it on this batch. However, the ESB yeast is a horrible flocculator. I noticed this last time I brewed it, too, and it’s a bit on the ridiculous side, especially for a beer that I think should be drunk more fresh than not. For any future use, I would definitely cold crash and throw in gelatin right at the start, or else try a different yeast strain. I do think the overall package would be better, too, with going back to the original malt bill.