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ESB Attempt

Made an ESB with 10# of 2 row and 1# of Crystal Caramel 90. 149 for 45, 158 for 15. Single hppped with Citra: .5 oz @ 60, .5 oz. @ 25, 1.0 oz. @ 5. WLP007. Thoughts?

For what it’s worth its not an realy an ESB. It will be a good but I think you should use Marris otter. Also a less citrusy hops

Thanks! It matched on all the style categories but I was wondering. I bought an Arcadia Thunder Trail to try as an example and definitely not Citra! :man_scientist: What hop(s) fit?

I’m not an expert on bitters I’ve just started working on the style. EKG or fuggles would be a good choice I’ve been using Willamette because I have alot of it. Your not going for hoppy. Mash warmer to get a maltier taste. Another thing I’ve found is they taste much better served around 50 degrees and don’t carbonate it to high. Warm and flat. Not really but alot less than APA


The types of hops I use in this style are fuggle EKG target northdown and challenger. I agree with brew cat about Willamette they also work well. Here is a Great recipe you should try that’s always on tap in summer OG 1.048
FG 1.012
IBU 33
ABV 4.7
9 lbs Maris pale malt or British 2 row
14 oz crystal 75
.53 oz Target hops 60 minutes
.35 oz Challenger hops 15 minutes
.35 oz Northdown hops 15 minutes
Yeast Wyeast 1968
Mash at 149 degrees
Ferment at 68 for two weeks

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I will also say for an even better experience, put in the keg just as the fermentation slows down and allow to keg condition. I like to lay on their sides and roll them as much as you can to get the yeast back into the brew and, well, it was, and still is a way of enjoying brew called cask conditioned… Bit warmer than I choose, yet, soooo smooth. You may want to serve in a mug, some peeps don’t like a cloudy brew… No added CO2 unless you need to seat the plug… Sneezles61

I wouldn’t mash higher on this style. You want a slight malt sweetness but not cloying sweetness. The crystal malt will give you all you need there without raising mash temps. For yeast I recommend wyeast 1968. Its in all honesty perfect for this style . For water medium to high sulfate works best for this style

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I would suspect the gypsum as the desired of water additions? I just some times don’t care for how the crystal/caramel changes after time… Maybe its me, but it does start to over power the malt… can I say raisiny/syrup? Sneezles61

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I’ve been mashing about 154 .do you think that’s to high? I only do 7% Chrystal malt. I also use 1968 I get a nice subtle yeast taste. What temperature do you ferment at. I have 10 gallons going now at 65 degrees

I tend to not go over 152 on my mash temp. 149 to 152 is a good range to stay in. On the crystal less than 10 percent is good depending on the crystal malt. I like to stay below 90 lovibond on the crystal of course you know the higher the less you will use but those get cloying in some styles. I like 60 to 75 lovibond crystals flavor better than higher lovibond on this style. My fermentation temp 65 to 68. You want the fruity flavors to come out with the yeast.

Bitter is my jam. It’s one of those styles, though, where you really shouldn’t skimp on the malt. Maris Otter all the way. Dabble in hops, but not too far from the woody, earthy English profile. And it’s all about the yeast. I used Ringwood yeast in my last bitter and happily drank it in great big quantities.

What you made is probably a tasty, hoppy citra single hop pale ale (maybe Amber with that c75 addition). I have been leaning towards the modern hops (Citra, Simcoe, Mosaic, etc) working better in blends, but it’s good to see what they bring to the party on their own.

Wow! Thanks all! Very helpful and lots to think about on our next shot at this.

I agree with a lot of the advice you received so far. I’d add that I like Golden Promise malt but have used MO happily. Agree with the hops suggestions…earthy english hops are a must. I mash at 152. Last time I brewed an ESB I bittered with magnum then used EKG at 45 and 5 mins. Only 6% c malt and added a pound of sugar in the raw(just because it’s the only sugar I had on hand) at FO to dry it a bit. Turned out great.

edit: Looking back through my notes on this one, I wasn’t all that happy with it young. Took it offline for almost 6 months, when I put it back on tap it was awesome.

I am beginning to think that many brews need a bit more aging… Let the malt mingle a bit longer… Thats for the less hoppy brews, in my book… Heck, even MO boiled longer than an hour will darken and bring along some more flavor, close to a smaller crystal malt… Sneezles61

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I’m just curious. I know it’s ok in this style to use sugar to lighten the body a bit but to dry it out. ESB is a medium to light medium body beer compared to English IPA or a pale ale which in drying it out fits more in those styles than in a ESB. I mash mine on the low side 149 no higher than 152 which makes a pretty fermentible wort and my crystal malt helps to achieve that medium, light medium body and leaves some sweet malt flavors that needed in the beer. Why wouldnt you just up your c-malt mash low control the body that way in your recipe instead of adding all that sugar.

Table sugar or invert sugar?

Table sugar is sucrose 100% fermentible inverted is glucose and fructose 100% fermentible. Yeast can digest inverted sugar easier than table sugar. But both sugar’s yeast can digest both can boost abv and change the body and mouth feel of your beer

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I hadn’t been that happy with the ESBs I’d been brewing. It was kind of an experiment that worked out to my taste.

Like uber, this is one of those styles that I can easily drink by the imperial gallon. Agree with much of what is stated here, but a couple things, don’t hesitate to toss some torrified or flaked wheat into your grist and carb it low, like 1.8 - 2.0 volumes. The wheat gives it just enough stable foam to give it a nice creamy layer all the way to the end of the pint, at those low carbonation levels.

Light invert sugar is pretty much 100% fermentable, but not so with invert 2, 3, or 4. Adding a pound of invert 2 or 3 can make an incredible impact on a bitter, without drying it out too much. Lots of dark fruits, toffee, cherry flavors can come out with these darker sugars. Not sure I’d go with something as dark as a 4, but I’d highly recommend playing with some of these sugars.

For hops, agree with fuggle, but there’s the classic EKG for which you can’t go wrong. Bramling cross and Northdown are also nice. It’s a good opportunity to try out some of those UK hops that you might not try otherwise.


What a great thread! I need to get some brew out of the fermenters so I can try some of the ideas you all have thrown out there. Thanks!

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