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Whitbread Ale

Question 1: Does anyone know of a recipe for Whitbread ale? I found many references to the Whitbread yeast on a forum search, but nada for a recipe.

Question 2: British Bitters, ESBs, etc are a bit out of my usual style and I wonder what kind of water profile to use. I’m brewing a Double Diamond clone recipe from “Clone Brews” and when I looked up water profiles for English ales in “Designing Great Beers” I was shocked by the Burton water profile – nearly 300ppm for Ca, 800ppm CaSO4. I don’t want my beer to come out crazy bitter, so I decided to use about 250ppm Ca and 400ppm CaSO4. Does this seem reasonable or should I go with the Burton water profile?

Thanks for your help!

[quote=“Antwerp”]Question 1: Does anyone know of a recipe for Whitbread ale? I found many references to the Whitbread yeast on a forum search, but nada for a recipe.

Question 2: British Bitters, ESBs, etc are a bit out of my usual style and I wonder what kind of water profile to use. I’m brewing a Double Diamond clone recipe from “Clone Brews” and when I looked up water profiles for English ales in “Designing Great Beers” I was shocked by the Burton water profile – nearly 300ppm for Ca, 800ppm CaSO4. I don’t want my beer to come out crazy bitter, so I decided to use about 250ppm Ca and 400ppm CaSO4. Does this seem reasonable or should I go with the Burton water profile?

Thanks for your help![/quote]
Different sources quote different mineral quantities for the Burton water profile. The figures you’re giving do seem a little bit high on the sulfate, in my opinion, but I’m hardly an expert on the subject. I’d say you’re safe going with the profile you’re suggesting, but shooting a little higher on the sulfate wouldn’t be a problem. The yeast is just as important for flavor authenticity, though. You should definitely use a Burton ale yeast strain if you really want to hit your target flavor. As far as a recipe for Whitbread ale, I’m afraid I can’t help you much there. All I know is that it uses Styrian Goldings hops, reputedly in large quantities. The last I knew, it was being made in America now, incidentally.

I just did a little research. There is not much info out there. I found an old add that said they use Norfolk barley and Beltring hops. I looked up Beltring hops, and Beltring is a village in Kent according to Wikipedia. It also says Whitbread used to own much of the area. I also quickly browsed my Michael Jackson books, and I did not find anything on pale ale, but it did say that they used Fuggles and East Kent Goldings when they tried to recreate some classic porter recipies. My guess would be that they used Fuggles for bittering and EK Goldings for flavor and aroma. This is what I use in most of my English ales. Sometimes I do use Styrian Goldings though. I think Wyeast 1098 is the Whitbread strain, and I have had some similar brews brewed with it. I don’t use it though because it loses its effectiveness to ferment maltriose (according to the late, great George Fix) and I have experienced that the couple of times I tried to repitch the yeast. If you are looking for the authentic flavor of the original, you should probably buy some English pale malt/Marris Otter, 10% English Crystal malt, a couple of ounces of black malt if you have it for some color, 30 IBU Fuggles, .5 Oz. EK Goldings for flavor and .5 Oz. EKG for aroma, Wyeast 1098. Ferment for 10 days at 65-68 degrees. Bottle or keg. I don’t remember this being a very minerally beer so don’t worry about trying to Burtonize your water. This one is brewed in London or somewhere in the U.S. I just remember it being dry, crisp, and maybe a bit woody. Just make sure your mash is 5.2-5.4 and you should be fine.

Don’t be afraid of the sulfate in a Burton Pale Ale. I heard a podcast with the late, great Greg Noonan that said he used up to 900 ppm of Sulfate when he brewed a pale ale. I really like that minerally profile though so you may want to back off if you don’t want some burning match character in your pale ale. If you go too low on your sulfate though, you can get some dish soap fruitiness/character from your hops. I have experience that too.

I have read that Double Diamond uses Styrian Goldings. I think I read that in the book about Burton Ales by Roger Protz.

Thanks for the research and feedback! I guess the issue of sulphate levels will be something I’ll have to learn about through experience – I certainly don’t want either extreme in taste based on extremes of CaSO4 levels. Same goes with the hops – I’ve learned the basics of hops in belgian-style beers, but will have to go through the same process with English or Burton ales.

As for Whitbread, I am reliant on memory which goes back before I was brewing, so it may not help me much. I don’t think that the beer is even brewed anymore, so I may be out of luck. I’ll keep your recipe outline, SA, and attempt it sometime. For now, I’ll have to see how my Double Diamond clone turns out and, hopefully, I’ll be inspired to go further with English ales.

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