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English Pale Ale

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So I'm looking for a good all-grain English Pale Ale recipe, or at least some tips to help build my own. I'm looking for something closer to Bass Ale than a Fuller's ESB. I saw an old Bass clone recipe from BYO, but when I see Flaked Maize in an English Ale recipe it makes me suspicious. Even if that is a true clone, that's not the direction I want to go with my own recipe.

I'm looking for a dry pale ale recipe to showcase some UK hops. I know Bass isn't super hoppy, but I think that is a good ballpark to get started with. Some specific questions I had:

Base malt - Some sort of English Pale Ale malt - Anyone have any preferences between MO, Optic or any other pale ale malt?

Crystal - I want a little bit of English crystal character, but not as much as a Fullers-style ESB. I'm thinking about 5% of an 80L English Dark Crystal.

Victory/Biscuit - This says "English ale" to my palate. I'm thinking 6oz for a 3 gallon batch.

Roast Barley - one thing I do agree with the BYO clone recipe on is a touch of roastiness. I'm thinking of 1-2 oz of 300L Roast Barley added late in the mash.

Yeast - Any strong preferences to a particular strain? Leaning towards WLP007, but S-04, WLP002 and WLP023 come to mind also. Any other options I should consider?

Hops - Whatever UK hop styles I have on hand, mainly late additions. First up will be Challenger + Phoenix. I may pick up a third variety to add along, but I want to stay away from the typical EKG and/or Fuggles for the first round.

As always, thanks in advance. I'm looking forward to everyone's ideas and experiences with this style.

I like WY1968/WLP002 for English pale ales/bitters. I think it is the defining flavor for the style, even above malt and hops choices. That being said, Maris Otter is another important element, and if you use it, you can probably skip the biscuit/victory malt addition. Finally, I like to get the roasted element from extra dark crystal malt (120+), but a touch of roasted barley will probably do the trick as well.

Joe Sr.:
Agree on WY1968 and Maris Otter.  These are the base for my Fullers London Pride clone (I know you're not looking for Fullers).  I think MO is crucial for an English ale.  I also agree that if you go with MO you could probably do away with Victory, but it also won't hurt to include it.

I use Northdown hops (along with Fuggles and EKG).  I believe they are very similar to Fuggles, so maybe you want to stay away from these, too.

1968 is one of my current favorite yeasts.  It simply makes good beer better.

Here's a thread with a good recipe from Jeff.

I make one using almost all Maris Otter with some black malt for color and about 10% sugar to dry it out.  Styrian Goldings work well and the yeast Jeff uses is spot on for a Bitter.

Here's my recipe:

Earl's ESB

All Grain Recipe
Brewer: bluesman
Batch Size: 5.50 gal
Style: Extra Special/Strong Bitter (English Pale Ale) ( 8C)
Color: 11.1 SRM
Bitterness: 57.4 IBUs
Boil Time: 90 min
Est OG: 1.064 (15.5° P)
Mash Profile: Single Infusion, Medium Body, Batch Sparge
Est FG: 1.016 SG (4.0° P)
ABV: 6.3%


10 lbs 8.0 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter (3.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Biscuit Malt (23.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 20L (20.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 40L (40.0 SRM)
8.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt - 60L (60.0 SRM)
0.8 oz Northern Brewer [10.4%] - Boil 60 min
1.5 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.0%] - Boil 25 min
1.0 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.0%] - Boil 15 min
1.0 oz Goldings, East Kent [5.0%] - Boil 10 min
English Ale (White Labs #WLP002)
Mashed in @ 154. and mash for 60 minutes
Sparge @ 168.°F 
O.G=1.060 actual


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