I brewed up some ESB a few months back and we finally got around to tasting it and chatting about how I make my ESB. Brewing ESB isn’t really all that hard.
This weeks video focuses on what I do to make a solid ESB.
First off, I love a blend of light caramel malt and toastiness as well from darker malts. But you can go overboard pretty quickly with darker malts and have a dark Mild that is to big in gravity or you can have a brownish Porter on your hands that sort of thin if you don’t balance it just right. My main approach to get the right amount of toast is touch of Pale Chocolate; in general terms 2.5-3.5% of the grist. Pale Chocolate Malt helps when brewing ESB by giving a discrete toast character that plays very well with the biscuit malt character that develops in this beer as well.
I use a strong portion of biscuit when brewing this beer too, but good quality English Pale malt also helps with this flavor profile. I normally will use 4-5% Biscuit malt in the grist.
Picking the right yeast for this beer can be tricky. I tend to go with a high amount (5% total grist) of crystal 40L. You need a yeast that will drive attenuation down enough because if not that amount of any crystal malt will keep the beer a little sweet and the body will be a bit to bold. I have found that a big healthy pitch of WLP013 seems to be my favorite. Its got good attenuation, but it still gives of enough esters to play well with that crystal malt. You can certainly use a different crystal malt color for deeper flavor. I have also blended to or three in the same recipe. I find though that keeping it to two and the total amount should be below 5% of the grist. If you really love a different English yeast in these types of beers. Think about lowering the crystal malt to 3%, or substituting some simple sugar for the base malt to help attenuation.
For hops I am still experimenting with this beer. ESB is the larger of all the English Pale ales. So when brewing ESB the opportunity to play with hops is possible. I still like a predominant East Kent Goldings profile here. But I mention in the video I took the opportunity to use Challenger as a bittering hop this time around. A combo of EKG and Fuggles would work well throughout this on as well.
I could go on and on. ESB is a favorite style of mine, but I think the recipe is still evolving. But that’s homebrewing at is core I think. Developing flavors and beers to perfectly suit your taste.
Cheers. Brew On!