Welcome to the first output from our Homebrew Jar of Destiny series. As we let a jar let us tell us what beers to brew this year, we show off the output of one of the first selections: British Strong Ale. Let us take you through our thoughts about the style and our notes on Mike’s example of this beer.

British Strong Ale Recipe

Here’s the recipe Mike formulated based on the 2015 guidelines in the BJCP:

Batch Size: 6.5 Gallon
75% efficiency


14.5 pounds (6.57 kg) of Maris Otter from Fawcett
0.5 pounds (226 g) of Amber Malt (22°L)
0.5 pounds (226 g) of Simpsons DRC* (152°L)
*Trademarked term – short of dark roasted crystal

2 ounces (56 g) of Challenger at 6.3%AA, boiled for 60 minutes (35 IBUs)
1 ounce (28 g) of East Kent Goldings at 4.2%AA, boiled for 30 minutes (11 IBUs)
1 ounce (28 g) of East Kent Goldings at 4.2%AA, boiled for 10 minutes

Wyeast 1968 – London ESB Yeast


Mash grist following this schedule:
145°F (63°C) for 45 minutes
156°F (69°C) for 20 minutes
168°F (76°C) for 10 minutes as a mash out step.

Boil wort for 60 minutes, adding hops at appropriate times.

After the boil, chill wort to 63°F (17°C) and pitch yeat. Let beer free rise to 68°F (20°C) and hold until complete.
Sample beer and perform diacetyl rest if need be.

Tasting Notes

Man, this beer was good. It was malty and easy drinking – belying its ‘strong’ nature. Sorry, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start with how it looked.

The color was a beautiful copper color and, without the chill haze, would be brilliant. If we taste with our eyes, this color brings back pleasant memories of sitting at the bar in Gritty McDuff’s in Portland, ME. Many of their beers have this same color in my mind.

The aroma had graham cracker malt notes with some hints of spicy/herby hops. I didn’t detect any alcohol notes, which is fine by me.

The flavor followed through with rich, malty flavors, and I dare say it was sweet to my palate. The malt flavors were balanced with the hops in the aftertaste, with a nice bittering presence delivered by the Challenger hops.

Our overall impression is that this style is perfect as a season transition beer. As winter turns to spring, this beer is something I would reach for on the cool days. It would be a good late fall beer too.

I’m glad we brewed this style. Thank you, Jar of Destiny.

Check out our other Jar of Destiny beer(s): Black IPA

Check out the Second Picks!
Check out the Belgian Tripel post
Check out the International Amber Lager post