Light Alc. English Ale Recipes?

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Bentleigh Brau Haus
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Ferntree Gully - Melbourne
I would like to try brewing some light ales (light as in alc) as summer comes up and the temp warms up a few hundred pots of beer afterwork goes down well! but not waking up the next day!

so i want to try a light alc. english ale maybe. as i think the style is naturally light in malt flavour and more hops so this should be doable in a light beer?

idea's tried and true recipes

I have a whitebread WYeast that i want to try out also to taste its effect
otherwise london ale

I brewed an eglish pale ale similar to waht u are after.....just scale everything back to get a lower alcohol %..was a really nice beer..for a lighter body i would use a higher attenuating yeast than the english ale..and mash at 64 C for 90 mins...

4.0 kg. Australian Pilsner
0.4 kg. Munich Malt
0.3 kg. Crystal Malt 60L
0.4 kg. Corn Flaked
12 g. Target (Pellets, 10.00 %AA) boiled 60 minutes.
25 g. Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 10 minutes.
25 g. Goldings (Pellets, 5.00 %AA) boiled 1 minutes.
Yeast : White Labs WLP002 English Ale

i hear things like adding a tiny amount of say choc to add the complexity that light beers lack. prob not enough that you can say ahhhh choc malt in this, but more that it just makes things interesting

anyone have anything ti say about this sort of thing. I will read my pale ale book as soon as i can
use carapils for body or light lager maybe if you can brew in a fridge
but jaz thats just body , not really a flavour?

they were talking about adding some interest to the flavour....

Maybe for the first one i will just do as Green I. has and down scale a good full strength brew
Sounds like you want to brew a few Milds: these have OGs of as low as 1032, are very flavorful, and with a light fizz will go down a treat in summer. The CAMRA Brew Real English Ales and Brew Classic European Beers have lots of pretty good recipes. Newcastle Brown Ale and brown ales generally also seem to fit in your parameters

Jovial Monk
i was thinking of trying the bitter in the "PALE ALE" 2 book, as the alc is only 3.5%

ale malt
goldings hops and they call london ale, i will try my whitebread to see what its like
Ben, if you can use some english specialty malts ie. Thomas Fawcett if you can get it, instead of just a JW crystal you should get some nice characters coming through. I love the english malts and use plenty of TF Crystal, choc, RB, etc. as I love the flavour that these malts contribute. In a couple of similar light ales that I've done that used Aust crystal or TF crystal I much preferred those beers with the latter eng malt.

So for your ale your going to probably be using crystal malt as one of (maybe only) specialty malts I'd use an English malt but although I'm yet to try it some Marris Otter might be a nice touch too for the base malt.

Here's a recipe I did a little while back for an ESB. Nothing exceptionally unique about the recipe, just very basic but a nice beer. Came out at 3.5% Alc /w

OG 1046
FG 1012
JW Trad ale malt 95%
TF Crystal 4%

Challenger 60 mins 30.3 IBU
Crystal 15 mins 3.0 IBU
Crystal 1 min 1.0 IBU

Mashed 68C for 60mins.

Fermented at 18C with Wyeast 1968 ESB yeast. This is a very floculant yeast so give the fermenter a bit of a jiggle every now and then to resuspend those puppies.

All reports of this beer were that is was quite a nice drop. Even non beer drinking girls liked it due to it not being overly bitter. Anyway, hope it helps.

Cheers, Justin

I've brewed quite a few light English ales between the 1.035 to 1.038 range, usually Bitters. From my experience there are a few key elements to these beers. Because you can't hide behind loads of malt and hops these beers are quite tricky to make.

1. Malt choice.
Use the best quality and freshest Pale malt you can get. In the past I've used floor malted Mariss Otter, but I reckon the traditonal ale malt by IMC would also be good and fresher . These malts have an EBC around 5, and have good depth of flavour. I've tried adding other malts like Munich, but think they can be too much for this style. I now only use Pale and crystal.

You'll need the addition of some specialty grains otherwise the beer will seem a bit lacking. I've played around with using crystal and small additions of chocolate, but have found CaraAroma does a very good job. The CaraAroma adds just the slightest hint of roastiness, nothing out of style. My standard practice is to use 50/50 medium crystal (Thomas Fawcett) and CaraAroma. I use 2.5% of each for a total addition of 5%.

Don't use any adjuncts like sugars or torrefied wheat. These add little to nothing in terms of flavour, and with low OG's you need all malt. Don't worry about using wheat for head retention, these beers are not known for a big lacey head.

2. Hops Choice
The key here is to use the best quality you can. IMHO you can't go past Golding and Fuggle. Don't use a high alpha hops for bittering. Any harshness will come through and can't be masked by loads of malt. The more noble hops will give a much better flavour profile even for bittering. From experience I now add the bittering at 60mins, and flavour at 15mins and flame out.

Keep the IBU's fairly low. Too highly bittered will through the balance right out. I aim to have an IBU:GU ratio of about 0.6 to 0.65. So for a 1.038 beer this would be about 23-25 IBUs. And also don't go OTT on the flavour additions, because a heavy handed approach will also through out the balance

3. Yeast Choice
Again you are looking to add as muh flavour as possible, so neutral yeast are out (IMHO). My personal favourites for this style are Wyeast 1028 and then 1968. Ferment at the top end of their range to get a nice ester profile.

Light beers are bloody hard to get right. With a low OG you have to work hard to get as much flavour into your beer as possible without sacrificing balance. These beers are a good challenge and great to drink, particularly if you want more than 1 or 2 or 3 or 4..........

Ben said:
what about a simple decoction for added malt flavours?
Too much faffing about. Keep it simple.

95% Pale malt
2.5% Medium Crystal
2.5% CaraAroma
3:1 water:grain
Single infusion at 66C

90min boil
50/50 Golding/Fuggle
Bittering at 60min for 23-25 IBUs
Flavour at 15min and flame out

Wyeast 1028 or 1968 at about 20C

Alternatively you can make Mild, which is even simpler, and the liberal use of roasted grains makes for a very flavoursome drop.


I made a lighter partial mash version of Mike Day's ESB that won the nationals last year (Mike's beer, not mine!) and it is a fantastic brew. Everyone who has tried it loves it, including an English guy who is seasoned competition judge and brews mostly British ales. Here's the recipe:

2.5kg Marris Otter Pale Ale Malt
500g Medium crystal malt
500g LME - 15 mins
500g DME - 15 mins
55g Goldings pellets - 60 mins
25g Goldings pellets - 15 mins
15g Chinook pellets - flameout
1 teaspoon gypsum - in wort runnings
1 teaspoon Irish Moss - 15 mins
Whitelabs London Ale yeast

Mashed at 68C for 75 mins. Comes out at around 1.040, depending on your efficiency (mine is a crappy 62%).

Cheers - Snow
great i have a bag of floor malt (ale) coming next week so i might try a few of the above ideas to build up some stock for the hold weather coming soonish

how long do most lager or cold condition there english ales?

An Ordinary Bitter is best drunk young, while there is plenty of fresh hops flavour and aroma. They don't even really need CCing. Just primary ferment, rack off the primary yeast cake, leave in scondary until it drops bright. If you want to speed up the last process you could crash cool for 24-48 hours. Once bright, keg or bottle.

sounds perfect quick and easy, however i normally find my beers improve with age... smooth out etc etc

I will try it fresh and see how it is! if nice this will be a summer winner

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