Last Updated on May 12, 2021 by cwl

ESB: Extra Special Bitter, aka English Pale Ale

Brew ingredients from the More Beer Best Bitter Extract Kit

Brew Date: April 28th, 2021

Original Gravity: 1.043

Fermentation Temperature: 66F to 68F

Fermentation Time: 2 weeks

Final Gravity: 1.015

ABV: 3.7%

Bottle Conditioning Time: 2 weeks


When you mention that ESB means Extra Special Bitter a lot of folks will say, “yuk, not for me”, but the name is more traditional than an actual description of the taste. Here’s a good explanation of the ESB story.

I did a 4 gallon boil, and I was able to get the wort down to pitching temperature in about 1.25 hours by immersing the fermentation tank in a livestock waterer filled with cold water and frozen bottles. Still not as efficient as a wort chiller, but it uses a lot less water, and I can easily dump the water over flowers and shrubs. I am now totally out of the kitchen during Brew Day. Yay!

Fermentation started at 68F, with a lag time of 4 hours. I got strong fermentation for the first 24 hours, and the yeast went to sleep after about 2.5 days.

Final Gravity was 1.015 at 60 F. Color was good, and tasted pretty good, with hops coming through all the way, but not at all overpowering. Time to bottle. Stay tuned!