The World Of ESB – An Easy Recipe

A great beer to have on tap is an ESB. So what is an ESB?  ESB stands for Extra Special Bitter.  It’s a British style beer and one that is very much like our Pale Ale.  A normal Bitter is about 3.8%, the extra special ones are  above 4.8%.  This particular one is 5.7%.  ESB are pretty easy beers to drink.

Notes On This Beer Recipe

This beer is going to have a caramel undertone to it.  This is because it has crystal malt in the recipe.  Being that it has 60L it is going to give it bit of color.   The malt extract is six pounds of dry malt extract, it’s pretty standard for most pale ales.  Being that it is six pounds, it will give a nice malt back bone and also give the beer a higher ABV compared to a standard bitter. The hops in this beer are not too high in alpha acid, this allows for a well-rounded hop flavor and aroma (again, very much like a Pale Ale). The after taste is one that is going to be malt forward but well-balanced.   This is just a beer that is easy to drink no matter what time of year it is, and one that is pretty easy to share with friends and family. Really at the end this isn’t fancy beer, but there is beauty in simplicity

Chilling Hard


13 oz 60L crystal Malt

6 lbs Malt Extract Light (DME)

2 oz Tettnanger (60min)

1/2 oz Willamette (15min)

1 oz Tettnanger (10min)

WLP 001


OG:  1.056

FG: 1.013

IBU: 37

SRM: 13

ABV: 5.4%

Yield 5 Gallons


  • Heat 2.5 gallons of water to 150
  • Steep grains for 30 minutes
  • Take grains out
  • Add malt extract in
  • Bring to boil
  • Add 2 oz Tettnanger Hops
  • Boil for 45 minutes
  • Add Willamette Hops
  • Boil for 5 minutes
  • Add 1 ounce of Tettnanger hips
  • Boil for 10 minutes
  • End boil
  • Cool down, put in fermenter and pitch yeast
  • Let it ferment for 7 days
  • Put in bottles with 3/4 cup of corn sugar
  • Let it sit for 21 days

If you are looking to do it all grain, I would use the M.O for the base malt.  It will give it a bit more flavor.  Then again, if you wanted to just make a cheap beer for the summer time, you can use just regular 2-Row and it would work as well


Related Post

Colonial Beer

Conversion Chart

Base Malt Guide

Robust Porter

Apple Jack

Grow Your Own Hops

St. Pat’s Beer Recipe

Jays Brewing Logo

Share Button

19 Steps For Yeast Starter

As of late I hear about yeast starters.  Seems as if everyone is doing one.  Truth be told, I do not make yeast starters.  I’ve done them so I can learn how to do them, but I just don’t make them for my beers.  Call it laziness, call it product of habit, but how I learned how to brew we just never did them.  If I felt in the past that there was a need to make a yeast starter, I would always just double pitch yeast.  Double pitching yeast is when you just take two packets of yeast and pitch those.

Now there are reasons to make yeast starters.  One of the obvious is for monetary purposes.  Let’s be honest, yeast is sometimes half of the cost for a recipe.  If you make an all-grain batch and it’s a cheap beer, yeast is going to be around $7.00 for liquid yeast; too bad the grains were only $15.00.  So if you’re making a 10 gallon batch because it’s a cheap beer, it’s unnecessary spending.


If you are making a beer that has a gravity over 1.080 then you might consider making a starter.  There are so many sugars that the yeast tends to lag out usually around the 1.030 SG mark.  So having more yeast will help chug along in the fermentation process.


Also if you are planning on doing lagers, making a yeast starter is sometimes helpful.  Since it is fermenting at colder temps, sometimes the yeast needs a bit more help to move along the fermentation process.

If you don’t have enough yeast, you tend to get off flavors sometimes.  This is caused from the yeast just being stressed out.  Stressed out yeast means weird tasting beer.

Like I said, I don’t make them.  If I feel that I do need to make a yeast starter then I’ll just double pitch.  But this post is not about what I do, this post is really for those that want to know how to make yeast starters.  So these are the easy instructions on how to make a proper yeast starter.


  1. Let yeast sit out at room temp until it reaches room temperature levels (you can do the same thing for dry as well). 
  2. Make starter wort
  3. Starter wort is .5 quart water and .5 cup of dme.
  4. This produces a wort that is about of 1.040
  5. Boil this mini wort for 10 min
  6. I add just a pellet or two of hops to the boil
  7. Add .25 of yeast nutrient
  8. Let mixture cool down to a little above room temp (should be around 75-80F)
  9. Sanitize the outside of the yeast package (you can do this with StarSan or something like it)
  10. 2 quart juice bottles work well for this next part
  11. Pour yeast into jar (see instruction #10)
  12. Cover the opening with plastic wrap
  13. Shake the starter to aerate it
  14. Now put an airlock on the opening of the container or drill a small hole for the lid and put a grommet in with an air lock.
  15. You should see foaming in about 24-48 hours and should start to see a yeast layer on the bottom of the container
  16. When the yeast has settled out it is ready to pitch.  However the starter is good for about 2-3 days.
  17. Sometimes it is recommended to add another pint or so of mini wort to it to build up the starter even more.
  18. Before you plan on pitching the yeast stick it int he refrigerator to flocculate all of the yeast.
  19. Pour off as much of the liquid as possible so only the yeast slurry remains – then pitch the yeast slurry

And that does it!  That is how you do a yeast starter.  When you look at the directions on how to make a yeast starter just know that you really do have to have some planning in order for it to work out well.  This is one of the obvious pit falls to yeast starters – you have to plan them out and you can’t make them the day of the brew.  Of course there are other ways to make starters and you can get into some pretty involved methods, this is just the one I do when I make yeast starters sometimes.  Leave your comments and questions below!


Related Post:

What Is Attenuation?

Build Your Own Stir Plate

Moonshine Thursday

Yeast Profiles

Off Flavors

Imperial Stout

How To Lager Beer

Jays Brewing Logo

Share Button

The Ultimate Dry Irish Stout In 4 Easy Steps

So it’s time to start looking at the next step for the Dry Irish Stout.  I’ll put up pictures for it when I end up making it (this weekend hopefully) but I wanted to get the recipe out today so people can start working on it or at least have time to make some modifications if that’s your thing.

If your lost in what I’m talking about, this stout you can drink by it’s own if you wanted to but it’s going to be used for the whiskey/rum aged stout.  This is a stand up stout by itself though.   If you have ever tasted “Murphy’s Irish Stout” this is based off of that one.   You can find this recipe in the “Clone Brews”, it’s loosely based off of it.

Style: Dry Stout

OG: 1.042

FG: 1.009

IBU: 35

SRM: 77

AVB: 4.2%

Yield: 5 Gallons

Serving Notes:  This stout is ready to drink as soon as it is carbonated.  It will peak at 2-4 months and will keep at cellar temperatures for 5 months.

Food Pairing: Mussels, Clams, Scallops


9 oz roasted barley

6 oz chocolate malt

4 oz 60L crystal malt

5 lbs Light DME

8 oz cane sugar

1 oz Kent Goldings Hop (60min Boil)

1/4 oz Kent Goldings Hops (15min boil)

Yeast: 004 Irish, 023 Burton, Safale – 04 (what ever your weapon of choice is)


1) Steep in 2.5 gallons of water: 9 oz roasted barley, 6 oz chocolate malt, 4 oz 60L crystal malt at 150 degree’s for 30min.

2) Strain the grains into your brew pot and 5 lbs of your malt extract, 8 oz of cane sugar and bring to boil.  At the beginning of the boil add 1 oz of Kent Golding hops.

3) Boil for 45min and then add 1/4 oz of East Kent Goldings hops and also irish moss if you want (1 tsp).

4) Boil for 15 more min and then turn off the heat and let it cool.  Fill up to 5 gallons and pitch yeast.

All grain method:

Mash 6.25 lbs of British 2-row pale mat with specialty grains at 152 degrees for 90min.  Add 20% less of the hops & cane sugar that you would for the extract recipe for 90 min boil.  Add the flavor hops and Irish moss for the last 15min of the boil. 

For the fermenation of this beer, you are going to let it ferment in the primiary fermenter for about a week, then rack it into the secondary.  In the secondary add the oak chips to your beer which have been soaking in rum or whiskey.  Let it sit in secondary for about 4 weeks – 6 if you would like.


Roasted Barley

This has an almost coffee like flavor that comes out.  Roasted barley is commonly seen in stouts and porters.

Chocolate Malt

This malt is much like the roasted barley in the sense that you will get coffee flavors out of it, but it is bit darker.  Also hints of chocolate… may seem obvious but that’s kinda my thing – I like to state the obvious.

Crystal Malt 60L

You’re going to get some sweeter flavors out of this malt.  0.25 lbs of crystal 60L is just enough for an accent in the brew and not much more.


Actually this is one of the reasons why I enjoy this brew.  Black pat to me if not used correctly can leave some very over powering flavors, I believe people refer to them as HARSH.  Black pat, is kinda like roasted barley but up to 600L depending on who makes it. It’s just a dark malt.  By not using it, your avoiding an over powering flavor that would take away from the oak if you chose to use it.  If you wanted to add black pat to make this beer a bit more, “Robust” then I would just add 1-3 oz of it.  Not any more then that.

5lbs DME

Just the body of the brew.  This brew is only getting up to 4.2%.  It’s a border line session beer.

8 oz cane sugar

Don’t worry it’s not going to make your beer taste, “cidery” as so many brewers have been told.  The reason that it would taste cidery was because of the pitch rate back in the day and poor nitrogen levels.  Adding cane sugar is going to be adding fermentable sugars to the wort.  Check it out.

Kent Golding Hops

Great hop for Irish Stouts.  Its just a great European hop.  If you wanted to choose 2 hops, for the last 15min you could always do, Fuggles or Styrian Goldings.  Either one would work fine.


I’m a big stout guy.  I very much enjoy the stouts when it gets into colder temps.  One thing that I really enjoy about this recipe is how light of a brew it actually is.  While it’s dark it’s very easy to drink.  So like I said earlier, if you just want a solid dry stout recipe, this is the one to do.  If you want to spruce it up with the oak and whiskey thing, it can handle it as well.

Either way, it’s a pretty good dry stout to make.  One that has been a staple of my brewing for some time.


Related Post

Brewing Calendar

Brewing With The Season

Maple Syrup Amber


Share Button