Brewed by Charles Wells
Style: English Strong Ale
Bedford, England


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 976   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53/5   EST. CALORIES: 192   ABV: 6.4%
Bottle Conditioned. Occasionally available in the cask.
Production moved from Youngs to Wells & Youngs in 2007. Brand acquired solely by Charles Wells in 2011.
Ingredients: Maris Otter and Crystal malt; Fuggle and Goldings hops. Dry hopped with Golding and Target hops. Re-pitched with fresh yeast and wort in the bottle.
Young’s Special London Ale is the UK’s No.1 bottle conditioned ale. It is an unpasteurised, living beer, matured in the bottle for a fuller, more complex, multi-dimensional, fresher taste. Without artificial carbonation, the only fizz is the natural effervescence created by fermentation.
“A wonderfully balanced, deep-golden strong bottled ale, brewed from pure malt and a phenomenal amount of hops. A lively, fruity character with suggestions of banana and orange zest.”
CAMRA Champion Bottled Beer of Britain - 1999.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Mungo (2471) - Southampton, Hampshire, ENGLAND - FEB 17, 2004
Lots of orangey hops, malt and fruity aroma. Some sweetness but balanced by lots of bitterness. Yeast adss a soft fruity taste. Very poor condition - almost completely flat but still a great beer.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
kmeves (1098) - Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin, USA - FEB 15, 2004
Citric aroma, copper color, lacey head. Initial creamy malt and lingering bitterness is a perfect match. Good beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
IPFreely (1470) - Sanborn, New York, USA - FEB 15, 2004
Clear golden amber, fluffy but firm cream color head. The bottle said not to disturb the sediment but I couldn't find any anyway. Buttery malt aroma, some underlying sweetness. Flavor is prdominantly malty, again like butter toffee, some candylike sweetness. Fuller body. Quite enjoyable.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 17/20
ThomasE (5174) - Copenhagen, DENMARK - FEB 7, 2004
Dark amber colour with shortlived head. Aroma is not that clear, but the flavor...wow. Almost the class of a good belgian ale. Palete is very smooth.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
FlacoAlto (4127) - Tucson, Arizona, USA - FEB 5, 2004
UPDATED: JUL 31, 2006 Best by November 2006
Pours with a lightly hazy, reddish amber color and is topped by a frothy, pale tan, creamy colored head. The beer is a bit overcarbonated and even foams up after I popped the cap, this seems to be a problem with many of these, but often they are not overcarbonated. The aroma is a mix of earthy spice, a touch of citrus and some herbal notes, malty notes of caramel and toasted grain.

The taste is sweet and malty; notes of caramel and toasted grain provide a solid backdrop to the dominant hop character. Fruit notes area mix of a touch of bergamot, which adds a citrusy component to the flavors, and a nice berry note that seems to be from the combination of the hops and malt.. Notes of lemon verbena, perhaps a touch of basil like sharpness, a touch of black pepper and just a touch of menthol. The note of bergamot is magnified as the beer warms up.

This beer is rich and satisfying, yet still nice and quaffable; the hops and malt weave quite a balance together. The maltiness really adds a richness to this brew, almost a touch of a meaty quality here. But really this meaty quality seems to be a combination of the caramelized malt, ample melanoids and a toasted, bready grain character. If you can find a fresh bottle of this brew here in the states, this is well worth it.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
TC2642 (265) - Worcester, Worcestershire, ENGLAND - FEB 5, 2004
Quite a zesty orangy tasting beer. Nice aroma with a medium mouthfeel to it. Bottle conditioning does help, but I still feel there was something missing here.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
mullet (849) - Melbourne, AUSTRALIA - FEB 5, 2004
UPDATED: FEB 13, 2006 I have come to the conclusion that Young’s beers are never going to impress me much. I think this beer has enough flavour to make a good session beer but this is a strong ale. Orangey, caramel aroma - no real perceptible hop (but it had travelled half-way around the world). Nice hop flavour and excellent bitterness (though I wouldn’t call it exceptionally bitter) but the malt was a bit flabby - too much crystal and not enough base malt maybe? Another nice, but unexceptional Young’s beer.
RR: I still don’t really like this stuff. Tastes pretty much like a bitter, only it’s 6.4%. Some plum pudding in there. I quite liked it at first, but it was a chore to finish the bottle.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
sayravai (4706) - Helsinki, FINLAND - JAN 29, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 17, 2005 (Bottled) Slightly hazy, dark copper color. Medium, sticky and lacy head. Mild, sweetish, very flowery-hoppy aroma with fruit and toffee. Sweetish, toffee-malty-almondy flavor, nicely balanced with aromatic hops. Dry, astringent finish. Medium-bodied, a bit sharp palate with quite low carbonation. Alcohol is well hidden. A very nicely dry-hopped, and reasonably bodied for a English ale.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 14/20
DanielBrown (4340) - Birmingham (via Leicester), West Midlands, ENGLAND - JAN 29, 2004
Bottle from The Alexandra, Wimbledon, London. Russet copper colour - no head, little lacing. Apple and chocolate aroma. Big metal, lager flavour - large portion of malt please, espcially towards the finish. Early threat of marked alcohol notes fades fast. Some apples and lemons in the finish too, slightly warming and bitter. A good, rich ale, with lots going on.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
howie (549) - DeForest, Wisconsin, USA - JAN 27, 2004
UPDATED: DEC 7, 2004 *Best before date of five months ago! Wish I’d noticed that at the store. Anyway...

Dark golden color, effervescent head, dissipates quickly. Lots of floral and spicy hops in the nose, slightly fruity, malty. Smooth toffeeish malty flavors, somewhat sweet, nicely bittered. Alcohol shows a little. Very good, I’ll have to look for a fresh bottle. Fresh bottle - better head, maltier aroma, still vinous. This is good stuff. Underrated.

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