RateBeer
overall
91
97
style
Brewed by Charles Wells
Style: English Strong Ale
Bedford, England

bottled
common

on tap
available

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 943   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.53   EST. CALORIES: 192   ABV: 6.4%
COMMERCIAL DESCRIPTION
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.


3.5
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Nuffield (3835) - Roseville, Minnesota, USA - OCT 3, 2003
I have a special fondness for Youngs. This has irrational dimensions and this beer was able to slice through that fog of reason, if only shining a light on the quality of British breweries to brew over a dozen beers which essentially condense into two or three recipes with only slight variations. Here we have a ye old English strong ale, pushed nicely to 6.4%, but appearing throughly average: a big, irregular, beige head settling into a slightly syrupy-appearing, copper-orange body. The aroma is fruity, slightly wooden and caramelly, but notably driven by effervescent alcohol. The tasting pleases the palate, for although early on the large-form carbonation seems to get in the way, with time it settles down nicely, and even after a long time sitting and warming the palate remains good, in part due to the alcohol, which produces a sharpish tingle but also due to the malt base that provides a sweet silkiness. The flavor has metallic edges to the caramel and yeasty/bready notes. The finish is moderately bitter, but only at the back of my tongue and only toward the end; otherwise the alcoholic notes are more pronounced. Overall, slightly above average in the style and enjoyable in its own ways, with credit for being a "soul beer" because it is from Youngs, but this doesn't deserve huge accolades.

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
TheBeerGod (5568) - Newport News, Virginia, USA - SEP 23, 2003
This was WAY overcarbonated and exploded from the bottle before I could pour it in the glasses. The nose has a sweet but lightly hopped aroma. I also sense bubblegum. Not sure why, but I do. The tongue has definite malty and hopped notes along with caramel. Finished well with little bitterness remaining.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 15/20
whaleman (2178) - North Wales, Pennsylvania, USA - SEP 7, 2003
Sparkling body is a metallic-orange color. Sudsy white head that retained well. Spicy aroma of wood and toffee. Smooth and low-key malty flavor with buttery pine nuts and alcohol notes. Medium hop bitterness. Some fizziness on the palate but very nicely balanced and well-rounded.

3.2
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
mribm (458) - Ocala, Florida, USA - SEP 7, 2003
Bottled. Poured with a huge head. It wasn't bad, however it had a "salty" finish to me, that wasn't good in a beer.

3.8
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
mwesth (279) - Skovlunde, DENMARK - SEP 6, 2003
Dark golden brown and a thick white head. Good lacework. Very full bodied, the alcohol is well balanced. Reminds me of good biere de garde, finally an english beer with "balls"

3.1
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 12/20
Spiesy (2338) - Sydney, Greater London, AUSTRALIA - SEP 3, 2003
Bottled.Rustic golden body, with plenty of conditioning. The fine medium head is serviced consistently from bellow. The strong bitter hop aroma that greats you just barely masks the alcohol but after the first sip, the true nature of the beast is revealed. On the palate the alcohol and the bitterness combine to provide a tart, sharpish finish to the beer.

3.9
   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
Boystout (1000) - Chisinau, MOLDOVA - AUG 28, 2003
Deep golden color and respectable white thick head. Contains sediment. Domination of yeast and hops in flavor and aroma with some strong malt background. A hoppy juice.

3.2
   AROMA 5/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 12/20
Ernest (6727) - Boulder, Colorado, USA - AUG 25, 2003
UPDATED: JUL 14, 2004 Head is initially large, frothy, off-white, mostly lasting. Body is medium amber, bottle conditioned. Aroma is lightly malty (cookie), lightly hoppy (flowers, apricot), lightly yeasty (dough). Flavor is moderately sweet, lightly acidic, lightly bitter. Finish is lightly sweet, lightly acidic, moderately bitter. Medium body, velvety texture, lively carbonation. Another fresh bottle, but still a faint and boring aroma. Good flavor balance, mouthfeel, and appearance help its score.

3
   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
badgerben (4608) - Blaine, Minnesota, USA - AUG 22, 2003
Salisbury, Covent Garden, London. Brownish color. More hops than anything else. Not much to it.

3.7
   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
NectarFarm (128) - Calgary, CANADA - AUG 14, 2003
murky light brown pour. small white head. smells good, nice and hoppy. a really quality bitter but could be more balanced. still a quality beer.


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