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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 949   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52   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 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
jutuahol (189) - Jyväskylä, FINLAND - OCT 30, 2003
Copper red, sparkling, thick beige creamy head. Malty, fresh, flowery nose. Medium body, bit dry, creamy. Bitter, caramel-like malty, sweet. Sweet, bitter, dry and prettty long finish.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 15/20
ClarkVV (4345) - Allston, Massachusetts, USA - OCT 18, 2003
UPDATED: APR 11, 2007 Very big hoppy aroma, lots of goldings. Some alcohol and some sweeter light melon notes and maybe a little soft peach/nectarine? For bottle conditioned this is extremely clear. . .Still, a nice orange-amber color but only a tiny tiny bit of hay colored creamy head. Quite bubbly. Begins very hoppy and clean. Instead of getting crisper and drier, there is a good warm alcohol presences followed by some thick chewy malt: little bit of caramel but mostly fruit flavors, quite exotic and complex. Finishes quite crisp again, moderate bitterness and with a full and quite bubbly mouthfeel. Good balance and gets even better as it approaches room temp. A toned down version of Fullers Vintages, not quite as complex or near as adventurous, but what it lacks in these categories, it almost makes up in its clean, balanced, conservative flavor. Needs more bottle conditioning, the little bit of yeast I saw seemed like a joke.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
igneous1 (1517) - Davenport, Iowa, USA - OCT 14, 2003
very clear, looks just like apple juice (ok, maybe a little darker than that). slight head at best, but a nice ring of big bubbles. aroma is some toffee, and toast (as in toasted bread) and a hint of sour apples. a little apple in the flavor, and slight alcohol in the finish. thicker mouthfeel than most british ales. just saw this bastard is brewed with Fuggles...now wonder the big notes of apple.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 16/20
mkobes (2142) - paramus, New Jersey, USA - OCT 7, 2003
Very good ale. Golden in color. It has a perfect blend of english hops which are well balanced with the malt. It has a pleasant fruit aroma.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
LarsHolmer (112) - Göteborg, SWEDEN - OCT 7, 2003
Golden copper in colour, a whole bouquet of flowers in the nose and a perfect blend of malt and hops in the finish. 6,4 is a bit too strong for me but it is well hidden among all the flavours.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
MaiBockAddict (1497) - Good Beer Bar Deprived, New Jersey, USA - OCT 7, 2003
Copper color with pleasant fruity aroma. Low hop aroma as well. Nice balance of malt and hops. Bitterness builds as you drink. Seems close to the way I prefer an IPA. Moderate strenght and characterised by noble English hops. Satisfying beer.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 14/20
Nuffield (3858) - 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.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
TheBeerGod (5595) - 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.

   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.

   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.

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