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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 988   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 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
noelcb (271) - Toledo, Ohio, USA - MAY 9, 2005
Poured dark brass, huge solid brown head which fell gradually to textbook-definition lacing. Aromas of chocolate, treacle, brown sugar, maple syrup, with lots of balanced hoppy herbalness, toasty malt and yeast. Flavor was wonderfully complex with everything from apple and lime to roast turkey! I could taste molasses, dark chocolate, pumpkin pie, earth, mushrooms among the egalitarian mixture of roast malt, hop bitterness and yeast. The bottle is quite attractive as befits a true treasure of an ale. Well done, Young & Co.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
iCraig (32) - Manchester, Greater Manchester, ENGLAND - MAR 1, 2007
My favourite ale! Beautiful smooth taste but strong, and very moreish, very hoppy and smooth malts. And its not retired, its now brewed in Bedford by Wells and Young!

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
Wulfstan (509) - California, USA - SEP 25, 2007
This is another essentially perfect beer from Young’s. It has a deep bronze colour with copper/reddish hints, a thick, creamy, beautiful head that lasted long and left perfect lacing. The body and flavour are incredible: amazing, deep complexity with a perfect blend of bitter, sweet, malt, hops, and other subtle elements. The aroma is delicious and all round this is vbursting with flavourful, yet smooth and ultimately very memorable. I should note that Young’s seems to have a special gift at creating an excellent head and perfect lacing that sticks to the glass.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 20/20
santabeer (68) - Kristiansand, NORWAY - JUL 22, 2013
Oh my g.., this is the best beer I have ever drunk! It has got a delicious fruity taste. The smell is fruity and great. The color is just awesome. No head, but I suspect that is becuase of a washing brush that I have used for washing the dishes.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 20/20
CanCrusher (933) - Ilirska Bistrica, SLOVENIA - NOV 24, 2013
Bottle 0,50L. Clear bronze colour, for a finger big light brown head, that goes dowm into a nice circle. There is presence of a weak carbonation. Nice hoppy aroma of pines, some lemon and oranges. Taste is great, rich hops and dried fruits comes out again, oily structure just compliments it. Aftertaste is intensive and it leaves a taste of hops and spices. One of the best english ales I ever had.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
Daredevil (76) - Bern, SWITZERLAND - JUN 24, 2005
UPDATED: OCT 19, 2005 medium bodied ... earthy hops and flavors of grapfruit, pear and white pepper

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 19/20
jcalbi (380) - Medford, New Jersey, USA - FEB 15, 2002
Lovely hop aroma, and deliciously bitter taste. Hints of burnt carmel on the palate. One of my favorite session(?) beers.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
MagooinPA (100) - Warminster, Pennsylvania, USA - MAY 13, 2006
UPDATED: OCT 6, 2007 This is my favorite beer of all time on draft. I would die to have it on cask. My only problem with it is that it is made and marketed for America, originally anyway. The rest of the world should be insulted as a true beer lover would realize this is indeed Special.No longer available in these parts. Im sad over this but will pursue it with vigor! I understand you can’t find it in London anymore. An update from SE Pennsylvania!! This is available at Vadalia’s in Landsdale, Pa much to my delight. I’m enjoying one as I write. No reason to actually re-rate the particulars.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 5/5   TASTE 9/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
TheBeerLover (1026) - DC Metro Area, USA - MAY 21, 2006
This beer in my opinion is a classic English pale ale/IPA. This beer strikes an incredible balance of malt, hops, and esters, and makes for one fantatic drinking beer. Young’s Special London Ale pours to a beautiful, bright, amber color, with a creamy white head, and a moderate carbonation. The nose on this beer is excellent with lots of good flowery hop aromas, paired with some good pale malt aromas, and light esters of fruit. The palate is firm, with very good pale malt flavor, paired with some "flinty" flavor, and light, estery fruit flavor. SLA finishes with more good pale malt and esters up front, then ends with a very pleasing, flowery bittereness that balances this one out to perfection. Outstanding beer which would work well with classic pub grub, and hearty dishes. A classic.

   AROMA 10/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 5/5   OVERALL 18/20
Peanute (1) - Upper Belvedere, Kent, ENGLAND - DEC 14, 2009 does not count
A fabulous beer with a bit a dig. An ideal refreshment after a hard day at work. The ale has real gravity and bite, but too many in one session is not recommended!

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