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 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Wiseblood (700) - Clarksville, Tennessee, USA - AUG 5, 2005
Orange gold with a strong white head and dry, spicy fruity aromas. Initially smooth, but leads to a pronounced, tart, spicy, and floral hop tone. There is also more fruit flavors and some caramel and crystal malts that bring a light toastiness. The finish is slightly dry, somewhat sweet, with hints of alcohol warmth, leaving a soft yet slightly cloying aftertaste.

   AROMA 4/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
hughie (3996) - Bedford, Bedfordshire, ENGLAND - SEP 25, 2005
Good looking amber ale with a small white head. Clear, some sediment in the bottle. Malty aroma, with just a touch of hops. Full malty taste, quite sweet, with a strong bitter finish. Good, but not as good as London Pride in the ’London’ beer category

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 2/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
yalnikim (800) - Wellington, NEW ZEALAND - NOV 4, 2005
Tasted 04/11/2005. 500ml bottle-conditioned, from NW Metro, Wellington. Pours a slightly hazy orange-gold. Head disappears so fast I can only just make out it was a yellowish off-white. Oily rather than lacey. Nose is hops and esters - I definitely get the maris otter malt but it’s mostly oranges, lemonade, spices, musty and the alcohol is quite pungent. A hint vegetal in the background suggests this one’s not 100%. A dry, spicey, flavour is dominated by orange citrus and spice, after a candy-like opening. As it warms a strong, toffee, toastiness comes through. Alcohol is warm-to-hot in the mouth. Medium mouthweight become quite creamy as it warms. This is good but it’s lacking the smoothness of a very great belgian strong ale. It’s also not totally well-kept, I reckon.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
ABUSEDGOAT (2489) - California, USA - NOV 5, 2005
Tap: Clear brown body. Aroma is light hops - earth, and caramel. Definitely very English style. Almost too much so. Finishes bitter, enjoyable but not a favorite.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
Gorbalev (3000) - Ontario, CANADA - DEC 8, 2005
Bottle, Doug’s, Christmas ’05. Dark orange, small white head. Musty hops, slight malt in aroma. Strong pepper like hops in taste, as well as a little smoke. Quite flavourful malt sweetness. Pretty decent, seemed a little old though.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
blankboy (7081) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 8, 2005
Bottle at ’December at DougShoemaker’s 2005’ -- courtesy of DougShoemaker. Vintage 2000. Pours a hazy dark orange with a spare diminishing creamy white head. Aroma is fruity with some malt and a touch of hops. The flavour is predominently sweet malt and it tastes O.K. but there’s a slightly unpleasant aftertaste -- perhaps staleness due to the age of the bottle? Decent but ultimately dissapointing.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
GregClow (3078) - Toronto, Ontario, CANADA - DEC 12, 2005
Sample at DougShoemaker’s 2005 December gathering - bottle courtesy of DougShoemaker. 2000 vintage. Hazy orange-amber with a small white head. Aroma is sweet with notes of raisin and treacle. Flavour is stale but still pleasant, with a strong brown sugar character and some receding fruitiness. I’d love to try a fresher bottle of this sometime.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 12/20
nick76 (4366) - Tampa, Florida, USA - DEC 21, 2005
The aroma is toasted malt, caramel, and spruce. The appearance is amber orange with a nice foamy head. The flavor is lightly sweet, fruity, malty, and bitter. Average palate. The aftertaste is candy like. Nice.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
aracauna (3411) - Georgia, USA - JAN 16, 2006
Fairly clear amber with a great foam. Fruity aroma. Apples and pears. Slight caramel malt. Mellow. Almost a little sweet. An ok session beer, but it’s not going to knock your socks off.

   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 13/20
fordest (2362) - Santee/San Diego, California, USA - MAR 13, 2006
bottle. Amber pour with a decent head. Aromas were sweet and malty. But the flavor fell off a bit. The bitterness was nice, but just all around pretty boring.

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