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


on tap

Broad Distribution

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RATINGS: 1001   WEIGHTED AVG: 3.52/5   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.

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   AROMA 7/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
thedm (5947) - Fredonia, New York, USA - MAR 16, 2004
This bottled brew poured a large sized head of foamy finely sized off-white colored long lasting bubbles. The body was a softly carbonated transparent amber brown color. The aroma was malty and hoppy with a smattering of caramel. The mouth feel was mildly tingly initially then strengthened in the finish and faded away. The flavor was malty and hoppy.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 7/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 13/20
hotstuff (4921) - Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA - MAR 16, 2004
Bottle. A medium sized off-white head that was creamy and smooth along with fine-medium sized bubbles that mostly diminished. The body was carbonated and transparent with a gold-orange hue. The nose was malty, hoppy, sweet and fruity. The flavor was hoppy and slightly bitter. The mouthfeel was hoppy and this was a medium bodied beer with sparse lacing.

   AROMA 6/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 6/10   PALATE 3/5   OVERALL 14/20
GREMLIN (5) - USA - MAR 6, 2004 does not count
Nice hoppy nose, good caramel color, just the right amount of corbonation. Suprisingly well ballanced for an English strong ale. Heavy hop right up front, smooth toffee like malt in the middle then long light hop finish.

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 16/20
warrior (213) - Mt. Wolf, Pennsylvania, USA - MAR 6, 2004
Good malty aroma with a firm hop aroma and fruity esters coming through. Clear orange amber color with a cream colored head with good lacing. Good sweet caramel malt flavor with a good balance of hop flavor and bitterness. This was an excellent beer that reminded me more of an english IPA than a strong ale.

   AROMA 9/10   APPEARANCE 4/5   TASTE 10/10   PALATE 4/5   OVERALL 18/20
dirkbreedveld (288) - NETHERLANDS - MAR 1, 2004
nice amber color, malt and citrusaroma's. Nice long taste and easy to drink aswell, again a hit from this brewerie

   AROMA 8/10   APPEARANCE 3/5   TASTE 8/10   PALATE 2/5   OVERALL 14/20
Mungo (2470) - 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 (4176) - 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.

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