Virtual Extra Special Bitter (ESB)


My friend Alon and I made this one near the beginning of COVID-19, and brewed nearly the same recipe at the same time, checking in with each other virtually, hence the name. It’s an extra-special bitter, which is a style of British pub ale that has biscuity, butterscotch flavors. Not quite true to the style, we went a bit heavy on the dry hops, adding 1oz of East Kent Golding in the keg, which adds a fresh bitterness, and I conditioned mine on yeast from a previous NEIPA I made, which definitely changed the flavor a bit, but in a good way :)

(Brew note: if I were to change anything, I’d increase the boil time from 60 to 90 minutes, or do a simple decoction, to give it a bit more body.)



Yeast: Pitched onto the yeastcake from the previous homebrew!

Water Chemistry: Target water profile: Ca=110, Mg=18, Na=17, Cl=49, SO4=92


  1. Pick up ice/propane.
  2. Preheat mash tun, attach mash tun filter.
  3. Heat 4 gal of mash water to 166F. Once hot, add:
    • 2.6g gypsum, 1/4 campden
  4. Mash for 60 minutes at 153F. (on brewday, it was too high at first, almost 160!)
  5. With 15 minutes remaining, heat sparge water to 170. Once hot, add:
    • 3.6g gypsum, 1/4 campden, 2mL lactic acid
  6. Add 1oz East Kent Golding hops to kettle for first wort hop. Attach kettle filter.
  7. Recirculate and sparge. Bring to a boil.
    • .5 oz EKG (20 min)
    • Add cooling coil, thermo (15 min)
    • .5 oz EKG, whirlfloc tablet, 1tsp yeast nutrient (5 min)
  8. Cool to 65F.
  9. Transfer to sanitized bucket, add yeast and aerate for 1min.
  10. Dry hop in the keg with 1oz EKG.