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Extra Special Bitter

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Location: British
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 11C - Strong Bitter

Style Description

This is the description of how the Extra Special Bitter style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Extra Special Bitter beer style.

Entries in this subcategory exhibit hop aroma and flavor attributes typical of traditional English hop varieties. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may choose to create subcategories which reflect English and American hop character.

  • Body: Medium
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Medium to medium-high
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Medium to medium-high
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Low carbonation traditionally characterizes draft-cask versions, but in bottled versions, a slight increase in carbon dioxide content is acceptable. The overall impression is refreshing and thirst quenching. Fruity esters are acceptable. Diacetyl is usually absent in these beers but may be present at low levels.
  • Common Ingredients: Pale ale, amber, and/or crystal malts, may use a touch of black malt for color adjustment. May use sugar adjuncts, corn or wheat. English finishing hops are most traditional, but any hops are fair game; if American hops are used, a light touch is required. Characterful British yeast. Burton versions use medium to high sulfate water, which can increase the perception of dryness and add a minerally or sulfury aroma and flavor
  • Commercial Examples: Bass Ale, Highland Orkney Blast, Samuel Smith's Old Brewery Pale Ale, Shepherd Neame Bishop's Finger, Shepherd Neame Spitfire, West Berkshire Dr. Hexter's Healer, Whitbread Pale Ale, Young's Ram Rod

Brewing Properties of Extra Special Bitter

The functional properties of brewing Extra Special Bitter beers as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market.

ABV
The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
4.8 - 5.8%
Bitterness
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
30 - 45 IBUs
SRM
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
8 - 17 SRM
(16 - 33 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.046 - 1.060
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.010 - 1.016

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.

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