Young's Special London Ale - Wells & Young's Ltd

Not Rated.
Young's Special London AleYoung's Special London Ale

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BA SCORE
89
very good

326 Reviews
THE BROS
90
outstanding

(Read More)
Reviews: 326
Hads: 429
rAvg: 3.97
pDev: 10.83%
Wants: 41
Gots: 22 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Wells & Young's Ltd visit their website
United Kingdom (England)

Style | ABV
Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB) |  6.40% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 01-14-2001

No notes at this time.
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Beer: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 326 | Hads: 429
Photo of Andrewharemza
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Slightly hazy Amber beer with medium head and patchy lacing. Aroma of malts, fruits and yeast. Taste is malts, caramel, dried fruit and some sweet cake. Medium to light bodied. Excellent stuff. (193 characters)

Photo of Decko
4.15/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

A - Cloudy Amber poured into an IPA glass. Head diminished but left about a finger's width in the glass. S - nice fruity aroma with hops coming through. T- beautifully balanced beer with light fruitiness and hops in just the right proportion. Hard to believe it is over 6% BV as I couldn't detect the alcohol coming through. M - again spot on with carbonation limited enough to keep a smooth almost creamy feel. O - overall this was a lovely beer which could be a great session beer even given the strength. I'll be drinking more of this. (538 characters)

Photo of Chris_Burton
4.26/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The first time I tried this I want really sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it and vowed to have it again someday. A few months later and I'm drinking my second bottle.

Upon pouring it gave a large foamy head which went down to about a finger. The body was a hazy amber. Moderate citrus aroma and taste with a sweet spiciness, almost a marmalade like flavour with a spicy, bitter dryness from the liberal use of hops. Mouthfeel is perfect - just the right amount of fulness and carbonation for the style. The result is a cross between a traditional British bitter and modern crafty American pale ale, although I'm not sure if that was the intention.

All in all, I'll confess I've not always been blown away by Young's brewery in the past, not because their beer is bad but simply not that memorable either. This is a clear exception, and well worth seeking out if you enjoy traditional English ale with a bit more omph than usual. (973 characters)

Photo of Gastrick
4.75/5  rDev +19.6%

Citrus, floral, nice hops, lively small bubbles.

I can't believe this is 6.4 abv, more quaffable than any session beer I can think of.

I do like this brewery, but this surpassed my expectations. (197 characters)

Photo of LagerCognoscenti
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Looks amazing. Highly carbonated due to bottle conditioning. Deep orange marmalade colour. Spectacular lacing and 3 dimensional foam right to the end. Smells like candied fruit. A rather Belgian smell in fact. Similar to a tripel or Belgian strong pale ale.. The taste is more candied fruit with spicy peppery hops. Floral to an extent and perfectly balanced. A little bitterness is present but it's wrapped in a yeasty fruity sweet parcel. This is super tasty but easy drinking with a nice abv that pushes the top end of "moderate". Warming and spicy. Hard to categorise. A great example of a modern British bottle conditioned ale.

My mark out of one hundred would be 82. (673 characters)

Photo of janubio
3.81/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500 ml. bottle. It pours a deep golden to amber colour, with a medium head that leaves both good crown and lace. Smell is fruity, apples, bananas?) Smoky, caramel, citrus. Great body, full and creamy palate. Taste of fruits, resine, caramel. Really good. (254 characters)

Photo of EmperorBevis
3.9/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Clear amber body big frothy white head

Aromas of golden syrup with slight citrus fruit

That syrup element is there like a sponge pud but not sickly that goes full on malt and ends on swift bitter kick

Easy drinking deceptive for the strength

good straight up tasty ale (273 characters)

Photo of heygeebee
2.6/5  rDev -34.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

No BB.

A - Pale amber, one finger coarse head.

S - Malts, bready, almost yeast.

T - English malts and caramels, tainted by sharp astringent aftertaste

M - Over carbonated as seems standard for many bottles of English styles.

O - Overall, sad example of style, tainted. (273 characters)

Photo of Jetulio
4.11/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

500 ml bottle poured into a Pint glass
Appearance... amber/copper beer with head colour white of 1 finger
Aroma... malt, esters, hops. Fresh and not too strong smell with a little touch of malty aroma
Taste... fruits and herbal in a light style, bitterness appears soon lasting all the time,
Mouthfeel... medium body and medium/soft carbonation
Overall... a very nice ale, bitterness is present in a classical English style, refreshing beer too. (446 characters)

Photo of soju6
3.84/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours a golden honey color with a nice head that fades to lacing.

S: Aroma of sweet fruits, some malt sweetness with a bit of hops and spice in the background.

T: Taste of some caramel sweetness with some fruit and bit of spice. Nice bitterness and a dry finish.

F: Moderate body, smooth texture and well balanced.

O: Enjoyable beer, very nice for the style. (369 characters)

Photo of Derek
3.96/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Coppery-bronze with an off-white head, good retention, leaves some lace.

Subtle aroma of fruity esters, British hops and some underlying malt sweetness.

I expected a little more bitterness for balance, but the sweetness from the malt is still pleasant. Some modest fruity esters, with only a hint of hops in the flavour.

Moderate body has a very slight residual sweetness.

Overall it's a nice British brew. Though for something this strong today, I'd expect a little more hops & bitterness. (494 characters)

Photo of eduardolinhalis
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle served in an English pint glass.

A: Pours a dark orange to amber color. Clear. Forms a medium bubbled and aired white to yellow color. Many lacing are formed and left in the glass

S: Sweet grains. Toffee and caramel malts. Flowery citrus hops. Bready and fruity Ale yeasts

T: Slightly sweet malts. A bit fruity too. Toffee, caramel malts, grapes, brown bread. A little bit metallic. End is hoppy and bitter. Not extremely, just as a good ESB should be :)

M: Light body. Medium carbonation. Grainy and bitter aftertaste. Great balance

O: Excellent drinkability. Great British ale. Recommended (609 characters)

Photo of FLima
4.1/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Little foam but good carbonation. Dark brown colour. Herbal hops are predominant in its aroma. As expected, a bitter taste, but also quite refreshing at the same time. Sweetness from malt with some fudge twist. Some citric notes can also be identified.
All in all, a very balanced beer with high drinkability but with lots of taste. Excelent beer. (347 characters)

Photo of MrKennedy
4.12/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

500ml bottle from Vintage Cellars, Wynyard, into a Brooklyn tulip.

Pours an orange light amber colour with a white head of foam that sits at a level just above film on top. Sporadic lacing.

Smells of toasted malt, marmalade, light citrus with some orange. Unmistakeably English.

Tastes on the sweeter side with toffee, light caramel as well as some citrus with light orange. Vibrant.

Sessionable, yet there is a substantial body to it. Quite impressive. I think the citric flavour helps keeps it very drinkable and the solid malt base makes it feel very full bodied.

A classic. Impressed with this and how well it has held up especially given the journey. Was saving this for an English tasting night that didn't get off the ground. Been a good 5 years or more since i've had a glass of this and even better than i remember it to be. Super impressed. (855 characters)

Photo of doktorhops
4.14/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Well, well, Wells & Young's, after being averagely impressed with their Banana Bread Beer it was a long wait between rounds (so to speak) and finally I succumbed to buying the Special London Ale with (topically) an Olympics being held in London right now ("Aussie, Aussie, Osterreich! Oy, Oy, Ja!", or something along those lines).

Poured from a 500ml bottle into a nonic pint (Imperial, of course rebel scum).

A: Looks the part; white head, cloudy amber body.

S: Heavy toasted malt base with a smattering of the classic English hops (Fuggles & Goldings) which give it a fruity and earthy aroma, and a hint of musty yeast. Smells like a classic English pub ale.

T: First of all - read the best served at temperature on the back of the bottle; 10 to 12 degrees Celsius - this makes a difference. English pub ales are best drunk lukewarm, not ice cold, this really brings out the flavours: toasted toffee malt base with a slight grassy hop front note leading to a pine/resinous hop back palate. It's a smooth blend too, which really adds to the drinking experience, I'm almost done yet I really want another.

M: Mid to heavy body with a light carbonation. Heavier than most English pub ales but it is explained by 6.5% ABV.

D: Sold! It's a great old style English pub ale that we have here. Perfect example of the style and very enjoyable. I'll 'ave another.

Food match: The national dish of the United Kingdom; fish & chips... no wait, curry. (1,448 characters)

Photo of SmashPants
4.08/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: cool, chunky embossed 500mL brown bottle, decent old-school label. A stylish package that has me expecting a nice brew.

Appearance: amber in colour with a thick, frothy off-white head that drops to a lower, creamy head with fantastic retention and lacing.

Aroma: The aroma carries light caramel malts, with yeast character as a faintly tart and lightly fruity (berries, apple). Inviting.

Taste: Touch of caramel malts, bitter hops carry throughout. Fruit and citrus tastes, melon and mango, lemon and apricot.

Aftertaste: Strong bitterness carries through. Not sure about the aftertaste, as I am still getting used to this style. Certainly well made.

Mouthfeel: like most English ales, fairly low in carbonation. Slightly creamy body helps it go down pretty easy.

Overall: a nicely made higher profile English bitter ale. Reasonably expensive, but also reasonably brilliantly made :) (897 characters)

Photo of dansmcd
3.87/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

A - Dark orange amber and murky, frothy bubbly head with no retention, small streaks of sticky lace.

S - Biscuit, grain, apricot, honey and herbs, quite sweet with some citrus peel bitterness.

T - Lightly bitter, caramelised orange and tangy apricot. Biscuity malt. Really nice balance.

M - High carbonation, light bodied - could be beefed up a bit.

O - I passed by this one so many times before sampling it. It deserved better. (432 characters)

Photo of Evil_Pidde
3.42/5  rDev -13.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours clear copper with a large off-white head. Only some lace.

S: Caramell malt, semi-sweet and slightly roasted. Fruity and buttery. Some bitter hops.

T: Follows the nose. The floral hops holds both lemons and apples, and some faint pears. Bitter and buttery.

M: Aftertaste lingers with nice bitter notes. Body is medium and carbonation quite strong and a bit offensive.

O: Not a bad beer, but it is a bit too "basic" for my taste. (440 characters)

Photo of metter98
4.05/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: The beer is relatively clear dark copper in color and has a very slight amount of visible carbonation. It poured with a thin off white head that quickly died down, leaving lacing covering the surface and a thick ring of large bubbles around the edge of the glass.
S: There are strong aromas of fruity yeast in the nose.
T: The taste has fruity flavors from the yeast along with notes of apples and toffee along with hints of butter and caramel.
M: It feels medium-bodied and a bit chewy on the palate with a low amount of carbonation (almost like it was served on cask).
O: This beer is very easy to drink and quite sessionable. I wouldn’t mind drinking a few of these in one sitting because it’s very flavorful compared to other beers in the style. (756 characters)

Photo of cervezango
3.64/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

look, honey amber gold thick resiliant head and lacey,

looks like i wanna drink it,
towards the end of the bottle gets darker with the yeast on the bottom

smell , smell hoppy sweet corn syrup, smells like stella

taste, tastes like hops nice hops. grassy, naturey feel, lots ofcarbination for an ale a bit of sweetness after witha yeasty finish.

thick and dry

would reccomend. (382 characters)

Photo of GONZALOYANNA
4.06/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle.Pint glass.Enjoyed on may´11.Amber copper.Foggy.Large bubbled white froth crown. Head is dense,good retention & copious lacing on sides.Slightly resiny hop aromas.Caramel malt flavors,hints of orange zest.Fresh & crispy spiced notes.Pleasant & refreshing bitterness showing an smooth & clean acidity in mouth. Medium body, soft carbonation.Dry bitter aftertaste,light smoked salt sensation.Very good dinkability. (426 characters)

Photo of Raven3464
3.46/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Pours a beautiful copper color with plenty of carbonation.

Smell: Spicy hops and yeast are apparent but nothing really stands out, at least for an ale.

Taste: It's not as good as I expected. There's no fruit flavor and the hop kick is greatly subdued. It taste like freshly baked bread with a slight hint of hops at the end. In other words, a stereotypical beer.

Mouth feel: It feels creamy and full bodied. There are no complaints here.

Overall: I realize balance is important for the style but this beer really does not take any risks. There's nothing offensive about the taste like many macro brews but nothing really stands out enough to make the beer special either. It's a good beer but not worth what I paid for it. In a perfect beer world, this is what the worst macro beers should taste like. (819 characters)

Photo of sfprint
4.09/5  rDev +3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had on the Southbank near the Tate Modern

A: Almost syrupy orange with suspended microsediment on the top 1/3rd otherwise transparent, basically no head, no rising carbonation with a soapy lacing.
S: IPAish but not really bitter, cloud of mild inviting hoppy sweetness. Beautiful smell.
T: Mild to moderate bitterness, has a watery quality, well blended, mild flavor slightly citric.
M: Smooth and sleek and virtually absent of carbonation.
O: Pretty good. (458 characters)

Photo of mrfrancis
4.18/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A: Poured from the bottle into a pint glass, this beer displays a rich golden amber hue beneath a creamy white head. Honestly, I was expecting this beer to be darker, but whatever.

S: Aromas of toffee, lemon jelly, orange marmalade, and earthy English ale hops fill the nose. It smells like most English ales. Far from bad, but nothing out of the ordinary.

T: The entry is smooth and rich, giving way to pronounced notes of leather, oranges, lemon, heather, almonds, toffee, heavy cream, pepper, and herbs. The finish is complex and hoppy with a prolonged swirl of cream, toffee, and peppery, herbal hop flavors.

M: Full-bodied and substantial in the mouth. Upon entry, the beer is silky, smooth, and not all that dry, but dries out nicely on the fade.

O: I love this beer, and it gets even better after it has been in the bottle for about a year. I'm not sure I'd call it an ESB though. I've always thought of it as more of an English strong ale (951 characters)

Photo of Eramen
3.88/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Clear, light golden brown, with a one finger head that has nice staying power.

S - Fresh fruit/citrus/apple, malts, breads.

T - Much the same as the smell but the fruits are far more pronounced. Also there is a dry spiciness and a touch of alcohol adding much depth to the flavours.

MF - Medium-light foamy body with a fairly intense carbonation.

O - Quite a nice beer, and one of the better ones from this brewery. (423 characters)

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Young's Special London Ale from Wells & Young's Ltd
89 out of 100 based on 326 ratings.