Young's Special London Ale
Eagle Brewery

Young's Special London AleYoung's Special London Ale
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Bitter - English Extra Special / Strong Bitter (ESB)
Ranked #6
Ranked #9,439
3.98 | pDev: 11.06%
Eagle Brewery
England, United Kingdom
Very Good
Young's Special London AleYoung's Special London Ale
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Reviews: 334 | Ratings: 456 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
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shambeano from Australia

3.88/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle with a best before 31/10/2020. Poured into a tulip.
Look: Pours a real copper amber, with about 2 cm of fluffy white head, which falls back to about 1cm, which then hands around for a while. Looks good.
Smell: little bit of toffee, a touch of grain, some herbal and floral hop. Pleasant, but just okay for mine.
Taste: caramel and toffee, a little bit of grain again, something slightly metallic, some citrus notes, a little bit of peel, some spicy and herbal hops to round it off. Tastes good.
Feel: mid bodied, really feels like it coats the mouth. A little tingle of carbonation ant the front of the tongue, the bitterness hits the back of the throat and a dry finish afterwards.
Overall: Nice, I wasn't too keen after having a whiff, but then was pleasantly surprised by the taste.

Apr 01, 2020
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KooVee from Finland

4.77/5  rDev +19.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Bottle, 2m old.

Drive-by aroma is a tantalizing mixture of unique, strong, pleasant, malt aromas and yeast esters.

Nose builds on this with notes of bread, of a dark / toasted kind, yeast-derived fruity esters, and some very British herbal/spicy hops. Or that is not quite it.. it reminds one of summer. Must be the Target in dry hopping... more usually a bittering hop.

Taste has grain... and more grain... in an extremely nice way. The hop flavour continues the floral/spicy/herbal vein. The aftertaste/feel is almost soapy, but not in an unpleasant way. Fitting moderate bitterness. Drinking more, there is a faint note of roastedness that adds suitable complexity in proportion. The yeast esters are unique in an understated way.

Overall, a perfect example of what British ale can achieve.

Jan 12, 2019
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drmeto from Germany

3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

-pours a slightly hazy golden-amber with a small to medium,frothy,offwhite head
-medium to high carbonation visible
-caramel,toffee,orange,spicy,bubble gum
-toasty malt,nutty,spicy,caramel
-medium to high bitterniss for the style
-medium,velvety carbonation
-light to medium body
A really good and typically English Ale with it's toffied malt and spicy hops.
It almost reaches the levels of Fuller's ESB.

Dec 05, 2018
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RichardLeahy from Australia

4.04/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

From 500 ml (or thereabouts) bottle. Different branding to that shown but appears to be the same product. L. Can't really tell. Appears appropriate. S, Some fruit, a little sweet and inviting. T. Solid fruit sweetness but with some spice and a dryer finish. Some grain/grass in the mix. You know you are drinking a beer. F. Smooth, not fizzy or too light. O. A really good beer that is appropriately rated here.

Sep 26, 2018
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monkist from Hungary

4.49/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is definitely an ale I recommend to all! I am a fan of Fullers above all but this Young's London ESB knows something that nobody else does. Why?
Because although it is roundly malted and pleasantly rich/sweet, it is remarkably hopped and it brings you that fruity, spicy hop feeling in the nose. It tastes exciting, ranging from zestiness to bitterness to an extent that it is indeed as close as it can get to a real Lezák from Prague! Now this is amazing indeed, both worlds coming together!
I am utterly pleased and satisfied with this ESB, perhaps the best of its kind that I have ever had, even better than Fullers' ESB - and it is something indeed!
It is something Special, it is heavily recommended!

Apr 20, 2018
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sokol_1993 from California

4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had a 500ml bottle, bought from Villa Market in Bangkok. A beautifully crafted beer. The cover with the name of the famous locations in London is quite nice, making me missing that city a lot.

Look: Golden and lively, a lot of bubbling. Good head retention.
Smell: This is where this beer is extremely lovely. A lot of floral notes, with citrus. Faint hay smell, making it's strange that this beer is named London Ale, yet it reminds me of lying on a grass field in the spring.
Taste: Hoppier than some of the ESB that I've had, a little bit overbalancing the malt, but not too much. Again, floral and citrus notes. Spicy hoppiness at the end.
Feel: Medium body, great malt aftertaste.

Great brew, a little bit hoppy for my taste but the floral and hay notes make up for it. Will have it again.

Mar 20, 2016
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Dentist666 from Russian Federation

3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured into pint.
Pours clear (but not crystal) light copper beer with good rocky off-white head, excellent retention.
Smell - toasted malts, fruitcake, notes of floral hops.
Taste - biscuity, slightly fruity & metallic, honey, unexpected alcohol hues, nice grassy hops.
Medium body, medium carbonation.
A bit harsh to be excellent.

Mar 16, 2016
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kitschiguy from Hong Kong

4.57/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Poured a 500ml bottle into an English pint glass.

Poured a nice reddish light brown/deep amber colour with a huge frothy white head. The head was very creamy on top with tight to medium bubbles at the sides. lasted all the way to the end with lots of lacing. Great looking beer.

The nose was complex with huge bready, toasted malts, dried fruit, fruitcake and some spice. Very nice.

Palate was complex also - very malty with lots of fruit flavours all over the mouth. Well-rounded. Medium to full-bodied. Some hoppy bitterness at the back of the tongue and sides of the mouth. Finish was fairly long, drying with some biterness.

Mouth was wonderfully smooth and full despite the fairly high level of carbonation. Very well-rounded.

Overall this is a really lovely beer. Huge flavours, complex, well-balanced and easy to drink despite being strong. It looks wonderful with a massive creamy, long-lasting head.

Despite being so easy to drink I wouldn't say this is a session beer - I felt a wonderfully warming, light-headed buzz after I'd finished it....

Truly outstanding. Highly recommended.

Jul 30, 2015
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Andrewharemza from Australia

4.06/5  rDev +2%
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.

Jul 18, 2015
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Decko from Australia

4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | 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.

Feb 22, 2015
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Chris_Burton from England

4.26/5  rDev +7%
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.

Dec 04, 2014
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Gastrick from England

4.75/5  rDev +19.3%

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.

Aug 28, 2014
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LagerCognoscenti from England

4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

Jun 16, 2014
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janubio from Spain

3.81/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Dec 13, 2013
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EmperorBevis from England

3.9/5  rDev -2%
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

Dec 13, 2013
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heygeebee from Australia

2.6/5  rDev -34.7%
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.

Jul 14, 2013
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Jetulio from Spain

4.11/5  rDev +3.3%
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.

Jun 18, 2013
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soju6 from Missouri

3.84/5  rDev -3.5%
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.

May 31, 2013
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Derek from Canada (BC)

3.96/5  rDev -0.5%
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.

Jan 21, 2013
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eduardolinhalis from Switzerland

4.1/5  rDev +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

Nov 28, 2012
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FLima from Brazil

4.1/5  rDev +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.

Oct 14, 2012
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MrKennedy from Australia

4.12/5  rDev +3.5%
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.

Sep 17, 2012
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doktorhops from Australia

4.14/5  rDev +4%
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.

Aug 01, 2012
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SmashPants from Australia

4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
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 :)

Jun 28, 2012
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dansmcd from Australia

3.87/5  rDev -2.8%
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.

May 18, 2012
Young's Special London Ale from Eagle Brewery
Beer rating: 89 out of 100 with 456 ratings