Friday 5 November 2010

Capital Ale

The final Wells & Youngs beer to sample is the flagship of their range, the 6.4% ABV, bottle-conditioned Young’s Special London Ale. It comes in a brown bottle with an attractive, mainly blue label.

It pours clear, leaving all the sediment in the bottle, and exhibits a vigorous natural carbonation, as with the London Gold, which suggests that the brewery have mastered the issue of getting consistent quality and genuine secondary fermentation from bottle-conditioned ales.

The colour is dark amber – not a pale beer, but fairly pale for a British ale of this strength. It has a full, satisfying mouthfeel, as with all the W&Y beers. The aroma is subdued, mixing fruit with CO2.

There’s an initial surprising hoppy attack, which then slowly metamorphoses through spiciness into a lingering aftertaste of sweet, creamy malt. It is fairly light in body for its strength, although you are aware of some alcohol warmth.

A distinctive, complex, multi-faceted beer that makes a good contrast with the richer, heavier Fullers 1845, which is of similar strength. Definitely one to be savoured.


  1. The best Youngs beer by far.

  2. Dear Mudgie,all this talk about
    fine ale is really putting a strain
    on my boycott of pubs and booze
    (like most decent people I dont drink at home.
    Fortunately I often visit Belgium and Holland** where ,as you know,
    there is no shortage of real beer,
    in real bars with real men (and women)

    ** Just amended their ban giving
    small bars the choice.

    Hope Springs

  3. I love this beer, so interesting to drink if you want it to be, and a great sipper otherwise, definitely [baron rating 5/5]:

  4. Agree- tried this and really enjoyed it- sometimes I enjoy a smoke whilst drinking so I was lucky as the garden was mild and with good craic !

  5. Special London Ale is certainly a very fine beer, and I agree with Ed that it is by far the best beer to come out of the Young's stable.

    My only slight gripe is, and here I'm being really nit-picking, shouldn't it now be called Special Bedford Ale??

  6. One of my faves, actually. Wonderful. So bright, so refreshing and zesty.

  7. On the basis of your write up, I must keep an eye out for it.


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