Sunday 7 November 2010

Wells & Youngs - a summary

In conclusion, the bottles I was kindly given to sample by Wells & Youngs represented a varied range of quality beers that were all distinctively different and avoided having an obvious house character*. If they do have something in common, it is that they are all to a greater or lesser extent malty but dry. All of them are beers that I have bought myself in the past.

Bottle-conditioning can often be problematic in quality terms, but Wells & Youngs seem to have got it right, with the beers (unlike some) having noticeably conditioned in the bottle, but all the yeast sticking to the bottom and not ending up in the glass.

As an everyday drinking beer the Wells Burning Gold is probably my favourite, but the Young’s Special London Ale is well worth saving for a cold night or a special occasion. Directors is the one where the tasting most improved my previous opinion.

The only one of the five beers I found a touch disappointing was the Young’s London Gold which, while pleasant enough, was lacking in distinctiveness and, as I said, maybe too subtle for its own good. Although it looks the part, I kept searching for something flavour-wise that I couldn’t quite find.

This will also motivate me to look out for the bottle-conditioned Young’s Bitter. The last time I remember having some on cask was probably in 2008 but it was always one of my favourite “ordinary” bitters. The bottled version is, however considerably stronger at 4.5% ABV rather than 3.7%.

* To be honest I quite like the Greene King house character, but all of their beers taste somewhat the same.

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