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05-11-2010, 20:11
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The final Wells & Youngs beer to sample is the flagship of their range, the 6.4% ABV, bottle-conditioned Young’s Special London Ale (http://www.wellsandyoungs.co.uk/home/our-beers/ales/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.

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