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If you want to start brewing real classic beer styles, there is no better place to start than with the Classic English Pale Ale. This is a simple beer to brew, but it gives you a lot of control over the two aspects that will give you the most flexibility in brewing and modifying the beers you brew: malt and hops.
With the English Pale Ale, you will use light malt extract as the base malt and add some Crystal malt for coloring, flavor and aroma. You see, the crystal malt can be adjusted up to give your beer more of a malt sweetness and add body. Less reduces the sweetness and makes a cleaner, dryer English Ale. Because it comes in a range from really light (10L) to the fairly dark (120L). As you adjust just the malt for your later brews, you will find that you are actually brewing another Classic Beer Style! For example, add 4-6 ounces of Chocolate malt and reduce the crystal, and you will be brewing an English Brown Ale. Pretty cool, eh? The classic English Hops are Fuggles and East Kent Goldings. While there are others, these two are the most readily recognized and most popular. Fuggles is often used for the bittering hop. Again, the more you use, the more bitter your brew and the less you use... The East Kent Goldings are late addition "finishing" hops and are added at the end of the boil. This contributes to the flavoring and aroma of your beer. After making your first batch of English Pale Ale, you may wish to try another finishing hop with a flavor you may find you prefer. Again, you are brewing for YOU! When you brew the classic styles, you will find that these beers have been refined over the years, and often centuries to give you the balance, flavor, and enjoyment that you will explore and enjoy as a home brewer.