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Abbot Ale Clone Recipe

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I've tried several times to find a Clone Recipe of Greene King Abbot Ale, but none of the editions of Graham Wheeler's "Brew Your Own British Real Ale" have a version and the one listed in Dave Line's "Brewing Beers Like Those You Buy" contains ingredients that don't correspond with those on Greene King's own website.

On the labels on Abbot bottles, Greene King admit to using Pale Malt, Amber Malt and Crystal Malt and on their website they say that First Gold, Challenger and Fuggles as their hops.

With this in mind, and making use of Graham Wheeler's "Beer Engine", I combined the ingredients to try and obtain a beer which  had a starting gravity of 1049°, an EBC of 14 (decided on by holding a bottle up to the light and comparing it (from memory) to my colour charts) and an EBU bitterness of around 28 (decided on because I don't really like over bitter beers).

My recipe came out as:

Grain EBC  Weight
Maris Otter Pale Malt  5  4750g
Amber Malt  60 250g
Crystal Malt  120 35g
The Hops were added as follows:
 Hop AA% Weight Boil Time
Whole First Gold  8.3%  15g  90 mins
Whole Challenger  7.6%  15g  90 mins
Whole Fuggles  3.9%  10g  15 mins
It was mashed for 90 minutes at 65°C and I achieved a 75% efficiency. It is currently fermenting in the back of the shop and I expect it to be ready just in time for New Year.

On subsequent brews, I added 7g each of First Gold and Challenger hops as late boil additions for the last 15 minutes and they really enhanced the flavour without really changing the bitterness.

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  1. Mike Beswick

    Do you get that amber colour? Fruity notes. And lovely hoppy nose.

    Hi Mike,

    It's been a while since I made this one, but my last "saved" recipe shows that I added around 15g of Black Malt to darken the colour a little. If you want extra aroma, you can always dry hop the beer in the keg or for a few days in a secondary fermenter prior to bottling.

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  2. Gary Elderman

    IBU of 28 I think is very high. I had my first one a few days ago and it tasted almost hopless. Was very malty with notes of caramel. I sensed mild bitterness at most. I want to get cloning this one as well.

    Hi Gary,

    As Greene King don't readily provide colour and IBU information, this recipe was created using info they do provide (without quantities or proportions) to suit my drinking preferences. I rarely brew any beer that is outside the 28-32 IBU range as I'm not a huge fan of aggressively bitter beers/ales, so I played around with the hop quantities/mixtures to allow me to get within that range. As mentioned in the later updates, I admit that this one wasn't as close to Abbot as I had hoped, but made a tasty beer anyway and gave me some ideas as to how to adjust the flavour and colour. If the resulting bitterness of this version is too high for your taste, you could just drop the hop amounts by 25% and that should bring it down to around 23 IBU.

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  3. Rick

    Hi, there is no mention of added sugars or yeast type. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Hi Rick,

    Thanks for the comments. By using 4.75kgs of Pale Malt you should get around 4.8%ABV without the need for any added sugars. Obviously, if you wish to increase the strength without increasing the body and residual sweetness, you could add sufficient Brewing Sugar (Dextrose) to bring it up to the desired OG, or you could drop the Malt content if you don't want quite such a full bodied beer and replace it with an appropriate amount of sugar to achieve your preferred OG (which is what was done in the original Dave Line recipe). You can, if desired use granulated sugar, but I prefer not to and will always use Brewing Sugar whenever a recipe calls for it as I find I prefer the results.

    With regard to yeast, Dave Line didn't specify a particular yeast, though he was a bit more restricted in the mid 1970s than we are today, and I don't particulalry recommend one as, like many things in brewing, it comes down to personal taste. There are many brewers who refuse to use dried yeast, or insist that a trip to Greene King to acquire a jug full of their yeast is essential if you are trying to recreate their beer, but, as I am not one of those people fortunate enough to be blessed with the ability to discern the subtle nuances that individual yeasts impart, I tend to brew almost all my English style Ales with Muntons Gold, which is essentially a half pitching rate of Safale SO4, or a pack of SO4 if I am in a rush and want a quick fermentation.

    The "recipe" is not trying to absolutely replicate commercially brewed Abbot, merely produce something that is similar in style, body and strength, so as long as you are using a suitable Beer/Ale yeast that produces the results YOU like, please feel free to use whatever yeast you have to hand.


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  4. Brian

    Bit out of date, I know, but Greene King changed the recipe for Abbot some time ago (1980's I think) - that's why Dave Line's book (old recipe Abbot) doesn't include some of the things which GK say on their website. To my mind, they're 2 different beers.


    I agree Brian, which is why I've played about with the info on Greene King's website to try and make something nearer to what they sell today. Its still not totally accurate (as they give no indication of proportions of Malts or Hops), but it produces a really nice beer !

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  5. David Green

    Just wondering how this beer turned out, I moved to Canada 8 years ago and home brew. I saw the Abbots ale in my local beer store so had one and realised how much ao miss this beer. So I'm looking for a clone but havent found anyone who has brewed it and said that their beer turned out just like the original.

    Hello David.

    I have tried several different versions of this beer, but none of them seem quite right. it turns out that if you have a look at Greene King's website, they suggest a completely different hop bill than any of those provided in the printed recipes.

    After a fair bit of experimentation, I have settled on the following recipe which, though still not quite Abbot Ale, produces a very tasty beer:

    For 23 litres

    Grain Bill (Mashed in 12.5ltrs at 65°C for 90 minutes):

    Pale Malt (5 EBC) - 4750g
    Crystal Malt (130 EBC) - 250g
    Amber Malt (100 EBC) - 50g

    Main Boil Hops 90 minutes

    First Gold (8.3% AA) - 11g
    Challenger (7.5% AA) - 11g
    Fuggles (4.8% AA) - 11g

    Late Boil Hops for last 15 minutes

    First Gold (8.3% AA) - 7g
    Challenger (7.5% AA) - 7g

    This produces a beer of around 4.8% ABV, with a bitterness of 30 EBU and a colour of 20 EBC

    Obviously, if you are working in lbs and L/SRM measures for your grain or using US gallons rather than Imperial gallons or litres, you'll need to adjust this accordingly.

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  6. Paul

    Hi there, I know it's been a while but just wondering if you can remember how this recipe turned out? Cheers, Paul.


    Hi Paul, I have posted updates later in the blog. It was a nice beer but was slightly the wrong colour and flavour. I have also posted an amended recipe.

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