Friday, November 23, 2012

Brew Day: Scottish Ale

When it comes to brewing Scottish style ales, there are a few methods that most American homebrewers seem to follow. The first and most talked about method involves reducing the first runnings of the mash, drawn from a mixture of pale malt and roasted barley, and adding it back to beer during the boil. This is supposed to mimic the malty-caramel flavors and kettle carmelization of "authentic" Scottish ales. Or so we are told. The second method achieves a similar character using a mixture of light and dark crystal malts, with smaller amounts of aromatic, munich, and honey malt for additional maltiness. While I certainly don't believe these methods are even remotely authentic or make the best tasting Scottish ale, they can make nice tasting beer. However, one of the problems I have with the latter method, is that often people go overboard with the dark crystal malts, giving the beer a strong raisiny flavor that to my tastes seems more appropriate for a Belgian dubbel than a Scottish whatever. Regardless, the beer I am brewing today is my version of a lighter colored Scottish ale - modeled on Belhaven - that hopefully showcases more sweet toffee flavor than dark caramel. I was originally going to use the Edinburgh Ale yeast (wlp028) but decided against it as I want to keep the beer toward the sweetish-toffee side of things. When all is done, I hope to have an easy drinking and flavorful, malty beer. Kilts, bagpipes, haggis, and all of that too.

Scotch Bitter: Scottish Ale
Recipe Specifics:
Batch Size (Gal): 4.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 8.05
Anticipated OG: 1.048
Anticipated FG: 1.012
Anticipated SRM: 10
Anticipated IBU: 23
Efficiency: 70%
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

80.7% - 6.50 lbs. Golden Promise
8.1%   - 0.65 lbs. Crystal 30L 
6.2%   - 0.50 lbs. Munich Malt
3.7%   - 0.30 lbs. Honey Malt
1.2%   - 0.10 lbs. Pale Chocolate

1.00 oz. EKG @ 60 min for 21 IBU
0.50 oz. EKG @ 5 min for 2 IBU

Yeast: Wyeast 1318 London III
Mash 156F for 60 min
Brewed on 20 November


  1. Brewing this up on Tuesday. Got a new keg setup and this sounds perfect for the maiden run!

    1. Congrats on the keg setup! It's amazing how much more brewing one does when there are kegs to fill. I'm certaintly looking forward to getting this beer in the keg. Cheers.

  2. Thanks Will. I'll update the blog with the results in a few weeks as soon as I begin pouring. Fermentation went off great.


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