Author Topic: Scottish Ale  (Read 1235 times)

Offline chumley

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Scottish Ale
« on: August 03, 2011, 10:33:43 AM »
I'm looking to formulate a good Scottish ale recipe.  I've never had much luck with this style, and haven't brewed it for several years.  I have had much better luck in brewing wee heavies.

A guy I work with just came back from the Oregon Brewers Festival, where he said his favorite beer was Fearless Scottish Ale.  Looking at its description, it sounds like something that woould be good to serve at the office open house in early December.

Here's what I'm looking for:

1. OG 1.048 or so (I don't know or particularly care what number of shilling that is  :))

2. EKGs for bitterness.

3. A nice, rich malty flavor...but not too sweet.

4. A dash of roasted barley for color.

5. Wyeast 1728

Previous attempts have focused on using 100% Golden Promise, with some caramelization of the first runnings.  While that works great for a 1.075 Traquir House type of wee heavy, the lower gravity version seems a bit bland.  Attempts adding the medium range crystal malts have come out too sweet (they seem to work better in bitters with fruity english ale yeasts).

So, it looks like is all about the grain bill.  I'm looking for recommendations.  Maybe some munich malt?  Or the caramalts, like caravienne?  Aromatic?  For base malt I have lots of Malteurop 2-row, which is very similar to Golden Promise, Maris Otter, and German pils in stock.

Thanks in advance for suggestions.

Offline hoser

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2011, 10:55:37 AM »
Jamil Zainasheff has a pretty good 60 Schilling recipe in Brewing Classic Styles that attemps to achieve the malt complexity through several specialty grains.  He has garnered a lot of awards with this recipe.  I have brewed the 80 version a couple of times with heather with good results.  Basically the amount of specialty grains stays the same and you adjust your base grain to achieve your desired OG. Mash warm, 158F witha a 90 minute boil.  One interesting technique Jamil uses is to pitch one fresh vial of WLP001 and ferment cool in the low 60's F to get a clean, slightly underattenuated fermentation characteristic to the beer.

Here is a link to the recipe if you don't have BCS
http://beerdujour.com/Recipes/Jamil/JamilsScottish60.htm

Hope this helps, good luck!

Offline denny

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2011, 11:14:49 AM »
Try contacting Ken Johnson at Fearless.  He may give you some tips.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline dhacker

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #3 on: August 04, 2011, 05:48:42 AM »
IMO the style is about the base malt and the yeast. Simple grain bills as well. (three malt max) I do think you have to have 'some' crystal in there but not a lot. A sprinkle of RB would be fine to get the color right. Mashing at 158 and under attenuating seems to defeat the idea of eliminating the sweetness.

I think you're right on track with your plan. 86% base, 10% Munich, 4% 60L and enough RB to adjust the color where you want it. I'd mash 152-154 and pitch yer WY1728.

I should add . . definitely yes on EKGs and forget about trying to caramelize first runnings, etc etc . . This has been one of the easiest to make recipe styles in my library and never fails to please the partakers! 
« Last Edit: August 04, 2011, 05:57:32 AM by dhacker »
Just brew it...

Offline hoser

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2011, 08:06:53 AM »
IMO the style is about the base malt and the yeast. Simple grain bills as well. (three malt max) I do think you have to have 'some' crystal in there but not a lot. A sprinkle of RB would be fine to get the color right. Mashing at 158 and under attenuating seems to defeat the idea of eliminating the sweetness.

I don't think I ever mentioned the word "sweetness"  There you go putting words in my mouth (or fingers) ;D.  It is a common misconception that high mash temps and underattenuation will create "sweetness".  The reason you mash high is to create long chain dextrins which lead to mouth feel and chewiness.  Maltiness is often confused as sweetness.  Melanoidin, biscuit, toasty, etc. is along the lines of being malty.  The reason for using WLP001 and slightly underattenuate is to leave some of the dextrins and prevent the beer from being thin.  Just because the beer may be underattenuated does not mean it will be sweet.  Considering Cal Ale yeast can easily attenuate to 80%, by underpitching and keeping the ferment cool, it may only attenuate to 70-75%, which can still give a dry perception.  Which is right in line with the specs given for WLP028 scottish ale yeast attenuation percentage of 70-75%.  Maybe saying "underattenuate" was a poor choice of words, the goal is lower the attenuation percentage.

Lots of things besides underattenuation can give the perception of "sweetness."  Alcohols, fermentation esters, crystal malts, and even some hop varietals.  I have had plenty of Belgian beers and IPAs that I know are bone dry, but give the perception of sweetness because of the factors I previously mentioned.  I also know for a fact that Lagunitas mashes their IPA at 160F and there is no apparent sweetness in that beer.  Having brewed Jamil's recipe more than once and based on his success in competition with that beer, I would definitely say the recipe does not create a sweet beer.

In terms of a standard Scottish ale recipes there is more than one way to skin a cat.  The one thing I would say is DO NOT use peat malt!

Offline chumley

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 03:23:37 PM »
Thanks for the suggestions.  I am thinking that I might try brewing the Jamil and Hacker recipes, and decide which one I like the best. 

Offline dhacker

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #6 on: August 04, 2011, 06:05:02 PM »
Good plan Chum! I guess it's a blessing that a half dozen folks didn't give you ideas!  :D

[In terms of a standard Scottish ale recipes there is more than one way to skin a cat. 

Yes sir . . that is what it BOILS down to!  ;)
Just brew it...

Offline chumley

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Re: Scottish Ale
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 01:32:11 PM »
I finally got around to brewing a Scottish ale on Friday.  Based on a recent article in BYO, I decided to try my hand at no sparge brewing. I took the basic Hacker recipe, and made this:

OG 1.060, 20 IBUs, 5 gallons

13 lbs. two row
1.5 lbs. munich
0.5 lbs. crystal 60
3 oz. roasted barley

Mashed in at 155°F, filled my 10 gallon cooler to the brim, drained, collected 5 gallons of wort, added 2.5 gallons of water for a 3 hour boil.

1 oz. EKGs for the last 60 min

1.5 L starter of Wy1728

It is fermenting nicely at 58°F in the basement.

I wasn't sure how my efficiency would be, so I overshot my gravity a bit.  Oh well.   The hydrometer sample tasted great, so I have great expectations for this beer.