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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Recipes/Ingredients > Scottish Ale
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Old 03-17-2009, 03:10 AM   #1
Aspera
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Default Scottish Ale

This was already posted in another region, but I didn't get a single response, so I am cross posting it.

I am planning to make a Wee Heavy and would like to include some adjuncts to bump up my O.G. I noticed that most of the British recipes include light brown sugar specifically. My understanding is that U.K. brown sugar differs from U.S. varieties. Would I be better off using a substitute. Options for me would include raw sugar, U.S. brown sugars, honey, or home caramelizing white sugar.

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Old 03-17-2009, 07:50 AM   #2
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You may not have gotten responses because Wee Heavy's generally don't get their gravity from non-grain fermentables. The Scottish and Scotch and Wee Heavy tradition is more of a malt expression, and sugar additions lighten body in a way that's typically considered inconsistent. That said, if you're going to add OG, I'd recommend extract before pure sugar and if you're going the sugar route, try and stick to the less processed like turbanado or a dark belgian candi sugar. They'll have the best shot at being consistent with your flavor profile.

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:31 AM   #3
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My intention was to follow the recipe, which is a CAMBRA award winner from one of Britain's leading experts on wood barrel aged ales. It does not meet U.S. BJCP guidelines at all, but is very characteristically Scottish. The recipe calls for a mash, extract and sugar, and NO peated malts, smoked malts, roasted barley or other ridiculous truck. The problem is that I cannot obtain Brulabs yeasts or British sugars. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it.

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Old 03-18-2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Sugar adjuncts is not something that I would expect in a Wee Heavy, but I always surprised when I read through Daniels and learn things that challenge convention.

What kind of sugar is being called for in your CAMRA recipe?

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Old 03-18-2009, 02:07 PM   #5
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The recipe calls for 500 grams of (british) soft brown sugar. It is the "Big Tam Scotch Ale" from John Alexander. I would highly recommend his book "A Guide to Craft Brewing". It is both scholarly and practical. The recipes are refined to the point that I would not alter them intentionally, and I would esteem his opinions regarding *brewing* British beer even beyond those of the late, great Mr. Jackson.

Incidentally, I feel that many of the "conventions" of the BJCP are byproducts of our inability to obtain many beers fresh or on draft. Also, I feel that the U.S. hop, malt, equipment and water product availability are different from those of the U.K.

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Old 03-18-2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspera View Post
Incidentally, I feel that many of the "conventions" of the BJCP are byproducts of our inability to obtain many beers fresh or on draft. Also, I feel that the U.S. hop, malt, equipment and water product availability are different from those of the U.K.
Not really. The BJCP is a survey of commercially available beers and an attempt to understand what they have in common; it's really about expectations that the drinker brings, not about pigeonholing brewers.

As commercial examples changes, the guidelines are likewise forced to adapt.
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Old 03-18-2009, 02:20 PM   #7
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4.5 kg scottish pale
Mash 10 L
Strike 73 C
Grist 30 C
Initial Mash Stand 68 C, 90 min
Sparge 78 C, 23 L
Max Wort 33 L
Copper 20 IBU Challeger, 20 IBU Goldings, 500 g soft brown sugar: 90 min
Copper 1.8 kg light extract: 20 min
Irish Moss 2 g: 15 min
Brulabs Scottish Boarders 4500 @ 12-18 C, rack at 2 degrees above P.G.

If anyone knows of a good source of Brulabs products, I would be very appreciative if you could tell me.

With all respect due the BJCP, the guidelines on Scottish ales are way off, and "Irish Red" isn't really a stylistically distinct beer of its own.

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Old 03-18-2009, 02:27 PM   #8
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Nice website Flyangler. Incidentally, I used to be quite a lab rat and was looking at your thing on yeast storage. Unless you have a -70 C freezer, you might be better off using commercially available slants.

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Old 03-18-2009, 02:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
With all respect due the BJCP, the guidelines on Scottish ales are way off, and "Irish Red" isn't really a stylistically distinct beer of its own.
Can you explain? All in the interest of advancing knowledge, ya know?
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Old 03-18-2009, 03:15 PM   #10
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I really don't think that smokey, peaty flavors are appropriate in Scottish ales. Large amounts of crystal malts and the sweetness they impart are not really appropriate. Also, not enough attention is given to yeast attenuation, aromas and flavors, which are very important. In my opinion, more attention should also also go to the precise type of bitterness/hop bittering/water quality. Roasted barley, as I understand it is mostly just used in "authentic" recipes as an aid for clarity, color adjustment, and storage characteristics. So many people are brewing Scottish ales with 3 lbs of crystal malts and a Chico yeast strain. I'm sure that there is a lot I don't know, but it just doesn't seem quite right to me.

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