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lyacovett 08-19-2009 06:53 PM

Ulster Scot Brew
Hey guys,
Not really sure where this post belongs, as there is no historic section. I am looking to brew a beer for a rev war living history march. Every year I participate in a march from Abingdon, VA to Kings Mountain, NC. We follow the trail that the militia followed that helped turn the tide of the revolutionary war. The militia was made up of the ulster Scots. I was looking for a recipe that would represent what these men would have drank at the time. Does anyone have any ideas about this? I'm not sure whether this would have been an Irish Ale, or Scottish Ale.

Does anybody have any ideas on this.

BTW ... Shameless plug, the organization that performs this march/living history is the Overmountain Men Victory Trail Association (The OVTA Home Page) I apologize for the website .... I am a programmer by trade, but take no responsibility for the site.

I really appreciate an input on this.

Bob 08-19-2009 07:33 PM

I have a whole stable of stuff for this. No modern recipe will be completely right.

Here are a couple of options:

For brewing Spruce Beer.

Take four ounces hops, boil half an hour, into one gallon water, strain it, then add sixteen gallons warm water, two gallons molasses, eight ounces essence spruce dissolved in one quart water, put it in a clean cask, shake it well together, add half pint emptins, let it stand and work one week, if very warm weather less time will do, when drawn off add one spoonful molasses to each bottle.

from Amelia Simmons, American Cookery, (Walpole, NH: Printed for Elijah Brooks), 1812. First published 1796. Spruce beers with molasses as the primary fermentable were common on the frontier, where malt and hops were dear.

Another small beer recipe comes from Lt. Col. George Washington, stationed
with the Virgina militia at Fort Duquesne (what is now Pittsburgh, PA):

Take a large Siffer [Sifter] full of Bran Hops to your Taste.
Boil these 3 hours then strain out 30 Gall[ons] into a cooler put in 3 Gall[ons] Molasses while the Beer is Scalding hot or rather draw the Melasses into the cooler & St[r]ain the Beer on it while boiling Hot.

Let this stand till it is little more than Blood warm then put in a quart of Yea[s]t if the Weather is very Cold cover it over with a Blank[et] & let it Work in the Cooler 24 hours then put it into the Cask - leave the bung open till it is almost don[e] Working - Bottle it that day Week it was Brewed.

Again, a malt-less recipe from the frontier. If your reenactment is meant to be along the Appalachian frontier - which was originally settled by the "Scotch-Irish" or Ulster Scots - it may be appropriate. Please note that they are definitely an acquired taste!

For malt-based recipes, see The London & Country Brewer (1736) and Coppinger's The American Practical Brewer & Tanner (1815); Coppinger's work has fine recipes which scale quite well.

Some basic notes:

Don't worry overmuch about efficiency.

Where a recipe calls for mashing and boiling multiple gyles, batch sparge instead.

Use low-alpha hops like Fuggles.

Have fun!

If you need any more help, just ask - in this thread, PM or email.



lyacovett 08-26-2009 05:55 PM

OK, I came up with a recipe. Let me know what you think about this:


Recipe Specifics

Batch Size (Gal): 5.25 Wort Size (Gal): 5.25
Total Grain (Lbs): 7.25
Anticipated OG: 1.044 Plato: 11.00
Anticipated SRM: 18.4
Anticipated IBU: 21.3
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75 %
Wort Boil Time: 60 Minutes


% Amount Name Origin Potential SRM
6.9 0.50 lbs. Molasses Generic 1.036 80
6.9 0.50 lbs. Turbinado Sugar Generic 1.046 0
13.8 1.00 lbs. Muntons DME - Light England 1.046 5
55.2 4.00 lbs. Pale Malt(2-row) Great Britain 1.038 3
3.4 0.25 lbs. Chocolate Malt America 1.029 350
13.8 1.00 lbs. Crystal 60L America 1.034 60

Potential represented as SG per pound per gallon.


Amount Name Form Alpha IBU Boil Time
1.00 oz. Fuggle Pellet 5.00 21.3 60 min.


Amount Name Type Time
2 grams Grains of Paradise Spice 15 min(boil)
0.00 Oz Irish Moss Fining 15 Min.(boil)


White Labs WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

4# Marris Otter
1# Light DME
1# Crystal 60
.25# Chocolate
.5# molasses
.5# turbinado sugar

2 gram Grains of paradise (15 min)
1 oz Fuggles (60 min)

WLP028 Edinburgh Scottish Ale

I've never brewed with this sugar, molasses, or grains of paradise. So I have no idea if the quantities are ok. I'm ok with tasting the molasses, but I really don't want it to overpower the beer.

Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Bob 08-26-2009 08:37 PM

I think it's going to be yummy. Both sugars will tend to thin the body somewhat, so mash rather high to compensate.

Is it supposed to be a plausibly historical recipe? If so, I'd like to hear your reasoning on ingredients. If not, fuggedaboudit. ;)



lyacovett 08-26-2009 11:20 PM

Well, after looking over the recipes, I got a little nervous about nobody drinking it. So I went with the english malt, which they would have had access to, the hops ... i think they would have had access to. And the sugar and molasses, were in most of the recipes. I also saw a recipe from one of your links that had the grains of paradise ... so I figured Id give that a try.

I basically tried to use the same plausible ingredients, but make them somewhat more drinkable. I went with the scottish yeast, because I figured it may be something similar to the type of yeast the Scots Irish may have used ... or at least its a tribute to the heritage.

I think it somewhat historical ... not 100%, but it should be pretty close.

lyacovett 08-26-2009 11:25 PM

Another question, what would be considered high to mash at? 152 or even higher.


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