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Old 06-01-2012, 01:07 PM   #1
drunkenfud
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Default "Scottish Ale" - first all grain - advice on process.

I've brewed 3 extract brews and been happy with the results of 2 of them (the one unhappy result I think was mainly due to using bleach to sanitize PET bottles and not rinsing anywhere near enough). Seems like it's time to dip my toe into the grain pool, or maybe to jump right in and hope I float.

Anyway, I live in a country with no homebrew culture and where the dominant beers are what Americans might call BMC clones. My sources of supplies are a couple of niche websites (beerschool.co.kr , goodbeer.co.kr ) where I'm hampered by my poor language skills, and by their inconsistent inventories. Beerschool offers some prefabricated all grain kits which seem like a good place to start. As a Scot, I thought where better to start than with their "Scottish Ale" kit? The contents are as follows, with my interpretations in parenthesis:

pilsner (2 row pale?)
caramunich (pale crystal? crystal 30-60?)
carahell (crystal 10?)
carafa (chocolate? pale chocolate?)
bittering hops
finishing hops
dried yeast
instructions (in Korean, I should be able to get the gist, but will probably disregard)

I have no idea what types of hop will come, nor the type of yeast. I don't know what weights will be sent of each ingredient. Making a Scottish style ale is not necessarily my goal, making an interesting and tasty beer is. I also ordered some DME in case I screw things up and need to boost the OG. Their hops are almost all sold out, but I ordered 2oz of mittelfruh and 1oz of cascade - I can freeze what I don't need right now. In my fridge I have 1 pack of S-04 and 2 of Mauribrew ale (which came with HME kits and might be quite old).

So....

1) Infusion mash or step mash? Papazian says infusion should only be used with fully modified malts, I don't know if these ingredients are. If not, he says that step mash is the way to go, but he also says that it would be the way to go with fully modified malt if head and clarity are issues. Advice?

2) Hops. Depending on what I get, and if the variety of what I get is marked, how should I proceed? In previous beers I've used a schedule of bittering at 60 mins (about 50% of hops by weight), taste at 20 mins (about 30%), and aroma at flameout (about 20%). Recently I've read Radical Brewing by Randy Mosher which suggests adding the bulk of the hops in the flavour and aroma stages. I've thought about using the oz of cascade for bittering, an oz of mittelfruh for flavor, and the last oz for aroma. I'm also tempted to take every hop I've ordered and the "bittering"/"finishing" hops , put them in a bowl, mix and weigh; then add 25% at 60, 25% at 20, and 50% at flameout. Your thoughts?

3) Yeast. It's tempting to pour in what I'm sent, a sachet of S-04, and a sachet of Mauribrew Ale just to let them fight it out among themselves and see what happens. Presumably the fermentation will be fast and furious. Does this sound like a good idea, or will I have to invest in ceiling cleaning supplies?

As I said earlier, this does NOT have to end up as a clone of a Scots ale (although out of interest do you think this recipe leans towards 70 or 80 shilling?), but I would like an ale that would be complex and the perfect accompaniment to a Cuban cigar while I sit on my roof and watch the sun go down.

Many thanks to anyone who replies. This must be one of the friendliest sites on the internet!

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Old 06-01-2012, 05:00 PM   #2
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My experience with pilsner malt in the US is that it is typically not quite fully modified. I therefore always do a step mash if I have much pilsner. If I don't - I lose efficiency. For your first all grain it would be easier to do a single infusion - if you are willing to chance a lower alcohol level.
Regarding hops, Scottish ales typically have very low hop levels. You could go without any flavor or aroma hops. Or low levels if you want. Of course you can hop the beer at higher levels and not worry about style
Another characteristic of scottish ales is some type of kettle caramelization. Change the 60 minute boil to 90 or 120 minutes. You will boil off more water so you need to either add more to start or add some at the end.

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Old 06-01-2012, 05:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drunkenfud
pilsner (2 row pale?)
caramunich (pale crystal? crystal 30-60?)
carahell (crystal 10?)
carafa (chocolate? pale chocolate?)
Pilsner is another base malt. You will need to boil 90 minutes as pilsner is a huge producer of the precursors for DMS. So unless you want the beer tasting of corn.. Boil it for 90 and make sure it's rolling.
Caramunich is a great grain to add for a little color and head retention. I am not sure of the equivalent though..
Carahell is a trade marked product from Weyermann, it's supposedly adds full body without much color.. Again no clue of an equivalent. Looks to be an SRM of 20-30
Carafa is dark grain used to intensify aroma and color. There are 4 versions, I, II, III, and special. The special has been defused to reduce the bitterness added. The other three just get progressively darker.

All of the cara--- are trade marked Weyermann products. You can check their website for more details.
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:55 PM   #4
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As has been said - boil it long, and hop it low.

I made several Scottish ales using WLP028 (the Edinburgh strain), which came out good. Then a guy at the local brew club said "Eh, just use US-05, they're practically the same." So I made a batch with the dry yeast, and it came out fine. If that's what the kit comes with, you should be good to go. Or, use the US-04, but try to keep the temps down below 65. Pitching multiple yeasts is just a waste of money IMO.

Good luck with your brew! I love Scottish Ales.

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