Help me figure out where my Scottish went wrong - Home Brew Forums
Register Now For Free!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Help me figure out where my Scottish went wrong

Thread Tools
Old 03-02-2010, 01:20 AM   #1
jescholler's Avatar
Feb 2009
Louisville, CO
Posts: 534
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

I entered a Scottish 70/- in a competition a couple of weeks ago. I knew it was off and wanted to enter it to see if I could get any tips. It scored so low, I'm not even willing to admit the score. The main feedback, which is consistent with my thoughts was that it was thin and watery and lacked flavor. One of the judges recommended that I increase my base malt, but to some extent I'm limited by the style. Please take a look at my recipe and process and let me know what you think went wrong. Before you ask, I'm 99.9% certain of the following:

-Hydrometer was correct
-Thermometer was correct
-Mash temperature was correct
-Scale was correct

I've tried to include everything that I've noted. I have my ideas on what went wrong, but maybe you guys will find something I didn't think of. In advance, thanks for the help.

Style: Scottish 70/-
Type: All Grain
Size: 5.25 gallons
Color: 30 HCU (~15 SRM)
Bitterness: 15 IBU
OG: 1.037
FG: 1.014
Attenuation: 62%
Alcohol: 3.0% v/v (2.3% w/w)

Mash Water Profile:
2.0 gallons total (90% distilled & 10% tap), 7/8 tsp. Chalk, 1/8 tsp. Calcium Chloride, and 1/8 tsp. Baking Soda
Calcium - 100ppm
Magnesium - 0ppm
Sodium - 40ppm
Chloride - 28ppm
Sulfate - 16ppm
RA (CaCO3) - 93
Estimated SRM: 13-18

Sparge with all distilled water then add salts to the boil.

Salts added to the boil (4.5 gallons total): 1 5/8 tsp. Chalk, 5/8 tsp. Calcium Chloride, 5/8 tsp. Epsom Salt, and 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda

Total Water Profile:
Calcium - 91ppm
Magnesium - 10ppm
Sodium - 33ppm
Chloride - 45ppm
Sulfate - 44ppm
RA (CaCO3) - 74
Estimated SRM: 11-16

3 lb. 10 oz. Crisp Maris Otter 2.5L
0 lb. 8 oz. Briess Bonlander Munich 10L
1 lb. 0 oz. Briess crystal 40L
0 lb. 4 oz. Briess crystal 120L
0 lb. 2 oz. Briess chocolate 350L
0 lb. 8 oz. Gambrinus honey malt 25L
0 lb. 4 oz. Simpson's crystal 70-80L

Mash Efficiency: 85%
Mash at 157F for 1 hour
Mash Thickness: 1.25qt/lb

Boil: 75 minutes

All water after mash is distilled water. Periodically add boiled distilled water to keep volume around 5.0 gallons. A couple of minutes before the end of the boil, add boiled distilled water to bring the volume above 5.25 gallons to minimize top-off water.

Add a Whirlfloc tablet with 10 minutes remaining in the boil.

Hops: 1 oz. Willamette (4.2% AA, 45 min.)

Yeast: Wyeast 1056 - American Ale
Used 2 Activator packs because they were fairly old (manufactured May 11, brew day August 8, 89 days old). Based on, the packs were only 34% viable. 131 billion cells were needed, and I only used 68 billion. In hindsight, I should have made a 1.2 liter starter with the 2 packs and that would have given the proper pitching rate.

Brew Day: 8/8/2009
Primary fermentation 9 days at 65-67F in plastic bucket
SG after primary 1.014 adjusted for temperature
Rack to Secondary: 8/17/2009
Secondary fermentation 12 days at ~66F in 5 gallon Better Bottle
Bottling Day: 8/29/2009

Bottle Carbonation
Target: 1.6 volumes
Corn Sugar: 1.78 oz. for 4.5 gallons @ 68F

Carbonation volume calculations:
Estimated volume in secondary: 4.5 gallons
Predicted trub left in secondary: 0.0625 gallons
Predicted priming syrup: 0.0625 gallons (1 cup)
Predicted beer bottled: 4.5 - 0.0625 + 0.0625 = 4.5 gallons
48 Bottles (probably ended up with closer to 4.75)
Conditioned ~3 months @70-75F
Stored at 60F for ~3 months

Edit: The entire batch was very low in carbonation, much lower than another beer I carbonated to nearly the same level.
Harsh Bitterness Experiment

Primary: Not until fall :(
Bottle: English Barleywine
On Deck: Session APA, Vanilla Oatmeal Stout

Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
Jul 2004
Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 73

for what its worth, my guess is that the 1056 yeast attenuated too much for a scotch ale - i brew malty styles all the time, but i don't use el chico - next time try a yeast with lower attenuation and you will probably have an award winner. good luck - and i hope this helps.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 04:23 AM   #3
PT Ray
Aug 2005
Posts: 1,373
Liked 7 Times on 7 Posts

Appears to be a spot on Jamil recipe, not a bad thing. Jamil talks a good deal about what judges are looking for in a style and think he's mentioned a time or two that it differs from region to region. He also said it takes more than just one set of score sheets for consistent feedback.

Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 04:34 AM   #4
jescholler's Avatar
Feb 2009
Louisville, CO
Posts: 534
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

That's correct. It is heavily based on Jamil's recipe, which makes it more interesting. It's not like it's some bad recipe that I came up with completely on my own. I do remember him saying that about judging.

I have to agree with the judges though. It is thin and watery, and from what I hear, the 70/- shouldn't be like that even at 3% ABV. It fell short of my expectations.

As far as the 1056 yeast strain, I do agree that the attenuation is key for the style, but the high mash temperature and high amount of crystal took care of that. The attenuation was 62%, which is almost perfectly in the middle of the range for the style. It's almost like I got the FG of the high mash temperature, but not the mouthfeel.
Harsh Bitterness Experiment

Primary: Not until fall :(
Bottle: English Barleywine
On Deck: Session APA, Vanilla Oatmeal Stout

Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 05:08 AM   #5
Mar 2009
Oakland, CA
Posts: 696
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts

When you say you got an embarrassingly low score, that seems to me that something is more wrong than just it not being that great of a taste/feel. I've had an embarrassingly low scores, but that's cuz I submitted a batch that I later realized was infected.

But at any rate... maybe some of your ingredients weren't fresh and didn't contribute the taste they should have?

Reply With Quote
Old 03-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #6
ScottishPete's Avatar
Jan 2010
Fayetteville, NY
Posts: 96
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

FWIW, your OG FG and %ABV is pretty spot on a 70 Shilling Heavy recipe from Greg Noonan's Scotch Ale book ... he had 1.036, 1.012 and 3.1% respectively

I think your main issue lies with the yeast problems you and others have stated ...

The Noonan 70 Shilling calls for 5lb Pale Malt, 10oz Carapils and 1.3 oz Roast Barley with a 1.5 qt yeast starter

It also calls for a 40-50 conditioning temp ...

Reply With Quote
Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Wrong hops, wrong time. Any ideas? DansBrew Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 12 11-29-2009 12:38 AM
Always the wrong place wrong time OHIOSTEVE Winemaking Forum 7 10-04-2009 07:07 PM
Can't figure it out?? DemonCleaner All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 7 06-10-2009 10:53 PM
Still trying to figure what went wrong.... GroovePuppy Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 2 11-30-2008 08:04 AM
Help me figure out what went wrong Willsellout All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing 18 04-29-2007 03:54 AM

Forum Jump