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Old 03-02-2010, 01:20 AM   #1
jescholler
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Default Help me figure out where my Scottish went wrong

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.

Summary
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)

Water
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

Grain
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 mrmalty.com, 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.

Log
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.


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Old 03-02-2010, 02:59 AM   #2
richanne
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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.


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Old 03-02-2010, 04:23 AM   #3
PT Ray
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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.
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Old 03-02-2010, 04:34 AM   #4
jescholler
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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.
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Old 03-02-2010, 05:08 AM   #5
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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?
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Old 03-02-2010, 01:25 PM   #6
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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 ...


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