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Old 10-23-2007, 03:58 PM   #1
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Default Scottish vs Wee Heavy

I have asked a question similar to this a while back on this forum, but didn't quite get an answer that cleared things up. So second try.

I have had different kind/tasting scottish ales. Some are pretty sweet like mcewans, but others I have had are more roasted, strong, malty and a bit more stoudt like. I think these versions are the Wee Heavies of scottish ales, but am I wrong? I want to brew a ale of the more roasted version, but I dont want to base my recipe of wee heavy style recipies and end up with a super sweet scottish ale.

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Old 10-23-2007, 04:35 PM   #2
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I don't think roasted or stout-like are really appropriate in a scottish - more of a malty, caramely, maybe slightly smoky flavor and very full-bodied. I have had a number of scottish ales as well, and I agree that some of them are pretty sweet, even when they're not wee heavys, even though the style does not seem to call for that kind of sweetness.

FYI, there's an episode of the Jamil show on the Brewing Network podcast that covers scottish ales, and he talks about them being more malty (like you seem to want), and not cloyingly sweet. I've got a batch of 70/- using his recipe in the fermenter right now, and although it's not finished, based on the most recent hydrometer sample it's not cloyingly sweet, and sounds more like what you want. It's an award-winning recipe I believe, so it's probably a great starting point for you as well.

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Old 10-23-2007, 05:09 PM   #3
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This link might be of some assistance:

Last month's issue of BYO also had an article on scottish ale (that Jamil wrote, in fact). He said:

Most Scottish ales range in color from very light amber to a deep copper color. They are very clean beers with few apparent esters, except when made as big beers. They have a malt-focused aroma, with bread and toasted malt notes, caramel, and some residual malt sweetness. Most classic examples have just enough hop bitterness to jeep the beer from being too sweet. Generally, any hop flavor and aroma is found in trace amounts from the early bittering addition. The body is thinner on the smaller beers and full on the big beers, but they should never bee thin and watery nor super thick and heavy.
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Old 10-23-2007, 06:53 PM   #4
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I lived in Scotland for a year and never did find anything labeled 'Wee Heavy". I think it is just a slang term for a Scottish ale with the ABV bumped up.
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Old 10-23-2007, 07:01 PM   #5
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You have to be careful with all these styles. They are American Style guides for people who need things in boxes.

Scottish Ales are generically Bitters. They can be the same as English bitters or different. The brewers will brew them however they see fit.

The breweries using 70/- and 80/- have done so to pick up on the historical theme.

As for wee heavy this was from a strong ale (barley wine) that you could buy in a small can, hence the phrase "I'll have a wee heavy"

Scottish Ales do tend to be a little less bitter than a traditional English Bitter.
You will get Scottish Ales tasting like English Ales and the other way round.

This may help

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Old 10-23-2007, 07:31 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by orfy
Scottish Ales are generically Bitters. They can be the same as English bitters or different. The brewers will brew them however they see fit.

Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Heavy's are not Bitters. They occupy the same segment of the market but are not the same type of beer.

I just started brewing and don't know much about the BJCP guidlines but I'm from Scotland and I can tell you what I drank.

Bitter is English and it's predominate flavour is Bitter (funny that). ie. Hops.
A Heavy is Scottish and it's predominate flavour is Malty. ie much less hops.

They've used the 70/-, 80/- for as long as I can remember.

Although I emigrated years ago I never came across the nomenclature of "Wee Heavy" until I started brewing here. It’s not something I’d consider a Heavy. Closer to what’s called back home an Export Ale. Like the McEwan’s you find over here ~ 8.0 ABV.

70/- Heavies (or Special) are around 3.5 to 4.0 % ABV
80/- Heavies are around about 4.0 to 4.5% ABV

I’m not sure what these Wee Heavies are at 6, 7 or 8 % ABV but I wouldn’t call them Heavies.


Sorry Orfy didn’t mean to jump on you but 1745 and all that.

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