Best Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy you’ve made

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hawkwing

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I’m looking to make a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. Looking for options on what others have been happier with.

I’ve been looking and I’m uncertain with smoked malt because I don’t really like smoky scotch. I do like smoked meat though.

Also I’ve seen some recipes with basically pale malt and roast malt and sometimes they boil a portion down to get the maltiness. Other recipes have flavoring malts and caramel malts. I like malty beers so that is what I thought would be good.

I already have the last pack of Wyeast Scottish ale yeast my local supplier had so looking to use it.

I’ve been trying to get my mind around the shilling scale etc. I’ve had McEwan's and big rockS versions I’m guessing are 70-80 shilling beers. I was probably going to go near or over and SG of 1.100 and do all grain. But I’m here for advice so let’s see where it goes.

Thanks all.
 

chthon

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From Ronald Pattinson's book "Scotland!": malting and brewing was done in Scotland around industrial centers with coal and cokes. Malt was dried on cokes, and didn't have a smoke taste. That was reserved for the places which malted for whisky, and used peat.

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This is a recipe I called "Crivens!", you will need to translate some things from Dutch I think. I don't find the hops any more, but probably all EKG, both for 60 minutes addition and 15 minutes addition (90 minutes total boil time, to get the correct OG). After bottling, best more than a couple of weeks conditioning. IBU was 47, but could range between 60 and 45.

This is the label I created:

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RevA

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I saw that one and it caught my eye.

Was This the one?
Wee Heavy - Brew Your Own

I have the hops and I probably could sub local pale malt I have too. But I was told to get marries otter when I made Guinness.
That's the one I brewed.
Should still be good with hop subs. If you have Marris Otter always nice to use, it brings something extra to the table.
 
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hawkwing

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That's the one I brewed.
Should still be good with hop subs. If you have Marris Otter always nice to use, it brings something extra to the table.
I can get marris otter but it’s almost 3 times the price as pale malt. I’m going to have to try them side by side sometime.
 

DBhomebrew

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Winner? I don't think it's a matter of winning. One being better than the other. The author clearly states an objective difference and a subjective preference depending on beer style.

That experiment looked at bitters, ~1.055. What happens when you double the amount of malt?

Also, a better experiment would have been between SMaSH beers. Tough to tell a difference between base malts when you pile on 8.5% specialty malts.

Maris Otter, meh. Often too peanut-y for me. But for a UK style, a big Scotch ale especially, give me UK malt please. Golden Promise, Simpsons Best Pale Ale (Concerto), etc.

I've been brewing a handful of Traquair House approximations. 98% UK base malt, 2% roasted barley for color. 1.070, 30 IBUs of EKG at 90m. They reportedly use Notty. I've done one with Imperial Tartan, another with 1084. This last one was fermented on oak as a nod toward Traquair's wooden fermentation vats. A recent taster described it as "a serious beer [with] a beautiful, deep, dark red color."
 
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hawkwing

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Winner? I don't think it's a matter of winning. One being better than the other. The author clearly states an objective difference and a subjective preference depending on beer style.

That experiment looked at bitters, ~1.055. What happens when you double the amount of malt?

Also, a better experiment would have been between SMaSH beers. Tough to tell a difference between base malts when you pile on 8.5% specialty malts.

Maris Otter, meh. Often too peanut-y for me. But for a UK style, a big Scotch ale especially, give me UK malt please. Golden Promise, Simpsons Best Pale Ale (Concerto), etc.

I've been brewing a handful of Traquair House approximations. 98% UK base malt, 2% roasted barley for color. 1.070, 30 IBUs of EKG at 90m. They reportedly use Notty. I've done one with Imperial Tartan, another with 1084. This last one was fermented on oak as a nod toward Traquair's wooden fermentation vats. A recent taster described it as "a serious beer [with] a beautiful, deep, dark red color."
I was thinking with all the other malts like crystal, roast and Munich would cover up a lot of the pale malt differences. There might be a difference but at a cost of over $30 premium upgrade for a 5 gallon batch is it worth it?
 

DBhomebrew

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I was thinking with all the other malts like crystal, roast and Munich would cover up a lot of the pale malt differences.
Indeed.

The understanding I have come to about Scottish ales is that there are two major approaches. First, the way Scottish brewers brew their beer. Second, the way American brewers interpret the style.

The former are relatively simple recipes with simple grists. The latter lean on specialty malts. I prefer the former and brew a near-SMaSH with UK malt.

There might be a difference but at a cost of over $30 premium upgrade for a 5 gallon batch is it worth it?

Only you can make that call. I'd support either decision, but I'd also reject the notion that there's no distinct difference. Acknowledge the difference, make your choice, and adjust for it. That adjustment likely involves things like crystal and Munich.

Or, another way around. If you've already chosen your recipe and it includes a healthy amount of specialties, then it doesn't really matter.
 
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hawkwing

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Indeed.

The understanding I have come to about Scottish ales is that there are two major approaches. First, the way Scottish brewers brew their beer. Second, the way American brewers interpret the style.

The former are relatively simple recipes with simple grists. The latter lean on specialty malts. I prefer the former and brew a near-SMaSH with UK malt.



Only you can make that call. I'd support either decision, but I'd also reject the notion that there's no distinct difference. Acknowledge the difference, make your choice, and adjust for it. That adjustment likely involves things like crystal and Munich.

Or, another way around. If you've already chosen your recipe and it includes a healthy amount of specialties, then it doesn't really matter.
The version you make is it a Scottish ale or a Scotch ale? Apparently the otter is the wee heavy version with higher gravity. So many styles to make. :)
 

DBhomebrew

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It's a Strong Scotch Ale, a Scottish beer. A recipe shared by the owner of Traquair for inclusion in Jeff Alworth's book.

Wee Heavy is what the style is known as in the States. In the UK, Wee Heavy is a specific beer made by one specific brewery.

Much like here in the States brewers talk about brewing an ESB. In the UK, ESB is a specific strong bitter made by Fuller's.
 

DBhomebrew

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*The first recipe for a Traquair clone popularized online was Skotrat's and used kettle caramelization. Alworth's book came out afterwards and I follow that recipe. He attributes it to interview the Brewer's themselves. No mention there of kettle caramelization.

It's very dark and very malty.
 

DBhomebrew

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They have very much the same descriptors, but I find American versions to have cloyingly high residual sweetness. Although I do enjoy a bock and Munich brings in lots of maltiness, it's not the same flavors as a large amount of UK base malt. With Traquair (actual, not my approximation) there's a smooth, full richness in flavor and mouthfeel I've never found in any American Scotch Ale or 'Wee Heavy' and no residual sweetness at all. Sweet flavors like caramel, yes, but no cloying, syrupy coating on your tongue. And of course, no smoke.

If I were to want to brew an Americanized strong Scotch ale, I'd probably follow Josh Weikert's as a start. I brewed a large number of his UK styles in my early brewing days before I found more accurate info from British sources (many right here at HBT). Weikert's schtick is that he's medaled in each of the BJCP style categories. He's not a purist as far as only using UK malt or yeast in a UK beer. He brews to the BJCP style description*. Across the dozen or so I tried, I find his recipes to be well-balanced and erring away from too much residual sweetness. But, even he starts with MO.


*Note: BJCP has zero affiliation with British brewers. It's an American organization describing beer styles from the outside. They have as much control over styles as a color commentator has over a ballgame's score. The recent update improved their UK style descriptions to be more in line with what UK brewers actually produce.
 

Joggin

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Agree with try not to have it too cloying sweet. I have some homebrew bottles left to drink like that. But I do like some Golden Promise for this style.
My favorite tasting of a Wee heavy was in Philly made by I think Philadelphia Brewing way back which went out of business.
I think the brewer went on to Gennesey. But that brew was great in the winter. It had some heat you could feel go down your throat and warmed you up quick.
 
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DBhomebrew

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For lovers of Scottish brewing there have been a series of articles on Ron Pattinson's blog recently posting a series of shilling ales mostly from the Wm. Younger brew logs. Today's installment was the last with a big 160/ clocking in at 1.115.


And 122 IBUs!
 

DBhomebrew

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brown sugar.

Note that Ron is likely referring to what Europeans call brown sugar. I don't know about Canada, but here in the States we call it raw, unrefined. Turbinado, demerara, etc. Brown sugar to us is white cane sugar with molasses added back in.
 

chthon

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Note that Ron is likely referring to what Europeans call brown sugar. I don't know about Canada, but here in the States we call it raw, unrefined. Turbinado, demerara, etc. Brown sugar to us is white cane sugar with molasses added back in.
In the 120/- recipe he mentions that the original recipe says "DM", then he states that he goes for demerara sugar, but he puts "brown sugar" on his recipes. Since these recipes are from 1885, I suppose that they probably refer more to unrefined sugars in different grades, than modern sugars made by combining different refined products.
 

DBhomebrew

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Additionally if you are pushing the SG higher what yeast do you use? Is it left sweet wherever the yeast dies off?

You want to leave some headroom, making sure the chosen yeast is up to the wort you put in front of it. A yeast that quits early will leave an under-attenuated mess of syrupy awfulness.
 

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This recipe was kind of a stab in the dark but won me first place in a homebrew competition a while back with a score of 43/50. I like to throw a chunk of toasted white oak in the keg to kick it up a notch. I also adjust my water to the Munich profile, simply because I drank some doppelbock or another from there I liked the mouthfeel of and wanted to apply that vibe to this beer. I tend to make this every fall or winter. I have a pretty fancy system so it might be my O2-free process but this beer comes out noticeably clean and drinkable for the grain bill. Just something special about it that I really like.


Boil Size: 7.00 gal
Post Boil Volume: 6.50 gal
Batch Size (fermenter): 6.00 gal
Bottling Volume: 5.50 gal
Estimated OG: 1.079 SG
Estimated Color: 25.3 SRM
Estimated IBU: 26.8 IBUs
Brewhouse Efficiency: 75.00 %
Est Mash Efficiency: 78.1 %
Boil Time: 60 Minutes

Ingredients:
------------
8 lbs 12.0 oz Pale Malt, Maris Otter
5 lbs 8.0 oz 2-Row
1 lbs Barley, Flaked
8.0 oz Munich Malt
8.0 oz Chocolate Malt
4.0 oz Caramel Malt - 20L
4.0 oz Caramel/Crystal Malt -120L
4.0 oz Crystal, Medium
4.0 oz Roasted Barley
3.0 oz Special B Malt

0.30 oz Magnum [12.00 %] - Boil 60.0 min Hop 14 9.2 IBUs
3.00 oz Fuggles [4.50 %] - Boil 10.0 min Hop 15 17.6 IBUs

2.0 pkg Nottingham (Danstar #-) [23.66 ml]


Mash Schedule: BIAB, Medium Body
Total Grain Weight: 17 lbs 7.0 oz
----------------------------
Name Description Step Temperature Step Time
Saccharification Add 33.11 qt of water at 162.7 F 152.1 F 75 min
 

bwible

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Is that style lighter in color and less malty? Is that one that you take a portion and boil it down to get the caramelization?
I don’t brew Wee Heavy often but that’s what I’d heard. You take the first quart of runnings and boil that down to a pint and add it back. The other thing is a long boil, usually 120 min.
 

dwightr8

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I’m looking to make a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. Looking for options on what others have been happier with.

I’ve been looking and I’m uncertain with smoked malt because I don’t really like smoky scotch. I do like smoked meat though.

Also I’ve seen some recipes with basically pale malt and roast malt and sometimes they boil a portion down to get the maltiness. Other recipes have flavoring malts and caramel malts. I like malty beers so that is what I thought would be good.

I already have the last pack of Wyeast Scottish ale yeast my local supplier had so looking to use it.

I’ve been trying to get my mind around the shilling scale etc. I’ve had McEwan's and big rockS versions I’m guessing are 70-80 shilling beers. I was probably going to go near or over and SG of 1.100 and do all grain. But I’m here for advice so let’s see where it goes.

Thanks all.
You might want to look at the Oskar Blues Old Chub Scottish Ale recipe here:

Oskar Blues Recipes

Old Chub has been one of my favs since I first discovered it about 20 years ago. I've brewed this a few times and it's pretty close to the real thing.
 
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