Yeast for Scottish Wee Heavy

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SterlingHopper

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My brew buddy and I are about to order ingredients for a Scotch Wee Heavy. We're going to do a partial mash and aim for an OG around 1.080. Having never brewed this before, and only had a couple commercial examples, I'm wondering how big an impact yeast choice will have.

I have some washed American Ale (Wyeast 1056) and British (1098) yeast in my fridge. I'm leaning towards the American (Wyeast recommends it for a Scottish Ale), but is there a better choice of yeast for the style? It seems like we're looking for a big malty/caramel flavor and just need the yeast to stay out of the way, flavor-wise.
 

ghpeel

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Wyeast Scottish 1728 is probably the most traditional yeast for a Wee Heavy. It's very similar to American style yeasts, more so than British yeasts, but it does give a slightly richer yeast flavor than the American stuff, which is really just super clean.

I've used it, along with the White Labs WLP028 with great results. They let the malt really shine through, and can chew down big worts with no problem.

I just had a Belhaven Wee Heavie last week, and it got me wanting to try the style soon. I'll be using the WLP028 when I do.
 

Sheldon

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Any reason not to use a dry yeast in a wee heavy? If it works, can you folks recommend one?

gracias
 

Golddiggie

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I used Wyeast 1728 in my wee heavy... Love the wide temperature range that is it's "happy zone"... 55-75F :ban::rockin:

Not used dry yeast for any of my beers yet, only for my batches of mead...
 
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SterlingHopper

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I used Wyeast 1728 in my wee heavy... Love the wide temperature range that is it's "happy zone"... 55-75F
Isn't the narrower temperature range on the White Labs just a more conservative recommendation than Wyeast's? They call it the "optimum" range.

It sounds like it's worth buying a new strain for this beer. I'll gladly spend an extra few cents per bottle for a hi-grav beer that'll take months to age.
 

Golddiggie

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Isn't the narrower temperature range on the White Labs just a more conservative recommendation than Wyeast's? They call it the "optimum" range.

It sounds like it's worth buying a new strain for this beer. I'll gladly spend an extra few cents per bottle for a hi-grav beer that'll take months to age.
Pretty sure that Wyeast lists the 'optimum' range in their spec's for each strain. 1728 has the widest range of their ale yeasts (that I've seen at least). If the strain has different effects at different temp ranges, they list that too...

They do advise having the brew at the same temp while fermenting, not increasing, or decreasing once initial fermentation finishes (or the highly active fermentation)... Good technical info on their site for reading.

The way I see it, you should pick the yeast that will give the brew the characteristics you desire within the temperature range you can keep it at. Temperature control becomes a non-issue once you have a fermentation chamber, of course. That's one of the first things I'm going to make/get once I've moved to a new place (hopefully sooner rather than later)...
 

beeber

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If you ferment with 1056 it will come out too clean. Use the 1098 British, you want the fruity esters in your beer for this style.
 
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SterlingHopper

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Sounds like I'm gonna go with the 1728. With springtime in TN, temperatures in my apartment may not be a steady 65-70F.

@Golddiggie: A fermentation chamber is definitely on my list of needed equipment. August here is rough and I'm not a fan of the electricity bill when the AC is cranked. :eek:
 

Golddiggie

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Summer time can be brutal in my apartment too. Especially since I get all the heat from the attic into my place. I'm hoping to be in a new place before summer really hits. I also plan on getting a fermentation chamber online before summer hits, or really soon after moving.
 
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SterlingHopper

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BTW, here is the recipe I put together for a partial-mash Wee Heavy. It uses chocolate malt for color instead of roasted barley, to reduce the roasty/bitterness. For a subtle smoke flavor, we'll used Weyerman's smoked malt, instead of peated malt (do we need to use more?).

Batch size: 5.25 gallon
OG: 1.077

6 lb. Golden Promise Pale malt
1 lb. British medium crystal
4 oz. Chocolate malt
4 oz. smoked malt
Mash at 156-158F. Boil first runnings for kettle caramelization.

Boil additions:
1.5 oz East Kent Goldings (90 min.)
6 lb. Northern Brewer Amber LME (10 min.)

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast, in primary for 3-4 weeks about 65-70 degrees. Maybe secondary another 3-4. Drinkable in 3-4 months.

estimated 7.5-8% abv, 25-30 IBU
 

Golddiggie

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I would go with light/pale extract instead of the amber. Otherwise, reduce the chocolate malt by half (at least). If not, then it's going to be DARK...

I would plan on leaving it on the yeast cake for 6-8 weeks, not racking at all.

What SRM/L is the medium crystal? Is that British Crystal Malt I or II?

An option to the smoked malt would be to put it on oak cubes/chips for 3-4 weeks. I have mine sitting on 1.5oz of medium toast Hungarian cubes right now. I simply boiled some water in my tea pot, put the cubes into a sanitized jar (lid was sanitized too) then poured enough water to cover the cubes, then put the lid on. I let them cool to room temp/safe temps before pouring the entire thing into the wee heavy. That was just over a week ago now. I plan on letting it sit for at least 3-4 weeks (total) before checking on it. If you go this route, I would either reduce or eliminate the smoked malt... I've not used smoked malt yet, so I'm unsure of how strong a smoked flavor you'll get from it. You could be better off using oak cubes.

I would also advise going a bit lower on the mash temp... Especially since you're using extract. I'd say 152-154F for 90 minutes and don't do any extra caramelizing, unless you really reduce the chocolate malt, or somehow offset the darkening you'll get... Unless you're looking for a BLACK wee heavy... In which case, you can move forward with the grains and cooking schedule. Personally, I'd rather not have my wee heavy look like a stout/porter.
 
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SterlingHopper

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That was the 55L British crystal. I see your point; I had traded pale malt for amber syrup without considering the color change.

I had used some the recipes from this thread as a base. I guess it'd be safer to keep the quantities of black and smoke malt in the 2 oz range.

Isn't kettle caramelizing the hallmark of the style?
 

Golddiggie

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It's within the style parameters, but doesn't mean you have to do it.

For my wee heavy I used
10# Maris Otter
1# Honey Malt
.5# British Crystal Malt I
.5# British Crystal Malt II
.25# British Dark Crystal Malt II
24g Target (10.50% AA) 60 min
16g Fuggles (4.00% AA) 20 min
Wyeast 1728 with starter

It's now sitting on 1.5oz medium toast Hungarian oak cubes.

Color, of mine, is just within style, which I'm ok with. You don't HAVE to make it on the dark end of the scale. My IBU's are towards the upper end of the scale, at 31.1.. OG hit 1.072...

I mashed at 154F for 90 minutes with this one. I'll take the FG once it's done aging on the oak cubes. I started it on 2/13/11, and put the oak in last Friday (3/25)... I expect it to go 3-4 weeks with the oak cubes.

IF I recall properly, I had found a recipe that used 1# of 55L caramel malt, which is why I used .5# of the 45L and 65L...

One of the great things about home brewing... If you don't like how something comes out, you can always brew it different next time... :D
 
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SterlingHopper

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I would like to bring out the caramel flavors, so I think I will stick with kettle caramelizing. But, I may switch that chocolate malt for the Extra Dark Crystal (Simpsons 160 L) as in your recipe. No reason to make a porter.

My buddy mentioned wood flavoring for our scotch, but I had thought of it as a novelty for really big stouts, etc. I'm curious, but not feeling adventurous yet.
 

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