Heather Ale

Heather ale was originally brewed by the Picts, a pre-Celtic Scottish tribe. Legend has it that the last member of the Pictish tribe chose jumping off a cliff to his death rather than revealing the recipe for heather ale to the Scottish king. Heather ale has made a revival among craft brewers and is even brewed today commercially.


  • 1/4 pound toasted malt

  • 1/3 pound biscuit malt

  • 1/2 pound crystal malt

  • 1/4 pound special B malt

  • 6 pounds light dry malt extract

  • 12 cups dried heather blossoms

  • 1 sprig dried heather

  • Scottish ale yeast

  • 2/3 cup corn sugar


  1. Steep the crushed specialty grains in 1-1/2 gallons of 160F water for 30 minutes.

  2. Sparge the grains with 1/2 gallon of 160F water.

  3. Add the extract and 10 cups of the dried heather blossoms, then boil the wort for 60 minutes.

  4. Place the remaining 2 cups of dried heather blossoms in a strainer.

  5. Pour the wort through the strainer into a fermenter, bring the total volume of water to 5 gallons and pitch the yeast when the wort has cooled to 70F.

  6. Ferment for 1 week, then rack to a secondary for additional fermentation.

  7. Prime, bottle and condition before drinking.

Copyright 2007 © Lehigh Valley Homebrewers. All rights reserved.