Scottish Ale

Scottish ale is moderate in strength and dominated by a smooth, sweet maltiness balanced with low, but perceptible, hop bitterness. Hop flavor or aroma should not be perceived. Scottish ale will have a medium degree of malty, caramellike, soft and chewy character in flavor and mouthfeel. It has medium body, and fruity esters are very low, if evident. Yeast characters such as diacetyl (butterscotch) and sulfuriness are acceptable at very low levels. The color will range from golden amber to deep brown and may sometimes possess a faint smoky character. Bottled versions of this traditional draft beer may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for draft versions. Chill haze is acceptable at low temperatures. There are four sub-categories: Scottish light (60 /-), Scottish heavy (70 /-), Scottish export (80 /-) and Scotch ale or "wee heavy" (90 /-). The "/-" is the symbol for a shilling, which refers to a former British unit of currency that denoted tax bands. Today, the symbol stands for alcohol strength. Scotch ales are occasionally brewed with peat-dried malts like those typically used in distilling Scotch whiskey.


  • 12 ounces 55 L British crystal malt

  • 2 ounces peat-smoked malt

  • 2 ounces toasted 2-row pale malt

  • 6-2/3 pounds light malt syrup

  • 2-3/4 pounds light DME

  • 4 ounces black treacle

  • 4 ounces cane sugar

  • 2-1/2 ounces East Kent Goldings hops

  • 1 teaspoon Irish moss

  • Wyeast 1728 Scottish ale yeast

  • 1-1/4 cup extra-light DME


  1. Place the crushed specialty grains in a nylon hop bag and steep them in 1 gallon of preheated 150 water for 30 minutes.

  2. Drain and discard the spent grains.

  3. Bring at least 3 gallons of liquor to a boil, remove the brew kettle from the heat source then stir in the extract, the black treacle, the cane sugar and 2 ounces of the East Kent Goldings hops.

  4. Return the brew kettle to the heat source and boil for 45 minutes, then add the remaining hops and the Irish moss.

  5. Boil for a final 15 minutes, then remove the brew kettle from the heat source, cover it and drop the temperature of the wort as quickly as possible to 77 F.

  6. Once the wort has cooled to below 77 F, take an original gravity reading, pour the wort into a primary fermenter through a funnel with a strainer and add enough cool water to create 5 gallons.

  7. Once the wort has been transferred to the primary fermenter, pitch the yeast, stir the wort vigorously, seal the fermenter with an airlock and ferment at approximately 68-72 F for 1 week.

  8. Rack the beer to a secondary fermenter and allow the beer to finish fermentation.

  9. Once fermentation is complete, rack the beer to a bottling bucket, prime with the extra-light DME and bottle and condition as usual.

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