Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

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Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby serum » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:10

This book has a good history of Scottish beers and how they were brewed. There's also plenty in there in terms of techniques.

I'm a fan of the style, which is pretty simple in terms of flavour. The thing I really like is the caramel note you get that I've also spotted in Biere de Garde so I was hoping to pick up some overall tips to help understand the style and what it has in common with other beers I drink. I've tried quite a few 80 shilling ales and really like the simplicity and sweetness.

There are a few recipes for different strengths of brew, pretty much all based around pale malt with roast for colour. It has really good instructions of how to do a double mash to make both a strong ale and a "twopenny" ale, which is a weak table beer.

Like French Biere de Garde and German Alt and Kolsch the fermentation is done with top fermenting yeast with low ester production at a lower temperature than we're used to, but not quite as cold as lager. The book draws a lot of similarities between the Scottish method and lager production because of the use of sparging, the fairly short boil compared to how English ales used to be made and storage at low temperatures for conditioning.

One really good technical tip which I'm going to try is that the author advises taking some of the sweet first wort and boiling that immediately to get some caramelisation rather than relying on crystal malt for sweetness.

A good read and one with some handy information which I'll definitely put to use.

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby robwalker » Fri Jan 29, 2016 11:30

Sounds good. I'm a Scottish ale fan myself, nice and easy drinking, and the stronger ones are beautiful winter fireside beers.

Apparently the caramelizing wort is just something you can do if you want and historic evidence of it is pretty low. There was a time when everyone believed it was part of the style, I think because bjcp listed it on their style guide as so.
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby serum » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:21

robwalker wrote:Sounds good. I'm a Scottish ale fan myself, nice and easy drinking, and the stronger ones are beautiful winter fireside beers.

Apparently the caramelizing wort is just something you can do if you want and historic evidence of it is pretty low. There was a time when everyone believed it was part of the style, I think because bjcp listed it on their style guide as so.


I'd wondered about that because the book recommends doing it but doesn't list it as something the breweries used to do. However it could be something you get as a result of the old way of heating kettles. There are a few Belgian breweries that still use wood fired kettles and they have a lovely boiled sweet type flavour that's similar.

I'm missing that toffee flavour and it seems possible that's how it's done. The French seem to go for ridiculously long boils but this seems like a quicker way of getting the same result. I'm not sure I could get away with adding another 2 hours to the brew day, not to mention the amount of electricity I'd need.

I'll let you know how it goes when I've had a bash at it. Should be able to test it out later in the week on another Biere de Garde I'm doing.

My brother who posts occasionally made a few really good beers with that technique and they have the flavour I want so hopefully I'll be able to pull it off too.

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby graysalchemy » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:26

If you want the toffee flavour then caramalising the first runnings is the way to go. Just bung them in a pan on the cooker for the length of the boil or until you have a black/brown syrup in the bottom of the pan.

With regards to style I would suggest modern interpretations don't caramalise because of the extra cost/time and equipment involved, they accounts certainly wouldn't allow that now would they.

However there are examples that do notably Traquair House, mighty fine drop.

If you have the inclination I would certainly recomend doing it.

Also try using White labs Edinburgh yeast it is wonderful in these beers.

Think I may have to try a bottle of my 8% very heavy tonight.

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby robwalker » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:31

It does have the massive added benefit that you can obtain the flavour without adding extra fermentables. Sounds like you've answered your own question to me about caramel!
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby serum » Fri Jan 29, 2016 12:49

graysalchemy wrote:If you want the toffee flavour then caramalising the first runnings is the way to go. Just bung them in a pan on the cooker for the length of the boil or until you have a black/brown syrup in the bottom of the pan.

With regards to style I would suggest modern interpretations don't caramalise because of the extra cost/time and equipment involved, they accounts certainly wouldn't allow that now would they.

However there are examples that do notably Traquair House, mighty fine drop.

If you have the inclination I would certainly recomend doing it.

Also try using White labs Edinburgh yeast it is wonderful in these beers.

Think I may have to try a bottle of my 8% very heavy tonight.


That's good to know!

How much of the first wort do you tend to boil and roughly how much do you end up with at the end?

I've got to try to avoid overloading my circuits in the kitchen as I have an electric boiler and electric hobs. What I'm thinking of doing is getting the pan ready just as I start sparging and getting it on the go as soon as I've got enough wort but stopping when I'm ready to get the boil on. I can always do the main boil a little bit later if that fails.

It'd be so much easier if I had gas hobs!

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby graysalchemy » Fri Jan 29, 2016 13:31

Well on 60 L I did about 4L down to about 1l.

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby serum » Fri Jan 29, 2016 13:44

graysalchemy wrote:Well on 60 L I did about 4L down to about 1l.


I'm only doing a 5 gallon brew so I could do just over a litre. I can't see it taking that long to boil down.

Thanks for the advice.

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby graysalchemy » Fri Jan 29, 2016 13:46

Sounds about right 1.3l

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby rlemkin » Fri Jan 29, 2016 16:44

Another up for Edinburgh Ale Yeast. It's fantastic in dark malty beers.
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby rats_eyes » Fri Jan 29, 2016 17:31

I love the Edinburgh yeast too, great stuff. It's moderate attenuation leaves a bit of a xtra sweetness, which has worked well in my stuff. In my 5 gallon brews, i've boiled down 4 litres(ish) to 1 with pretty decent results
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby liamtmt7 » Fri Jan 29, 2016 21:36

Good thread, enjoyed reading.

I have been thinking about a 90 -/- type beer for a while, had 2 recently which I have enjoyed and have contemplated getting a scottish yeast - think it was the mcewans yeast I was looking at.

Anyone got any tried and tested recipes?
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby graysalchemy » Fri Jan 29, 2016 21:42

This my Traqair House clone, very simple

Traqair House
Strong Scotch Ale

Recipe Specs
----------------
Batch Size (L): 20.0
Total Grain (kg): 7.110
Total Hops (g): 300.00
Original Gravity (OG): 1.091 (°P): 21.8
Final Gravity (FG): 1.023 (°P): 5.8
Alcohol by Volume (ABV): 8.94 %
Colour (SRM): 14.1 (EBC): 27.8
Bitterness (IBU): 158.5 (Average)
Brewhouse Efficiency (%): 81
Boil Time (Minutes): 90

Grain Bill
----------------
6.471 kg Pale Ale Malt (91.01%)
0.284 kg Flaked Oats (3.99%)
0.284 kg Wheat Malt (3.99%)
0.071 kg Roasted Barley (1%)

Hop Bill
----------------
200.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5.7% Alpha) @ 90 Minutes (Boil) (10 g/L)
100.0 g East Kent Golding Leaf (5.7% Alpha) @ 35 Minutes (Boil) (5 g/L)

Misc Bill
----------------

Single step Infusion at 66°C for 90 Minutes.
Fermented at 20°C with WLP028 - Edinburgh Scottish Ale


Recipe Generated with BrewMate

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby liamtmt7 » Sat Jan 30, 2016 00:55

Cheers GA. Will give that a bash. I dont have any roasted barley, any substitute? I have black, chocolate, dark crystal and a longshot - carared
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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby graysalchemy » Sat Jan 30, 2016 13:15

I would use chocolate

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Re: Scotch Ale - Greg Noonan

Postby serum » Mon Feb 08, 2016 13:12

I've now had a bash at this wort caramelising so I should be able to report back in a few months when the beer is ready for a first tasting. I also had my first Traquair House beer a week ago. I got a bottle of Jacobite at a stall in London and it was lovely. I found it quite similar to Pannepot which wasn't what I was expecting but it could be the combination of strength, caramelised sugar and spices.

I really want to get some of their basic beer now.

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