A couple of things going on tonight. Just gotta use this kitchen!

First of all, we had some left-overs (Anthropologically – Hunters and Gathers) so Robin made a very good dish. Pictured above is Halibut with Beurre Blanc and Rice with Almonds and String Beans. A good wine went well with this – a 2006 Casa Castillo Jumilla.

But then, I also have another project going on.

Here is the Heavy Scottish Ale. I may be bottling this weekend. I really don’t know. The fermentation is going quite well – slow and steady. But I have had some questions on Scottish Ale. Here is some information I gathered from the web at different locations. The ale I am making is very much like the Robert the Bruce Scottish Ale as listed below. I am making a Highland Heavy Ale.

Highland Heavy Ale – In the Highlands of Scotland, centuries ago, small breweries began producing rich, dark, hoppy ales know locally as “Heavy”. In addition “Light” beers were also brewed, known south of the border as Milds, but it was a pint of “Heavy” which typified the highlanders’ preference.
You can now recapture this distinctive rich bitter flavour, with its dark, malty brew, balanced by a generous helping of hops. To enjoy Highland Heavy Ale at its best it should be served at cellar temperature.

Typical analyses when canned:
Colour (EBC Units) 50 – 60
Bitterness (EBU’s) 45 – 55
Solids (by refractometer) 80% – 82%
Acidity (as lactic) 1% max
pH 5 – 6
Free Amino Nitrogen 0.15%

The Scottish style of ales break down into Light, Heavy and Export. In the 19th century Scotland, a nomenclature, based on the now obsolete shilling currency, was devised in order to distinguish each. 60/- (light), 70/- (heavy), 80/- (export), 90/- to 160/- for Scotch Ales. Scottish Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew and a higher level of unfermentable sugars which create a rich mouthfeel and malty flavors and aromas. Overall hop character is low, light floral or herbal, allowing its signature malt profile to be the highlight. Smoky characters are also common.

Example: Robert The Bruce Scottish Ale
Not a bad Scottish Ale, but nothing extraordinary. Brown in color, kind of on the drab side, not very exciting. The basic characters are there – nice peat and slightly smoky, malty and a bit nutty, but nothing really jumps out and grabs me. I tend to prefer drier beers but for a Scotch ale I’m really looking for that malty robust sweet flavor and this one isn’t giving it to me. Not much in the way of spicy hops either, which wouldn’t have hurt. However this was a nice and mellow brew, maybe I just wasn’t in the mood.

Serving type: bottle
Pours a clear, dark amber color. 1/4 inch head of a pale tan color. Decent retention and poor lacing. Smells of roasted malt, sweet malt, and some coffee aromas. Fits the style of a Scottish Ale. Mouth feel is smooth and thick with a low carbonation level. Tastes of roasted malts up front, slight hop background, sweet malts, an almost toffee flavor, and then a smooth roasted malt finish. Wow, for all the malt crammed in this brew it is still very easy to drink (almost deceptively so). Overall, this beer doesn’t have a very good appearance, but makes up for it in flavor.

Taste/Mouthfeel: Ah, there’s the peat – slight smoky peat flavors creep out amongst really sweet, chewy, caramelly malts and dark sticky fruity tastes. A notable hop profile comes across in a slightly bitter citrus taste that balances out the sweetness and compliments the very well carbonated feel. I love the effervescence – it lends a sort of creaminess to this well-bodied and full-flavored beer. Stickiness remains awhile throughout the palate. Delicious. Best example of the style in the taste that I’ve experienced.

Example: McNeill’s Tartan Export
Clingy tan head laced well and displayed good retention. The nose was malt, wheat bread and hints of wood (oak?). The flavors were good too. Roasted malt up front with the charred character being clear like burned toast. A caramel sweetness adds to the palate but it’s not very complex otherwise. Slightly bitter on the finish giving it a certain crispness. Medium body, medium carbonation. Nothing stellar but a good standard brew.

Pours a semi-clear ruby red with a big cloudy two finger off-white head that slooowly recedes. Nice frothy layer of stickiness remains on the sides of the glass. Smell is woody and malty. A slight smoked grain tickles the nose with a fair amount of cinnamon bread. Sweet lemongrass aroma as well. Sweet caramel malt and candy apple up front on the tongue, not what I was expecting. Very light citrus flavoring with white grapes and pear as well. This beer almost tastes like an apple cider to me. Just the slightest hint of smoked malts to give this beer even more character. Very light and crisp body with a very fluffy feel. Carbonation is fairly strong, but as are most with this brewery. Another beer to enjoy on a warm summer day.

So there you have some information that you may have known. Really – There is more to beer and ale than Coors and Bud. Really!