Debatable Brewers' Recipes: Scotch Ale

(brewed March 18th, 1996)

2 1/2 gallons of a fine all-grain Scotch Ale may be made thus:


First, roast the 3 lbs of pale malt in the oven for 10 mins. at 350 F. (175 C.). Take out of the oven, and allow to start cooling. (I roast my grain in cookie sheets, spread out to a fairly shallow depth.)

While the above 3 lbs is cooling, start 16 qts. of water heating. Then start crushing the rest of the malt. Then crush the above 3 lbs. (If you have a fairly slow grain mill, the roasted malt should be fairly cool when you get around to crushing it.)

When the water is up to 175 F. (80 C.), pour it into your mash tun (I use a cooler), and add all the grain in, mixing well. The whole mess should be somewhere in the 155-158 F. (68-70 C.) range, and fairly thick. (Yes, this is a hot, stiff mash).

Mash (allow it to sit) for 1 hour. Heat about 3 1/2 gallons of water heating toward the end of this time.

Start the rinse by recirculating the liquor until it runs fairly clear. Then collect out 2 quarts of the first runnings into a 4 qt. (or larger) sauce-pan. Put this on the stove on high; have someone watch it very carefully to make sure that it doesn't boil all over the place. Be especially careful at first, as it hits hot break. Boil the 2 qts. of first runnings down to 1 qt. of volume. This will caramelize some of the sugars.

Meanwhile, start running out the rest of the liquor and adding 180 F. sparge water in the top, so that you collect about 3 3/4 gallons of liquor into a big pot (or several smaller ones). Start this all boiling. (Be careful not to let it all boil out when it hits hot break.) Soon after reaching hot break, add the hops.

Boil for 45 mins. Add the caramelized first runnings, and cool with a wart chiller.

Strain into an appropriate fermenter, aerate some more, and add the yeast starter. You should be starting with about 2 1/2 to 3 gallons of wart.

Our batch had a starting specific gravity of 1.098, and a final gravity of 1.030. We found it to be sweet and very, very strong. And very, very nice.

A Second Running

Since this is such a strong batch, the sparge is fairly inefficient. So there are still sugars to wash out of the grains. If you are interested in making an ordinary Scottish Ale from the remainder, do this:

After starting the main batch boiling (above), put on another 1 1/2 gallon of water to boil. When this is boiling, pour it into the lauter tun (with the grains) and stir well. Wait a bit, then start to recirculate it until it runs clear. Collect 1 1/2 gallons of liquor, and start this boiling.

After this has reached hot break, add 1/4 oz. of Bullion hops (or about 1/2 oz. of Hallertau), and boil for 45 mins. Cool, and strain through the hops of the first batch (after you have strained the first batch), into a smaller fermenter. Pitch in a small amount of the starter (don't quite use it all in the first batch).

We got a starting gravity of 1.056 for this second running. It was fine ordinary Scottish ale.


Digbie, K, The Closet of the eminently Learned Sir Kenelme Digbie, kt., Opened..., 1669, in Miscellany from D. Friedman & E. Cook

[Scotch Ale]
Noonan, G., Scotch Ale, 1993 Brewers Publications.
Harrison, preface to Hollinshed's Chronicles, 1587, in Miscellany as "Misc-4," from D. Friedman & E. Cook

Tofi Kerthjalfadsson, guildmaster, BMDL Brewers' Guild.
pwp+ (AT) cs dot cmu dot edu