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Style of the Week: Scottish 60 Shilling Ale!

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January 9, 2015 by fhsteinbart


Typical Scottish 60 Shilling Ale served in a traditional dimpled Imperial pint mug.

Typical Scottish 60 Shilling Ale served in a traditional dimpled Imperial pint mug.

When I was stationed in Scotland, one of my favorite beers to quaff at the local pub was the nicely malty, somewhat nutty, dark and flavorful but low in alcohol 60 Shilling Ale. The tax paid per barrel was recorded on the cask, so that the stronger the beer, the higher the tax, so a 60 Shilling Ale would be the lowest alcohol beer, and hence the most reasonably priced. The Scot’s are a thrifty bunch by nature you know! But I digress. The real appeal of these lovely beers is that they are made to drink by the Imperial pint without fear of over intoxicating one’s self. What I really liked about them was the depth of malty flavor, and just a balancing act of hops as hops don’t grow in Scotland, and hence being an imported ingredient, makes them dear price wise. Still, these beers are great to have on tap, or bottled for guests to consume in mass quantities, especially during a soccer match! Below is a recipe of mine that captures the best aspects of this fine British export without all the high prices:

Extract:

4 lbs. Extra Light DME

1 lb. Honey Malt

1 lb. Carmel Malt 120L

8 oz. Pale Chocolate Malt

2 oz. Black Patent

1 oz. Willamette Hops (Bittering)

Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale, WLP028, or S-04 Dry Yeast

Procedure:

  • Heat 2-5 gallons of water to 165°F.
  • Add steeping grains to kettle and steep for 30 minutes.
  • Remove grains, and rinse with 165°F water
  • Turn off heat and add malt extract, stirring until fully dissolved.
  • Return to Heat, bring to boil for 5 min. then add bittering hops.
  • At 15 minutes remaining, add the Whirlfloc tablet or Irish Moss.
  • At knockout (0 minutes), turn off the heat, cool the mixture by placing kettle in an ice bath or use a wort chiller. Add the mixture to the fermenter, removing the hops, and bring total volume to 5 gallons using distilled, bottled, or filtered tap water.
  • Aerate unfermented wort (shaking works well).
  • Pitch yeast and ferment at 64°F to 65°F for 7 to 14 days.
  • Allow to age an additional three to four weeks before packaging up as usual.

All Grain version:

6 lbs. 8 oz. Golden Promise Malt

1 lb Honey Malt

1 oz. Crystal Malt 120L

8 oz. Pale Chocolate Malt

2 oz Black Patent

1 oz Willamette Hops (Bittering)

Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale, WLP028, or S-04 Dry Yeast

¾ gm. Calcium Chloride Salts per gallon (~3.75 gms. or 1 level tsp.) in both mash and boil

Procedure:

  • Infusion mash at 154°F for 90 min with the Calcium Chloride Salts.
  • Sparge until 6~6½ gal wort has been obtained.
  • Add the rest of the salts after the boil commences.
  • Boil for 1 to 1½ hours total time.
  • Add the bittering hops after 15 minutes boiling and continue to boil for 60 more minutes.
  • Add Whirlfloc or Irish Moss at last 15 minutes.
  • Gravity may vary depending on system efficiency, so adjust accordingly.

Package up as usual; bottled versions should use 90 gms. corn sugar (approx. 2/3 cup), or kegged to 12 psig, and allow two weeks to come into condition. Serve at 50~55°F in an Imperial Pint mug, share, and enjoy! This beer will continue to evolve and change over the coming months, so make enough to last you through your next brew.

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