Tag Archives: Scottish Ale

Northfarthing 70/- (Scottish Ale)

Scottish Ale 5.20.13

I really love a good Scottish Ale. The best examples have a distinct clean malt profile with some residual sweetness. The 60/-, 70/- and 80/- (for some historical information click here) are all fairly sessionable and light. They can be tricky to brew right because the OG is quite low, yet you don’t want them to finish dry or sweet – they need balance.

I’ve brewed Jamil’s Scottish Ales before and his recipe is very solid. For this batch I decided I wanted to start with the recipe for my Robert the Bruce clone attempt, but I didn’t want it to be quite as big or sweet so I scaled back the specialty grains a bit and also used California Ale (WLP001) yeast instead of English Ale (WLP002) – mainly because I needed to build up some 001, but also to clean up the flavor profile a bit. I also swapped the 2 Row for Marris Otter as I thought some MO nuttiness would complement the recipe nicely.

Northfarthing 70/-

2.5 finished gallons (3.5 gallon batch size – .75 left in kettle, .25 left in fermenter)

Brewed 4/20

Kegged 5/5

90 min boil

Mash @ 158*

1.038 OG

1.016 FG

86% Warminster Floor Malted Marris Otter (4.5L)

4% Weyermann Caramunich I

4% Weyermann Melanoiden Malt

2% Briess Crystal 10L

2% Simpson’s Medium Crystal

1% Fawcett Pale Chocolate Malt

.5% Simpson’s Black Malt

.5% Simpson’s Roasted Barley

90 Min Centennial to 19 IBU

Fermented at 62* F.

Tasting Notes:

Aroma: Nutty, caramelly, cleanly MALTY, light roast. Malt sweetness is an accurate descriptor. No hop aroma, no esters, no diacetyl. Definitely would consider this to have a complex malt aroma. No alcohol. Slightly grainy as it warms – especially in the finish.

Appearance: Deep amber, some ruby. Brilliantly clear, offwhite head with good retention.

Flavor: Clean malt flavors with some malty sweetness hits you up front followed by caramel, toffee and nuttiness. Very faint roast, but mostly clean malt dominates. Again, complex malt flavors. Hop bitterness supports, but is in the background. Finishes moderately dry with some sweetness.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, low to moderately low carbonation. You can feel some dextrins on your palate.

Overall Impression: Very clean, very balanced. Tastes like a Scottish ale for sure, would be improved if finishing gravity was slightly lower – maybe 1.014, but I think this would compete well as is especially as it continues to improve from cold conditioning.

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NHC Round 1 Results

NHC.2013

I received my scoresheets today from NHC Round 1 this morning. I had entered 4 beers and 2 advanced. I was hoping at least 1 would advance so pretty cool that 2 made it. I had actually tried the winning APA after the Mini BOS concluded and was about 75% sure it was mine, but I literally got one sip since so many people wanted to try it and had just been drinking Dark Lagers and eating chips so I couldn’t tell for sure and didn’t want to let myself believe it was for sure mine. As you can see above the APA advanced with a whopping score of 30 – that’s right the lowest possible score to be eligible for the 2nd round – I’ll wear that like a badge of honor. The judges for the APA were not even National in rank and one of the Mini BOS judges was a Grandmaster III so I’m pretty much disregarding the scoresheets. It was clearly a low scoring flight if a 30 advanced to Mini BOS.

I’ll be rebrewing the APA with no recipe changes in the next couple of weeks to be ready for Round 2 judging.

My Robert the Bruce clone was entered in the Specialty Category and scored a much more respectable 43.5. I won’t need to rebrew that beer. The Mild that got 1st at UMMO and 3rd at March Mashness scored a 39.5 and advanced to the Mini BOS, but did not place. My special Bitter did not score well with a 27 as I expected, it had the off flavor I posted about here, but by the time I realized it wasn’t going away it was too late to edit my entries.

 

Beer Entered Date Brewed BJCP Category Score Place
Crickhollow Mild 3.0 11/17/2012 11A 39.5 N/A
Bagshot Pale 3.0 2/23/2013 10A 30 1st
Bucklebury Bitter 2/7/2013 8B 27.5 N/A
Northfarthing Ale 12/27/2012 23A 43.5 2nd

 

On second thought I might even brew 2 versions of the APA and see which I prefer and in case I screw something up so I have a contingency plan – I have 3 bottles from the last batch, but they’d be 4 months old when judged so that isn’t much of a back up plan. I’m pretty confident in my brewing, but this is NHC after all..

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Robert the Bruce (Scottish Ale) clone attempt 1

northfarthing.ale

Ahh Robert the Bruce – the man and the beer. We’ll start with the man that inspired the name for this beer – king of the Scots from 1306-1329 (yes I got this off Wikipedia). After brewing this I actually read quite a bit about Robert and was not surprised to see how historically inaccurate Braveheart is, but I still love that movie. It was the first ‘R’ rated movie I ever saw – I still wonder what my parents were thinking – I was maybe 11 by the time I saw it. It’s still a movie I watch once (or many) times a year. I’ve always thought the character Robert the Bruce was the most compelling in the entire film, largely because of the acting of Angus Macfadyen (FAATHHERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!).  If you can get some Robert the Bruce (or another Scottish Ale) there is a fun and simple drinking game to play while watching Braveheart – every time someone on screen says “freedom” you raise your glass and say “Robert!” and take a healthy sip, if the English are on screen you say “dirty English bastards!” and drink.

Because of my interest in both Scottish Ales and Robert the Bruce I was intrigued when a friend of mine told me about a beer called Robert the Bruce by 3 Floyds. It’s a Scottish Ale that falls between the Scottish 80/- and Strong Scotch Ale (so I guess it’s about a 100/- ale) style categories in terms of gravity. Their website says that it’s 7%, but everywhere else has it at 6.5%. I figured I’d target 6.5% and ended up hitting 7% so either way I’m in the neighborhood.  The main info floating around the internet is that it’s bittered with Centennial to about 30 IBU and uses crystal, roasted and melanoiden malts. I found a recipe (below) that was supposedly from Nick Floyd on a forum from a post about 8 years ago and figured I’d try using the recipe as a starting point as it matched up with the rest of what I could find on this beer.

OG:17plato (1.070)
FG:5.5plato (1.022)
Ibus:30 All at begining of Boil (Centennial)
90 Minute Boil
MashIn 162 F Hour Rest
Yeast: Fullers

Colour 18 Srm

Malt 85% 2Row US
1%Black Patent UK
1%Roasted UK
5%Caramunich 40 German
3% Crystal 10 US
2% Melanoidin German
3%Crystal 55 UK
Ferment on the cold side 62-65 F

From there I degassed a sample and saw that it finished at 1.016, not 1.022. I decided to keep the same grist percentages and to target 1.065 OG and 1.016 FG for 6.5% ABV.

Here is the recipe I brewed:

Mash @ 149F

85% Rahr 2 Row
5% Weyermann Caramunich I
3% Simpson’s Medium Crystal (50-60 = 55ish)
3% Briess Caramel 10
2% Weyermann Melanoiden Malt
1% Simpson’s Roasted Barley
1% Simpsons English Black Malt

20 SRM
Centennial @ 90 mins to 30 IBU
WLP002 – ferment at 62*, ramp up to 66* as fermentation slows down.

Homebrew left, Robert the Bruce right

Homebrew left, Robert the Bruce right

It ended up at 1.067 OG and finished at 1.014 (7% ABV) so the mash temp was a bit low. Like most Scottish Ales it really didn’t taste great until it had been cold conditioning for about a month – was almost cloyingly sweet and the flavors just hadn’t blended yet. As you can tell in the picture, the homebrew version is a fair bit darker, it worked out to 19.8 SRM in Beersmith, but I wanted to start with this grist anyway since it was the only recipe I could find online that looked like it could be right. When we tried this side by side the commercial bottle was a bit old and oxidized so we really couldn’t do a true side by side so I’ll just describe how the homebrew version tastes.

The aroma is all malt, caramel, chocolate, dark fruit and just a hint of alcohol and esters. When I first take a sip I get a lot of chocolate and some bitterness and it changes quickly to caramel, dark fruit and just pure Scottish Ale  malt character (sorry I can’t describe that better). It’s definitely got a clean malt profile and the perfect balance of good old Centennial bittering. It’s crazy how the flavors change within a single sip – the finish is dark fruit and than suddenly a hint of chocolate. It’s been a while since I’ve had a fresh Robert, so I can’t really say that this is cloned, but its in the ballpark for sure. Robert is a bit more drinkable so I think getting this down to 6.5% would help. My regulator also went crazy and this is slightly overcarbonated, been slowly degassing it so that would also make it a bit more drinkable. I’ll have to reduce some of the character malts to lighten the color a bit as well. I remember the malt hitting me a bit harder so I will probably increase the melanoiden next time. Some friends might be heading near the brewery in the next couple of months so if they are able to bring back some more Robert I’ll tweak the recipe and rebrew this. In the meantime I’ll probably use a similar grist makeup to make a Scottish 60/- or 70/-.

I entered this in the March Mashness competition as a Specialty Beer with the description, “This is a Scottish Ale brewed between the Scottish Export 80/- and Strong Scotch Ale styles.” Not sure what to expect – never entered a Specialty Beer. I call it “Northfarthing Ale” as I thought the description of the Northfarthing of the Shire to be a lot like Scottland – (from LOTR Wikia):

The Northfarthing or the North Farthing was the least populated part of the Shire.

It was known for having a slightly cooler climate then the rest of the Shire and snow was more common here.

The soil tended to be somewhat rocky but was good enough to allow for farming and was where the Shire’s barley for their beer came from.

There was also much hunting done here.

Cheers

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UMMO Results

UMMO.medals

The scoresheets came back from the first competition we’ve entered so far in 2013 (Upper Mississippi Mashout). As I said in an earlier post, this is supposed to be one of the best judged competitions of the year so I wasn’t really sure what to expect having not entered this one before (or possibly even a competition as well ran/judged as this one).

The results were posted sometime between Saturday night and Sunday morning (I checked when I woke up) and the scoresheets were apparently mailed out right away, but there was a postage issue and they had to resend them all out last weekend – no big deal, still had within about 10 days of the competitions which is plenty fast.

We ended up with 1 gold (Mild 3.0), 2 silvers (Scottish 70/- and IIPA)  and 1 beer that didn’t place (APA 2.0). I talk about each beers in the post linked in the top paragraph as well as other posts so I won’t go into great detail in this post.

The Mild that got 1st (39.5) is one that I don’t like and neither has anyone else that has tried it so far. Apparently it’s a good example of the style though, but I won’t brew that recipe again. I am going to enter it in NHC though since it did fairly well and I don’t know what else to do with the rest of the batch. The judges stated it could improve with a little more fruity ester complexity – that’s the problem with competing in the English styles- if they don’t taste like fruit-cake you will hear about it on your scoresheets, I just like my English beers with very limited ester character so I won’t be changing that.

The Scottish 70/- got 2nd (41 adjusted to 39) and was noted to be slightly over carbonated which detracted from the malt flavor – I blame my piece of shit regulator, but ultimately that’s my fault and overcarbonation is something I’m almost never accused of (quite the contrary…). One judge thought it had a little too much roasted grain and slight diacetyl (from WLP001?!?) – this was Jamil’s recipe and I probably wouldn’t tweak much if/when I rebrew it.

The IIPA got 2nd (37 adjusted to 43!) was the 2nd time I brewed a Pliny clone with some minor changes. One judge thought it had too much hop flavor and aroma, the other thought it needed more hop flavor and aroma. Both seemed to like the beer though, but the aroma was a bit subdued from the last batch which, I think, came from using gelatin. Based on the timelines though I had to use it and it really does make the beer sparkle. I think I’ll try to not use gelatin on APAs, IPAs and IIPAs when I can help it though.

The APA didn’t place (28.5) and that really surprised me as I thought it was about as classic of an APA as you can get. It also tasted really clean and I didn’t pick up any flaws. The judges thought it had too much diacetyl, which I either am not sensitive to or the judges maybe had some on their palates from a beer earlier in the flight – I’m not out to make excuses, but it’s got to be one or the other.

I will have to dig in and figure out how to adjust my process if I’m throwing off diacetyl and not picking it up myself. The yeast in question is WLP002, which I’ve had diacetyl comments from in several batches now and it is a pretty notorious strain for diacetyl, but it is still precious to me and I will fight through this.

I’m brewing a Special Bitter this week and the APA (with some adjustments) in 2 weeks both for NHC and both with WLP002 so I need to make some adjustments immediately starting with going from a 1L starter to 1.5L and probably doing my D rest earlier in fermentation than I have been (instead of when krausen drops I think I’ll do this about a day after high krausen (probably 2.5-3 days from pitching). I think I will also rouse the fermenter as I ramp up the temp – not sure what else to do besides leave the beer on the yeast a bit longer (I usually give these about 10 days from pitching, maybe I’ll go closer to 2 weeks). I sent an email to White Labs, but I don’t know if they’ll respond or, if they do, if it will be real constructive.

There are a couple more competitions coming up (this Saturday and next Saturday) so I’m hoping to have more scoresheets back before tweaking my process too much. This kind of feedback is part of the reason I enter competitions – if I truly don’t detect diacetyl (which some people are not sensitive to) than I may be serving friends/family buttery slick beer which is unacceptable, but I wouldn’t have known without getting feedback. I’ll know more once I see the results from the next 2 competitions, but it has identified some simple things I can do to reduce the amount of diacetyl that ends up in the finished product.

I’m still looking for more gold and hopefully a BOS or two this year, stay tuned readers.

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In Search of Gold……Medals

As happens several times throughout the year there are several competitions coming up within weeks of each other in the area that allow drop offs at Northern Brewer – meaning no hassle with shipping. Whenever this happens I try to brew up a few beers to enter in each – which I’ve made mention of in some recent posts. I also had some bottles left of other beers brewed last year that I decided to enter. I was really hoping to volunteer at the Mashout, but couldn’t get out of work Friday and Saturday (during judging) so hopefully I’ll have that chance later this year as I’ve never helped out with a competition.

 

Bagshot Pale

Bagshot Pale

American Pale Ale – Bagshot Pale – this is the second iteration of the recipe, see the post for more info there. The first iteration got 1st, 1st, 3rd in the three competitions I entered it in. I’m really happy with the changes made in this version – the hop flavor is amazing. I’m planning to enter this recipe in NHC, which may or may not change depending on scores/feedback from the upcoming competitions. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26, The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9 and MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

Hamfast the Gaffer

Hamfast the Gaffer

Imperial IPA – Hamfast the Gaffer – once again, this is the second iteration of a Pliny clone – lots of info in that post. Also, once again, I’m really happy with how this turned out in it’s second iteration. I probably wont rebrew this to enter it in NHC, but I will brew it at some point again this year probably whenever the next group of competitions around here are together (probably late summer/early fall). Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26, The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9 and MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

Crickhollow Mild

Crickhollow Mild

English MildCrickhollow Mild – this is my third attempt at a Mild – I go into great (probably too much) detail about the recipe in the post, but in this case I’m not thrilled with what the amber malt brought in – almost an astringent-like flavor that is a bit strong at this point. I’ve read that the flavor can/will fade over time, but I’m not sure how patient I’ll be with it. I figured I’d enter it anyway and see if the judges like it better than I do or if they think the astringent flavor is a process issue or something. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26.

 

MacAulish

MacAulish

Scottish 70/- MacAulish – I brewed this back in August and it has been at about 35* F since early September – for whatever reason this beer really improves with extended cold storage. This got a silver medal in Hoppy Halloween scoring 36.5. This is Jamil’s recipe with Simpson’s Caramalt/Extra Dark Crystal (as opposed to American crystal) and Northdown for bittering. This is entered in Upper Mississippi Mashout 1/26.

 

Oatmeal Stout w/ Espresso shot

Oatmeal Stout w/ Espresso shot

Oatmeal Stout – Ivy Bush Oat Stout – This was brewed in early October and turned out fairly good. This is essentially Jamil’s recipe with a few tweaks (UK crystals, toasted the oats, etc) – see recipe in the post (which is in the Oatmeal Stout Chili post) for more info. The only glaring issue with this beer is the head retention is fairly poor (unlike when you add a shot of espresso as in the pic) – I know that will count against the score as it’s mentioned in the style guidelines (“Thick, creamy, persistent tan- to brown-colored head.”), but I wanted to get some feedback anyway since I haven’t entered a stout in a competition yet. This is entered in The Great Northern Brew-Ha-Ha! 2/9.

 

Janet's Brown Ale

Janet’s Brown Ale

American Brown Ale – Janet’s Brown Ale – brewday post here and tasting notes here. I happened to have exactly 2 bottles left of this after giving some away and decided to enter them instead of drink them. Last time I had one of these (1-2 weeks ago) it tasted excellent so I’m hoping it’ll hold up for another month until the competition. They’ll be picking one Brown Ale (English or American) to be ramped up and brewed at the Milwaukee Ale House sometime this year so I figured it was worth a shot, just wish this was fresher (brewed 10/27/12). This is entered in MMXIII Midwinter Home Brew Competition 2/15.

 

I’ll get a post up at some point after each or all of the competitions. For past results see competition results page.

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Baked Ham – Scottish Ale Glaze

sliced

There is a lot of room for variation in this recipe (boneless/bone in ham, glaze thickness, cooking method, glaze ingredients, beer style, etc), but I really liked how it turned out. You could use a variety of beers for this, but I really like the flavor the Scottish Ale contributes. It really is the perfect style for a ham glaze in my opinion. This will result in a fairly sweet, very flavorful glaze. Even my wife, who isn’t much of a fan of baked ham, loves it.

8 lbs Boneless Fully Cooked Ham

1 bottle Scottish 70/- (Jamil’s recipe from Brewing Classic Styles)

1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Honey

ingredients

Score the ham (cut diamond pattern about 1/2″ deep all over surface of ham):

scored

Place ham in roasting pan and bake for half of total cook time.

Mix the glaze ingredients in a saute pan:

mix

Reduce to taste (I only reduced about 10 minutes on very low heat, I wanted this to be a fairly thin glaze):

stir

Remove ham from oven:

baked

Pour glaze covering ham entirely:

poured

Bake ham for remaining time basting occasionally.  Remove from oven and let rest before slicing:

done

Serve with preferred sides and refrigerate the rest. Pour glaze into container – I like to take the slices that have been soaking in the glaze at the bottom when eating leftovers.

plate

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