This is a new style for me. Most of the beers I’ve brewed lately have all been pretty high in gravity, so I want to brew something sessionable. Sessionable doesn’t have to mean flavorless, so I looked through some flavorful beer styles that were sub 1.040. Scottish 70 Shilling jumped out at me. This is also perfect, since with the holiday season fast approaching, it’s nice to be able to offer guests a beer that won’t knock them on their ass in a hurry.
When I’m completely unfamiliar with a beer style, I’ll turn to a trusted, or safe recipe that I can get a feel for it from. The first recipes I usually reference are Jamil’s from the Brewing Network. I don’t take his recipes as the holy grail, but I know I’ll always get a good representation of the style. Alas, I’m brewing his Scottish 70/- at face value. I’ll use Warrior for bittering, as its clean, and I’m getting rid of my 2011 supply, but the recipe is unchanged otherwise.
Low gravity beers make for smooth brew days. One thing to note is that I’ve never mashed a beer quite this high — 158*. The high mash temp is to keep Cali Ale yeast from ripping right through this beer. Despite the high percentage of crystal malts, the normal attenuation percentage for 001 would finish well in the 1.00x range. Following the mash was a typical 60 minute boil. I chilled to 62F, and pitched my yeast. 1.039 is an awkward gravity to pitch for five gallons unless you have a super fresh yeast vial; I didn’t. Thankfully my American Stout was on its third day of fermentation, so I top cropped a small amount of 001 to supplement the vial I pitched.
1lb English C60
8oz Honey Malt
3oz Chocolate Malt
Mash @ 158*
9g Warrior @ 60
WLP001 – California Ale Yeast
Cali Ale yeast never exactly ferments fast, but it moves through a 1.039 beer pretty quick. I kept it fermenting at 64F for the first few days, then let it rise up to 68* to finish out. I’m definitely becoming a bigger fan of WLP001 rather than US05, as it flocculates much better than US05 does. I don’t remember US05 being as poor of a flocculator as it’s become, but that will push me to continue to use White Labs for now.
I’ll admit, looking at this recipe, I was scared it might turn out cloying. There’s almost 16% Crystal malt and over 6% Honey malt. And for those unacquainted, Honey malt makes a big flavor impact. Nonetheless, I was pleasantly surprised, as this beer is very light on the palate. The aroma is all malt. Nice clean caramel and toffee flavors, but it doesn’t smell overly sweet. The flavor is very similar with some raisin-like qualities that pair up with some biscuity, bread-like notes. The really interesting thing is, I expected a sweet, sticky, or cloying finish based on the initial sweet flavors, but it isn’t there. The beer finishes smooth and clean, which is where this recipe really shines.There’s almost an unfermented wort type aroma to the beer, but it’s in a very faint, pleasant sort of way.
This beer could quickly become a staple for me, and it has piqued my interest in brewing more low gravity beers. It’s a very refreshing and flavorful beer. And it’s really nice to be able to drink a pint or two without getting trashed. Also, it’s an excellent batch to re-pitch yeast from, which is a nice bonus. Jamil’s recipes are always great, but this one is pretty fantastic. I’m going to submit a couple bottles to a couple comps to see what some BJCP judges think. There’s a couple minor tweaks I’m considering making to this beer, but I’d like to see if the judges echo the same thoughts.
Cheers and Happy Holidays!