Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Highlanders Kiss- Scottish Ale

I have been trying to come up with some recipes lately to round out some styles that I haven't previously brewed. Unlike my dad who tries to completely fill his mash tun with grain (I keep trying to tell him that it's not like Belgium in the old days when you would get taxed based on the size of the mash tun), I tend to start out with my beers on the small side.

So I was a bit surprised when I wrote up my recipe for my first Scottish Ale that my gravity pushed it to the upper reaches of the style. I tried to imagine a Highlander, what with his kilt and no undergarments, drinking a beer with and original gravity of 1.035 in rainy 50 degree weather while tending his flock in the Scottish Highlands, and it just didn't seem right. I pressed ahead with my Export strength recipe, and came up with this:

Highlanders Kiss Ale

Maris Otter- 7 lbs
Crystal Malt 20L- 8 oz
Flaked Barley- 8 oz
Smoked Malt- 4 oz
Carafa 400L- 4 oz

Goldings- 1 oz- 90 minutes

Wyeast 1728- Scottish Ale- 1000 ml starter

Gravity- Projected/Acutal/Final/ABV

156/167 mash out- hot water infusions

Regular readers of this blog (all three of you) will no doubt know that I typically have difficulty obtaining the ingredients I went for at the LHBS. I only had one substitute on this brew which was the Carafa (subbing for an equal amount of Roasted Barley). Meaning it was more or less what I set out to make. The name Highlanders Kiss is for the kiss of smoked malt I threw in to give it just a hint of smoke. Oddly, a lot of what I read said the German smoke malt is more suited to the style than a Scottish Peat malt, which I don't understand, but whatever. Perhaps when I'm perfecting this recipe once and for all, I'll try a batch with both to see how it turns out. Everything else is pretty straightforward. One hop charge at the beginning of a long boil, Scottish yeast, etc. Predictable brew day, hopefully to be a good brew. This yeast strain didn't form the normal krauesen that I expect, so I'm cautiously optimistic. I know it was viable yeast, so I'm giving it three weeks in the primary fermenter.

As far as the rest of the year, I'm at a crossroads. It seems to be getting much colder earlier than last year, so I may brew my sour beers and get on with the lagers. We'll see what the weather does and take it from there.