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.


Señor Brew™ said...

I've read that the smokiness in a Scottish should come from the phenols the yeast produces, not actual smoked or peated malt.

Also, you could have left out the part about the kilted guy not wearing skivvies.

Otherwise it sounds like a tasty brew--I love a good Scottish ale.

Kevin LaVoy said...

I didn't feel like I crossed any lines, since I didn't actually SHOW any Scots sans skivvies.

That is, however, an interesting point about the yeast. I hadn't read that, which is a bit surprising since I read everything I could find. Either way, I feel like a little smoke would improve many beers, so I think I'll be alright. Thanks for the tip.

Señor Brew™ said...

Read the comments section of 9a,b, and c:


Ted Danyluk said...

Hey, you are brewing one of my favorites. I did one many years back and still remember it. The German smoked malt will give you that sweet little kiss of smoke. The peated malt at only .25 ounce in this beer would give you a much bigger smooch, so good choice.

If you are going for a smoked beer with much more sweetness and body, having several pounds of German S-malt and a touch of Peat gives a fuller and well rounded smoke character.

Also, I recall the Scottish ale strain looking and performing like you mentioned, especially at the cooler temps. Nothing to worry about. Just turn the carboy a once or twice to get some flocculated yeast up.

I'd like the chance to try this one.

Kevin LaVoy said...

Senor Brew: Touche'

Ted: Thanks for the vote of confidence. I left it in the primary for 3 full weeks, and it finished up at about 1.016, which was about where I expected. The aroma seemed kind of strange, but it tasted really good. I think the Goldings always smell a little weird. I'm hoping some of it was created by the yeast, and will get cleaned up in the secondary. I'll definitely get you a few. My Saison's also finised up really tasty, so I'll have to get you a few to sample.

Tom Michigander said...

Interesting reading..I don't know what your doing,but the results sounds tastey. I don't remember in any of the Highlander Movies about not wearing skivvies.

Anonymous said...

I can't keep quiet any longer. (Kevin's Dad speaking). I live in Oregon now and have gotten smitten by the Northwest's IPAs. I like a beer that comes at you.

Next, I didn't know the Belgium's got taxed on the amount of grains they used in their beers. Personally, I wouldn't have admitted to anyone how heavy my mash tun were. Maybe back then this was income tax evasion, but that's wrong to tax a Man's brew! I brew for FUN, but Kevin has always been the history buff in the family so it makes interesting conversations.

Lastly, even though I am his Dad, he is my Brew Master and I seek his brewing counsel regularly! Ain't life great!