Monday, February 4, 2013

So Does Her Brother - Brewnight, Traditional Scottish Ale

Todays Brew - A Scottish Ale brewed with Heather Flower and Honey.  There are many modern takes on a Scottish Ale but I am endeavoring to go really old school.

The first old school thing - No hops in this beer, it is bittered and flavored with Heather Flowers. Hops are not native to Scotland. Old world Scottish brewers had to use herbs and spices to balance out the sweetness of the malt.  Since Scotland has so much heather they write songs about it, one can see how  Scottish brewers would brew with it.

I was thrilled to find dried heather flowers at the local brew shop.  It was suggested that fresh was the way to go, but since my Moors aren't pink with heather, I'll settle for the dried.

The heather added a very new smell to brew day.  Instead of the aggressive bouquet of hops, the kitchen smelt of tea.  I likened it to chamomile, but at the end of a lively debate we agreed just to call it a tea smell.

The second odd and traditional part of the brew was the kettle caramelization.  This involved taking the first gallon of wort (unfermented beer) and boiling it down by half.  It was much like making candy.

Once the wort was reduced, it started a thick roll.  That is when I pulled it off the heat and added it to the boil.   Supposedly this was used to deepen the flavor of the beer. 
At the end of the boil I added 2 pounds of pasteurized honey.
I used a traditional Scottish yeast.  Since it isn't traditionally warm in Scotland, this will ferment at a lower temp.  Cooler fermenting is slower, as is fermenting honey.  It will spend a month sitting there happily bubbling away at 60 ish degrees.  Then another month in the bottle!  Agony!

I will keep you up to date with a brew-review come spring.  Now for a clever name - I'm thinking Galloway something as a nod to the Scottish Side of the family. 

Karen, you may have your blog back now.  Thanks for sharing! 

1 comment:

  1. We will all be waiting - and waiting - and waiting.

    Nice 'share'