By Kyle Sisco and Shannon Pierce
Photos courtesy of The Wedge Community Co-op
Scottish Ales are known for their malty flavor, with beers ranging from easy-drinking, light bodied 2.5% Scottish Light 60 Shilling to the robust 10% Strong Scotch Ale. While Scottish Ales are not the most popular style among craft beer drinkers today, names like Hope and King, Devil in Plaid, Dirty Bastard, and Skull Splitter dare consumers to try something different. Maple 80 Shilling is a Scottish Ale brewed with Grade B Maple Syrup. The name, like other Scottish ales, pays homage to a previous era of beer in Scotland, while adding a modern touch with the maple syrup. As a highly fermentable sugar with earthy, caramel flavor, Grade B Maple Syrup purchased in bulk from The Wedge is perfect for accentuating the malt profile in a Scottish 80 Shilling.
Irish Red Ales and Strong Scotch Ales are the most predominant style in the Scottish Ale category of beer, as defined by the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), which is an organization that defines different beer styles and is the basis for most beer competitions both on the homebrew and professional levels. Scottish Light 60/-, Scottish Heavy 70/-, and Scottish Export 80/- round out the rest of the Scottish Ales. Maple 80 Shilling is our take on the Scottish Export 80/-.
The Scottish 60/-, 70/-, and 80/- styles are all traditional Scottish session ales and were brewed with less hops than English Ales (bitters) due to the limited supply of hops in Scotland. The Scottish 60/-, 70/-, and 80/- are all very similar, but are primarily differentiated by alcoholic strength and of course shillings. The higher the alcohol, the higher the beer was taxed. A barrel of Scottish Heavy was therefore taxed 70 shillings.
Scottish Export 80/- ales range in color from deep amber to deep copper. Low to moderate malty sweetness is expected in the aroma, sometimes due to kettle caramelization of the wort. Malt is the primary flavor in a Scottish Export 80/-, contributed from specialty malts and kettle caramelization and not by the use of caramel malts. Diacetyl (butterscotch) can also be found in low amounts. Earthy, smoky, lightly roasted, and/or peaty aromas and flavors may also be present. Hop bitterness is low to moderate, while hop flavor and aroma are low to none. Long, cool fermentations are typical for a Scottish ale. Scottish Export 80/- ales have 15–30 IBUs and an ABV between 3.9% and 5%.