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Scottish-Style Heavy Ale

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Location: British
Category: Ale
BJCP Comparable Category: 14B - Scottish Heavy

Style Description

This is the description of how the Scottish-Style Heavy Ale style of beer should taste, feel and look. However, there may be perfectly fine beers in this style that fall outside of these ranges and descriptions. This information is just to show the most commonly accepted ranges for the Scottish-Style Heavy Ale beer style.

These beers differ significantly from Scotch Ale, especially regarding original gravity, alcohol content and malt attributes. While there are conflicting theories as to whether traditional Scottish Heavy Ale exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat smoke character present at low to medium-low levels. Peat smoke attributes may be absent or present at low to medium-low levels. Versions exhibiting higher levels of smoke character are categorized as Smoke Beer. When using these guidelines as the basis for evaluating entries at competitions, competition organizers may create subcategories which reflect groups of entries based on presence or absence of peat smoke-derived attributes.

  • Body: Medium with a soft chewy character
  • Malt Flavors & Aromas: Malty, caramel aroma is present. The style exhibits a medium degree of sweet malt and caramel. The overall impression is smooth and balanced.
  • Hop Flavors & Aromas: Should not be present
  • Fermentation Characteristics: Yeast attributes such as diacetyl and sulfur are acceptable at very low levels. Bottled versions may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for lightly carbonated draft versions. Fruity esters, if present, are low.
  • Common Ingredients: Originally used Scottish pale malt, grits or flaked maize, and brewers caramel for color. Later adapted to use additional ingredients, such as amber and brown malts, crystal and wheat malts, and roasted grains or dark sugars for color but not for the ‘roasty’ flavor. Sugar adjuncts are traditional. Clean or slightly fruity yeast. Peat-smoked malt is inauthentic and inappropriate.
  • Commercial Examples: Broughton Greenmantle Ale, Caledonia Smooth, McEwan's 70, Orkney Raven Ale, Tennent’s Special Ale

Brewing Properties of Scottish-Style Heavy Ale

The functional properties of brewing Scottish-Style Heavy Ale beers as descided by the Brewers Association. These guidelines reflect, as accurately as possible, historical significance, authenticity or a high profile in the current commercial beer market.

ABV
The alcohol by volume is shows the amount of alcohol this style of beer should have.
3.5 - 4.1%
Bitterness
The International Bittering Units (IBU) scale is used to approximately quantify the actual (not perceived) bitterness of beer.
12 - 20 IBUs
SRM
SRM is a scale for measuring the color intensity of a beer. Low SRM grains impart a pale straw color while higher values mean it will add a darker color to the wort. Learn more »
8 - 30 SRM
(16 - 59 EBC)
Original Gravity
Original Gravity (OG) is a measure of the sugar content in the wort before alcoholic fermentation has started to produce the beer.
1.035 - 1.040
Final Gravity
The Final Gravity (FG) is how much sugar is left over in the beer when fermentation is complete.
1.010 - 1.014

If you see an error in our data, please let us know!

Based on Brewers Association 2020 Beer Style Guidelines with changes. Used with permission of Brewers Association.

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