I've been wanting to brew a low gravity Scottish Ale for awhile and finally did it. The recipe calculation and grain ordering was full of mistakes which cancelled each other out to result in brewing exactly the beer I had intended. I decided to start with the base recipe from Brewing Classic Styles since it is simple and gives me plenty of room to play, such as darken it up to BJCP 2015 standards and closer to the color range I prefer to play in, after tasting the recipe as written. The book has the base recipe for a Scottish Heavy 70/- and then provides notes on changes to convert to a 60 shilling or 80 shilling. I converted to a 60 shilling, but needed to adjust the mash efficiency. While doing so I accidentally targeted the original gravity for a 70 shilling. Fortunately, due to brewing on new equipment my boil off rate, how much squeezing of the grains to do, etc. are not yet dialed in. Because of this I boiled off less than I calculated, resulting in the correct original gravity. I also took a pre-boil gravity reading which was way too high, but I can only assume I misread the hydrometer since all else came out correct and aligns with a correct pre-boil gravity of 1.026. There is also a small grain difference. The recipe calls for 500L roasted barley, but my lhbs was all out, so I used Briess 500L black malt instead. There is so little that I don't expect much of a flavor difference, just a lighter colored head than intended.

As noted on the recipe page, this recipe targets the 2008 BJCP Scottish Light colors and is much lighter than the 2015 standard.

Preboil SG: 1.032 (misread?)

Original gravity: 1.034

Final gravity: 1.006

Volume in Fermenter: 5.8 Gallons

Mash and Boil Process

I did a full volume BIAB no sparge mash as usual, but with my still new Unibrau 10G and at new volumes. I started with about 8.1 gallons of water for this larger batch plus long boil time. That was based on the boil off rate from my previous brew which I estimated at around 1.2 gallons/hr (I probably actually boiled slightly longer than intended) and the default of 1.25 gallons/hr on biabcalculator.com. I have fixed the broken controller and so was able to use it to maintain a 154F mash temperature for the entire 60 minutes. At the end I recorded a 1.034 pre-boil gravity. As mentioned above, that was probably a mistake.

After mashing I boiled for 2 hours, adding my hops after 60 minutes to give them a 60 minute boil. Afterwards I used my immersion chiller to get the wort down to about 80F which was about the temperature of the ground water. I then transferred to a fermented and left it in my chilled fermentation chamber overnight to get down to the intended 65F yeast pitching temperature.


I pitched the yeast at between 64F and 65F, with a target fermentation temperature of 65F. Rather than doing my usual dumping in the entire packet, I roughly measured out the amount of yeast specified by the recipe. The recipe specified 5 grams of US-05 and I ended up pouring in closer to 7 grams. After 24 hours there was just a tiny bit of fermentation activity evident. Over the next 24 hours airlock activity started and krausen started to form. After abotu 4 more days, there is still a thick krausen, lots of yeast in suspension, and regular airlock bubbling at 3-4 pops per minute.

Final Thoughts

I don't dislike this beer, but it's not my favorite. It is definitely better when I let it warm and let off some carbonation. Most people feel this way about it, but a few are absolutely amazed by it. I will give it another shot with the correct grains soon. The grain difference may be part of the problem. I will also go with a higher mash temperature to keep the gravity a bit higher. On top of the roasted barley/black malt swap I realized that for no apparent reason I used Maris Otter instead of Golden Promise as my base malt. I don't expect that to have a major difference in flavor, but it might since this beer is almost entirely base malt.

Style Details

1.030 - 1.035 1.010 - 1.013 10 - 20
17 - 22 srm

Batch Details

Brewed OnPackaged OnOn Tap DateOriginal GravityFinal GravityColor
Aug. 28, 2021 Sept. 11, 2021 Sept. 24, 2021 1.034 1.006
11 srm