Contemplating my upcoming brews…

As I said – err, typed – in a previous post, homebrewers have to think about two months in advance. A batch of beer takes about two weeks to ferment, then bottle, then two weeks to carbonate in the bottle, then about four to six weeks to age. So, you have to think… “what beer would be good two months from now?” And, two months from now is mid-November. But, by the time I brew, the two month wait will put me in early-December. What beer is good in early December? I mean… it’ll be cold, so something dark would be nice. I just brewed my bourbon-oak brown ale/Colonial beer, which might be drinkable around that time, as well…so nothing like that. What am I in the mood to drink? Malty… sweet… something that’ll last be filling for the cold. How about a Scotish ale? Mmmm… Scottish ale. Yeah, that sounds good!

You can take our lives... but you can never take our deliciously-drinkable, sweet and crisp with a touch of peat and smokiness session beers!

And something I learned last  trip to the brew store… prepare and take a freaking list, stupid! Don’t forget your grain bill and think you need crystal 120 when the recipe you spent hours tinkering with class for crystal 60. Been there… face palm. So, let’s get the recipe set, and take a copy with you to the local home brew shop.


East End Brewing Company

Session Ale #36 – Nooner Scottish Ale

Batch Size = 7.5bbl (1bbl=31gal) = 232.5 Gallons

(Grain Quantities in lbs)
Pale ale  275 (1.2lb/gal = 19.36 ounces/gal)
Crystal 60L 30 (.13lb/gal = 2.08 ounces/gal)
Dextrine Malt20 (.09lb/gal = 1.44 ounces/gal)
Dark Munich Malt 20 (.09lb/gal = 1.44ounces/gal)
Peated Malt 5 (.022b/gal = .35 ounces/gal)
Black Barley 5 (.022b/gal = .35 ounces/gal)

Safale S-04 Yeast

90 min boil at beginning add 10 oz (.04oz/gal) magnum hops at 14% AA

O.G.  = 11.6 plato = 1.047SG
Wait… is that 275 pounds of base malt in the recipe?!?! 30 pounds of crystal malt?!?! What in the name of sweet reinheitsgebot is going on here?!?! My 5 gallon pot won’t hold 275 pounds of grain.

Ha! Fooled you! That’ s a commercial recipe I got from one of the assistant brewer’s at East End Brewing Company in Pittsburgh, PA. They did a one-off session beer called Nooner Scottish Ale. It was great. Nice and light, lower ABV so you can drink three or four in a session (hence, “session beer”) and not get rip-roaring, falling over drunk.  A light mouthfeel, not too heavy or chewy. A nice touch of caramel sweetness with a hint of eathy/dirt taste from the peated malt (which is malted barley that has been smoked over peat moss, like what they use for scotch). It had a nice, alpha bite hop front, with a malty finish. The beer was very clean, too… it had a crisp finish. It was awesome. And, the wife loved it, too. So, we divide the amount of each ingredient by their volume size to figure out the amount of each ingredient per pound, then multiply that by the size batch we will make to scale each ingredient. There’s another home brew lesson for you… scaling. You can do it for any recipe you find. Of course, once you brew the batch according to your scaled grain bill, you might find it needs a little tweaking to dial in on the taste of the commercial beer you’re trying to replicate.

So, when I scale the grain bill for my 3 gallon batches, I get:

3.6 lbs Pale malt
.39 lbs Crystal 60
.227 lb Dextrine Malt (But, I may substitute CaraPils if I can’t find the Dextrine malt)
.227 lb Dark Munich
.06 lbs (1 oz) Peated Malt
.06 lbs (1 oz) Black Barley
.12 oz Magnum @ 60 minutes… magnum is a very high alpha acid hop, so you get a lot of bittering power out of a little amount

For simplicity’s sake,(and to compensate for me doing a BIAB batch, which takes more base malt to get good efficiency), I’m going to round each ingredient (except the peated malt and black barley). And like I said, I want to make a list so my stupid ass doesn;t forget what to buy once I drive the half hour to the home brew shop.

Shopping list:

4 lbs Pale Malt
.4 lbs  Crystal 60
.25 lb Dextrine/CaraPils
.25 lb Dark Munich
1 oz Peated Malt
1 oz Black Barley
1 oz Magnum hops… even though I need .15 oz, you have to buy hops by the whole ounce.
1 packet S-04 dry yeast

And there it… grains, yeast, hops. That (plus the water that I get from my sink) makes beer. As long as I take my list, I should be good to go. And, the beer should come around just in time for the holidays and the necessary drinking that comes with the sedentary lifestyle of cabin fever and the “seasonal depression” associated with shorter amounts of daylight. Winning.


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