Scottish style beers can be a malt lover’s dream beer, with its smooth sweetness and body. The epitome of malty, scotch ales are boiled twice as long as ordinary beer, caramelizing the sugars to build these deep flavors of maple and molasses. Recipes may include peat-smoked malt, which can lend smoky, earthy tones to the aroma and flavor. Scottish ales commonly fall into four general types: Light, Heavy, Export and the Scotch Ale. Historically these distinctions carried labels of the shilling currency, which reflected the price charged per barrel of beer in the 19th century. For example, 60 shilling was used for Light Scottish Ales, 70 shilling for Heavy, 80 shilling for Export and above 90 shilling for Scotch Ale and Wee Heavy. The Scotch Ale, compared to other Scottish Ales, offers richer color, more malty sweetness and higher alcohol that can range form 6-8 percent ABV. Wait, what? There’s a difference between Scottish and Scotch ales? There certainly is. Mainly, Scottish ales are ales brewed in Scotland or in the Scottish style. Scotch ales are US and Belgian interpretations of the Scottish style strong dark ale. Today’s Peaks and Pints beer flight centers on Scotch ale, also called a “wee heavy,” for a rich, malty, sweet and strong trip around our Craft Beer Crosscut 11.8.18: A Flight of Scotch.
Craft Beer Crosscut 11.8.18: A Flight of Scotch
7% ABV, 25 IBU
In 1995, Mark Ihrig created The Micro Beer Club. Four years later, he launched the Cellars Wine Club in 1999. In 2001, Mark launched Boxing Cat Brewery. Holly Ihrig, one of the first Microsoft employees, retired in 2012 so the couple could combine their talents to open Sumerian Brewing Co. Their Scotch Ale is an easy drinking, slightly sweet, creamy Scotch ale with rich caramel notes and a hop addition that adds to the flavor.
8% ABV, 25 IBU
Oskar Blues‘ Old Chub is a Scottish style ale brewed with copious amounts of crystal and chocolate malts, a dash of beechwood-smoked malts and Nugget hops. While Oskar Blues’ Dale’s Pale Ale is a showcase of both hops and pale malts, Old Chub is a celebration of malts. The cola-colored beer features a dense, tawny head, a creamy mouthful and flavors of caramel, chocolate and lightly roasted malt. Complex and rich, it finishes with a whisper of smokiness that calls to mind a fine single malt scotch.
6.5% ABV, 27 IBU
Pike Brewing‘s heavy Scotch ale is lightly hopped with a strong malt character, and a subtle underlying smokiness from the addition of a small amount of peated Scotch whisky malt, which adds complexity. Warm fermentation produces fruity esters and balances the sweet malt character, as well as oaky vanilla and light tobacco. Layers of rich, sweet, powerful earthy malt — like freshly baked bread — makes Kilt Lifter great by itself or with food.
9.3% ABV, 30 IBU
In September 1996, brothers Steve and Scott Houmes added craft beer to their lives when they teamed up with Brewmaster “Big Daddy” Don Spencer and opened Silver City Brewery in Silverdale, Washington. In May of 2010, the brothers moved their brewery operations to a new, 7,600 square foot production facility and taproom in Bremerton. Formerly known as Fat Scotch, Magnificent Bastard Scotch Ale hits the nose with a bit of peaty smokiness. Expect a subdued first sip with a hint of sweet malt followed by long, smoky, sweet aftertaste and finish.
6.4% ABV, 31 IBU
Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro is the oldest craft brewery in Bellingham. It is the creation of Ed Bennett, a University of Washington alum who went on to earn his Master’s degree in winemaking from UC Davis before landing in another small college town, Bellingham, to begin exploring his new love, beer. In 1994, he signed the lease for the Thomas Burns building at 1107 Railroad Ave. to begin building Boundary Bay Brewery. His Scotch Ale became a Northwest classic with the inaugural brew in 1995. The long boil in the kettle caramelizes the wort, producing deep-copper tones. Scotch Ale hits the nose with caramel and biscuit, which is also the flavor profile with added light spiciness, oak notes and a touch of fruit.