Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1879 William Younger 160/-

Here’s the top of the range Shilling Ale from William Younger, so you can compare and contrast it with their No. 1 Ale.

Obviously, this being 19th-century Scotland, the recipe isn’t very complicated. Just pale malt and a load of hops. Strange how they used so many hops, despite them not growing in Scotland. (That’s irony, by the way.) It’s not quite as heavily hopped as No. 1. But it’s still stuffed with hops.

The biggest differences I can see with No. 1 is the degree of attenuation (lower) and the dry hopping rate (much lower). It’s not a massive difference. Then again, I struggle to understand why Younger brewed more than 20 different beers, many that look extremely similar to each other. They’ve easily the largest beer range of any brewery that I’ve studied. And not just part-gyled from the same worts. Most of Younger’s beers were brewed single gyle.

The combination of heavy hopping and high FG must have resulted in a thick, bittersweet beer. I did brew one of the weaker Shilling Ales recently. It turned out really, really nice. I brewed it SMaSH: just pale malt and lots of Goldings. It had the wonderfully hoppiness that you get from huge quantities of Goldings.

Shilling Ales were meant to be drunk young. Which makes sense, as they are really a form of Mild Ale. Which means the FG in the log must have been pretty close to the FG when the beer hit drinkers’ lips.

1879 William Younger 160/-
pale malt 25.25 lb 100.00%
Cluster 90 min 3.50 oz
Cluster 60 min 3.50 oz
Cluster 30 min 1.75 oz
Goldings 30 min 1.75 oz
Goldings dry hops 0.18 oz
OG 1109
FG 1049.5
ABV 7.87
Apparent attenuation 54.59%
IBU 132
Mash at 158º F
Sparge at 161º F
Boil time 90 minutes
pitching temp 55º F
Yeast WLP028 Edinburgh Ale


InSearchOfKnowledge said...

It seems that the way Scotch Ale was hopped changed over time

Yesterday evening I was re-reading Scotch Ale, parts II-IV. This seems to be based on texts which are about 25 years older than this recipe, and the hopping rate is lower.

There is also one remark in these articles about keeping them. They are less hopped, so they need to be drunk mild. But is that because of keeping them in casks? With such high FG's, I would then suppose that they could not be kept long because of Brettanomyces? I try to contrast this with French bière de garde, which can be stored much longer because of the alcohol rates, but I suppose it is probably more because of creating a beer with a high attenuation which does not leave much for brett.

That would probably mean that if I brew such a mild Scotch Ale, that I can definitely keep it longer (even with lower hop rate), because I store them in properly sanitised glass bottles.

Anonymous said...

Funny how the 160 is lower OG than the 140 from 18 years before: (can't wait to make this).

RE: Hops growing in Scotland; I've found some things online saying they grew as far up as Aberdeen before they decided it was unprofitable. Then there's these new articles about the Hutton Institute ( growing hops for brewers such as St Andrew's brewing (I'm not 100% if they are planning on breeding a "true Scottish" hop). They might just be harvesting and experimenting with things like poly-tunnels.

There's been a few articles lately saying the last Scottish harvest was 140 years ago: Unfortunately information is sparse, I don't suppose there's much in the brewing records?

Also I have some in my back garden ~10-12ft tall and climbing...hope I'm not being too pendantic!!? :)

Anonymous said...

28 years*

Ron Pattinson said...


looking at William Younger's recipes, the hopping rate for these strong Shilling Ales didn't change between the 1850's and 1870's. Much more reliable than looking at old texts.

Shilling Ales were shipped to publicans and grocers who bottled them and then sold the beer almost immediately.

Ron Pattinson said...


I thought I had some figures on hops in Scotland, but can't seem to find them, sadly. They were still growing hops just about everywhere in England and Wales in 1819, though the quantities in most regions were tiny. Even in unlikely places like Cheshire and Wales.

Anonymous said...

Ah, that makes sense. I must have a trip to the brewery archives sometime! Thanks by the way, appreciate your time in writing these articles and looking for them.

Bosh said...

Yeesh. How do you get an attenuation that low?

Ron Pattinson said...

David Boshko,

I think by not letting it fully ferment out. My guess is that they were relying on the residual sugar for bottle conditioning.