Though not everything with a shilling designation was what I’m calling a Shilling Ale. You also had things like 54/- Stout or 60/- Pale Ale. Shilling Ales were essentially the Scottish version of Mild Ale. Unlike English Mild Ales, however, they were mostly sold in bottled form. After racking, hogsheads or half hogsheads were sent to bottlers, who repackaged the beer and sold it.
At William Younger in the late 1840’s, there were seven Shilling ales, ranging in gravity from 1043º to 1134º. That’s a considerable spread, but they did have several features in common, such as a poor degree of attenuation and relatively modest hopping, though this wasn’t always the case at the top end of the strength range.
To put the hopping into context, English Mild Ales at this time had 8-9 lbs of hops per quarter. Looking at the hopping per quarter of malt allows the comparison of beers of different gravities. You can see in the table below that the rate was rather lower, around 4lbs per quarter, for most of William Younger’s Shilling Ales.
|Scotch Ales in the 1840's|
|Scottish Ale Brewer, WH Roberts, Edinburgh, 1847, page 117|
|William Younger Shilling Ales 1848 - 1849|
|Date||Year||Beer||OG||FG||ABV||App. Atten-uation||lbs hops/ qtr||hops lb/brl|
|William Younger brewing record held at the Scottish Brewing Archive, document number WY/6/1/2/3.|
The above is an excerpt from my book Scotland! vol. 2, the best book ever written about Scottish beer. Get your copy now!