Thursday 16 July 2020

Recipe writing woes

I’ve been writing a lot of Scottish Strong Ales recipes in the last couple of day. For the distraction project I’m rushing through.

Should I explain? I don’t really want to. But I will.

It’s all about guilt. And obsession, a bit. Other stuff, too, probably. I don’t want to think too hard about it.

A book purchase, is how it started. “Strong!”. My book about, er, strong beers. And the comment the purchaser left. About how he really loved the recipes in my books.


“Strong!” has no recipes.

For a good reason. When I first published it, I was bound by an agreement with the publisher of my “proper” book not to publish a book of vintage home brew recipes for two years.

After that expired, I half-halfheartedly started to add recipes, then was distracted by other more urgent projects.

Until that purchaser comment. Then I swung into crazy recipe-writing action.

I can finally get to the point of this now. Last couple of days I was busy with Scotch Ales. All I can say is, thank heaven for The Whitbread Gravity Book. Because otherwise I’d have no idea of their colour.

Plugging the recipes into BeerSmith, they all come out way paler than in their analyses. I know why. Scottish brewers loved to tinker with colour at racking time. Colouring a beer up to half a dozen different shades or more.

I’m just adding enough caramel to the recipes to hit the right shade. Without the Whitbread Gravity Book, I’d be clueless.

These Scotch Ale recipes will be appearing soon in two books: an extended new edition of “Strong!” and as a stand-alone book for those who already own an earlier edition of “Strong!”. Along with a whole load of other new recipes.

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