Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Let's Brew Wednesday - 1868 William Younger 140/-

Scotland. Sick of it yet? There's still lots, lots, lots more to come. Including more Younger's recipes. We're going through their shilling Ales in descending order, kicking off with the modest 140 bob.

Funny things, the Younger's shilling Ales. They're in the earliest of their logs I've seen, 1831. And they were brewed right up until WW I. So they were around for more than a lifetime. But I haven't the faintest idea what they were sold as. Or in what form, for that matter. They could have been bottled beers (in the 18th century a large percentage of Scottish beer was sold in bottled form).

My guess would be that they were known as Edinburgh Ale or Scotch Ale. I know I don't need to tell you this, but just in case you haven't been listening: these beers are totally unrelated to the 60/-, 70/-, 80/- and 90/- that have been knocking around since WW II. Those are basically Pale Ales.

I stumbled upon a text the other day that explained the different brewing practices of Edinburgh and Alloa. Alloa brewers sent their beers out ready to be drunk. Edinburgh Ales were expected to be cellared after receipt from the brewery, during which time they would drop bright and come into condition. Stock Ales, basically.

Edinburgh Ales were renowned for being rich. Looking at the FG, they must have been pretty thick and sweet. This strikes me as a rather good description of this beer:

“The best Edinburgh ale is of a pale colour, mild, glutinous, and adhesive.”
"A Dictionary, Practical, Theoretical, and Historical, of Commerce and Commercial Navigation" by John Ramsay McCulloch, 1844, page 9.
Adhesive. There's an adjective I've never seen used to describe beer anywhere else. Must remember that one next time I write tasting notes.

As we'll be doing a whole series of these shilling Ales I'll leave some of my bullshit/explanations for the later posts. Don't want to run out of words too soon.

Over to Kristen . . . . .

Kristen’s Version:

Same deal as the previous Younger logs. Very simple stuff.


Grist – Two malts. I wanted the happy, sexy, tasty time that Maris Otter gives but I thought it would be too heavy if I used another complex malt so I went with the Canadian pale I’ve talked about before.

Hops – Lots more Bohemian hops again. About half the hops are Bohemian. I used Saaz. They make me happy in my mouth. I used Fuggles because I have them and it’s a solid bittering option. The big hopping difference here is the amount that goes into dry hopping. Just a tiny bit. Enough to add a nice addition of aroma complexity but definitely not adding enough to give this baby elbows.

Yeast – This probably the only time I’ll suggest this but you really want to use a yeast that finishes high and fat. Probably under pitch is a good idea also. This is what Younger does. Under pitch by quite a bit. I used the Wyeast 1099 Whitbread b/c it doesn’t attenuate that well.


CarlT said...

So far you have been recommending the usual "southern" (i.e. English) yeasts for the Scottish ales. How about the McEwans yeast (Wyeast1728 / WLP028)?
To me it sounds like the ideal yeast for this beer since it usually finishes sweet at medium attenuation and gives a nice taste/aroma to strong ales.
It might not be the best choice for the drier Scottish beers, but for this one... ?

Arctic Alchemy said...

"Adhesive" would certainly describe an ale of 1.044 FG.

Keep bringing these 19th century Scottish Ales out in the open, fantastic stuff !

Kristen England said...


Sure, absolutely as long as you use it properly. I personally don't like it b/c it can kick a good deal of butter but more importantly it definitely kicks a lot of banana (isoamyl alcohol) in higher gravity beers that I definitely don't like.

Tyler said...

First, I would like to thank you guys for all the effort you've put into this and Second, I would also like to say that I am really enjoying all this Scottish stuff. Please keep doing more.

Adrian Avgerinos said...

Neat recipe! I've got 10 pounds of liquid malt extract I've been meaning to use for something strong and a recipe similar to this might fit the bill rather well.

Dom said...

Superb recipe. Short question about the homebrew 19 liters, is that the final boil capacity or the initial? I asking this because the 3hours of boiling and the lose of water during evaporation.

Thx a lot of your advice.

Kristen England said...


All volumes are based on final amount of beer. Its up to you and your system to decide how you get there.

Dom said...

Superb! Thx for your quick reply. I will give a try next week on this recipe. Need to decide about the yeast now. How long do you mature it in bootle, not less than 6 months?

And last question, it´s whole hops, not pellets, isnt it?

Kristen England said...


Whatever you'd like really. Each person's system is different let alone the hop AA% which is why I also include the BU's for each point.

Beerspitnight said...

We are planning on brewing this ale on Saturday - took a bit of doing to get all our needed supplies/supplements since we are in Beijing, but we are hoping the final product is somewhat similar.
Only question I have for you is the time you left this in fermentation.

Kristen England said...


A good two weeks in the primary at 62F or so will do nicely. Also, a minimum of probably two weeks in secondary would be prudent. That being said, I fermented this in one week, aged it one week and kegged it. I needed it and planned poorly. It was great but still pretty green. It will take a bit to settle down. More than anything you really want to let those dry hops do their thing.

You might find that your FG drops below the 1.044 which is ok. Just do your best.

Beerspitnight said...

We are going to attempt to brew this tonight, although being in China, we have to be a bit creative with the ingredients.
It is going to be a 8.5 post boil batch.
We might need to add in a bit (907g) of invert to hit our OG as our mash tun can only hold so much grain! (is that going to destroy the recipe? - should we drop the volume and take out the invert?) I think we are going to be pushing the limits with 30.8lbs of 2 row pale malt.
We might be a bit light on the quantity of saaz that we have - we might need to up the fuggle addition to hit the IBU (of 75?).
We also have to use Safale W-05 as our yeast, as that is the only English strain we can get over here. I was given 23g of it for this brew - do you happen to have a recommendation for how much we should pitch?
Thanks. I will update on the results in a month or so!