Scotch Ales: Belters or Boggin?

Scotch Ales: Belters or Boggin?

Scotch ales, affectionately known as Wee Heavy’s in bonnie Scotland, may not gather the same rabid following as NEIPAs or Pastry Stouts, but let me tell ye, they’re pure brilliant!

Harken back to the early 1800s in Edinburgh, and ye’ll find the birthplace of these fine brews. They sprung up in response to the Strong Ales and Barleywines that the English neighbours were cookin’ up down south. These beauties are big, bold and full o’ malt character, they’ve been known to leave many a lad oot his face!

Now, dinnae get confused by the names – Scotch and Scottish ales might sound like close kin, but they’re as different as neeps and tatties. Scottish ales are like a wee, sprightly young lad, sitting at a modest 3-5% ABV. But when it comes to a Scotch ale, haud onto yer hat! They can reach a whopping 10%, with a higher gravity that leaves ‘em sweeter and richer than the wee laddie Scottish ales.

While some modern brewers take a wee bit of inspiration from the whisky world by incorporatin’ peated malts, traditional Scotch ales are all about crystal malt. The malt is roasted to varyin’ degrees, givin’ ‘em a rich, dark caramel hue with a bonnie ruby glow. And when it comes to hops, they dinnae need to scream for attention. Delicate varieties like Fuggle or East Kent Golding are used to add a subtle touch.

Now, in recent times, brewers across the pond in the States have started dippin’ their toes into the world of Wee Heavy’s, and even some Aussie breweries are joinin’ the party. So, dinnae be a dafty – keep an eye oot for these brews, and ye might just stumble on some good craic!

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