NOTE: In the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, The Scottish 70 Shilling 70/-, 60/-, and 80/- are all reclassified as Style 14A Scottish Light, and Style 14B Scottish Heavy, and Style 14C Scottish Export in Category 14 Scottish Ale.
The original meaning of ‘schilling’ (/-) ales have been described
incorrectly for years. A single style of beer was never designated as a
60/-, 70/- or 80/-. The schillings only referring to the cost of the
barrel of beer. Meaning there were 54/- Stouts and 86/-IPAs and soon.
The Scottish Ales in question were termed Light, Heavy and Export which
cover the spectrum of costs from around 60/- to 90/-and simply dark,
malt-focused ales. The larger 120/- ales fall outside of this purview as
well as the strongest Scotch ales (aka Wee Heavy).
The Scottish Light,
Heavy and Export guidelines read nearly the same for each style of
beers. As the gravity increases, so does the character of the beers in
question. Historically, the three types of beer were pari-gyled to
different strengths, and represented an adaptation of English pale ales
but with reduced strengths and hopping rates, and darker colors (often
from added caramel). More modern versions (post-WWII, at least), tended
to use more complex grist
The Scottish 70 Shilling is a light bodied ale (less than 4% ABV). The beers in the Scottish Ales category are so similar that they have the same descriptions. None are widely available in the US.
These beers are called "heavy", but they are by no means heavy by most American's standards. They are in fact light session beers that are very drinkable and enjoyable.
Even though the beer is light in alcohol, it still has a soft and chewy character. To obtain this character, a higher mash temperature should be used, around 158°F (70°C). Scottish ales, even the light ones, are noted for their malt profile and kettle caramelization.
Some of this caramelization, which was originally obtained form a long boil, can be acquired by the use of specialty malts such as crystal and chocolate malts or roasted barley.
Traditionally, Scottish 70 Shilling ales require a cool fermentatio and a low attenuating yeast to achieve the flavor profile. As homebrewers, it is a must that you use temperature control and ferment in the mid 60s (18 - 19°C). It's not critical that you use an English or Scottish ale yeast, a good neutral ale yeast and cool fermentation temperatures will emulate the clean profile of most Scottish 70 Shilling ales.
Use a good English variety of hops and just enough to keep the malt from being too sweet and cloying. Usually a single addition for bittering is enough. You will usually not notice any hop aroma or flavor in Scottish 70 Shilling session beers. Using low hopping rates will keep the beer focused on the malt which is where it belongs in the Scottish 70 Shilling.
Even though you may read otherwise, it is not appropriate to use peat malt in these beers. If you must, enter the beer in the other smoked category.
An extensive period of cold conditioning is helpful with these beers. Try to condition at or around 40°F (4.4°C) for at least two months to allow this beer to mellow and clean itself up.
Scottish 70 Shilling Description
Aroma: The Scottish 70 Shilling has a low to medium malty
sweetness, sometimes with some low to moderate kettle caramelization.
Some examples have a low hop aroma, light fruitiness, low diacetyl,
and/or a low to moderate peaty aroma (all are optional). The peaty aroma
is sometimes perceived as earthy, smoky or very lightly roasted. These
days, many Scottish brewers are adding more hops to their beers and
many are becoming similar to English bitters.
Appearance: They are deep amber to dark copper
in color, Usually very clear due to long, cool fermentations, and have
low to moderate, creamy off-white to light tan-colored head.
Flavor: For all Scottish beers, the balance is
toward the malt. In the lower gravity session beers, the malt will be
forward but now strong. The initial malty sweetness is usually
accentuated by a low to moderate kettle caramelization, and is sometimes
accompanied by a low diacetyl component. Fruity esters may be moderate
to none. Hop bitterness is low to moderate, but the balance will always
be towards the malt (although these days, not always by much). Hop
flavor is low to none. A low to moderate peaty character is optional,
and may be perceived as earthy or smoky. Scottish 70 Shilling beers
generally have a grainy, dry finish due to small amounts of unmalted
Mouthfeel: A Scottish 70 Shilling will have a
medium-low to medium body even though it low in alcohol. It will also
exhibit low to moderate carbonation, sometimes a bit creamy, but often
quite dry due to use of roasted barley.
Overall Impression: These beers are clean and
malty with a dry finish, perhaps a few esters, and on occasion a faint
bit of peaty earthiness (smoke). Even though this is in the BJCP
description, I wouldn't make a beer with peat malt as most judges are
more aware of the overuse of that malt in the past. Most beers finish
fairly dry considering their relatively sweet palate, and as such have a
different balance than strong Scotch ales.
Comments: The malt-hop balance is slightly to
moderately tilted towards the malt side. Any caramelization comes from
kettle caramelization and not caramel malt (and is sometimes confused
with diacetyl). Even though the preceding statement is in the
guidelines, it is possible to make a good approximation of this
character using caramel, chocolate and roasted barley malts in the
recipe. Although unusual, any smoked character is yeast- or
water-derived and not from the use of peat-smoked malts. Use of
peat-smoked malt to replicate the peaty character should be restrained;
overly smoky beers should
be entered in the Other Smoked Beer category (22B) rather than here.
History: Traditional Scottish session beers
reflect the local ingredients (water, malt), with less hops than their
English counterparts (due to the need to import them) and more malt (due
to the large amount grown in Scotland).
Ingredients: Scottish or English pale base
malt such as Maris Otter, small amounts of roasted barley for color and
flavor, (which also lends a dry, slightly roasty finish). English hops.
Clean, relatively low attenuating ale yeast. Some commercial brewers add
small amounts of crystal, amber, or wheat malts, and adjuncts such as
sugar. The optional peaty, earthy and/or smoky character comes from the
traditional yeast and from the local malt and water rather than using
Commercial Examples: an 70/- (Caledonian
Amber Ale in the US), Belhaven 70/-, Orkney Raven Ale, Maclay 70/-,
Tennents Special, Broughton Greenmantle Ale.
References: Information for this page was adapted from the 2008 BJCP Style Guidelines, Brewing Classic Styles, 80 Winning Recipes Anyone Can Brew, by Jamil Zainasheff and John J. Palmer, the article Scotch and Scottish Ales in All About Beer Magazine, by Ray Daniels, and the GABF Style Listings for Scottish Style Light Ale.
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