Scottish 60 Shilling (60/-)

NOTE: In the 2015 BJCP Style Guidelines, The Scottish 60 Shilling 60/-, 70/-, 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 as well.

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 recipes.

Scottish Ales

Scottish 60 Schilling Ale Description, History and Brewing Tips

The balance of a Scottish 60 Shilling is toward the malt side.  In lower alcohol versions, such as in this beer, the malt flavor will be forward, but not too strong. There will sometimes be a diacetyl note in this beer but this flavor is optional.  Occasionally you may find a faint smoky (peat) component in these beers as well, and it is also optional.  Any caramelization in commercial versions come from kettle caramelization and not necessarily caramel malt.

The caramelization is sometimes confused with diacetyl. Even though commercial versions tend to use kettle caramelization, it is possible to make a good approximation of this character using caramel, chocolate and roasted barley malts in the 60/- recipe.

Traditionally, Scottish session beers, such as this, reflect the local ingredients.  They will have less hops because of the import factor and more malt due to the amount of grain grown in the cool Scottish climate.

Vital Statistics of this beer: OG: 1.030 – 1.035 FG: 1.010 – 1.013 IBUs: 10 – 20 SRM: 9 – 17 ABV: 2.5 – 3.2%.

Brewing Tips:

The Scottish 60 Shilling is a very light bodied ale (less than 3.5% ABV). 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 ales require a cool fermentation 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).  The beer is typically very clear due to the long cool fermentation.

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 60 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 session beers. Using low hopping rates will keep the beer focused on the malt which is where it belongs in the Scottish 60 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.

If you are having trouble finding a good Scottish 60 Shilling recipe, I recommend using Jamil's recipe from Brewing Classic Styles.  It makes a nice version and I have even won some awards with it.

References: Information for this page was adapted from the 2008 and 2015 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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