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07-09-2016, 07:18
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Yet more Scottish brewing fun. It’s almost as if I’m writing a book on Scottish brewing.

Shilling Ales, which formed the backbone of Scottish brewing in the first half of the 19th century, were gradually eclipsed in the second half by styles more similar to those from south of the border. In particular Pale Ales. Shilling Ales soldiered on until WW I, which put them out of their misery. Post war, most Scottish breweries produced a range of Pale Ales, a Stout, a Strong Ale and perhaps a Mild Ale.

It was a huge transformation, the war having an even greater impact on the styles brewed than in England. But it did help brewers rationalise their brewing. By parti-gyling they could cut back to just two recipes, one for the Stout and the other for everything else. Some even managed to parti-gyle their Stout with their Pale Ales and so needed only once recipe.

The Scots weren’t ones for overcomplicated recipes. 100% pale malt up until 1880 Free Mash Tun Act, pale malt and some sort of adjunct after it. In the case of Usher, than meant sugar. With 12% sugar in this recipe, I’m amazed at how high the FG is. Though if you’ve been reading carefully you’ll realise low levels of attenuation were pretty standard for Shilling Ales.

A word on the hopping. In the brewing record the hops are listed as California and Alsace, which I’ve interpreted as Cluster and Strisselspalt. Though I’m not sure if Strisselspalt was already around in the 1880’s. If it wasn’t, I’ve no idea what variety they might be.

1885 Thomas Usher 100/-

pale malt
14.75 lb

cane sugar
2.00 lb

Cluster 90 min
1.50 oz

Cluster 60 min
1.50 oz

Strisselspalt 30 min
0.75 oz




Apparent attenuation



Mash at
155º F

Sparge at
175º F

Boil time
120 minutes

pitching temp
57º F

WLP028 Edinburgh Ale

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