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Scotch wee heavy yeast question

I ordered some Gordon’s Scotch Ale from Belgium in the fall for a friend. It is wonderful, malty stuff. We have decided to try to recreate this beer. I bought a bag of golden promise and some Scotch ale yeast from Wyeast. I ended up using the Scotch ale yeast in a southern brown ale. I thought it would finish sweet and malty, but it finished out dry when fermented at 65-68 degrees. It went from 1.044 to 1.008. It turned out to be a nice mild after I diluted it a bit more to get to the Southern Brown gravity range. I actually thought it tasted like the British ale strain.

My question is, do I need to ferment this from 55-60 degrees to get the malt character of a Scotch ale, or do I need a different yeast strain? I usually make hopier styles, but this Scotch ale is so fantastic, The Scotch ales we get in Texas are always oxidized and undrinkable. I have to try to make this correctly.

I’ve only ever used the Wyeast Scottish ale yeast for my wee heavies. I ferment them at about 58F though and have a had great luck. My tried and true recipe is Skotrat’s Wee Heavy recipe. It’s a dandy!

+1 to that recipe. I’ve mashed at 156 with good results.

Your attenuation is much more related to the fermentability of the wort than the yeast strain you use. I have made many Scotch ales with 1728 and found that it really works great. I shoot for fermenting them around 55F.

Thanks for the info. I only thought this fermentation was above average because I split the batch, and also used Wy1469 and WY 1968 in my brown ale. They both finished out at 1.010-11. The 1728 finished out at 1.008 before I diluted it.

You can make great Wee Heavy with just about any good ale strain. Among the ones I’ve repeatedly and successfully used over the years are 1728, 1056, 1968, Old Newark, 1098, 1099, and my 24 year old ‘house’ yeast (origins unknown). None of them ever disappointed, and since I’ve used the same recipe for around 23 years, I can honestly say that there was never even a whole lot of difference in the flavor results of the various batches.

If I were forced to choose the favorite yeast for my WH (which is very similar to Skotrat’s deservedly celebrated recipe) , it would probably have to be the 1099 (Whitbread)…the malt character shone through exceptionally well with it, and it performed well at my ambient winter basement teps of 55°F.

But to be honest, these days I just use whatever I have in the yeast flask from the last thing I brewed. Any very minor differences are just not big enough to sweat the details. As long as you mash higher than you would for some other ales, be stingy with the hops, ferment on the cooler end of the spectrum, your WH should be delicious (and even moreso if you let the finished product age…preferably cold… for at least a couple months).

I thought the brown ale I made with 1728 had a similar character to the Whitbread yeast before I diluted it. I am going to brew an American pale ale with the 1728 to just get some fresh yeast built up, and I will try to brew the Wee Heavy in a couple of weeks or so. I am hoping the Cascade character does not carry over into the Scotch Ale. I don’t think it will.

I kegged my wee heavy last night. It went from 1.072 to 1.010. It was in primary for 4 weeks at 55-60 which is a lot longer than I like to let a beer stay in primary. It came out slightly fruity with an alcohol warmth. I will probably age it for at least a couple of months before I drink it. Hopefully the long primary will not have messed up the malt character. I was just thankful it did not have any autolysis character.

You’ve got the right idea regarding aging the beer. It can transform an excellent Wee Heavy into one that is sublime.
As far as the long primary having negative effect, you probably needn’t worry. Personally, I always transfer from primary in anywhere from 7 days to 3 weeks (depending on the beer), but really only because that’s the way I’ve done it since Nixon was president. I’m just stubborn.

The modern consensus seems to indicate that a month long primary has no ill effects on the brew.

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