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Wee Heavy Help

Hello Everyone,

I’m considering brewing my first Wee Heavy based on what seems to be one of the most recommended Traquair House Clones
http://www.skotrat.com/skotrat/recipes/ale/scottish/recipes/10.html
around (although I am planning on dialing down the OG to 1.070 or so to keep it more in line with the original). As a batch sparger, I was wondering if this recipe would benefit from a no-sparge mash schedule, or if it would turn out the same either way. Any other advice from those who have brewed this recipe or style would be appreciated!

I’ve done it several times as a regular batch sparge and it was incredibly good. No sparge would be fine, but I don’t know that it would be better.

One option would be to do a no sparge Wee Heavy, but make a 60/70/80 shilling with the sparge (?) I always love 2 beers from one mash, but I do agree with Denny that other than volumes, I’m not sure it would make a difference.

What difference do you think it would make? Mouthfeel/dextrins? Just curious…

I’ve never done a no-sparge, but have noticed a difference in the mouthfeel when I’ve done batch sparges vs. partigyles for the same beer. For me at least, there seems to be more body (due to dextrins?) delivered in the first runnings than in the second. And it does not seem to be in proportion to the sugars. Not sure why that would be, perhaps the simpler sugars bind more strongly to the grains?

For a wee heavy/60s partigyle, that might work out well for you. The weaker beer should end up fairly thin and easy drinking. I would modify a bit though by using three gallons from the first runnings for the boil down, and use 1/3 of the resultant syrup for the /60s.

THIS is a great idea. Was thinking of something similar but wasn’t sure how to articulate it.

Thanks for all of your replies. Denny, I think it was your mentioning of this recipe somewhere that got me interested in trying it.

Pietro, in researching the style, I thought I remembered reading (couldn’t tell you where at this point) that a no-sparge approach was worth considering for more body – something along the same lines as rebuiltcellars’s comment. All in all, I think I’ll probably go with batch-sparging, if only because on most brew days, I’m hard pressed just to get one beer into a fermenter, much less two, although I agree that rebuiltcellars’s idea of splitting the wort reduction is great!

Just out of curiosity, does anyone know why the recommended aging temperature is 45*? I know Jamil recommends a similar temperature range (which I plan to follow) but was curious as to what difference flat-out lagering at 33* would yield.

33 would woek as well as 45. I’d guess it’s more that you don’t want to go above 45. My last batch of this recipe fermented about 52 and it was the best batch of it yet.

Thanks, Denny – which yeast strain did you use to ferment at 52?

Thanks, Denny – which yeast strain did you use to ferment at 52?[/quote]

WY1728

Thanks, Denny – which yeast strain did you use to ferment at 52?[/quote]

WY1728[/quote]
Thanks again, Denny – I didn’t realize it was “legal” to ferment that low with that strain. WIll definitely give it a try…

[quote=“Dan S”]
Thanks again, Denny – I didn’t realize it was “legal” to ferment that low with that strain. WIll definitely give it a try…[/quote]

Heck, yes. It loves that temp! In general, the temp guidelines from yeast compnies are more about trouble free fermentation than what makes the best beer.

I just brewed a Wee Heavy for the first time. I pretty much followed the recipe you posted except I went for the lower gravity of 1.072. I was trying to make a Gordon"s/McEwan"s clone and that gravity is more in line with my research of these beers. I did a fly sparge and boiled 2 gallons of first runnings down to about 3 pints because that is what it boiled down to during the 90 minute boil of the main boil. I fermented at 60-64, and my final gravity was 1.010 after 3 weeks in primary. That is 8.25% which is a little higher than Gordon’s or McEwan’s which are both at about 8%. It did not taste great after primary (just muddy, not infected.) I have aged it at about 50 degrees in a keg for 4 weeks and it tasted much better when I tasted it for the first time, carbonated, last night. I am hoping it will be much better by mid-September. Here are some recommendations:

Batch sparging may get you some stronger first runnings that would caramelize more. Doing a no sparge, where you add all the liquid up front, will dilute those first runnings.

Ferment cool, 55-60. That 1728 is a beast. I made a couple of pale ales with it, and they finished lower that other yeasts that I split the batch with. My Wee Heavy came out clean, but I wish it would have finished at 1.012-14.

By the way, McEwans Scotch Ale is available again. It is brewed at Wells. I bought some in Oklahoma last week. It is not as malty/rich as the Gordon’s, but it is tasty. Get it before it oxidizes.

[quote=“SA Brew”]I just brewed a Wee Heavy for the first time. I pretty much followed the recipe you posted except I went for the lower gravity of 1.072. I was trying to make a Gordon"s/McEwan"s clone and that gravity is more in line with my research of these beers. I did a fly sparge and boiled 2 gallons of first runnings down to about 3 pints because that is what it boiled down to during the 90 minute boil of the main boil. I fermented at 60-64, and my final gravity was 1.010 after 3 weeks in primary. That is 8.25% which is a little higher than Gordon’s or McEwan’s which are both at about 8%. It did not taste great after primary (just muddy, not infected.) I have aged it at about 50 degrees in a keg for 4 weeks and it tasted much better when I tasted it for the first time, carbonated, last night. I am hoping it will be much better by mid-September. Here are some recommendations:

Batch sparging may get you some stronger first runnings that would caramelize more. Doing a no sparge, where you add all the liquid up front, will dilute those first runnings.

Ferment cool, 55-60. That 1728 is a beast. I made a couple of pale ales with it, and they finished lower that other yeasts that I split the batch with. My Wee Heavy came out clean, but I wish it would have finished at 1.012-14.

By the way, McEwans Scotch Ale is available again. It is brewed at Wells. I bought some in Oklahoma last week. It is not as malty/rich as the Gordon’s, but it is tasty. Get it before it oxidizes.[/quote]

Thanks for the advice. The plan at this point is to batch sparge as usual, reduce the first gallon of first runnings to about one pint, boil the wort for 2 hours, ferment in the low to mid-50’s and then lager in a secondary carboy for three months before bottling and conditioning for a month or so. Looking forward to opening the first one on New Years Eve!

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