Sunday, 6 December 2009

2010 Year in Beer - 80 Shilling Ale

New look pump clips will be a feature of 2010

Next year's 'Year in Beer', to be published pretty soon, tells me we're featuring '80 Shilling Ale' throughout January and February and, since late December in the brewery is likely to be a little unsettled (I'm installing and commissioning a total of 140 hectolitres of fermentation space - phase I of GADDS' great expanding girth), I thought I'd best stay ahead of the curve and get the first batch brewed tomorrow.

So I'm sat thinking about Rannoch Moor and sweet, mellow, heady ale (a fairly one dimensional view of Scotland I'll grant you, but it does things for me). I delved through the malt store for a half kilo of the most peated malt on earth (180 ppm) and crushed it up, the resulting aroma one of sweet smokey malt and wild, weather beaten peat. Perfect for a little background atmosphere. I'm using some crystal malt for its colour and distinctive sweet flavour, oats for their general northerliness, aroma and enriching property, chocolate malt for colour and smoothness, melanoidin malt for aroma and some amber malt for a juxtaposing drying character and toastiness.

As for hops, well, not too many; 80 shilling isn't really about hops. They're there, and they're classic British (Fuggles and Goldings), but they're far from dominant, though the Fuggles will add some smooth grassiness to flavour and aroma.

Come January, expect the kind of ale capable of driving the dampness from your bones, warming you through with its very wholesomeness and leaving you happy and ruddy faced. A fireside ale, one to drink with haggis (quorn) and something to chase a little Islay malt with. The kind of ale winter was designed for.

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