Scottish Heavy. One recipe, three entries.

Scottish ales are some of my favorite beers that I never would have tried if I had not started home brewing.  In general commercial examples are relatively tough to find at even the best bottle shops.  I recently entered this recipe into competition as a Scottish Heavy, Irish Red, and Dark Mild it scored a 36.5, 41.5, & 40.5 respectively winning a Gold and Bronze.

Some categories are amazingly broad and some overlap significantly with others.  While the most discerning judges may see through tricks such as this one the truth is most would have a hard time telling the difference between a Irish Red and a Scottish Heavy or Export.  If you are looking to build a medal count in competition this is a good gameplay to employ.  The one caveat is that many competitions combine Scottish and Irish beers so you may wind up with two beers in the same flight.

This beer has one of the more complicated grain bills that I use for a beer.  I feel that it takes about 1 month condition in the keg for the malts to really blend and produce a very complex profile.

Scottish Heavy

6 gallon batch 80% BH Efficiency

O.G. 1.054 F.G. 1.014

IBU (tinseth) 22.1 SRM 18.5

Mash @ 154° for 75 minutes with a 10 minute mash out at 168°

Grain Bill:

75.6% Golden Promise

8.9% Munich 20l

4.4% Crystal 35l (british)

2.2% Brown Malt (65 srm)

2.2% Crystal 77 (british)

2.2% Honey Malt (Gambrinus)

2.2% Special B (Dinglemans)

1.1% Roasted Barley (300 srm)

1.1% Roasted Barley (550 srm)

*Not sure why I split the the roasted barley in this fashion.  I tend to prefer the 300 srm and I assume I may have only had 2oz on hand so I added 2oz of the 550srm.  Color may have been a factor as well if you go all 550srm you will be well outside a irish reds range.  If you plan to double enter I would either split the roasted barley or use all 300srm.

Hop Bill:

1.25oz (22 ibu) East Kent Golding 5.5% aa

Yeast: WLP028 (I assume you could use 004 and get similar results)

Pitch an appropriate starter @ 64° and let rise to 66°.  I find the combination of lower temperature and the strain to cause this yeast to take 8-10 days to finish out.  I like to lager this beer in the keg for 3 weeks to a month using gelatin to fine if necessary.

Water:  Target the amber malty profile in Brun

A note about brewing Scottish ales and bitters for that matter: Enter what the beer is not what your brewed.  What I mean is if you brewed a Export but it really presents as a Heavy enter it accordingly.  I find it rare that a judge will say this beer seems a little to big it should be a export but I regularly hear judges say “if they entered this as a lower gravity version it would do much better”.


I love this beer. It has won 2 medals as a Scottish Heavy (gold and bronze). It scored a 41.5 as a Irish Red and went to mini bos against itself when the heavy won gold and it won bronze as a dark mild scoring a 40.5 against 19 other Brown British beers.  If you’ve not brewed one and like a malty Irish red do yourself a favor and try this brew out.

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