This potent ale features a full, chewy body, brimming with the malt-driven sweetness of caramel. Aromas of candied toffee and dark fruit burst from the huge, complex malt.
A little background on this classic style: English and Scottish Ales were historically named and referred to by the wholesale price by hogshead (a measurement of volume) in shillings, plus tax. This designation was intended to be proportionate to the ale’s gravity and ABV.
Still, modern brews of this style embrace the historical nomenclature, a nod to its continued use in Scotland to this day. In Brewmaster Robbie O’Cain’s original notes of this recipe, his target was a 120-shilling, or a range of about 7.5—9% ABV.
Scotch Ales are so-named not for malt whiskey, a common misconception, but for the Scottish Ale yeast used in production. This Debut brew uses Wyeast 1728 – Scottish Ale yeast.
In this particular style of beer, technique is key; recipe- and temperature-dependent factors drive the ultimate flavor. Scotch Ales are fermented at a lower temperature, not unlike modern lager brewing. This cooling process diminishes ester formation, an element which would otherwise add fruitiness to the beer. Instead, this Scotch Ale’s specialty malts are responsible for the hints of deep, dark fruit on the nose, which are accentuated by an extended period of cold maturation. That’s six weeks of anticipation in the tank, to be precise.
Though both styles are brewed in Highland tradition (and are often confused for one another), what distinguishes a Scotch Ale from a Scottish Ale is higher alcohol. At 7.4% ABV, Starr Hill’s Debut #11 Scotch Ale is a beer that packs its punch, but is a sustainable choice of beverage to keep you warm all night long.
“Here in Virginia, the coldest months of the year tend to be January, February — and that’s exactly when you want a bigger beer to have with you fireside,” O’Cain said of his inspiration to premiere the Scotch Ale.
This brew is high alcohol, malty, and warming… all of the fixings for a decent winter beer to switch things up in what is typically stout season.
Debut #11 Scotch Ale is on tap in the Starr Hill Brewery Tap Room and has already been garnering a lot of attention as a pint favorite. Look for it on tap at your local watering hole! Cheers, and enjoy.