11. ENGLISH AND SCOTTISH STRONG ALE
11A. Old Ale
Malty, with complex fruity esters. Some oxidative notes are acceptable, akin to those found in port or sherry. Hop aromas not usually present, due to extended age.
Medium amber to very dark red-amber color.
Malty and usually sweet, with abundant fruity esters. The nutty malt sweetness yields to a finish that may vary from dry to somewhat sweet. Extended aging may contribute oxidative flavors similar to a fine old port or Madiera wine. Alcoholic strength should be evident, though not overwhelming.
Medium to full body; alcohol should contribute some warmth.
An ale of significant alcoholic strength, though usually not as strong or rich as barleywine. Usually tilted toward a sweeter, more malty balance.
Often regarded as winter warmers, and often released as seasonal beers.
Generous quantities of well-modified pale malt (generally English in origin, though not necessarily so), along with judicious quantities of caramel malts. Some darker examples suggest that dark malts may be appropriate, though sparingly so as to avoid roast character. Adjuncts (such as molasses or dark sugar) may also be utilized. Hop variety is not as important, as the relative balance and aging process negate much of the varietal character.
IBUs: 30-60 FG: 1.015-1.022+
SRM: 12-16 ABV: 6-9+%
Theakston Old Peculier, Young's Winter Warmer, Marston Owd Roger.
11B. Strong Scotch Ale (Wee Heavy)
Deeply malty, with caramel apparent. Roasty or even smoky secondary aromas may also be present, adding complexity. Moderate diacetyl character is also acceptable.
Dark amber to dark brown color, often with ruby highlights.
Intensely malty with kettle caramelization apparent. Hint of roasted malt or smoky flavor may be present, as may some buttery diacetyl or nutty character. Hop flavors are low, so malt impression should be dominant.
Full-bodied, with a thick, chewy viscosity. Alcoholic warmth should also be present.
Rich and malty, reminiscent of a dessert. Complex secondary malt flavors prevent a one-dimensional impression.
Fermented at cooler temperatures than most ales, and with lower hopping rates, resulting in clean, intense malt flavors. Well suited to the region of origin, with abundant malt and cool fermentation and aging temperature. Hops, which are not native to Scotland and formerly expensive to import, were kept to a minimum.
Well-modified pale malt, with some crystal and perhaps a dash of darker malt or even roasted barley. A small proportion of smoked malt may add depth, though smoky character may also originate from the yeast. Hop presence is minimal, although English varieties are most authentic. Low-to-medium sulfate and medium carbonate/bicarbonate water is most appropriate.
IBUs: 20-40 FG: 1.019-1.025+
SRM: 10-47 ABV: 6.9-8.5+
Traquair House, MacAndrew's Scotch Ale, McEwan's Scotch Ale, Belhaven Wee Heavy, Scotch du Silly, Vermont Pub and Brewery Wee Heavy.