#65a. Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy: Scotch Ales are strong ales, also known as “Wee Heavy.” In the 19th century Scotland, they’d also be known as 160/-, a nomenclature based on the now obsolete shilling currency.
Scotch Ales traditionally go through a long boil in the kettle for a caramelization of the wort. This produces a deep copper to brown in colored brew. Compared to Scottish Ales, they’ll be sweeter and fuller-bodied, and of course higher in alcohol, with a much more pronounced malty caramel and roasted malt flavor. A low tea-like bitterness can be found in many examples. Best served in a “thistle” glass.
Entry: Traquair House Ale (7.2%ABV, Scotland)
I think it’s safe to assume that whenever you’re drinking a beer with “heavy” in the name, don’t make any plans. You’re not going anywhere. Seriously. Maybe it’s because all I’ve eaten today is a Veggie Delite (sic) sandwich from Subway and a small cup of toffee gelato (at a place that just opened 100 yards from my apartment and also serves savory crepes….goddammit), but I’m only 1/3 through this thing and I am already buzzed. Please sign up now for drunk texts later.
True to the description, this style feels like some type of gamma-radiated porter. Not a strong aroma, but it’s definitely caramel malt. Lots and lots of malt flavor that vacillates between caramel sweetness and earthy/tea bitterness (which I’m not totally loving) and it ends with a certain blunt dryness. And this feels way stronger than 7%. Though, it certainly doesn’t have the syrupy sweetness of a boozy beer. It just feels big and robust (though, not as thick as a stout or something). This is a sipper to be sure. This definitely isn’t something I’d pick a six pack of up, but I could see myself ordering this provided the proper cultural cuisine. Though I suppose I’ve never had proper Scottish food. Doesn’t really make it down to Orange County, CA. I’ll have to add it to the to-do list.
Funfact: This is made in the oldest inhabited house in Scotland, which is over 900 years old (three times the age of my entire country).