Scottish Beer Styles
If England is famed for the bitter hops flavor of its "bitters," Scotland is famed for its full-bodied, malty ales. Scotch ales are sweet and very full-bodied, with malt and roast malt flavors predominating. They are deep burnished-copper to brown in color. Scottish ales are invariably rich and mouth filling because they are quite high in unfermentables. They have a maltier flavor and aroma, darker colors, and a more full-bodied and smokier character than British ales. Bitterness and hoppiness are not dominant factors in Scottish ales, and they are less hoppy than their British counterparts. They are similar to British bitters, but are less estery and are generally darker, sweeter, and maltier. Some Scottish heavy ales exhibit a peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels.
Scottish ales are often known by names simply as, e.g., "Scottish Light 60/" (''/'' means shillings), "Heavy 70/," and "Export 80/." The strong Scotch ales are designated with higher values, ranging from 90/- to 160/-. The significant differences are reflected in their maltier flavor, relatively darker colors, and occasional faint smoky character. The "shilling" designation is believed to be from the old method of taxing in which the tax rate was based on the gravity of the beer.
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