Lavender Light Scottish Ale

I came across an interesting recipe in All About Beer magazine while reading about traditional scottish recipes. I’m always a fan of the original Wee Heavy and other earthy, heavy Scottish ales, but beside them they had a heather light Scottish ale listed. Considering I’ve messed up my fair share of batches, I was ready to go back to a basic recipe.

*Side note, I think I”ve been getting diacetyl in my beer because of the first beer I made that showed signs of diacetyl. Since I used a plastic fermenter, I have a feeling that the diacetyl stuck around and got into other brews (like my amber I was so proud of). Because of this, I got a new fermenter.

As I was gathering ingredients for this, I found that finding heather was easier said than done. After going to all the hippie spice shops in town, I couldn’t find one sprig of heather. So, I settled for lavender.

I looked up to see how lavender worked in other people’s beer, and luckily I landed on someone who said to use it sparingly because it can make your beer taste soapy and dirty. So, I only grabbed .4 ounces of the stuff.

Here’s the ingredient list:

3# Light DME
3# Wheat DME
1# Crystal/Caramel 20L (steeped at 170 F for 30 minutes)
1# Unfiltered, raw clover honey (at flameoff)
1oz East Kent Golding hops (60 min)
1oz East Kent Golding hops (30 min)
.4 oz Lavender (one addition at 40 minutes, one at 20 minutes)
Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale

Fermentation is going nuts. Just the way I like it.
Fermentation is going nuts. Just the way I like it.

I made a starter the night before with 2 cups of water and 1/2 cup of Light DME. I think next time I’ll use more water and DME, because this one didn’t really show signs of fermentation before I pitched it.

The brew day went really well. I was able to cool the wort in about 45 minutes without an immersion chiller and racked it into a 5 gallon Better Bottle fermenter. By the next day, I was getting a CO2 bubble a minute. This morning, there’s a wonderful Krausen ring and the blow off tube is roaring.

I’m excited to see if this one produces little-to-no diacetyl. I’m letting it ferment at about 59-60 degrees at the moment, which should provide a nice, clean beer.

I’ll update as we go along.

UPDATE: 3/6

Fermentation was going wild for the first couple of days, requiring a blow off tube. But, it slowed down after a couple of days and I reapplied the airlock. We’re about 10 days in and fermentation has really slowed down. Since this is a wheat ale, I think I’m going to just take it from the primary and bottle it here in the next day or two after a gravity reading. I’m excited to see how this turns out! Hopefully it doesn’t taste like straight soap.

UPDATE: 3/8

Fermentation has really died down, so I said heck with it and decided to bottle today. Gravity reading was at 1.016, putting the alcohol at a session-able 4.5%. The wort tasted great—the lavender didn’t come through as much as I was worrying about. But, we’ve got to wait until the thing is all carbonated to jump to any conclusions.

UPDATE: 3/18

After a couple of weeks, this guy is ready to go. I popped one in the fridge to be sure, and it came out awesome. Lavender and a sweet vanilla on the nose, smooth and sweet taste with a silky mouthfeel. I’m going to remake this recipe over and over again. I think next time I’ll go a little lighter on the lavender and up the hops. But, this is the best base recipe I’ve had.

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