- Scotch ales are brewed in various strengths and categorized accordingly. They use a naming convention that designates the lowest gravity beers as 60- and 70-shilling, with the highest gravity beers being 100-shilling, 120-shilling, or more. These names come from price per barrel that these beers would cost.
- Further, 60-shilling beers were called “light”, 70-shilling “heavy”, 80-shilling and 90-shilling “export”, and 100-shilling and higher “wee heavy”.
- The US was a major importer of Scotch ale in the 18th-century: “By 1785 North America and the West Indies soaked up 80% of Scottish strong ale export, reflecting the concentration of Scottish emigrants to Maryland, Virginia, and the Carolinas...”
Love malty beers? Then Scotch ales are for you. To research the history and characteristics of Scotch Ale, I dug into the Oxford Companion to Beer, probably the most comprehensive guide to beer and brewing ever published. (Tip: At the time of writing the Kindle edition of the Oxford Companion was on sale for less than $4.) In the Scotch Ale entry by Horst Dornbusch, I learned that: