Style Profile: Scottish Ale

Posted on March 4th, 2010

Scottish ales are wonderfully unique and deliciously dark, making them perfect for the colder months. Here’s a quick look at Scotland’s fine ale tradition.

Like many regional styles, the beers of Scotland are directly related to the geographic conditions of the area. The most distinctive qualities of Scottish beers are their big, malty flavors and lack of hops. This is directly related Scotland’s farmlands being largely inhospitable to growing hops. These plants generally require much warmer temperatures than what is available in Scotland. If Scottish brewers wanted hops for their beers they would have to import them, something that was for many years cost-prohibitive. At any rate, Scottish brewers brewed with what they had available and that was barley. There have been some who have recently questioned the historical accuracy of such claims, but the fact remains that most Scottish beers are big on malts with very little hops.

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