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Scotch Ale

December 4, 2013

Brewing again before the real cold weather hits.  Going to use harvested yeast from my previous porter brew.  I have ~100 mL from my first kegged fermentor, while I’m just going to pitch onto the yeast cake for the second.  I plan on accomplishing this through using a starter to jump start and propagate the previously harvested yeast and by racking the second fermentor to the keg after brewing the Scotch Ale while I’m letting it settle.  The much higher gravity and cooler fermentation temperature of the Scotch should ensure this isn’t wildly overpitched and will act as a good experiment.  It will require a little bit of careful timing, but shouldn’t be too difficult


BeerSmith Recipe / Brewsheet


Had to substitute 6 lbs. of Golden Promise for Pale Maris Otter because there was only 15 lbs., 12 oz. Golden Promise on the floor at the brew shop and I didn’t want to wait around for them to refill it.  I’m quite certain it won’t make a difference.

Brew Day (12/5/13)

  • Too much grain for 10 gallon MLT.  Mash too thick to properly break up clumps, particularly with my non-rigid plastic spoon (need to get a proper mash paddle).  Should have done a partial mash (i.e., reduced amount of base malt in the mash and compensate with extract in the boil).
  • Successfully racked 1 fermentor’s worth of wort onto yeast cake from porter.  After agitating and letting sit for a while to get yeast in suspension, racked to clean, sanitized fermentor.  Concerned about contamination & getting krausen gunk from porter.
  • Healthy 2 L starter made for second fermentor.
  • Oxygenated well-pitched cake-rack fermentor for ~1 minute (standard) & starter-based fermentor for 1.5 minutes to compensate for likely low pitch (according to yeastcalc).
  • Vigorous fermentation (blowing off krausen) by morning after.


Too bad I don’t take more consistent notes.  Now, several weeks after kegging, I notice significant differences between the two fermentors, but can’t tell which is which.  I get the inclination that I kegged the cake-pitch fermentor first and the other (standard starter) second.  What I am pretty sure about is that the first keg – what I will refer to as “keg 1” – was kegged about a week after pitching, while the second was kegged more than 2 weeks after pitching (probably more than 2 but less than 3).  Keg 1 was noticeably darker, seemed less attenuated (of course my laziness didn’t just extend to taking notes but also to taking gravity readings…), and had a bit of fusel alcohol to it (something that should not have been present with the low OG of this brew).  I have just now tapped keg 2 and was quite surprised by its much lighter color and “thinness” (what I attribute to higher attenuation).  Keg 2 seems to have had the better yeast health during fermentation.  While I know that it had more time in the fermentor, I think the differences are more about yeast health than time mainly because I wouldn’t expect fusel alcohol to decrease so much over the course of only 1 to 2 extra weeks.  While the conclusion could be drawn that my slight underpitch of the starter-based fermentor could be responsbile, I don’t think it was enough to attribute fusel alcohols to.  So overall, I think the repitch on the cake had a negative effect on the outcome of the beer and is something I think I’ll try to avoid in the future.


From → Ale, All-Grain, Brews

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