Style Details

Scot­tish Light
Scot­tish Ale
BJCP Style Code
14 A
Pale cop­per to very dark brown. Clear. Low to mode­ra­te, crea­my off-white.
Low to medi­um mal­ti­ness, often with fla­vors of toas­ted bre­ad­crumbs, lady fin­gers, and Eng­lish bis­cuits. Low to medi­um cara­mel and low but­ters­cotch is allo­wa­ble. Light pome frui­ti­ness in best examp­les. May have low tra­di­tio­nal Eng­lish hop aro­ma (ear­thy, flo­ral, oran­ge-citrus, spi­cy, etc.). Peat smo­ke is inappropriate.
Ent­i­re­ly malt-focu­sed, with fla­vors ran­ging from pale, brea­dy malt with cara­mel over­to­nes to rich-toas­ty malt with roas­ted accents (but never roas­ty) or a com­bi­na­ti­on the­re­of. Frui­ty esters are not requi­red but add depth yet are never high. Hop bit­ter­ness to balan­ce the malt. No to low hop fla­vor is also allo­wed and should of tra­di­tio­nal Eng­lish cha­rac­ter (ear­thy, flo­ral, oran­ge-citrus, spi­cy, etc.). Finish ran­ges from rich and mal­ty to dry and grai­ny. A sub­t­le but­ters­cotch cha­rac­ter is accep­ta­ble; howe­ver, burnt sug­ars are not. The malt-hop balan­ce tilts toward malt. Peat smo­ke is inappropriate.
Medi­um-low to medi­um body. Low to mode­ra­te car­bo­na­ti­on. Can be rela­tively rich and crea­my to dry and grainy.
Over­all Impression
A malt-focu­sed, gene­ral­ly cara­mel­ly beer with perhaps a few esters and occa­sio­nal­ly a but­ters­cotch after­tas­te. Hops only to balan­ce and sup­port the malt. The malt cha­rac­ter can ran­ge from dry and grai­ny to rich, toas­ty, and cara­mel­ly, but is never roas­ty and espe­cial­ly never has a peat smo­ke cha­rac­ter. Tra­di­tio­nal­ly the dar­kest of the Scot­tish ales, some­ti­mes near­ly black but lacking any burnt, overtly roas­ted character.
Typi­cal Ingredients
Ori­gi­nal­ly used Scot­tish pale malt, grits or fla­ked mai­ze, and bre­wers cara­mel for color. Later adap­ted to use addi­tio­nal ingre­dients, such as amber and brown mal­ts, crys­tal and wheat mal­ts, and roas­ted grains or dark sug­ars for color but not for the ‘roas­ty’ fla­vor. Sugar adjuncts are tra­di­tio­nal. Clean or slight­ly frui­ty yeast. Peat-smo­ked malt is inau­then­tic and inappropriate.
Malt-focu­sed ales that gain the vast majo­ri­ty of their cha­rac­ter from spe­cial­ty mal­ts, never the pro­cess. Bur­ning malt or wort sug­ars via ‘kett­le cara­me­liz­a­ti­on’ is not tra­di­tio­nal nor is any bla­tant­ly ‘but­ters­cotch’ cha­rac­ter. Most fre­quent­ly a drau­ght pro­duct. Smo­ke cha­rac­ter is inap­pro­pria­te as any found tra­di­tio­nal­ly would have come from the peat in the source water. Scot­tish ales with smo­ke cha­rac­ter should be ent­e­red as a Clas­sic Style Smo­ked Beer.
Com­mer­cial Examples
McEwan’s 60
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.030 - 1.035 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.010 - 1.013 SG
17 - 22 SRM
2.0 - 3.0 %vol
10 - 20 IBU