New style list poll - what to do with Scottish ale

Inspired by the discussion about a new style list input is needed on topics.

  • Keep it
  • Merge to bitter
  • Merge somewhere else

0 voters

Can some of the people who said merge somewhere else say where they think it should be merged to?

There are bunch that doesn’t fit under bitter in any way. Just take: and you can see that many are 6+% (and 6% is already pushing it!), hence clearly not what traditionally are considered bitters.

Going by the description there the stronger examples are ‘wee heavies’ which are also part of Scotch Ale so they should go there?

Are you happy that 60, 70, 80 shilling (the under 5% examples) should go under bitter?


But is Scotch Ale not the same as English Strong Ale?!

PS - suggest you refer this to British Admins.

And Old Ale=Barleywine…

The point of the individual polls is to try and streamline discussion onto specific topics since every other thread on new styles becomes completely derailed by twenty different people talking about twenty different things.

Feel free to set up a new poll (or ask me to) if you want to talk about what to do with different styles.

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I tend not to look at the ABV.
Scottish Ales are brewed in North America, mainly; they don’t have the character of Bitter.
They are Amber Ales.

In average they may be a bit thinner or drier; but the 2 sets overlap almost completely and they are mostly separated by the name only.
If given a few random examples in a blind tasting, nobody would distinguish Irish, Red, Scottish, Amber Ales (did I forget any?)

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OK, that makes sense. What about those that are wee heavies but under Scottish ale here? Do you think those should be amber ales too or do they go under Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy?

There seem to be some confusion in the writeup of the style descriptions, and Wee Heavy is mentioned in both Scotch and Scottish.

Wee Heavy are “strong”, so they should be categorized under Scotch Ales (like th enew name suggests).
If they are light, but they are called Wee Heavy, that’s a brewer’s mistake and they are Scottish (or Amber).


I think every scottish ale should be examined case by case. The ones I have tried are quite varied.

This is not just about what to do with current Scottish ales, it is how to deal with them going forward. What Joe wants is a list that features styles like Scottish Ales that appear on lots of bottles as the style. This will be used on the add a beer page so people can find the style the bottle says, but when the beer is added the site puts the beer into a style that we then use on the rest of the site. For this case my solution was having these styles on the add beer page that default to either amber ale or bitter and scotch ale respectively.

Scottish Ale - 60 / 70 / 80 Shilling
Scottish Ale - Wee Heavy

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Not really. A lot of Old Ales are a lot weaker.

What if it just says “Scottish Ale” on the label (without the shillings or wee heavy)?!

Also a lot of 60 Shillings, etc, are currently down as bitters. Especially ones brewed in Scotland.

Then I guess they just choose one at random and the admin who has to verify it will fix it if necessary. I really don’t see any way of simplifying this problem with 100% accuracy. I guess what Joe is after is the method that puts the highest possible % of beers in the right place without admin intervention. I have no idea how to do that with Scottish ales because they’re just not a thing anywhere I have ever lived or visited.

The abv might or might not give you a hint.

Disclaimer: I have no fucking clue what a Scottish Ale is so I will not vote in the poll.

Funny thing is when searching this to educate myself I found a bunch of RB links discussing the matter. Our own silktork wrote this article back in 2006: a time at which I was barely old enough to legally drink, let alone know anything about beer.
Though no solid conclusion is reached it’s an interesting read that goes into the history of the style name etc. and the, I guess alleged, American obsession with classifying styles like this, which the article explores.

A couple of old forum discussions too:
In these we have native Scottish raters like Craig saying it was the last style he needed, admin Oakes saying he has over 600 Scottish rates yet none of them were a Scottish Ale.

As someone who is neither Scottish nor American and doesn’t know much of the history of the style, I do wonder to myself wtf is the point of it? If native Scots are struggling to find such a style which at best is heavily debated, why do we even have it? Then I look at other sites like BA and UT, and I see both of them still keep the style too.

Interesting too that this poll is already split 3 ways with only 40 voters. It seems impossible to me that we could reach some sort of agreement, as such it’s probably best to keep the style? But as I said at the start, I really have no clue and don’t particularly care either way what happens with this one since no one can agree on anything.

It’s split three ways but two of the options are to get rid of it, so I think the result shows people are against it but not sure what to do with the style going forward.

Note also that these polls are to gain opinions to help guide the admins and Joe make a new style list, but we’re not bound to the results as there are other factors that we have to consider.

Tempted to set up my own poll… keep Scotch Ale or create an English Strong Ale / Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy merger.