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AHA Guideline

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Scottish-Style Heavy Ale

Scottish-Style Heavy Ales are amber to dark brown. Chill haze is allowable at low temperatures. Malty, caramel-like aroma is present. Fruity-ester aromas are low if evident. Hop aroma is not perceived. Scottish Heavy is dominated by a smooth, balanced sweet maltiness; in addition it will have a medium degree of malty, caramel-like, soft and chewy character in flavor and mouthfeel. Hop flavor is not perceived. Hop bitterness is low but perceptible. Yeast characters such as diacetyl and sulfuriness are acceptable at very low levels. Bottled versions may contain higher amounts of carbon dioxide than is typical for mildly carbonated draft versions. Though there is little evidence suggesting that traditionally made Scottish Heavy Ale exhibited peat smoke character, the current marketplace offers many examples with peat or smoke character present at low to medium levels. Thus a peaty/smoky character may be evident at low levels. Ales with medium or higher smoke character would be considered a smoke flavored beer and considered in another category. Body is medium. Scottish Heavy Ale may be split into two subcategories: Traditional (no smoke character) and Peated (low level of peat smoke character).


  • Original Gravity (°Plato) 1.035 - 1.040 (8.8 - 10)
  • Apparent Extract/Final Gravity (°Plato) 1.010 - 1.014 (2.6 - 3.6)
  • Alcohol by Weight (Volume) 2.80% - 3.20% (3.50% - 4.10%)
  • Bitterness (IBU) (12 - 20)
  • Color SRM (EBC) 8 - 19 (16 - 38)