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Highland Heather Ale

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Highland Heather Ale

back to search Back to Search  Style Details 

Beer Style: Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer  (21A)
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5 US gallons

Spice, Herb, or Vegetable Beer


Heather Ale is one of the more ancient of fermented beverages, with archaeological evidence in Scotland and Ireland that dates to the Neo-lithic Period (circa 5000 years ago). Greeks and Romans wrote about the Celts of Britian (Britannia) Ireland (Hibernia) and the Picts of Scotland (Caledonia) who made a coveted fermented beverage with heather as a primary ingredient. Legend has it the original recipe for the revered heather elixir of the Picts went to the grave as a secret. Nevertheless, this recipe relies on archaeo-botanical and molecular archaelogical research to recreate the possible flavors of this ancient beverage.

Expect this ale to be a robust sweet malt veverage with hints of peat smoked barley and notes of heather and meadowsweet. Here is to the ancient brewers of the Neolithic Revolution.


  • 9 lbs Simpsons Golden Promise Malt
  • 3 lbs Simpsons Medium Crystal Malt
  • 1 lbs Simpsons Peated Malt
  • 0.5 lbs Acidulated Malt
  • 3.5 lbs Wildflower honey
  • 2.0 oz. Heather tips (@ 60 minutes)
  • 2.0 oz. Meadowsweet flowers (@ 30 minutes)
  • 2.0 oz Heather tips (@ 5 minutes)
  • 2.0 oz Meadowsweet flowers (@ 5 minutes)
  • 1.0 oz Sweet Gale (@ 5 minutes)
  • 1 tsp. Irish Moss (@ 15 minutes)
  • Old Ale yeast (Wyeast 1318)
  • Scottish Ale yeast (Wyeast 1728)

Additional Instructions

Boil: 60 Minutes
Secondary Ferment: 2 Weeks

Beer Profile

Original Gravity: 1.082
Final Gravity: 1.020
Alcohol by Vol: 9%
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 5.00 US Gallons

Click to Print Recipe


Mashing Procedure:
1. Fill mash tun with 4 gallons of 165F water.
2. Combine cracked grain and 2oz of heather tips at bottom of mash tun.
3. Stabilize water temperature at 153 deg F for 90 minutes.
4. Sparge mash with 4 gallons of 170 deg F water and transfer wort to brew pot (5-6 gallons)
5. Boil wort for one hour.
6. Add 4 ounces of heather tips and meadowsweet flowers at beginning of boil
7 Add 4 ounces of heather tips and meadow sweet flowers at 30 minutes
8. Add 1 tsp of Irish Moss to boil during final 15 minutes.
9. Add 2.5 lbs of honey in last 5 minutes of boil.
10. Add 6 ounces of heather tips and meadowsweet and sweet gale in last 5 minutes of boil
11 Chill wort and transfer to a 5-6 gallon fermentor (carboy)
12 Allow to cool below 80 deg F before pitching the yeast
13. Ferment at 68 deg F
14 After 10 days remove 1/2 hallon of ale and steep with 2 cups of heather tips at 160F for 15 minutes
15 Strain heather and transfer back into the fermenter
16. Bottle and age for a minimum of 2 weeks.