Scotch ale can be very different from English ale, and is typically higher gravity, lower alcohol, not as intensely hopped, has a sweeter finish, and a creamier head. There are exceptions, such as in the case of barley wine, which can be very high in alcohol and comparable to wine. Scottish beer and ale have some of the most delicate and unique flavors which don't occur in any other type of beer.
I learned many interesting facts about not just Scottish ale but other beers as well. For example, the finings that are often added to ale as a preservative are a silicate substance that traditionally comes from the swim bladder of a certain fish. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a substitute for it now, but that's where it came from originally.
There is a huge amount of other fascinating information in this very readable, well-written book about this style. The books in this series emphasize more the practical aspects of brewery operations, and this one is no different. But the author also delves into much of the history, and it was interesting to learn the differences between how brewers worked in the past compared to the modern operations, which permit much closer control of all the processes and ingredients, such as knowing more accurately the alpha acid content of the hops. But they were still able to do amazingly well with what they knew back then just from experience and good ol' Scottish cleverness and common sense. In fact, the book has two sections covering the history, one from 6500 B.C. to 1820, and the other from 1820 to 1891.
In addition to the chapters on water, hopping and bittering, malt, yeast, and so on, the book also has a section detailing typical recipes and there is an appendix discussing the most important breweries along with descriptions of their ales. Finally, there are further appendices on weights and measures and a glossary of technical terms. This is a fine book on the subject of Scottish ale that should be of interest to new and experienced afficionados alike.