Scotch Ale Paperback – Jan 26 1998
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About the Author
Greg Noonan was a pioneer in home-brewing methodology, an acclaimed brewing author, a co-founder of one of the first brewpubs in New England, an innovator in professional brewing techniques and a truly great publican. He opened theVermont Pub and Breweryin Burlington, VT in 1988 after getting the legislature to pass a bill to accommodate the concept of brewpubs. In 1993, Greg wroteScotch Alefor theClassic Beer Stylesseries fromBrewers Publicationsand followed that with a revision of his original work titledNew Brewing Lager Beer, in 1996. He received theRecognition Awardfrom theAmerican Homebrewers Associationin 1997, theAchievement Award fromBrewers Associationin 2004, theRussell Schehrer Award for Innovation in Brewingin 2005 and numerous posthumous awards. The most oft-repeated accolade about Greg Noonan was that he always took the time to talk to anyone interested in brewing.
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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.
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