Dwarf Fuel wee heavy and Grasshopper ale

16 November 2013 AD

Guest brewer: Patrick McKane, aka Grasshopper. I took advantage of Grasshopper’s extra hands to brew my first double mash scotch ale in many years. Whole operation went smoothly. Beer name inspired by the game of Dwarven Miner we played during the boil.


O.G. Wee Heavy: 1.100, Grasshopper: 1.062 (a wee bit high for a twopenny, more like a 90 shilling. But, that is inflation for you).

Grain Bill (same for both mashes):

  • 11 pounds Marris Otter
  • 4 oz 90L crystal
  • 2 oz roasted barley
  • 2 oz peated malt (ahhh… the peat)

Hop Bill (wee heavy)-

  • 4.9 AAUs American Fuggle
  • 2.8 AAUs Willamette (1/2 oz at 5.7 % alpha)

Hop Bill (Grasshopper)-

  • Spent Fuggle from first boil
  • 2.8 AAUs Willamette (1/2 oz at 5.7 % alpha)


  • White labs Edinburgh Ale

Starter made with 1/2 c light extract to about 20oz of water. The Scotch ale book (Noonan Classic Beer Styles 8) says that a high pitching rate is essential to the character of scotch ale. A scotch ale is fermented at lower temps than English ales in order to avoid ester production, but this requires a higher pitching rate so that yeast reproduction need not be as great.

Mash Primus

First mash done at 08:30 before Pat’s arrival. I mashed in with 3.5 gallons of water, a bit over the suggested 13 qts. The mash was intentionally stiff in order to protect the enzymes in a higher than usual mash temp. Mash temp is higher than for English ales so that beta amylase activity is minimal.

  • Strike temp 170. I had kept the grains indoors overnight so that they would not be too cold entering the pot. But this made me over shoot the target 158F by a few degrees.
  • Mash in at 162F. Let it rest outdoors for a few minutes until it dropped to 160F, then brought inside and covered with sleeping bag.
  • At 1 hr, temp good at 156F
  • At 1 hr, temp had for some reason dropped to 150F, so I raised it back to 158F and held another 30 min


  • 5 gal H2O at 180F. Book suggests going a little higher than usual, due to the need for efficient sparging to extract all the sugars. I think the temp drops quickly enough that leeching tannins is not a problem.

Ran off the first 4 gallons into a vessel for the wee heavy. 3 more gallons ran off into a new pot, and this was the mash liquor for the second mash.


Mash Secundus

Mash in with 3 gallons of liquor from first sparge. Added another half gallon of H2O. I think the consistency of the mashes was about perfect.

  • Strike temp 170.
  • Mash in at 162F. Let it rest outdoors for a few minutes until it dropped to 160F.
  • At 1.5 hr, temp right at 158F
  • 2 hr rest total


  • 5 gal H2O at 180F.

Ran the first 3 gal for the wee heavy. The rest went for two penny. Ended up a little short on volume for the twopenny. And the gravity before boil was already at 1.040, which is the target finishing gravity. I think another gallon of sparge water next time for the second mash. For the first mash, it probably doesnt matter, since we don’t want to end up with more water than can be used for the second mash anyway.

Boil Primus (wee heavy)-

S.g. was 1.070 at start of boil. Boiled for half an hour to 1.080.

Hops added at 30min: 1 oz Fuggle 4.9%, 0.5 oz Willamette 5.7%. My thought here was that I would save half the Willamette for the second boil. That would put both very close to the target 8 AAUs, while allowing some fresh hop in the twopenny instead of all spent hops.

Boiled hops for 1 hr. Total boil 1.5 hrs.

We needed the spent hops from the first boil to add to the second, so we transferred the boiled wort into a cold pot, and let it cool while the second wort came to a boil.

Boil Secundus (Grasshopper)-

Initial gravity 1.040, which is the target finishing gravity. And we were short on volume. But, it needed to boil with the hops, especially since we were using the spent hops from the first boil in it. So, right at rolling boil, 2.8 AAUs Willamette added. Then we strained the first wort into a carboy to collect the spent hops, and they were added to the boil about 10 minutes later. Total boil time 1.5 hrs.

Pitched yeast starter just before midnight.


At 8 hrs, Grasshopper ale fermenting steadily, though not foaming overly vigorously. Wee heavy is flat but the blowoff tube bubbles occasionally. This is good for a scotch ale. The book says there should be little appearance of motion in the first 12 hrs. The Grasshopper probably started  bit quicker since it was still warm when I pitched the yeast (and Grasshoppers tend to be anxious). The wee heavy had cooled by that point. Fermentation is being conducted in my spare bathroom at a temp of about 50F.


At about 12 hrs, wee heavy started pumping right on schedule.


1 thought on “Dwarf Fuel wee heavy and Grasshopper ale

  1. 01/04/2013
    Both ales are now bottled and kegged. mostly bottled the wee heavy. Kegged the grasshopper aside from a couple small taster bottles.
    F.G. on the wee heavy was 1.035. Very high compared to previous times I have made it. I attribute this to the high mash temp. The grasshopper came in at 1.025. Hopefully they will not be cloyingly sweet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s