Events Recipe

American Pale Ale: winning recipe

Tom Gardner has already picked up the Southern’s best in show award with his American Pale Ale and now he has a gold medal from the annual Scottish Craft Brewers competition too.

Hoppity Hip

Beer Style: American Pale Ale
Recipe Type: all-grain BIAB
Yield: 23 litres
Original Gravity: 1.060


  • 5.0 kg English Pale
  • 0.35 kg Crystal 45
  • 0.45 kg British Caramalt (Brupaks)
  • 14.0 g Summit (US) 90 min Boil Pellet 26 IBU
  • 15.0 g Citra (US) 15 min Boil Pellet 9 IBU
  • 15.0 g Simcoe (US) 15 min Boil Pellet 10 IBU
  • 15.0 g Citra (US) 15 min Post-boil (80C) Pellet
  • 15.0 g Simcoe (US) 15 min Post-boil (80C) Pellet
  • 28.0 g Simcoe (US) 5 days Dry Hop Pellet
  • 28.0 g Citra (US) 5 days Dry Hop Pellet

Additional Instructions

Boil: 90 Minutes

Mash: 66c for 90 mins

Ferment: 4 weeks in primary at 18°C
Dry hop pellets suspended in muslin bag for last 5 days



Articles Events General Recipe

Ordinary Bitter: winning recipe

medal winners

Eli Appleby-Donald’s bitter recipe from the 2016 club competition.

Eli has been working on this recipe for the past 3 years using the feedback from the judges at the competition to perfect it. It must be working as this recipe took silver last year and gold this year.

Bespoke Bitter

Beer Style: Ordinary Bitter
Recipe Type: all-grain BIAB
Yield: 10 litres
Original Gravity: 1.034


  • 1.4 kg – United Kingdom – Golden Promise (84.8%)
  • 0.1 kg – United Kingdom – Cara Malt (6.1%)
  • 0.1 kg – United Kingdom – Dark Crystal 77L (6.1%)
  • 0.05 kg – United Kingdom – Munich (3%)
  • 7 g – Challenger 6.5% Boil 60 min
  • 5 g – East Kent Goldings 5% Boil 60 min
  • 8 g – Styrian Goldings 4.2%Boil 20 min
  • 15 g – East Kent Goldings 5% Whirlpool 20 min

Additional Instructions

Boil: 60 Minutes

Mash: 67c for 60 mins then 75c mash out  for 10mins.

Ferment: 2 weeks at 18c


Articles Events Recipe

Best in show recipe: American IPA

best in showSteven Beattie who won best in show for his American IPA has kindly agreed to share his recipe with us. So here you go folks, a chance to recreate that cracking recipe at home.

Crackhouse IPA

Beer Style: American IPA
Recipe Type: all-grain
Yield: 21 litres
Original Gravity: 1.060


  • 90% Pale Malt (Grain)
  • 7% Caragold (Grain)
  • 3% Wheat (Grain)
  • 20g Simcoe 11% Boil 15 min (Hops)
  • 25g Amarillo 9.6% Boil 15 min (Hops)
  • 25g Simcoe 11% Boil 10 min (Hops)
  • 30g Amarillo 9.6% Boil 10 min (Hops)
  • 55g Simcoe Flameout (Hops)
  • 45g Amarillo Flameout (Hops)
  • Dry hop 4g per litre

Additional Instructions

Boil: 60 Minutes

Mash: 66c for 60 mins.
Aimed for a mash ph of 5.2 and a sulphate/chloride ratio of about 2:1.

Ferment at 18c for 2 weeks before cold crashing and kegging.

Events General

Annual Competition 2016 results

80 Shilling

  1. Andy Newall
  2. Malcolm Cruickshank
  3. James Burnett

Ordinary Bitter

  1. Eli Appleby-Donald

English IPA

  1. Eli Appleby-Donald
  2. Malcolm Cruikshank
  3. Eli Appleby-Donald

American Pale

  1. Tom Gardner
  2. Eli Appleby-Donald
  3. Andrew Goulet

American IPA

  1. Steven Beattie
  2. Tom Gardner
  3. Jonathan Fleck

People’s Choice – American Wheat

Andy Newall

Overall Winner – Best in Show

Steven Beattie

Articles Events

Best in show prize


Big announcement: Best in show prize

You’ve heard a lot about the clubs big annual competition recently, but we’ve saved the best till last so buckle your seat belts and get ready for the blast!

As well as 1st, 2nd and 3rd awards for the categories of Ordinary bitter, English IPA, American Pale Ale, American IPA and 80 Shilling… there will be an award for the beer judged to be best in show. A chance to brew your beer with Digger (legendary Brewmaster at Ushers) and have it on sale at Andrew Ushers & Co.

The guys at Ushers have been so impressed with the quality of beer brewed by our club members over the last year that they are offering for our best of the best to get the chance to have their beer on tap in the pub for the punters to enjoy.

Now if that doesn’t get your blood going then you are not as mad obsessed passionate about beer as you should be.

Before you grab that mash paddle and get creating your most elaborate frankenbeers, remember that the beers in these categories have to match the category styles laid out by the BJCP style guide for 2015 (you can see these on the competition page of the website: ).

Also, please remember that Ushers brew on a much bigger scale than your average homebrewer, so costs weight up when you upscale that perfect IPA you’ve been planning with all the crazy ingredients you’ve found on ebay. The guys at Ushers have the right to refuse or ask for you to revise your winning recipe if it proves too expensive or difficult to brew on their set up. So if you’d like a shot at having your beer on tap, brew like a pro.

Go get brewing!


Want to drop off your beers before the competition day?

The guys at Ushers are happy for you to drop your competition beers off at the bar in the week leading up to the competition if you don’t think you’ll make it on the day or if you have too much to carry.

Please just ensure that your bottles are properly labelled with your competition labels and in a bag or a box so they can be stored easily.

However please remember, if you drop your beers off early, they will be in a working pub. Ushers can’t take responsibility for any accidents that may damage bottles. If you drop them off early, you do so at your own risk.

Ok so now the doom and gloom bit is over…. Brew my pretties, brew!


Articles Events General

Scottish Craft Brewers Competition 2016

Date: 24th January 2016
The club meeting starts at 12 noon but beer for the competition should be dropped off at 11:30.
Judging starts sharp so make sure your beer is there at 11:30.

Details of the day are available from the event section: The Big January Event

Venue: Andrew Usher & Co, 32b West Nicolson Street, Edinburgh EH8 9DD

What beer Styles can I enter?

Click on the category title for more information.

Overall Impression: Low gravity, low alcohol levels, and low carbonation make this an easy-drinking session beer. The malt profile can vary in flavor and intensity, but should never override the overall bitter impression. Drinkability is a critical component of the style Aroma: Low to moderate malt aroma, often (but not always) with a light caramel quality. Bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty malt complexity is common. Mild to moderate fruitiness. Hop aroma can range from moderate to none, typically with a floral, earthy, resiny, and/or fruity character. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Appearance: Pale amber to light copper color. Good to brilliant clarity. Low to moderate white to off-white head. May have very little head due to low carbonation.

Flavor: Medium to moderately high bitterness. Moderately low to moderately high fruity esters. Moderate to low hop flavor, typically with an earthy, resiny, fruity, and/or floral character. Low to medium maltiness with a dry finish. The malt profile is typically bready, biscuity, or lightly toasty. Low to moderate caramel or toffee flavors are optional. Balance is often decidedly bitter, although the bitterness should not completely overpower the malt flavor, esters and hop flavor. Generally no diacetyl, although very low levels are allowed.

Mouthfeel: Light to medium-light body. Low carbonation, although bottled examples can have moderate carbonation. Emphasis is on the bittering hop addition as opposed to the aggressive middle and late hopping seen in American ales.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.030 – 1.039
  • IBUs: 25 – 35
  • FG: 1.007 – 1.011
  • SRM: 8 – 14
  • ABV: 3.2 – 3.8%

Commercial Examples: Adnams Southwold Bitter, Brains Bitter, Fuller’s Chiswick Bitter, Greene King IPA, Tetley’s Original Bitter, Young’s Bitter Tags: session-strength, amber-color, top-fermented, british isles, traditional-style, amber-ale-family, bitter

Overall Impression: A hoppy, moderately-strong, very well attenuated pale British ale with a dry finish and a hoppy aroma and flavor. Classic British ingredients provide the best flavor profile.

Aroma: A moderate to moderately-high hop aroma of floral, spicy-peppery or citrus-orange in nature is typical. A slightly grassy dry-hop aroma is acceptable, but not required. A moderately-low caramel-like or toasty malt presence is optional. Low to moderate fruitiness is acceptable. Some versions may have a sulfury note, although this character is not mandatory.

Appearance: Color ranges from golden to deep amber, but most are fairly pale. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped versions may be a bit hazy. Moderate-sized, persistent head stand with off-white color.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to high, with a moderate to assertive hop bitterness. The hop flavor should be similar to the aroma (floral, spicy-peppery, citrus-orange, and/or slightly grassy). Malt flavor should be medium-low to medium, and be somewhat bready, optionally with light to medium-light biscuit-like, toasty, toffee-like and/or caramelly aspects. Medium-low to medium fruitiness. Finish is medium-dry to very dry, and the bitterness may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. The balance is toward the hops, but the malt should still be noticeable in support. If high sulfate water is used, a distinctively minerally, dry finish, some sulfur flavor, and a lingering bitterness are usually present. Some clean alcohol flavor can be noted in stronger versions. Oak is inappropriate in this style.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, medium-light to medium-bodied mouthfeel without hop-derived astringency, although moderate to medium-high carbonation can combine to render an overall dry sensation despite a supportive malt presence. A low, smooth alcohol warming can and should be sensed in stronger (but not all) versions.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.050 – 1.075
  • IBUs: 40 – 60
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.018
  • SRM: 6 – 14
  • ABV: 5.0 – 7.5%

Commercial Examples: Freeminer Trafalgar IPA, Fuller’s Bengal Lancer IPA, Meantime India Pale Ale, Ridgeway IPA,

Overall Impression: A pale, refreshing and hoppy ale, yet with sufficient supporting malt to make the beer balanced and drinkable. The clean hop presence can reflect classic or modern American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of characteristics. An average-strength hop-forward pale American craft beer, generally balanced to be more accessible than modern American IPAs.

Aroma: Moderate to strong hop aroma from American or New World hop varieties with a wide range of possible characteristics, including citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, or melon. None of these specific characteristics are required, but hops should be apparent. Low to moderate maltiness supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuit, caramelly). Fruity esters vary from moderate to none. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Appearance: Pale golden to light amber. Moderately large white to off-white head with good retention. Generally quite clear, although dry-hopped versions may be slightly hazy.

Flavor: Moderate to high hop flavor, typically showing an American or New World hop character (citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc.). Low to moderate clean grainy-malt character supports the hop presentation, and may optionally show small amounts of specialty malt character (bready, toasty, biscuity). The balance is typically towards the late hops and bitterness, but the malt presence should be supportive, not distracting. Caramel flavors are often absent or fairly restrained (but are acceptable as long as they don’t clash with the hops). Fruity yeast esters can be moderate to none, although many hop varieties are quite fruity. Moderate to high hop bitterness with a medium to dry finish. Hop flavor and bitterness often lingers into the finish, but the aftertaste should generally be clean and not harsh. Dry hopping (if used) may add grassy notes, although this character should not be excessive.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Moderate to high carbonation. Overall smooth finish without astringency and harshness. Comments: New hop varieties and usage methods continue to be developed. Judges should allow for characteristics of modern hops in this style, as well as classic varieties.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.045 – 1.060
  • IBUs: 30 – 50
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.015
  • SRM: 5 – 10
  • ABV: 4.5 – 6.2%

Commercial Examples: Ballast Point Grunion Pale Ale, Firestone Walker Pale 31, Great Lakes Burning River, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, Stone Pale Ale, Tröegs Pale Ale

Overall Impression: A decidedly hoppy and bitter, moderately strong American pale ale, showcasing modern American or New World hop varieties. The balance is hopforward, with a clean fermentation profile, dryish finish, and clean, supporting malt allowing a creative range of hop character to shine through.

Aroma: A prominent to intense hop aroma featuring one or more characteristics of American or New World hops, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Many versions are dry hopped and can have an additional fresh hop aroma; this is desirable but not required. Grassiness should be minimal, if present. A low to medium-low clean, grainy-malty aroma may be found in the background. Fruitiness from yeast may also be detected in some versions, although a neutral fermentation character is also acceptable. A restrained alcohol note may be present, but this character should be minimal at best. Any American or New World hop character is acceptable; new hop varieties continue to be released and should not constrain this style.

Appearance: Color ranges from medium gold to light reddish-amber. Should be clear, although unfiltered dryhopped versions may be a bit hazy. Medium-sized, white to offwhite head with good persistence.

Flavor: Hop flavor is medium to very high, and should reflect an American or New World hop character, such as citrus, floral, pine, resinous, spicy, tropical fruit, stone fruit, berry, melon, etc. Medium-high to very high hop bitterness. Malt flavor should be low to medium-low, and is generally clean and grainy-malty although some light caramel or toasty flavors are acceptable. Low yeast-derived fruitiness is acceptable but not required. Dry to medium-dry finish; residual sweetness should be low to none. The bitterness and hop flavor may linger into the aftertaste but should not be harsh. A very light, clean alcohol flavor may be noted in stronger versions. May be slightly sulfury, but most examples do not exhibit this character.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body, with a smooth texture. Medium to medium-high carbonation. No harsh hopderived astringency. Very light, smooth alcohol warming not a fault if it does not intrude into overall balance.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.056 – 1.070
  • IBUs: 40 – 70
  • FG: 1.008 – 1.014
  • SRM: 6 – 14
  • ABV: 5.5 – 7.5%

Commercial Examples: Alpine Duet, Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale, Fat Heads Head Hunter IPA, Firestone Walker Union Jack, Lagunitas IPA, Russian River Blind Pig IPA, Stone IPA

Overall Impression: A malt-focused, generally caramelly beer with perhaps a few esters and occasionally a butterscotch aftertaste. Hops only to balance and support the malt. The malt character can range from dry and grainy to rich, toasty, and caramelly, but is never roasty and especially never has a peat smoke character.

Aroma: Low to medium maltiness, often with flavors of toasted breadcrumbs, lady fingers, and English biscuits. Low to medium caramel and low butterscotch is allowable. Light pome fruitiness in best examples. May have low traditional English hop aroma (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Peat smoke is inappropriate.

Appearance: Pale copper to very dark brown. Clear. Low to moderate, creamy off-white.

Flavor: Entirely malt-focused, with flavors ranging from pale, bready malt with caramel overtones to rich-toasty malt with roasted accents (but never roasty) or a combination thereof. Fruity esters are not required but add depth yet are never high. Hop bitterness to balance the malt. No to low hop flavor is also allowed and should of traditional English character (earthy, floral, orange-citrus, spicy, etc.). Finish ranges from rich and malty to dry and grainy. A subtle butterscotch character is acceptable; however, burnt sugars are not. The malt-hop balance tilts toward malt. Peat smoke is inappropriate.

Mouthfeel: Medium-low to medium body. Low to moderate carbonation. Can be relatively rich and creamy to dry and grainy. Comments: Malt-focused ales that gain the vast majority of their character from specialty malts, never the process. Burning malt or wort sugars via ‘kettle caramelization’ is not traditional nor is any blatantly ‘butterscotch’ character. Most frequently a draught product. Smoke character is inappropriate as any found traditionally would have come from the peat in the source water. Scottish ales with smoke character should be entered as a Classic Style Smoked Beer. Characteristic Ingredients: Originally used Scottish pale malt, grits or flaked maize, and brewers caramel for color. Later adapted to use additional ingredients, such as amber and brown malts, crystal and wheat malts, and roasted grains or dark sugars for color but not for the ‘roasty’ flavor. Sugar adjuncts are traditional. Clean or slightly fruity yeast. Peatsmoked malt is inauthentic and inappropriate. Style Comparison: Similar character to a Wee Heavy, but much smaller.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.040 – 1.060
  • IBUs: 15 – 30
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.016
  • SRM: 13 – 22
  • ABV: 3.9 – 6.0%

Commercial Examples: Belhaven Scottish Ale, Broughton Exciseman’s Ale, Orkney Dark Island, Pelican MacPelican’s Scottish Style Ale, Weasel Boy Plaid Ferret Scottish Ale

Overall Impression: Refreshing wheat beers that can display more hop character and less yeast character than their German cousins. A clean fermentation character allows bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavors to be complemented by hop flavor and bitterness rather than yeast qualities.

Aroma: Low to moderate grainy, bready, or doughy wheat character. A light to moderate malty sweetness is acceptable. Esters can be moderate to none, although should reflect relatively neutral yeast strains; banana is inappropriate. Hop aroma may be low to moderate, and can have a citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity character. No clove phenols.

Appearance: Usually pale yellow to gold. Clarity may range from brilliant to hazy with yeast approximating the German weissbier style of beer. Big, long-lasting white head.

Flavor: Light to moderately-strong bready, doughy, or grainy wheat flavor, which can linger into the finish. May have a moderate malty sweetness or finish quite dry. Low to moderate hop bitterness, which sometimes lasts into the finish. Balance is usually even, but may be slightly bitter. Low to moderate hop flavor (citrusy, spicy, floral, or fruity). Esters can be moderate to none, but should not include banana. No clove phenols. May have a slightly crisp finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light to medium body. Medium-high to high carbonation. Slight creaminess is optional; wheat beers sometimes have a soft, ‘fluffy’ impression.

Vital Statistics:

  • OG: 1.040 – 1.055
  • IBUs: 15 – 30
  • FG: 1.008 – 1.013
  • SRM: 3 – 6
  • ABV: 4.0 – 5.5%

Commercial Examples: Bell’s Oberon, Boulevard Unfiltered Wheat Beer, Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale, Widmer Hefeweizen

How do I enter my beer?


• All beers to have been made by the competitor (both extract brewing and all grain brewing are accepted).
• Any style brown 500ml or pint glass bottle (please remove previous labels or markings).
• Any colour crown cap.
• Minimum of 3 bottles per entry.
• Entrants will be provided with their entry numbers via email. Please affix the number to the bottle (printer paper stuck on with milk is suitable)
• Labels: Bottles must only have the registration label that has been sent by email.
• Competitors may enter more than one entry in each class.

Registration Process

• All beer must be registered prior to the event.
• Please use the online registration form either from here or the link at the top of the page. You must register each beer individually.

Please Note

• Judges feedback will be provided for each entry.
• Beers will be offered for sampling to other competitors and visitors after judging.
• Care will be taken of all exhibits but the organisers cannot be held responsible for any loss.
• All bottles not claimed at the end of the show will be disposed of.
• Judges may enter any class but cannot award themselves a placing.
• All judges’ rulings and placings will be final.

Is there a cost for entry?

Scottish Craft Brewers members –  FREE
Non members – £3 per entry

Useful material to help you prepare

Judges checklist:

Style guidelines you will be judged on:



Club member Kate Appleby-Donald has kindly shared a blog post she wrote on how to build your own bar.

WEDDING 3Any home brewer who says they wouldn’t love a bar to pour their beer from is quite frankly a big fat liar. So we finally gave into the desire  and had a go at building our own party bar to serve beer from and forgive me for being smug, but I think it turned out pretty damn awesome so I thought I’d share the details with you so you too can have your own party bar.

This blog post is written specifically as an instruction guide for building a bar as a DIY project so forgive me for being a bit boring as I go through step by step guides and show you my little doodled plans.

Hey you’ll thank me if you have a go at building your own bar – and if you do, I’d love to see photos of the finished build.



  • Workbench and clamps
  • Saw (I used a handsaw but a circular bench saw would be quicker and neater)
  • Power Drill +22 mm cutting bit to make holes for taps
  • Power screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Spirit level
  • Tape measure
  • Pencil


  • Floorboards -20mm X 120mm
  • Framing- 19mm X 38mm
  • Feather boarding – 100mm wide
  • Pressure treated boards 100mm x 20mm (used for bar top and tap board – make sure these are a suitable thickness relative to the length of the shanks on your beer taps)
  • 4 Heavy duty casters
  • Screws
  • Panel pins / ribbed nails
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Felt or other dark fabric to cover the beer lines and kegs to prevent skunking or unwanted fiddling with the set up of your kit



Okay, here I’ve included my hand drawn doodles but I’ve also typed out my instructions, so don’t worry if you can’t read my handwriting, it’s all here. Now remember, we built this to fit the sizes we needed to fit four kegs inside buckets of ice, and to fit the space on our patio etc., your sizes might be different. Also, I’m a Librarian, not a joiner and my woodworking skills were mostly developed during time spent building stage sets for an amatuer theatre company, so Chippendale I ain’t!



The base is essentially a big square frame with 2 inner bracing bars to keep the shape rigid and also to support the flooring and spread the weight once the kegs are in place. The framing is formed by screwing together lengths of 19mm x 38mm framing, the flooring was made using 20 mm x 120mm floor boards which we had left over from another project. You could use a solid piece of mdf or other boarding for the floor – the key issue is to ensure it will be strong enough to hold the kegs – we had 4 full kegs plus buckets of ice water and the CO2 tank so the total load was about 120kg. Whichever type of floor is fitted ensure that space is left at either side to fit the uprights which will form the tap board and for the corner posts. If your bar is to be mobile, it may be worth fitting the casters at this point as it will help with working out heights for the bar top/back board – depending on the casters you use they can add 6 inches or more to the height of the finished bar.



The floor is screwed onto the frame.





The top frame is constructed in a similar way to the bottom, however the bracing runs in the opposite direction to support the boards which will form the bar top. As with the base the corner joints were formed so that the “front” of the frame overlaps the sides to form a neater looking finish. We left the screws/nails etc visible but you could counter sink these and then use wood filler to conceal them.



The corner posts were formed by doubling up 2 pieces of the framing timber to form square posts – we used contact adhesive and screws to hold these together – as with many of our measurements and methods we were making the best use of the materials we had to hand rather than purpose buying additional timber for specific purposes – this kept the build costs down, but did mean a bit of extra work/ingenuity at times! You could just buy square posts in the first place.

The length of the corner posts will be determined by a couple of factors:

  • the clearance height required to accommodate the kegs in their cooling buckets and the connectors, with space to reach in and attach/adjust these
  • the desired height for the bar top

These measurements will vary depending on your kit and your own preferences (and height) but in our case we have corny kegs with pinlock connectors and Eli is 5′ tall so we settled on a height of 900mm for the posts, adding in the height of the casters this makes the bartop 965mm from the ground.

Depending on the dimensions of your bar you may also want to put in some additional posts in the middle of the longer edge of the frame. This might be good to prevent the bar top from sagging or bending if it’s quite long – we put one in the centre of the front – mostly to act as an extra contact point for the cladding – we didn’t put one on the back as it would have made putting the kegs inside a bit trickier.

corner posts





Two uprights, roughly centre of the frame (sides) will form the frame for the tapboard – their positioning relative to the front of the bar and their height will depend on:

  • What type of taps you have – you need clearance under the taps for glasses
  • What your reach is for pouring – ie how high can you reach and how far back (so how deep will the bar top be)
  • Do you want extra height above the taps – to put tap labels, a bar sign or in our case to display the handmade mash paddle we were given as a wedding present. Best to err on the side of caution and make the upright too long and cut it back rather than find yourself short.

We went with a bar top that is 3 boards wide, and the tapboard is 7 boards high. The bar top is wide enough to accommodate a bar runner/drip tray etc. All the boards are screwed in place to ensure a tight fit and stable surface for the taps – last thing you want is to go to pull a pint and have the whole board come away in your hand!

Fit the planks for the bar top and tap board into position – remembering to drill the holes for the taps into the correct board before fitting that one in place – its easier to do this on the workbench to make sure the holes are straight and level.


top section




Now that the basic frame is complete you can start adding the cladding. We used pressure treated featherboard as this is an outside bar and we wanted it to withstand the  elements – featherboard will allow any rainwater (or spilled beer) to run off the sides easily. As with the rest of the framing, we allowed an overlap either end of the cladding on the front of the bar so that it hides the ends of the pieces fitted to the sides. When fitting the last piece at the bottom of the front face, this piece is set at an slight outward angle due to the flooring protruding over the edge of the frame – however because we used feather board this was easy to accommodate and the addition of an additional piece of framing as facia plate covered over the small gap.

bottom section



To protect the beer lines from light and to prevent unwanted or accidental tampering with the lines/gas tec. we added side cladding above the bar top at the rear of the tap board – adding a small upright to the rear edge to help anchor the boards. The final protection is a sheet of black felt the width of the tapboard stapled above the taps which drops over the beer lines and kegs to keep them out of the light and out of sight.

beer lines



Once the build is complete you can then sand down all the outer surfaces and paint/stain/varnish as you wish. As our bar will be for outdoor use, we used Ronseal exterior woodstain which has given the wood a nice warm color and also gives a good waterproof protection.


Our bar holds four kegs and has four taps. Remember that without the actual beer dispensing equipment your bar is just a big wooden box.

You would need;

  • Taps
  • Shanks
  • Beer line & Gas line
  • John Guest connectors or sankey connectors
  • Corny or sankey kegs
  • Co2 tank
  • Gas management board or regulator



That’s all there is to it – now connect up your kegs and enjoy a well earned beer!

I hope this guide will encourage some of you to take the plunge and build your own bar – if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to get in touch.






Events General

2015 AGM

The Club 2015 AGM was held on 10th May at McCowan’s Pub, Fountain Park, Edinburgh

Minutes of the AGM

Treasurer’s Report:

  • £1458.75 in funds
  • 31 members have renewed
  • Report was accepted and seconded


  •  Reminders for membership fees
  • Generate names from membership list and contact
  • Contact people who haven’t been to a meeting in a long time and ask if they still want to pay – Norrie is working through these on an ad-hoc basis.
  •  Historically April is start of membership year.
  • Remind members that they can pay through cash or standing order. Better for record keeping that a Standing order is raised. This can be done in paper form or electronically by the new/renewing member.  Fees will be: £8 for direct debit or standing order and £10 if paying cash at a meeting.

Office Bearers for 2015/16

As is traditional at our AGM, the election of office bearers for the coming year took place. The following club members were elected.

  • President: Malcolm Cruickshank
  • Vice president: Eli Donald
  • Secretary: Norrie Pederson
  • Treasurer: Bob Bristow
  • Membership Secretary: Gordon Nicol
  • Digital Media Manager: Arek Makarenko
  • Non office bearing committee: Davie Whyte has stepped down . Aled is to send the list out to Eli, for use on the website.
  • See webpage for contact details

It was noted that you don’t need to be on the committee to put forward suggestions etc.

Eli requested that members support the website. Stephen and Aled will input into the wordpress blog.

Aled Murphy will have a look at the SCB twitter account.

Ask Arek as to what the new Video Conference software we are using is.

Ian McManus stepping down from an Office Bearer role! After 17 years of service to the SCB organisation, Ian, is putting his ledger aside. He has held all the offices on the committee and to acknowledge his commitment to the SCB he has been made a life member.

Bill Cooper said a few words describing the inaugural meeting held in 1997. The SCB was set up just after the CBA was set up – it was felt that something similar should be started in Scotland. Ian’s input both as a brewer, qualified Judge and friend is appreciated and the SCB would have been a less happy place without him.

2015/16 Itinerary

Restart midweek meetings – is this possible?  The Brewstore was proposed. Possibly downstairs?

Meetups instead?

Future Trips-

  • Archer Field + Maltster
  • Elixir
  • Pilot Brewery
  • Abbot Brewhouse
  • St. Andrews Brewery
  • Krafty Brew
  • Hanging Bat
  • Brewstore – all grain day
  • Home Visits – “Brew days”
  • Scottish Craft Brewers BBQ – Beecraigs or Yellowcraigs
  • Talks/Activities-
  • “Grain Father” talk by Keith  / Braumeister by Eli?
  • Malcolm C – Beer extracts
  • Unusual brewing adjuncts trial brew– try “weird”

Pencilled plan for 2015/16

June Meeting >>> push out to July 9th at Scottish Trad beer festival

September – Heriott Watt talk

Nov – TBD

Jan – Comp

April – AGM, trial brew tasting

Articles Events

Brewing up a batch – The craft beer kitchen

Scottish Craft Brewers brew up a beer in the Stewart Brewing Craft Beer Kitchen

Well, what a day yesterday!! I felt like a kid in a sweet shop!!

15ish lads and lassies from Scottish Craft Brewers turned up to brew 3 beers, an IPA/lager, a Christmas beer and an American rye at the craft beer kitchen at Stewarts.

Boy what a welcome to get us started, the guys at the brewery shop gave us each 5 beer tokens to use on the 10 or so beers they had on tap, and if that wasn’t enough they had a cask of “hopricot” sitting in the brewing area for us to quaff away at with no supervision:)

So enough of the beer drinking onto the brewing. We had a few newcomers to the group that were chucked in at the deep end with the usual mixture of seasoned kit brewers and all grainers but they seemed to relish the challenge and within half an hour were sounding like experts.

We split into three groups and each group was allotted a member of the Stewart’s team as help and a steam powered 100-120l boiler to brew in. Then it was down to ingredients. Malt extract to measure, speciality grains to grind and hops to weigh. The bulk of sugars for these brews came from malt extract meaning  we could all get a brew in without having to hang around for 6 hours, but we steeped some grains for some extra taste and colour and added various hops (in vast quantities) to make the beer our own.

Most of us aren’t used to brewing on this scale so even simple tasks like stirring the malt into the boil was a new experience with huge mash paddles and brute strength needed.

As if all that beer and brewing wasn’t enough, onve our brews were sorted we also got a  fantastic trip around the brewery with a guide telling us the history of the company and all about the kit they use to brew. Even the seasoned brewers amongst us learned a thing or two.

So after brewing 80-100l of beer, a trip round the brewery with all the facts and being sat getting fed their beer, could say it was a great day! Need to get some more of the group out there next time and maybe do an all grain session.

By Bruce Stevenson



An update – making your own bottle labels for your home-brew beer

selection of beer labelsI thought it might be time for a quick update on what I’m doing and maybe some more hints and tips that I didn’t post last time. The blog post I did is still available if you want to have a look –

If you hadn’t read it previously I’d say go read that post and come back as there is some useful information there that will set you up to get started.

You read it? Good then lets look at some new labels and how I did them.


 My labels – how did I choose that design?

Brew dog labelI actually didn’t start off with that design for my bottles. I’ve gone through a whole process of trying out different labels until I found the one that got me most excited and although at the minute I am really pleased with them, they are not perfect but I’ll tell you more about that later.

My first label idea was based on the Brewdog labels. I liked the bold colours and text of the design and I liked the slightly grungy look so I had a play about with how I could recreate that kind of idea.

lager labelMy first attempt was for a coopers lager kit I did, so of course thinking of Australian lager, I made the label yellow. Looking back, it’s not a brilliant label not least because of the poor choice of yellow background with white lettering which wasn’t easy to read. Also it was a bit cluttered. I tried to put a name for the beer, details about what it looked and tasted like, the style, the percentage, a logo for my “brewery” and some information about pouring it since it had yeast in the bottle. An awful lot of info to get onto a little square of paper. Things did continue to evolve though.

I switched colours mostly, so each beer had the same label but with the background as a different colour. Red for Goblin Queen, Purple for Heather Ale etc. But I mostly stuck with this design, just adding a couple of little bits to grunge it up a bit and it worked fine for a while, all our beers had this label on them and together they looked quite cool sitting on a shelf and I was pretty proud.


beer lined up


However the grunginess and the massive amounts of text started to annoy me and I wanted something simple and bold. Something modern. So I scrapped it all and started with a blank, white square and said, “What text actually NEEDS to be there?” And the scary thing is, not as much as you think.

So I went for a very stripped down version, just a square of bold colour and the text I needed in a plain bold font. It worked out great and I am still using this idea although tweaked ever so slightly.

Bottles with new labels


 So how do I make the labels?

Ok, I normally use a piece of software called Fireworks to make my labels but since there are lots of free versions of graphics software out there, I’m going to show you how I would create a simple version of this label using one of the pieces of software you can get for free.

apa label


First download a piece of software called GIMP from this webpage and install it.

 Creating your label

step 1- get started

ok once you have GIMP open on your computer you need to create a new work area. Simply done, click FILE and then NEW. This gives you a choice of sizes to play with. For this label I usually make it around 500 pixel each length so I choose the template from the drop box which nearest fits this size – 640 by 480.

step 2 – draw your label outline

Click on the rectangle tool on the tool box.

step 2


Then drag the rectangle shape to the rough size you want.

To colour the rectangle, double click on the colour box and then choose the colour you want from the pop up window.

colour picker

Now to fill your rectangle with the colour you have chosen, click on the fill tool and then on your rectangle. I chose white but you can choose any colour you like.

fill tool

The next thing we want to do is to create the black outline around the rectangle. To do this we have to choose the background colour. On the graphic above you can see the colour boxes are red and black, red is the foreground colour and black is the background colour. You can either change the foreground colour (as you did previously) or you can switch them around by clicking the little white arrows on the top right of the colour boxes.

However you do it, for this example we want to give our rectangle a black outline so make your colour black.

Then using the menus at the top of the screen, click on EDIT, then STROKE SELECTION. It will now open the window where you can edit the outline.



For this example I am going to change my stroke settings to have a solid line and a line width of 1 px then click STROKE.

step 3 – draw your centre rectangles

You should now have a white rectangle with a black outline on the screen. The next thing we are going to do is add another rectangle in the middle of the first and colour it red. We do this in exactly the same way as before. Click on the rectangle tool, draw your rectangle and then use the colour picker and fill tool to colour it, in this instance red.

red square

Now you are rocking!

Right next we are going to add the white band where you put the name of your brewery. Exactly the same as before choose the rectangle tool, then draw it out where you want it and then use the colour tool and fill tool to colour it white.


step 4 – adding text

Now we have the basic shapes in place, we are going to add the text. Firstly the name of the beer. in the example I am calling my beer APA, for American Pale Ale.

From the toolbox, click on the bold A in the centre, this is your text tool.

text tool

As you did for your rectangles, draw out the area you want your text to go. It’s good to make it much bigger than you need for the minute, you can always make it smaller later.

Inside the space you have just drawn, double click and then type the text you want. A text tool bar will appear which will allow you to change the size or colour. Get everything as you want it by highlighting the text you just written and then using this bar to make changes.

To adjust the font or the position of the text, you can do this from the tool options on the left.

font tools



On my example I have text that looks like it has a dark shadow. I made this by having two pieces of text. One white and one black. Then I moved one on top of the other.

To move an item such as text, click on the moving tool from the tool box and then click on the item and drag it to where you want it to be.

drag tool

The other tool you need to know about is the layers toolbox. It allows you to move layers to have one on top of the other. In this case the white text on top of the black text.

The layer which you want to be on top, will be top of the list. For example, our white rectangle is the back, then next is the red one, then the black text and then the white text as this is the order we want them to appear.


Adjust yours so that your text appears as you want it.

You now use this same set of tools to add your other text elements to your label and in the end you should end up with something similar to this.

simple label



step 5 – saving your graphic

Right, you’ve created a brilliant label that you are super proud of. Now you want to save it so you can print it and use it on your new beer.

The first thing you want to do is get rid of any of the excess white area (or canvas) around your graphic.

From the menu at the top of the screen, click IMAGE. Then click FIT CANVAS TO SELECTION. this will take out all the excess canvas for you.

Lastly we want to save your creation, so to do this, click FILE and then EXPORT. This will open a window where you can choose the type of file to save and give it a name. I’d recommend using the little cross on the bottom left to choose SELECT FILE TYPE and then from the list that appears choose GIF.

Now at the top, give your file a name and then click EXPORT.



By Eli Donald.