I too had the opportunity to experiment with the Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter. My goal was two worts from one mash: a Scottish 140/- ale, and a second "small beer" (we'll call it the Halvsy). In total the grist was about 24 lbs for a 5 gallon batch of each of the two beers.
I decided to use the Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter for two main reasons:
- It was right next to my mashtun when I was preparing to brew and smelled wonderful.
- It is an amazing, delicious malt. Good enough to eat dry while you wait for your water to heat up.
140 Shilling Mash
Mashed for 80 minutes at 150° F. The wort smelled thick, sweet, and strawlike. Did minimal recirculation, then drained the mashtun without sparging. I collected about six gallons of very high-gravity wort.
I then added six gallons of water at 168° F to the grain left in the mashtun. Let the new, second mash rest for about 30 minutes, recirculated minimally, and then drained into another boiling kettle. This second wort smelled even more strawlike and tasted very delicate and fresh.
Boil and beyond
I used minimal hops during the boil, to let all the nuances of the malt shine through in the finished product. I boiled the 140/- for 90 and the Halvsy for 75 minutes. The long boils helped to instill that pleasant, burnt-caramel Scottish character.
The O.G. of the 140/- came in at about 1.100. Slightly lower than expected, but still plenty strong for my goal. The Havlsy came in at 1.044, too low to expect a third batch out of the mash.
Pitched onto a yeast cake of Wyeast 1728 Scottish taken from a previous 90 Shilling batch.
After transferring both to secondary fermenters, I am very pleased with both beers.
The 140/- tastes like a Scottish rainstorm. Nutty aroma along with boozy and burnt caramel smells. Bold, malty character with a slight bite and leaves your palate feeling fresh and sated. Burnt caramel taste lingers in your mouth while the alcohol tingles your tongue. When sipping, the aromas rush up through your nose as you swallow the liquor. There is a definite alcohol presence, but it will mellow with age.
The Halvsy tastes wonderful as well. Bright, fresh, and light-bodied. No noticeable hop character, but in a wonderful, simple way. Smooth with a spicy aroma. A small dry feeling at first that rolls into a full malty rush up the nose, followed by a rush of saliva on the tongue. Almost like a Scottish Pilsner.
After using it, there are two key characteristics that I associate with Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter:
- Fresh biscuits: Eating it dry, tasting the wort or sipping during siphoning, the wort from this malt seems to impart a fresh-baked aroma and flavor, similar to biscuits.
- Hay/Straw-like: The smell and flavor of dry straw hanging in the air come to mind every time I smell this malt and its products.
I plan to age the 140/- for a year and treat it like Scotch: small glasses, sip only and drink it when I need to warm up. The Havlsy I plan to drink this summer, wicked cold.
- 20.5 lbs Warminster floor-malted Maris Otter
- 3.25 lbs Amber Malt
- 2.5 oz Brewer's Gold pellets (2 oz. for the 140/- @ 60 min; 0.5 oz for the Halvsy @ 60 min)
- Wyeast 1728 Scottish (cake from previous 90/- batch)