I brewed Plaid Lad Scotch Ale back on November 7. This is the link to the brew day. The standard that I chose to size up Plaid Lad is Oskar Blue’s Old Chub Scotch Ale. It has a 90 on Beer Advocate (outstanding). Plaid Lad is 7.6% ABV while Old Chub is labeled as 8.0%.
Appearance: Old Chub is a darkish brown with a lively head. Plaid Lad is dark but lies more toward the reddish side with a slight head. I targeted 2.1 vols as scotch ale is normally low in carbonation.
Aroma: There is not much on the nose with either one of these. There is a little smoke evident with the Old Chub. Otherwise, the aroma for both is just a mild maltiness.
Mouthfeel: Both have a similar medium to heavy mouthfeel. There is a little bit of thickness to both. In line with the difference in carbonation noted with the appearance, the prickliness of the carbonation in the mouth is a bit more pronounced with Old Chub.
Taste: Both have a similar maltiness that is characteristic of a scotch ale. It’s deep and hearty. And both have a mild smokiness to it. The smoke of the Old Chub is due to using beechwood smoked malt (according to Oskar Blues’ website). Plaid Lad’s is due to using peated malt, of which I used 0.6% of the grain bill. It’s subtle but noticeable. I wouldn’t want to increase it at all in the future. I think this level does the job. The only other difference I detect is the Old Chub tastes a bit more boozy than the Lad.
I think I’m in the ballpark for this style, which that alone I’m happy with. I really enjoy drinking the Plaid Lad and I’ll definitely be brewing it again in 2015. I don’t think I’ll be making any adjustments to the recipe. I had given my friend Rick a blind taste test with these two beers a week ago and just asked him which one he’d rather drink. He said that it was a little difficult to distinguish the two but ultimately chose mine. I love it when that happens.