Scottish 80/- What the hell does “/-” mean?

Interesting. Thank the great and mighty wikipedia for clearing that up for me.

So I brewed yesterday. Put together a real easy Scottish 80 shilling. Something nice and easy to drink as my kegs are getting a bit low. It should be nice and malty with a tasty spice from Fuggles hops. Here is the recipe:

9 lbs Golden Promise

1 lb Medium Crystal Malt

0.75 lb flaked oats

Mash 60 minutes at 149F (I had intended this to be a bit warmer but my grain was cold due to being left in the garage all night. 152F would probably have been better for the mouthfeel. We will see.)

It was a 60 minute boil with 1oz Fuggles at 60 minutes and 1oz of Fuggles at flame-out. I used Wyeast’s basic Scottish ale yeast and I can’t remember the stock number right now. Sounds good. I will report back in a few weeks.

So as I was making this, refinishing a coffee table and sealing some patio furniture (productive!) I got to wondering about the “shilling” category and the /- signifier at the end of Scottish beers. I wikied it up and found that the / was used to denote a shilling/pence price for something. So if I was buying say, a glitter fist, in 19th century Edinburgh, it might cost 10 shillings and 35 pence. To write that shorthand on the price tag, Ye Olde Purveyor Of Naughty Things would use 10/35. Neat huh? At this time, in Scotland, beers were categorized by ABV and then how much each beer cost by the hogshead. In the case of the beer I brewed, 54 gallons of the stuff would have costed 80 shillings and no pence. Thus 80/-.

Anyway, it was a pretty nice brew day and I learned something. You can visit wiki on your own time for the gory details. Interestingly enough, based on this scale, Odell’s 90 Shilling is actually an 80/-. Mysteries!

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