In July of 1994, Karen and I visited Traquair House, the oldest inhabited building in Scotland. The main building was originally built in 1107 -- other parts of the buildings are much more recent (only 400 years old). Much of the building has been modernized, but in a recent refurbishing, some of the amazing 17th-century details were exposed (like some of the ceiling beams on the third floor). The Stuarts have entertained many important guests over the centuries, including Mary, Queen of Scots and Bonnie Prince Charlie.
The brewhouse on the premises is from the 18th century, but had been sitting idle for over 100 years when it was discovered and resurrected in 1965 by the 20th Laird, Peter Maxwell Stuart. Catherine Maxwell Stuart inherited Traquair House in 1990. The building is U-shaped, and the left (sunlit, in this picture) wing sits on a ridge overlooking Quair Burn (stream). On the lower level of this wing (below the level we see here) is the brewhouse, under the gift shop and chapel.
Three beers are brewed regularly (although I believe that the strongest of the three is brewed infrequently) and there are at least two seasonal/occasional beers:
|Bear Ale||1.050||5.0%||Available only on draught|
|Traquair House Ale||1.070||7.2%||Thankfully, we get this in the US; 35 IBUs.|
|Jacobite Ale||1.075||8.0%||I don't belive this is exported|
This is one of the two rooms that house the 18th-century brewhouse. From left to right, the kettle (used to be wood-fired, converted to gas-fired in the 1960's), mash tun (far right corner, set into the wooden platform, originally wood, but now lined with polythene (polyethylene), a wooden "coolship" along the right wall (actually, the beer spends very little time in it), and a baudelot wort cooler (right foreground). It is believed that the kettle is from 1738 (there is a receipt for the purchase of a kettle from this date). Neither the kettle nor mash tun could not have been more than 3 barrels in size. It takes several brewlengths to fill one of the large fermenters. The only really modern things in the entire brewhouse are two modern pumps and the gas burner.
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