It is probably began the first time I had a "MacNiven's Milkshake" AKA Belhaven. I really like Scottish ales. The have a creamy texture and low hoppines that are warm rather than crisp, mellow rather than lively. It's a nice switch from the hoppy beers I often prefer. When I want to chill and have a luxurious conversation, I reach for a Scottish ale.
So tonight I brewed my first one. The recipe called for not only malted grains, but a wide variety: regular grains, toasty, coffee-roasted grains, brown sugar, and maltodextrin. Despite the "malt" in the name, it is neither malted nor milk. Maltodextrin is a polymer of dextrose. I don't know why the variety of sugars, but I don't think it can hurt!!
The kit also included oak chips. I have used oak chips with good success in a bourbon barrel ale; in that case, they were soaked in (obviously) bourbon and tossed into the secondary fermenter. This recipe calls for boiling in water, discarding the water, then putting the chips in the secondary. I do not know what the purpose is but I'm guessing that Scottish ales are fermented in oak.
Does anyone know the origin of this? Help me.