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Notes on beers in the style

Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

CAPTAIN of the
COAST

16.9 oz bottle, Tavour purchase. Decent clarity on the dark copper body with decent head, some lacing and retention. About expected at 9.5%. Nose gives up plenty of the whisky barrel and some decent alcohol. Mouthfeel is light, which I like since it adds to the drinkability. Nothing cloying or heavy in terms of the body. As it warms, things change. A bit deeper, a little heavier. Plenty of barrel in the tastes, but it's 'tangy' - quite sharp, a little citrusy and acidic. Not bad, but not quite...

Scotch Silly
(Pinot Noir Barrel ’19)

It's impossible not to make a comparison between this beer and the 2018 Chardonnay version of this beer, especially when the other one was consumed and reviewed just a few days ago. The same base beer, and also in wine-barrels, I'd expect similar things, and indeed that's what we get. Notable changes here are the fact that the beer is a year younger (2019 versus 2018), and Pinot Noir is the grape. Given that I think that the Pinot Noir is going to mesh more with the underlying Scotch Ale...

Scotch Silly
(Chardonnay Barrel ’18)

Corked and caged. Moderate pop on opening. Pour has the requisite chestnut brown and is pretty. Head is moderate, not especially well retained, doesn't give much lace, but at least gives a nice film on the surface of the beer. At 10.0 % and at this age, I'm OK with that. There is some oxidation in the nose at this point. Shame, I'd liked to have gotten to this earlier, but that wasn't to be. Tastes have the base Scotch Ale well rounded, and a barrel note that is less discernible specifically...

11 Pipers Piping

2020 re-release. This is an odd one for me. The idea of coriander being added to cut the sweetness of a typical Scotch Ale I suppose makes sense (if indeed that’s its purpose), but at the same time it seems to work against what the beer might be trying to achieve. I don’t know, it seems a little bit of fractured combination of flavors to me. Black-brown body on the pour, with a somewhat disappointingly poorly retained tan head. Even when cold, the nose starts to give away a lot of the Scotch...

Gordon Xmas

33 cl bottle, Finest Belgian Beers. 28.08.22 It’s a beautiful, deep chestnut red pour with a ton of great lace left by the rich, billowing white head. The initial nose offers wave after wave of deep, alcoholic malts, and the tastes reflects that somewhat, bu the alcohol is more in check than the nose suggests. The maltiness breaks across the palate continuously, with a lovely, nutty profile pushing into the palate. Classically Scotch Ale, with a ton of depth, the alcohol that you need, and the...

Pipers Scotch-Style Ale

12 oz, single stubbie in the usual, Sprecher presentation. Beer courtesy of Kevin - many thanks. Pour provides a reddish, brown hue with some really nice head and lace. The head is pretty thick and produces a lot of sticky residue. Nose and tastes deliver a LOT of peat! A very smoky experience indeed, and not one that I was expecting. Having said that it does grow on me as I consume the beer, but it's a bit of a shock at first. I would call it bracing! Obviously amongst the smoke and peat is a...

Rum Cask Oak Aged Beer

11.2 oz single from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. recently in four packs in Atlanta. Clear bottle presentation with the blue accents makes a very attractive proposition. The color of this beer is truly a sight to behold. Beautiful clarity on the pour and a copper/red/burgandy body sits underneath a white head. Some lace and a fine film forms on the surface of the shimmering body. Nose is surprisingly muted to be honest. Even on warming the liquor aspect is not strong to me (although it is...

Terrapin Reunion Beer 2010

As per the SP series, a 22 oz bottle with gold foil. A dark copper body with a really disappointing lack of head a lace. Almost seems "flat" and this seriously detracts from the whole experience in terms of appearance and mouthfeel. Nose is a malty, alcohol infused aroma - fair enough, no complaints there. Carbonation seems a little low to me. Lacks spark, depth and life. Massive, and I mean massive, bubble-gum presence in the taste; OVERWHELMING in fact. There is almost nothing here other...

Saint Arnold Divine Reserve #8

12 oz bottle into the Sam Adams perfect pint glass. Body is a ugly, clouded, Dubbel-like affair with very little discernible head, retention or lace. Nose has quite a lot of sweet peat, and then this is followed-up a LOT in the taste. Unfortunately the combination of light smoke (good), peat (also good) with an overwhelming sweetness gives a syrupy, difficult to drink cough medicine effect. The alcohol is also prominent and the combination gets way too much very quickly. Even with this level...

Kilt Lifter Scotch Ale

12 oz bottle, Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. $2.49 for the single. Pour is a rich garnet body which looks good, but the head and lace are just woefully disappointing considering the style. I want a rich, dense head and (at least in part) because of the ABV and the way the alcohol is constructed in this beer I am disappointed. Lower the ABV and get a better beer is what I say. Anyway, nose has alcohol and quite a bit of sherry amongst the malt base. As expected and nice. Tastes reflect the nose...

Terrapin 90 Shelling Scotch Ale

Finally a review of #6 in the Side Project Series. 22 oz bottle that I think came from Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. The usual presentation for the SP series, gold foiled, generic label etc. Good looking, dark garnet pour that form a nice, tight, white head, some lace and a nice stream of carbonation. Looks solid in the glass. Nose reveals dark malts, sweetness and some alcohol, but again is fairly solid. Tastes are in style, BUT two things; The body lacks depth for me. In a SA/WH I'm looking...

Claymore Scotch Ale

Had this a few weeks ago on-tap at The Brick Store but this review is for the 12 oz bottle that I bought as a single at Hop City, Atlanta, GA, USA. Pour is a lot darker than I was anticipating. Getting toward black. Head and lace are ultimately, largely absent. In terms of the nose and the taste there really isn't much more here than a alcohol inspired malt bomb. Now, one might think that is somewhat one-dimensional, but in the context of the style this just about covers the bases. The re...

Scotch
Silly

Additional notes: 11/12/22 (pictured) 330 mL bottle. Still relatively thin for the style IMO. There's still something that sits oddly in the combo for me, not quite hitting the mark and leaving me a little dissatisfied. All the notes below from 13 years ago still apply. Original notes: 04/25/2009 $10 for the 750 mL corked and caged, black foiled bottle from Bruisin' Ales in Asheville, NC, USA. Pops open with a small amount of brownish foam. This one is poured into the L'Abbaye Brasserie des...

Sweetwater Ron Burgundy Scotch Ale

DELIBERATELY added as a different beer to the cask, Johnnie Walker chip-soaked version, this beer was drunk on tap at Taco Mac, Douglasville, GA, USA. #2 in the Dank Tank series (The Creeper was #1). Regular keg version NOT the cask, flavored one. This is NOT just another serving type of the other beer currently listed in the BA db, this is a separate brew. Pour produces a very nice, mid-brown color with plenty of carbonation. The head is very nice and the retention is first-class. Lace is...

Canaster Winterscotch Ale

Additional notes 12/18/22 (pictured): Still gushing 13 years later. A cleaner beer in terms of floaties than previously noted, and to me, now this drinks more like a Belgian version of an imperial brown ale rather than the original designation of BDSA and/or a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy. Now, I suppose that you could say well, that's what a BDSA/Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy is, but this feels extra malty and very smooth that somehow makes it an amalgamation of all of the styles. Light acidity, very little...

Jinx

12oz single from Total Wine, Kennesaw, GA, USA. May have been as high as $1.99 for the bottle. Notched as being best before Jan '09. Wee Heavy??? Significantly more of an orange/amber body than the style would normally suggest. Decent head and some lace. Lacks the typical dark notes for the style. Surprisingly, a fruity, light nose. The tastes are really fruity and have a crisp note about them and a nice acidity. Sharp tasting, and a nicely balanced beer. I really like this, but to call it a...

Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Style Ale

12oz bottle as a single from Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. Lucky to get his one as a single. Greens has been doing a bit of this lately and I've been waiting on this particular beer for a LONG time (long before DR came to GA). FWIW I love the metallic green color on the label. The color is a deep garnet color that looks great. Head is a little disappointing since it fades quickly, but nevertheless it still has depth and plenty of color. Some decent sherry and alcohol notes in the nose....

Wee Heavy-er Scotch Style Ale

=== Updated Review 08/09 === Between the first and the second review I have visited French Broad in Asheville! This second experience seems much better in the appearance depratment and although a touch acidic, it tastes and drinks much better than my experience of a year ago. Scores adjusted accordingly. === Original Review 08/08 === 22 oz bomber as part of a sampling at The Brick Store courtesy of Dave. Simple brown body with disappointing head and lace. Malty beer (obvioulsy) but the...

AleSmith Wee Heavy

750 mL, heavy glass bottle capped and finished with that thick, high gauge silver foil. $13.99 from Marty's on my March 2008 trip to Boston. Poured into the Terrapin 22oz snifter. Head was disappointing, but based on the ABV not all that surprising. No lace. Quite frankly the color and look of the beer is very disappointing too. A nasty, turbid brown body which on closer inspection looks really watery. Nose is all sweet malts with quite a whiff of alcohol. The alcohol, although strong is also...

Chubourbon

On tap at The Brick Store, Decatur, GA, USA. Small (perhaps 10oz) pour with a jet black body and a quite large (for the serving), dense mocha head. It's worth while saying at the outset that I am not especially keen on the Bourbon aged brews. I often find that the Bourbon simply takes over the brew, and in the case of, say, a RIS there is no need to add an extra dimension to an already huge combo of characteristics. Anyway, this is MUCH more subtle than many other Bourbon aged beers that i...

Allagash Musette

$12.99 from Jax, Sandy Springs, Atlanta, GA, USA. Corked & Caged 750 mL bottle. Decent pop on opening. March 2008 bottling, apparently 650 cases were bottled. In the Duvel tulip is produces a thin, creamy surface head. No lace on the glass. Nose seems like a classic Belgian Dark with plenty of candied sugar notes with a little touch of yeast. Interesting brew this one from all kinds of angles. The BA database has this as Wee Heavy/Scotch, and the color (a deep mahogany), and the slightly...

Wee Heavy

500 mL bottle purchased on a recent jaunt up the East Coast. Pour reveals an amber colored body, but it lacks the depth of color that I was expecting. Head is also a little thin and fades quickly with only the tiniest wisp of lace. Some large bubbles of carbonation. Nose has the obvious malts, but lacks much definition. Tastes are a little confused for me. Yes there is certainly the rich malty notes that one would expect (and there are some nice biscuit malt notes in the aftertaste), but the...

Scotch Ale

=== Updated Review 03/11 === OK, lots of confusion here. I bought the original bottle in NC when at the time, we were getting both the IPA and the Porter from Meantime in GA. I though that perhaps it would eventually get to GA, but it never did. Fast forward to March 2011 and I find that the beer is noted as 'retired' in the BA db, but again it is on sale in the Carolina's (this time SC) and I see that this is obviously part of a 'new' release as this is bottle 574 out of 2050 with a vintage...

Saranac Scotch Ale

12oz single from Mac's Midtown, Atlanta, GA, USA. Part of the $7.99 mixed sixer. I learned to enjoy Saranac beers as a simple, easy to drink and decent value brews with some good variety. As such, I was looking forward to this. Unfortunately it turned out to be one of their weakest offerings IMO. Pour is a standard amber look. Head is gone quiclkly without much lace - looks a little lifeless. Strange smokey smell and taste. This was all a little odd. The smoke taste (with its associated...

Scotch Style Ale Aged In Oak Bourbon Barrels

Thanks go out to fellow BA nlmartin for this beer as part of Secret Santa 2007. 1L, swing-top, impressive bottle. Shared on Christmas Day with the family. I am generally not a huge fan Bourbon based beers simply because I often find that the Bourbon taste has the tendency to overwhelm the brew. Because of that fear I was delighted at the general smoothness of this. Yes it certainly had the Bourbon traits in the nose and in the taste, but it was a taste that melded all the malts and alcohol...

Otter Kilter (Otter Creek World Tour)

Picked this up on a recent trip to Charlotte, SC at the Home Economist. $4.29 I think. 22oz bomber. Good looking pour as expected, with a rich, tea colored body, nice initial head and some good carbonation. Head and lace are minimal. Obviously a lot of malty richness in line with the style (plenty of buttered bread), but a real alchol twang in there too. Tasty. Finishes with a little sharp alcohol as well. A small amount of grapefruit in the finish. Residual sweetness lingers a little with...

HSA (Heritage Scottish Ale)

A different beer to this (at least in theory); http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/4336/23218. That beer was brewed by a different owner. This used to be brewed a the brewepub every year for the Heritage golf classic in April. Sampled on draft at a 20 oz pour. $3.50. VERY, very sweet and malty. Some alcohol present, but this is one large, malt bomb. If you don't like sweet, malt based beers you will not like this - I do, so it was OK. Even for me this lacked balance, and more than a couple of...

Wee Beast (Cuillin Beast)

500 mL bottle, very cloudy orange pour with a light and bubbly head. Little lacing. Acidic, citrus notes in the nose with some apples. Tastes are quite acidic and almost cider like. Sweetness comes through after the initial surge to yield a kind of odd, sweet and sour combo. Thin mouthfeel. Lacks the maltiness and smooth sweetness I was anticipating. A little too citrus and apple-like for my tastes. Dry hoppy finish. I thought I would like this a lot more. I was anticipating a darker, maltier...

Old Jock Ale

Deep brown color with some head but this fades very quickly. A film forms on the surface. No lacing. Wonderful rich malts in the nose. The tastes have some great caramel sweetness with a hint of smoke and then a very nice tart cranberry fruit flavor that replaces any bitterness. The sweetness is controlled by the fruit taste. I'd even go as far as to say that it almost drinks like a fruit beer. Deep and rich flavors with complex fruity sweetness - delicious.

Traquair Jacobite

330 mL bottle. Basically exactly what I expected. Deep brown color, all malt and a tinge of alcohol on top. The head is great initially but this fades to almost nothing and very little lacing. The only disappointment is the mouthfeel which is a bit thin. Plenty of alcohol soaked figs in the nose - some Christmas tastes. Tastes are typical for the style with malt and mild alcohol layers cascading over one another - delicious. Drinkabilty is high.

Founders Dirty Bastard

Very strange. Has all the characteristics of a very nice malty Scotch Ale but it rapidly goes off in a very odd direction. Its problems all stem from the over developed hops. Dark garnet color with not much head. Good deep color, no lacing. Lovely malty nose with some sweet alcohol and this is reflected in the taste. Warming on the way down and all is well with the malty style until the last throws of the taste. Then we get a bitter hop finish. The bitterness is not very sharp or pronounced,...

Highland Tasgall Ale

22oz bomber, $4.99 Green's on Buford, Atlanta, GA, USA. If I had to describe this beer in simple terms, I would describe it as an alcoholic brown ale. Deep garnet pour with a nice initial head but this fades pretty quickly. No lacing. Very rich aroma of malty alcohol. A little burn in the mouth and on the way down, this exhibits a touch too much alcohol for me, but the rest of the beer and style appeal to me. Delicious, full mouthfeel and a super tasty experience.

McEwan’s Scotch Ale

Thanks to BigLove for this as part of BCG BIF. Wow! Incredibly surprised and delighted by this. I was expecting a fairly bland beer from what I usually consider to be a pedestrian brewery, but instead I got a full-on taste assault, and delicious experience. Deep garnet pour, decent head and retention and some nice lacing too. Put it all together, and it's a really nice looker. Sugary, malt molasses and burnt caramel are present in the nose and this is almost exactly replicated in the taste....

Old Chub – Scottish Style Ale

Very nice. Amazing dark brown, ruby red highlighted beer, with a thick and bubbly head and some significant, sticky, persistent lacing. Chocolate, smoky malts appear in the nose, and are intensified in the initial tastes. Alcohol begins to penetrate with a little bitterness, but the power of the sweet malts continue right through to end. Substantial mouthfeel, partly from the alcohol Essentially this is an intense, high alcohol brown ale and it's delicious. At $6.99 for a sixer of 12 oz cans...

Schlafly Scotch Style Ale

Very ordinary, and somewhat disappointing. Drab, brown pour with little life showing. A curious mixture of unbalanced malt and alcohol was apparent with very little else to endear it to me. Mouthfeel was too thin for my liking and the combination of that and the general lacklustre positioning of this beer made it a non-starter for me.

SkullSplitter

Huge malts and lots of alcohol are the overwhelming experience of this beer. Great looking dark amber pour with a substantial head. The large frothy head does disappear quickly, but still leaves some nice spotty creaminess and some significant lacing. Definite aroma and taste of Port and Plums, with plenty of other dark alocoholic fruit in there too. A sharp, dry alcohol finish that doesn't linger but reminds you of the ABV. A lovely sipper, take care with this brew and enjoy in moderation....

Traquair House Ale

Nice looking pour with distinct red highlights amongst the dark amber body. A thin head that quickly disappears with some small amount of lacing. Lots of malt sweetness and sugary caramel in the nose. Quite heavy on the alcohol upfront, but this fades quickly to give a warmth through the rest of the drink. Mouthfeel is not as good as one would be led to believe by the nose, in fact quite thin in comparison to what I was expecting. Definite molasses and malt body, which I like, but the...

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale

Very nice. This is a very attractive beer, with an absolutely crystal clear pour in the dark red body. Good carbonation, some creamy spotty head and some significant sticky lacing all add to the substantial and pleasing appearance. Roasted malts in the nose and some sugary sweetness as well. As expected, a nice malt backbone with a significant bitter hop finish. Sweetness and bitterness (without drying) complement one another nicely, for excellent balance. A sort of sweet and sour combo!...