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Copper John Scotch Ale - Madison River Brewing Company

Copper John Scotch AleCopper John Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

44 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 44
Reviews: 20
rAvg: 3.87
pDev: 13.44%

Brewed by:
Madison River Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  7.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
This is a Scottish ale like no other. The brewers use the finest smoked malt for flavor complexity and then combine it with roasted barley, and caramel malts for a rich distinctive and smoky flavor. These ingredients give it a deep, dark color with a smooth, rich finish that is surprisingly drinkable.

19 IBU

(Beer added by: Todd on 03-01-2005)
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Ratings: 44 | Reviews: 20 | Show All Ratings:
Photo of flagmantho


3.68/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Poured from 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

Appearance: rich, dark red-brown hue with a haze-free body and a light effervescence. Head is half a finger of creamy tan foam. Attractive, and quite appropriate for the style.

Smell: very rich caramel aroma with lots of sweetness and maltiness. There's more biscuity character than I care for, but it's largely quite good.

Taste: biscuity and bready right off the top, with a fair dose of caramel character as well. Bitterness is light with little to no hop flavor. Well-crafted and stylistically within bounds, but perhaps not my favorite.

Mouthfeel: medium-rich body with a good level of carbonation. There's a velvety soft creaminess here which I love.

Overall: this beer is stylistically very good and definitely worth a try for enthusiasts. On the scale of wee heavy flavors, though, it edges more toward biscuity, which is not my personal favorite.

Serving type: bottle

08-27-2013 00:21:25 | More by flagmantho
Photo of Bitterbill


3.13/5  rDev -19.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Deep brown colour, reddish highlights, small head of foam, not much lacing.

Big sweet and bready malts in the smell, a hint of fruit.

Bread and sweet malt dominate the taste, some toffee, kind of a citrusy taste when I swish the beer in my mouth. Or maybe it's my imagination.

Good mouthfeel. A hard style for me to give a thumbs up to and this brew keeps it that way. I won't get more.

Serving type: bottle

11-11-2012 20:47:00 | More by Bitterbill
Photo of Bockrules

New Mexico

3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured from the bottle into a tulip glass

A - Pours a gorgeous, semi-transparent amber brown with a constant stream of bubbles rising to a rocky, towering 4-finger head.

S - A nose is greeted by the pleasant scent of sweet caramel malt and brown sugar upon opening the bottle with faint green tea-leaf hops lingering in the background. Head stays mostly intact until the bottom of the glass. Leaves behind several large splotches of lacing on the top and bottom of the glass.

T - Caramel malt upfront. The body is a decent blend of caramel malt and lightly floral hops, but lacks the strength and complexity required for a Wee Heavy. A flash of caramel and hops as the beer passes over the back of the tongue provides a welcome flavor increase, but quickly subsides to a slightly bitter caramel and tea-leaf finish.

M - Medium bodied with a too much carbonation to meld with the rather weak flavor profile. The beer expands in the mouth, but this only amplifies the flavor deficiency

Copper John is a solid attempt at a Scottish Ale from a rather obscure brewery in Montana. Although there is nothing offensive about this beer, the flavor isn't rich and bold enough to make me lament not having this readily available. Still, if you're camping in Yellowstone or fishing in Montana, it is worth trying. I would buy a bottle or two again if I spent another couple weeks doing research out there.

Serving type: bottle

08-22-2012 05:45:10 | More by Bockrules
Photo of leaddog

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance- Pours a hazelnut brown with a finger width of creamy off white head.

Smell- Caramalts, plum/cherry, woodsy aromas.

Taste- The caramalts come in intially then plum/cherry come right after. There is a slight woodsy characteristic.
Finishes dry and sweet.

Mouthfeel- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation. There is a nice smoothness to the body.

Overall- A solid Scotch Ale that is pretty drinkable. Not as smoky as I would have thought (based on the description) but still a solid offering. Worth a try.

Serving type: bottle

08-12-2012 04:00:34 | More by leaddog
Photo of chugalug06


2.43/5  rDev -37.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Huge, straw, colored, thin, foamy head. nice clarity on the blood red brew.

Wheaty, bready, caramel, dry scents stand out. Sweetness too.

Bit heavy on the carbonation. Moderate sweetness with missing flavors. Not too much stands out on the tongue other then your basic brew characteristics. Lots of caramel and american yeasty (breay) notes. A bit bland.

Underwhelming and unexciting. Not recommended. Nice for a hot day, but it drinks too much like a BMC..

Serving type: bottle

08-06-2012 04:36:55 | More by chugalug06
Photo of wordemupg

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

355ml bottle poured into tulip 13/3/12

A hazy dark amber with a thumbs width of light tan head has decent retention and leaves a bunch of polka dot lacing

S fruity nut bar with some raisins and toffee, straight forward but quite nice

T mimics the smell with a little cola and some earthy woody tones, again I thought it was pretty good

M a little thin and flat but not too bad, just a little heat but its mild, this would be an area for improvement

O pretty solid stuff but not mind blowing, not the smokey beer I expected from reading the bottle

decent stuff with well concealed booze, I thought the feel was average but pretty solid in other areas

Serving type: bottle

03-14-2012 05:32:40 | More by wordemupg
Photo of lunchbox1004


3.7/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pub glass. The beer was dark amber/brown in color with light beige/cream. after pouring head was about 1/2 inch which settled to about 1/8 inch after a while. also nice lacing around the glass. The smell was sweet and malty with tiny hints of the hops, which were slightly planty in aroma. the Mouthfeel was pleasant, the carbonation dancing on the tip of the tongue while it was creamy towards the back, which as aided by the head. The creaminess also carried over in the taste which was a sweetly roasted caramel flavor, balanced by the green bite of the hops.

Being a fan of darker beers, I thoroughly enjoyed this beer. This ale has great versatility in coupling with meals. I found it to be heavy enough for a hearty steak dinner, but also light enough for a sandwich lunch. If I had any real criticism for this beer, it be to slightly increase the amount of hops used as it was a bit sweet. Other than that, it was excellent. If you haven't had it, I strongly recommend it.

Serving type: bottle

11-27-2011 00:45:50 | More by lunchbox1004
Photo of callmescraps


3.43/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

In the beer of the month club, the other from this brewery was a dud, hoping for better.

App- Brown with amber highlights. Minimal head. Thin ring. Minimal lacing. Quite clear.

Smell- Sweet, malty, definitely some caramel. Brown sugar. Some toffe as well.

Taste- Sweet, caramel and toffee. The toffee lingers on the sweet, slightly burnt finish. Plum? Perhaps. Malty. A little thin? The taste mellows very quickly, sort of dissipates. A small roastiness or smoke lingers.

Mouthfeel- Decidedly thin.

Overall- A nice, sweet and malty beer. Sort of reminds me of a doublebock, or another smooth malty lager. But I like it overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2011 02:54:29 | More by callmescraps
Photo of ShanePB


3.48/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 ounce bottle from a gifted "beer of the month" club, poured into a tulip glass. Only my second Madison River Brewing Company beer.

A: Medium to dark copper body with some reddish hues in the light. Thick, bubbly off-white head with big bubbles sticking around the edges and along the surface. Minor sticky lacing around the glass. Not bad at all.

S: Light smokey notes, cured honey roasted meats, toasted caramel and dark malts. Touches of sweetness and just a hint of bitterness show up towards the end of the nose. It has a very 'meaty' aroma overall.

T: Smoke is up front again with a sweetness to it. Again, it tastes like a honey smoked pork flavor but it works really well. A nice variety of malts are showcased on the back end, sweet and dry in nature. Toasted barley and nuts in the finish.

M: Thin and somewhat watery, unfortunately. Fairly bubbly albeit somewhat creamy.

I like how another reviewer put it; this is a beginner Scotch Ale. There's nothing offensive or aggressive about this beer. It has the smokiness, maltiness and flavors of a basic Scotch Ale without being overdone. A nice introduction to the style.

Serving type: bottle

10-23-2011 23:37:04 | More by ShanePB
Photo of ZenAgnostic


3.15/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into Trois Pistoles snifter. No date found on bottle.

Appearance - High-medium dark brown body. One finger offwhite head with decent retention.

Smell - Slightly sweet. Plum. Fades away into

Taste - More mouthfeel than flavor. Getting a little bit of banana and coffee. Alcohol is preetty present. Somewhat watery.

Mouthfeel - Smooth. Creamy. Acidic. slightly astringent finish.

Drinkability - The Bud Light of Scotch Ales, in terms of it not being very challenging. Very entry level.

Serving type: bottle

10-13-2011 02:35:22 | More by ZenAgnostic
Photo of alpinebryant


2.88/5  rDev -25.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Pours a dark copper with a healthy light tan head. Heavy lacing

Aroma of mostly sweet malt, a tiny hint of scotch yeast

Taste is pretty week overall for a scotch ale. Perhaps I am now thinking that imperial scotch ales are the norm and that is throwing me off, but I just do not think this compares to some of the great scotch ales that I have had.
Taste is mostly consisting of a sweet malt backbone, that finishes cloying, a tiny hint of scotch ale yeast and a bitter bite at the start.

Light mouthfeel and medium carbonation. Overall not bad, just nothing standing out to make it great or better than good.

Serving type: bottle

10-12-2011 23:49:25 | More by alpinebryant
Photo of Tschnab

New York

3.88/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- dark red color with a thin film of active carbonation and wispy head.

S- carmel and toffee, malt, peat, subtle smoke, whisky, grass.

T- starts out a bready sweetness with a kiss of malt, the peat and smoke comes through, and it finishes with light hoppy and grassy notes. Goes down very smooth.

O- A very tasty scotch ale, a little light in carbonation but still very good overall.

Serving type: bottle

10-06-2011 23:38:30 | More by Tschnab
Photo of biboergosum

Alberta (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle, from a grocery in Helena a few months ago.

This beer pours a clear, dark red brick hue, with a single skinny finger of fizzy pale beige head, which disappears in an instant, leaving but a low ring of remnant 'lace' around the glass. It smells of caramel, toffee, singed brown sugar, and leafy, earthy hops. The taste is sweet caramelized malt, a bit of peat - more bog than smoke - and lightly bittering earthy hops. The carbonation is on the low side, the body a solid medium weight, and quite smooth. It finishes still pretty sweet, bread-like, but with a balancing effort put forth by the understated hops.

A decent enough scotch ale, the expected (and unspecified) upped ABV is nowhere to be found - I guess I'd have to have a few more of these to really find out...

Serving type: bottle

09-10-2011 22:23:02 | More by biboergosum
Photo of LeeryLeprechaun


4.33/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

The beer pours a red brown with a somewhat watery consistency. A little off white head soon falls back into the glass.

The beer smells or peat and smoke with a hint of chocolate and molasses.

The tastes sweet and warm with a hint of bitter burnt and smoke.

The mouthfeel is somewhat watery.

Overall I am very impressed by this beer. It tastes and smells delicious and really is a good example of a scotish ale. The only place that this beer is lacking is in the mouthfeel.It would be nice if it were a little more chewy like scotish ale should be.

I would have this beer again and recommend it to a friend.

Serving type: bottle

07-16-2011 00:15:40 | More by LeeryLeprechaun
Photo of bagpiper2005


3.93/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pour: Dark reddish-brown in color. One finger of off-white head that dissipated quickly an left no lacing on the glass.

Smell: Caramel and brown sugar dominate the aroma. Light hint of smoke as well.

Taste: This one is on the sweeter end of the spectrum of Scotch Ales. Flavor primarily consists of caramel, toffee, an a bit of burnt sugar. Touch of peaty smoke at the end. Pretty good.

Mouthfeel: A bit thin for the style. Average amount of carbonation. Smooth.

Drinkability/Overall: A simple Scotch Ale that's not just overbearing. Great session beer.

Final Notes: A good, inexpensive Scotch Ale. Not super impressive but a good beer nonetheless. Deliciously sweet and slightly smoky, I can see plopping some vanilla ice cream on top of it and making a float with it. Also a good introduction to the style.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2011 22:42:25 | More by bagpiper2005
Photo of blackie


4.1/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

the name might be misleading - seems to fall more within the scottish ale style

a: deep amber in color, light layer of carbonation

s: husky toffee grain, peaty but with no smoke, dark bread crust, nutty, well rounded all around but the malt stands out, balanced with a mild hop side, earthy

m: carbonation on the light side, medium body

t: a mostly malty flavor, but not thick or heavy, toasty grains with some sweet toffee sugars, a touch peaty and nutty, dark breads, little hop flavor and a mild-moderate bitterness

d: sessionable...a simple, well crafted scottish - not bad for a shot-in-the-dark purchase

picked up a 6 on special at the Albertson's Liquor Store in Jackson, WY

Serving type: bottle

10-22-2010 03:17:45 | More by blackie
Photo of DAllspaw


4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

poured from bottle while in MT on vacation. This review is a week old so details limited.

A very solid Scotch ale in every respect, good caramel taste with a hint of coffee. Not quite on par with Robert the Bruce or Founders Dirty Bastard but is definitely worth buying if in Montana.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2010 21:36:11 | More by DAllspaw
Photo of Brandt


4.22/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

this beer pours a nice clean caramel brown color with a small amount of white head

the smell here is all of malts and give hints of caramel, as well as some more toasty german tasting malts. well balanced between toasty and sweet.

the flavors in this beer are of toasted malts and a touch of a nearly smoke like character as well as some caramely sweetness that follows a minimal bitterness down the hatch

this one finishes great, a realy drinkable beer that leaves a nice bit of sweetness on the tongue and leaves you wanting another sip.

Serving type: on-tap

11-17-2009 16:13:53 | More by Brandt
Photo of beartooth91


3.9/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scotch ales are my favorite beer style. And this one is the only Scotch ale you can find in Billings, Montana.
It has the characteristic malty taste typical of the style with just a small amount of sweetness. Its noticeably smoother and more rounded then a typical Scotch Ale. And pretty well balanced.
While its a knotch below Skull Splitter (my favorite), Traquair House, or McEwan's; this is a pretty good Scotch Ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-09-2009 20:00:34 | More by beartooth91
Photo of JohnGalt1


3.73/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle picked up at the Albertsons in Lewistown MT.. had a bunch of these with Brenda's brother.. Brad never drinks anything but macros.. but I think I got him thinking on this trip... he's actively seeking out Pig's Ass Porter and Sierra Nevada Stout.. This one last bottle is poured into a glass that sorta resembles a pint glass at Brenda's parents' house.

2" lite tan head.. The brew is a dark chestnut color.. perfectly clear with great lacing and a good cap.

Aroma is a deep maltiness with a touch of kettle caramel .. the peat malt is muted by the malts... some complexity is lacking.

The peat is alot more prevalent in the flavor.. caramel malts and fleeting notes of toffee.. a little nutty in the middle.. but I'm honestly searching on this one.. it seems a little flimsy.. the "peat smoke" seems about right, but I don't think there are enough proper Wee Heavy flavors there to make this one something I would probably buy again sometime soon... sorta like a beginners Scotch ale.

Despite my above negatives.. this is a pretty descent brew.. just don't go looking for the knockout.. I am drinking this one very fresh.. and would recommend it for sure.. just not to any of my beer geek buddies.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2009 09:38:53 | More by JohnGalt1
Copper John Scotch Ale from Madison River Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 44 ratings.