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Alba Scots Pine Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale

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

631 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 631
Reviews: 462
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 14.55%
Wants: 25
Gots: 18 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Williams Brothers Brewing Company visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Gruit / Ancient Herbed Ale |  7.50% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Introduced by the Vikings, spruce and pine ales were very popular in the Scottish Highlands until the end of the 19th century. Many early explorers, including Captain Cook, used spruce ale during long sea voyages since it prevented scurvy and ill health. Shetland spruce ale was said to "stimulate animal instincts" and give you twins. Alba is a triple style ale brewed to a traditional Highland recipe from Scots pine and spruce shoots pickled during early spring. Pure malted barley, is boiled with the young sprigs of pine for several hours then the fresh shoots of the spruce are added for a short infusion before fermentation.

(Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Alba Scots Pine Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 631 | Reviews: 462 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of vrbulldog22
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

vrbulldog22, Jul 06, 2014
Photo of doktorhops
4.5/5  rDev +19%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 5

The next ale in my sights after the Fraoch was the Alba Scots Pine Ale from the same brewer. Ever since discovering Plonk! I've been crossing plenty of must-haves off my list - which began with the Sah'Tea, now if only they could get their hands on some Russian River brews I would be set. Anyhow, back on topic: Scots Pine Ale is another in the vein of Fraoch, a Scottish Gruit, and I'm hoping it isn't as unique tasting as Retsina (a type of pine resin flavoured Greek wine that I ran afoul of in my quest to taste ancient brews).

Poured from a 330ml bottle into a St Feuillien chalice.

A: Interesting - a headless ale, don't see that often. The body presents a hazy butterscotch colour (how appropriate).

S: Aroma is a mixture of sweet toffee malts, pine, medicinal herbs and a hint of isoamyl acetate bringing a banana/pear quality which lingers on in the background.

T: The flavour is spot on with the above aroma, however that isoamyl acetate really comes to the fore now. There is a toffee sweetness as well but the banana/pear front to mid-palate gives the whole brew an all-pervading fruitiness, which is tasty, very tasty. The finish is very similar to its cousin Fraoch with a medicinal herb bitterness and dry vinous touch.

M: A bit thin considering the ABV - mid to light bodied with a light carbonation.

D: Well I didn't think this would top the Fraoch but it does indeed parch my beerlust better than its Scot Gruit cousin. And the fact that Vikings drank something similar to this makes it a must have beverage for my fridge when season 3 of Vikings begins... I can hear the theme song now: Oooye oooye, oooyeoooo. Rollo rules.

Food match: The food of Vikings, whatever that is.

doktorhops, Jul 04, 2014
Photo of Ncpogs
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Ncpogs, Jul 03, 2014
Photo of Geevers71
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Geevers71, Jun 30, 2014
Photo of patre_tim
4.08/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown orange amber with tones of carbonation, a creamy off white head that retains itself, clear filtered.

S: Creamy, pine, fragrant and spicy, fruity but all in a mild way.

T: Suprisingly different and delicious. I was expecting in the face pine but this didn’t happen all the way. It brought forth a subtle sweetness with spicy notes, any evergreen is more coming out as subtle complex spicy hops. Really delicious, one that I could sip for hours on end. I also get scotch in this, as in much like Old Chub but a subtler and less alcoholic wee heavy.

M: Medium, slight syrupy body. Lots of carbonation.

O: Delicious brew, I give it 9 out of 10. Very unique style, bottle with the tartan, and great flavour. Would go well with any Scotish dish, Christmas pudding and Christmas spiced desserts.

patre_tim, Jun 23, 2014
Photo of DarrenBrule
4.5/5  rDev +19%

DarrenBrule, Jun 16, 2014
Photo of DrBobPierce
4.5/5  rDev +19%

DrBobPierce, Jun 14, 2014
Photo of todesengel135
4.5/5  rDev +19%

todesengel135, Jun 07, 2014
Photo of dradair
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

dradair, Jun 05, 2014
Photo of Gottesverachter
4.75/5  rDev +25.7%

Gottesverachter, May 26, 2014
Photo of Latarnik
4/5  rDev +5.8%

Latarnik, May 25, 2014
Photo of MechMessiah
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

MechMessiah, May 21, 2014
Photo of chinchill
2.99/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

330ml bottle, Oct. 2014, allowed to warm and served in a goblet.

Clear golden with a thin, short-lived head.

Aroma and flavor are permeated with the young pine infusion. This lends a woody and, of course, piney note but leaves the malt base showing as well. Higher ABV is not hidden, leaving this too boozy. Thin body.

chinchill, May 20, 2014
Photo of ajdemma
4/5  rDev +5.8%

ajdemma, May 17, 2014
Photo of Magibeg
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

Magibeg, May 17, 2014
Photo of Lukass
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

Lukass, May 15, 2014
Photo of Georgiabeer
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

Georgiabeer, May 11, 2014
Photo of jadler16
2.5/5  rDev -33.9%

jadler16, May 02, 2014
Photo of ladyivory
4.5/5  rDev +19%

ladyivory, May 01, 2014
Photo of tkdchampxi
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

tkdchampxi, May 01, 2014
Photo of KrisDLSmith
3.5/5  rDev -7.4%

KrisDLSmith, Apr 19, 2014
Photo of DaveMiller
3.75/5  rDev -0.8%

DaveMiller, Apr 13, 2014
Photo of Fettpopps
3/5  rDev -20.6%

Fettpopps, Mar 16, 2014
Photo of scotorum
3.28/5  rDev -13.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Bought an odd bottle of this in New Hampshire recently at a store which specializes in British import beers, among other things.

Poured from the 11.2 oz. bottle into a Samuel Adams nonick.

a: Nearly clear dark gold with a finger thick head which dissipated to thin surface foam and patchy lacing.

s: Malt and alcohol.

t: Cough syrup-like medicinal with heavy alcohol presence. Mellowed out a bit but remained a bit grating, with no hint of pine or spruce flavor.

m: Medium, good body.

o: I'm going to assume I got a bad bottle, because mine was nothing like the last few reviews I have read here. I let three other people sample this as well, one said it tasted like rubbing alcohol, and I agreed. Another said it tasted like medicine, agree again. Very disappointing since I am half Scottish and really wanted this to be great. I realize it is an old timey recipe and that taste wasn't much of an issue in Viking days, but nowadays, it is, and this didn't have much to recommend it. Still, as is, I could imagine rough-hewn Vikings and Picts around a roaring bonfire on the north coast of Scotland in the ninth century, passing around a measure of this and having a high old time. But I'll try to find another bottle to revisit this.

scotorum, Mar 09, 2014
Photo of JIMTRK16
4.25/5  rDev +12.4%

JIMTRK16, Feb 26, 2014
Alba Scots Pine Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 631 ratings.