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Alba Scots Pine Ale - Williams Brothers Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Alba Scots Pine AleAlba Scots Pine Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

646 Ratings

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Ratings: 646
Reviews: 468
rAvg: 3.78
pDev: 14.29%
Wants: 30
Gots: 22 | 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:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 09-18-2001

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.
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Ratings: 646 | Reviews: 468
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4.2/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

$ 2.99/11.2 oz bottle at Vintage Estates, Boardman, OH
Bottle dated BB Dec 14 at 55 degrees into SA lager glass
Aroma weak, piney
Head average (3.5 cm), white, frothy, diminishing to 2 mm ring
Lacing fair, initially multiple small islands and archipelagos of small to medium bubbles; as the beer warms more, partial rings remain.
Body medium yellow, clear
Flavor of pine, very weak, slightly sweet; no hops, no alcohol, no diacetyl
Palate medium, slightly oily, lively carbonation

Appearance 4, Aroma 4, Flavor 4.5, Palate 4, Overall 4.125

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4.11/5  rDev +8.7%

This is great beer. A Scotch strong ale brewed with pine and spruce as in days of long sea voyage. Discovered in WFM craft 12. Vikings in their day drank a brew spiced with pine and spruce. Freshness date clearly marked.

Appearance: Orange, amber with chill haze - thin off white cap, but lots of dotty lacing redolent of juniper berries and twigs. 3.9

Smell: Herbal and piney with a tripel style of fruity esters. Faint medicinal aromas but not unpleasant. Far ahead of Yards version. 3.9

Taste: Malt base over topped by herbal, earthy, estery, and spicy flavors that resolve into a great finish of spruce/pine blend. Finish is long, drying, appetizing with pine hints. 4.2

MF: Full body and smooth with a creamy, crisp carbonation. Great feel: 4.2

Overall: Excellent strong ale with lasting flavors. Let it warm to room temp. Try it with cheesy and sausage-filled food.

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4.44/5  rDev +17.5%
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.

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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.

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Alba Scots Pine Ale from Williams Brothers Brewing Company
85 out of 100 based on 646 ratings.