1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) - Smuttynose Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series)

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

460 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 460
Reviews: 277
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.77%
Wants: 54
Gots: 26 | FT: 2
Brewed by:
Smuttynose Brewing Company visit their website
New Hampshire, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.20% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Our Scotch Ale is a bold amber beer that balances smooth rich sweetness with a hint of peat smoked malt. The infusion of this subtle smokiness invites images of heather fields, platters of haggis, & the poetry of William McGonagall. Enjoy one with your mates!

2007 - 8.2%
2008 - 7.1%

(Beer added by: Bierman9 on 12-26-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Ratings: 460 | Reviews: 277 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Backer2004
3.83/5  rDev -4%

First selection I've tried from those at Smuttynose (what a great name). Thick frothy head, even as a taster. Quite malty indeed. Easier to drink than I first thought. Nice bit of lacing with slight carbonation in the glass. One of the better scotch style ales I've tried, but some I've tried before were stifled due to the less than 6% ABV cap in the past.

Backer2004, Jan 12, 2006
Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.83/5  rDev -4%

Just finished two at the Taco Mac at Prado in Atlanta. I was stunned to see it on the menu. Couldn't wait to have my first gulp. Both pours lacked much head. They were a hazy-brown color, but still transparent. Did get some lacing.

Smelled malty with some dark fruit essence. Taste was on the earthy side. Smokey malts and some fruit with an alcohol presence. Not too sweet, the alcohol seemed to help.

Mouthfeel was good. A higher carbonation gave it a more refreshing effect than I expected from a Scotch ale.

Very drinkable. I wanted a third but I had to drive home.

A solid beer that I would order again. Alcohol was listed in the menu as over 8%. Not what I expected from a Scotch ale. Much lighter in body and color than others of the style I've tried. Let's face it, Smuttynose does not make a bad beer and I really enjoyed these.

airheadmtrcycle, Dec 22, 2010
Photo of Atlas1
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

I love the Smuttynose big beer series, and haven't had a bad one yet. I also happen to like scotch style ales and wee heavies, so this beer just made sense. Cool label too.

Poured into a barrel pint glass, this one is a nice shade of deep copper, with reddish hues shining throughout. Big, slightly off-white head on top that lasts a while before dissipating down to a formidable tan film over the beer. Some lace. The nose is difficult for me to really distinguish. There is something in this beer that I have also smelled in the DFH ImmortAle (and a handful of others) that comes across to me as the scent of formadahyde. I know that others I've spoken to do not sense this same aroma, though, so I am in a limited group here. I rate that category a 3.5 because I know it's probably better than I can detect. The taste, however, I can bear with this beer. Some smokiness, definitely, and malty caramel. Mocha with cherries. Maybe some fig or date. Not bad. Mouthfeel tends to develop as the beer warms. Smooth and even slightly creamy.

Not a bad beer, this one. But not my favorite from Smuttynose. Probably because of that ingredient that skews my olfactory senses. Strange. Still, it's worth trying, as Smuttynose rarely do any bad beers.

Atlas1, Nov 06, 2007
Photo of WanderingFool
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale pours a cloudy brownish red (oak perhaps?) color with a frothy light tan head on top. The foam dissolves quickly to a thick ring around the surface of the beer leaving a few traces of lace behind. An earthy aroma of roasted malt, nuts and raisins greets you before each sip.

This medium to full bodied beer is soft on the palate. The flavor is mainly roasted malt and brown sugar. A nice combination of nuts, raisins, apples and clove blend together to balance out the malt in each sip. It finishes with a mild bitterness and a hint of alcohol leaving behind a malty taste on the tongue.

Another tasty Big Beer Series by Smuttynose. The full body on this beer lets you savor every drop, however it also lowered my score on drinkability.

WanderingFool, Jul 05, 2005
Photo of Slatetank
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

Thanks to Homebrewjunkie for sharing this. Poured cool into a snifter.
A - A mahogany golden brown w/ wispy light colored head

S - Peaty, creamy bready and slightly smokey w/ a nice alcoholic ester.

M - Creamy nuttiness fades into a dry smokey almost peppery smooth texture. There is a nice balance of yeast and malt in the texture.

T - A great blend of malt and dry scottish ale yeast as indicated in the aroma and mouthfeel. The roasted malts and smoke flavor of peat are noticeable, but not overpowering. Nice doughiness and spice w/ grainy flavor and the smooth yeast taste makes for a round and relaxed taste.

D - Very drinkable once it warms, another fine example of the quality brewing at Smuttynose. I enjoyed this as much as the other big beer series beers I have tasted. A nice Wee-heavy.

Slatetank, Nov 23, 2007
Photo of TK5150
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

2007 Vintage.

A- Pours a murky, hazy amber with a small beige head. A nice amount of lacing is left on the glass.

S- The smell is light caramel/toffee/vanilla, a bit old and funky, with just a hint of smoke.

T- Crystal malt, vanilla, berries, herbs and spicy smoke. A hint of iced tea flavor as well which I always get with beers aged a bit too long. Not bad, actually.

M- For the most part, medium bodied. I drank this too cold at first, and it felt thin, but as I let it warm, the body grew into heavy medium bodied. Smooth, with just a bit of a kick at the finish.

O- Aged too long, but I still like it. I bet this would have been quite nice into MAYBE 2009 at the latest. Still an enjoyable beer for sure, but nearly 5 years of age is certainly too long. Smutty is bringing this beer back this year after a several year hiatus, and I would suggest drinking it fairly fresh for best enjoyment.

TK5150, Mar 19, 2012
Photo of BabaJohn
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

Looks delicious, dark brown and with much sediment. A very nice, creamy, tan colored lasting head forms and a fairly strong, sweet aroma. Both smell and taste have a bit of molasses in ‘em. Bitterness fades as the beverage is consumed leaving a nice sticky sweetness. Mouth feel is quite nice as it is somewhat thick and buttery. I suppose I didn’t pour carefully enough as the sediment was a bit dangerous, but other than that I found this beer quite drinkable. Good for sipping and enjoying over some time.

BabaJohn, Jul 09, 2006
Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

Served in a wellington beer glass.

Appearance: Brownish amber, bubbles little heavy on the body when placed to the light. Head is slightly off-white rising to about 1/3".

Smell: Malty but light. I like the smell but this isn't the scent that is going to wow you.

Taste: There is nothing I can complain about, slight coffee a bitterness that is unique but still seen in other scotch ales but still makes this brew prime.

Mouth: Easy to drink and smooth. it isn't overwhelmingly sticking but just enough to to satisfy the palates.

Overall: This is a very good beer. I have a slight preference to another scotch ale which I like to keep steady in my fridge. This beer is good but not on the level on which I was expecting but overall above satisfying. Salud!

BlurryVisi0n, Nov 24, 2012
Photo of RyanPB
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%

I'm on a Scotch Ale jag right now, and this was one of the better ones. Really fantastic smell; the scotch vibe hits hard. The appearance is average, but I don't know that I've had one that was really distinctive in this area. Might be too bubbly for a scotch ale, but very drinkable. The scotch taste does very well, the Ol' Red Wee Heavy form Erie is the closest I can think of.

RyanPB, Dec 21, 2007
Photo of ryan1788a5
3.79/5  rDev -5%

22oz bottle poured into a large snifter. 2012 bottling, so this is probably about a year old.

A: Deep red-brown color with a mild haze. Head formation and retention are rather poor. Lacing is minimal.

S: Big caramel sweetness. Bready. Fruit cake and candied fruits. Subtle wafts of smoke come out to bring some balance.

T: Huge wave of caramel and bread pudding. Brown bread. Brown sugar, brown molasses. Very sweet. Hints of candied fruits and red berries. Unless I'm mistaken, I'm finding a very subtle pull of wood as well. A touch of cocoa and delicate, drying smoke on the finish.

M: Moderately thick. Slightly chewy. Creamy malt texture. Somewhat aggressive carbonation.

O: Not as big and beefy as many Scotch ales you'll find on the market today, but it's still a satisfying malty treat. There's some nice complexity and nuance. A more subtle approach to the style for sure.

ryan1788a5, Aug 06, 2013
Photo of Dithyramb
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

Presented in the nice brown bomber with the flowery label. It pours translucent brown with amber hints and a thin off white head. There is very low to moderate carbonation.
Very nice smoky caramel aroma
Thick and sugary with a surprisingly hefty hop presence to balance. It was slightly creamy on the tongue with some caramels thrown in the mix. A slight peaty smokiness was mixed in that attempted to hide the alcohol esters, to no avail. Alcohol warmed and played with the back of the mouth while the hops started to bitter.

Easy drinking medium bodied brew. Finished dry, but smoky. I took off points of the taste due to the hop presence not being traditional for the wee heavy style. Not sure whether a wee heavy needs to be any bigger than they already are. Hops detracted from the strong malt base—Interesting and drinkable nonetheless.

Dithyramb, Jan 12, 2005
Photo of EPseja
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

Been holding on to this one for about 6 months. Now its time to put it through its paces.

Served at just below cellar temperature in a pint glass.

A - Pours from the bottle with a deep chestnut color, complete with a nice, thick head that dissapates to a thin mat after about a minute or so. Lacing is very spotty and inconsistent.

S - Slightly metallic toasted malts and a vinous tinge. Some hints of dark fruit and light hops along with interesting faint organic notes.

T - The first taste in the mouth is the bright, sweet, dark malt along with some faint earthy notes that I can't put my finger on. These are soon after replaced by a winelike character that sticks it out through the finish where the dry, lightly hopped notes come into play along with the alcohol. A noticeable warming occurs after each swallow, reminding you that this is indeed a big beer.

M - Slowly grows to a nice rolling froth in the mouth, but subsides enough to make the swallow clean and easy. Very nice.

D - This beer is pretty easy to drink, although I find that the winelike characteristics pull it a bit out of style for my tastes. I would even venture to say that this beer teeters on the brink of being a Porter or a Winter Warmer.

EPseja, Nov 03, 2005
Photo of Naes
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

This one is very dark brown in color with a tan head that leaves good lacing.
The aroma is a good blend of malt and hops.
The flavor is also a good blend, as there is a bit of chocolate malt, hops and a bit of an alcohol warming as well.
Mouth feel is medium in body with good carbonation.

Another good brew from Smuttynose.

Naes, Dec 04, 2005
Photo of SFLpunk
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%

22oz brown glass pry-top. Bottled conditioned in 2008.

Appearance: Pours with lots of carbonation. 3 inch head takes minutes to come down leaving nice lacing. Cloudy tawny/mahogany. Tan head.

Nose: Toasted malts, slight biscuit, cream.

Palate: Medium-bodied and crisp with some acid from the hops. Lightly smokey and pleasantly sweet. Toasty notes and the alcohol shows at midpalate giving the beer an evaporating feeling.

Notes: Pretty well balanced and not as sweet as I had expected. Great edges from the hops and alcohol. A little boozy, but a nice beer. Very drinkable and "smooth." (Wow, I can't believe I just used the word smooth!)

SFLpunk, May 08, 2009
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%

Bottle I brought to share at the DTLA bottle share held at Beer Belly in Los Angeles, CA.

2013 vintage.

Pours a hazy copper with a foamy beige head that settles to a partial film on top of the beer. Foamy swaths of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt, caramel, toffee, fruit, and nutty aromas. Taste is much the same with malt and nutty flavors on the finish. There is a mild amount of toasty bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and dry mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer with some solid aromas and flavors for the style.

UCLABrewN84, Dec 30, 2013
Photo of williamjbauer
3.75/5  rDev -6%

williamjbauer, Dec 25, 2012
Photo of SoCalBeerIdiot
3.75/5  rDev -6%

SoCalBeerIdiot, Mar 03, 2014
Photo of HarryHood
3.75/5  rDev -6%

HarryHood, Jan 03, 2013
Photo of avylover
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Smuttynose, always interesting and I never quite know what to expect with thier brews, which is refreshing.
This one pours a clear brown with some ruby highlights and a good foamy head that seems to sit still(note-then it died quick). Aroma is heavy on the malt. Bit of a chocolate milkshake aroma, and some barely detectable hops. Taste is smooth & chocolatey. Not too sweet but very flavorful. Malted milk and creamy coffee come to mind. The finish is quite hoppy for the style, and in a way clashes with the creamines of this brew..this is not balancing, the hops just kind of seem "there". they do help the overall aftertaste, preventing a very sweet residue from poking it's head out. The mouthfeel is slick with a bit too much carbonation. Not really all that drinkable though, as expected for the style IMO.

avylover, Nov 14, 2003
Photo of ScaryEd
3.75/5  rDev -6%

ScaryEd, Nov 27, 2013
Photo of mendvicdog
3.75/5  rDev -6%

mendvicdog, Feb 16, 2013
Photo of aracauna
3.75/5  rDev -6%

First off appears black but looking through it at a light it turns a gorgeous dark ruby red. The head is thin and fleating. The aroma is an interplay of dark malts and bitter hops. The flavor is robust, nice dark malts, cola and some burned bitterness. Sweet and thinly syrupy.

aracauna, Dec 04, 2002
Photo of Elfastball7
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Elfastball7, Oct 05, 2013
Photo of Bouleboubier
3.75/5  rDev -6%

Bouleboubier, Mar 08, 2013
Photo of robwestcott
3.75/5  rDev -6%

robwestcott, Jan 01, 2014
Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 460 ratings.