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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)

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

286 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 286
Hads: 515
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 12.78%
Wants: 64
Gots: 44 | FT: 4
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:
Beer added by: Bierman9 on 12-26-2001

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%
2013 - 8.0%
Beer: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) Alström Bros
Reviews: 286 | Hads: 515
Photo of Treyliff
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A- pours bright copper in color with a small creamy light-tan head that reduces to a small sayer skimming the top, leaving no lace

S- sweet and malty, as expected. Some fruity estery notes come through with herbal notes. Sweet caramel rounds it out

T- malty sweetness up front gives way to highlights of fruity estery flavors, caramel and a lightly toasted malt with just a bit or tartness in the finish

M- medium body with medium-high carbonation leads to a supr foamy mouthfeel and finish, ABV is hidden brilliantly

O- lots of fruity I notes not typically experienced in a scotch ale, which works nicely with the caramel malty sweetness.

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Photo of ryan1788a5
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of Etan
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage.

A. Pours a very dark woody amber with a nice egg shell-colored head.

S. Smells of toffee, caramelized grain, light earthiness, leather, brown sugar, mild hop note.

T. Light peatiness, dark bread, caramel, earthy bitterness, some dryish dark fruits (plums, raisins), a bit of estery spice on the end.

M. Medium-bodied, moderate carbonation.

O. Really nice scotch ale. The peated malt is not overpowering at all.

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Photo of gueuzeonhigh
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I may be warped by what I expect out of a scotch ale-- probably from quaffing too many McEwans Scotch Ales.

This is a hearty beer.
It fell somewhat flat in my glass-- I had wished for a more vibrant presentation-- but it lay silent and non-descript in the confines of my glass..

Nose too was rather plain.

The flavor was the great redeemer-- a strong bold flavor stance. Notes of peat, malt supported on a foundation of hops bitterness. Malt created a balance of the hops-- I'd declare I tasted caramel and other things not really related to the ingredients-- clover maybe?

Mouthfeel is quite cordial- nice balance of flavor, carbonization and finish.

I think that the SmuttyNose "Big Beer Series" have been eminently enjoyable.. So far they have all been satisfying.

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Photo of OWSLEY069
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clean orange-ish to brown in color with an off white head. In the aroma, a sweet caramel roast, with notes of peat. In the taste, Alcohol stands up, a sweet roast, small caramel roast, and a hint of smoke. A smooth and medium to bigger bodied mouthfeel, with a dry smoke and sweet caramel and peat in the aftertaste. A really nice balance, dry to sweet, nice presence of smoke, caramel and peat.

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Photo of Lawl3ss
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

2012 vintage. Lightly chilled 22 oz. bomber into a stemless tulip.

Look- Pours a deep amber with a generous frothy beige head. Good retention, sparse lace.

Smell- Interesting. Sweet, light smokiness that comes off as more of a spicy accent than anything. Toasted caramel, apple, licorice, brown sugar, spice. Very nice.

Taste- Similar to the aroma, assertively malty, sweetness is there but inoffensive, works well with an interesting candied apple/heather/honey-doused biscuit/floral melange. Finishes with toasted crusty bread, light spice and a faint touch of booziness. There's a bit of a sharper edge and lingering flavor that makes me wonder if there's rye in there somewhere. Aftertaste is more toast and a light tealike bitterness.

Mouthfeel- Full, rich, creamy, smooth, light warming, hefty but not sluggish. Spot-on.

Overall- Smuttynose is always good, and this offering's no exception. Robust, well-rounded flavors without going overboard in any area. Exceptionally well constructed and executed, I would certainly pick it up again if I could.

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Photo of woosterbill
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bomber courtesy of SmuttyJim, enjoyed at a recent bottle share at NEBCO. From notes.

A: Clear russet body under some fine tan froth. Ok retention, spotty lace. Not bad.

S: Sweet malt, some cotton candy, and lots of vinous dark fruits. Quite good.

T: Opens with figs and grapes, followed by toffee, vanilla, and some chocolate. Tasty.

M: Lively medium body. Nice.

O: Solid brew. The wine barrel notes add some welcome complexity.


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Photo of Tone
4.29/5  rDev +7.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a clear, brown color. 1/3 inch head of an off-white color. Great retention and slight lacing. Smells of sweet malt, hops, hint of spruce, all spice, hint of roasted malt, and a hint of smoke. Fits the style of a Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy. Mouth feel is smooth and clean, with an average carbonation level. Tastes of sweet malt, hops, hint of smoke, hint of alcohol, all spice, and slight roasted malt. Overall, good aroma, feel, blend, body, and complexity.

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Photo of puboflyons
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

From the big bottle, 2012 edition. Sampled on December 28, 2012.

It pours a nice looking amber brown with red hues and great clarity. The off-white head is small but it lasts.

The aroma is vibrant with sweet malts and red grapes, perhaps due to the wine-barrel aging. Scotch ales tend to be very malty and this one has this added dash of character.

The body is medium but doesn't hold its consistency too long. Still, it is not problematic.

The taste is a bit different from the aroma because while it brings out the sweet malty character and this wine-like thingy, it also evolves into a moderately bitter finish. Not your typical Scotch ale.

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Photo of PicoPapa
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle with Bottle Conditioned 2012 notched on the label. Pours a semi translucent dark chestnutty brown with an inch of frothy brown head. Good amount of lacing. Aroma is malts and earth with floral hints. A bit bready and sweet. Boozey. The taste is malts and earth with some warming alcohol. Hints of smoke, cherries and flowers. This Scotch Ale has a bit more floralness and a bit less alcohol flavor than I'd like but it is still good. Slightly reminiscent of cough medicine. Creamy, heavy mouthfeel. Overall, its decent but is lacking a bit.

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Photo of keithmurray
3.53/5  rDev -11.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz poured into a chalice

Appearance - translucent copper color with khaki head

Smell - Cherry, cinnamon, spice from some toasted malts, caramel

taste - caramel, cherries, peat, cinnamon

mouthfeel - high carbonation, medium bodied, slightly sweet in the beginning, the finish is unrefined

Overall - This was a decent beer, but does not stand up as well against some of the other Scotch ales that I've had. This tastes closer to an imperial amber ale versus a scotch ale.

Price Point - $6.99/22oz bottle

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Photo of champ103
3.3/5  rDev -17.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Dublin O'Neil's in Champaign, IL

A: Pours a clear amber/orange color. A one finger white head forms and recedes after a minute. Light lace is left.
S: Pale malts in the nose. Crystal, light caramel, and a big cereal grainy aroma. The malts are there, but kind of the opposite of what I want my Wee Heavy's to be.
T: Again, crystal and pale malts. Caramel sweetness and big cereal/grain flavors. Warming alcohol is noticeable. I wish there was something else besides some sweetness and pale malts.
M/D: A medium body and ultra fine carbonation. Velvety soft. There is some noticeable warming alcohol present. Though not huge. Still not something I am really enjoying.

I completely get that not all "Scottish Ales" are the same. This just lacks character to me, and with a Wee Heavy specifically I want some deep toasted malts, chocolate, and smoke. This is a malty, slightly sweet pale strong amber ale. For me, not what I am looking for in the style.

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Photo of rlee1390
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Brown in the glass, clear amber in the light, one finger tan head.

S-Lots of malt, roasted and caramel with a little smoke rounding out

T-Good balance, malty, peat, caramel and some chocolate, even some darker fruits.

M-Medium bodied, creamy with nice carbonation

O-A solid scotch ale, good all around with solid balance.

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Photo of BrownAleMale
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22oz bomber poured into a Gulden Draak tulip glass

Appearance- A mahogany color with 2 fingers of white head that dissipates to about a half finger and leaves a nice sticky lacing.

Smell- Getting lots of carmel with the smoked peat

Taste- Follows the nose pretty well. The carmel is up front with a bit of dark fruit and finished with a long smoke taste. My only problem with the flavor is that I would have liked a little more sweetness to balance the peat.

Mouthfeel- Medium body with a decent amout of carbonation.

Overall- A rockin scotch ale. It misses a few beats to be a perfect scotch ale but definitly top 2 for the style.

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Photo of 1Nrwyscotch
3.68/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle porued into a pint glass

A. A nice dark amber color with about two fingers of off white head which disappeared rather quickly. No lacing observed until after the beer warmed some.

S. I smell some earthy tones, some sweet malt and some smoke.

T. The taste is kinda muted and reminds me more of an Irish Red rather than a Scotch Ale. It does finish with some bitterness and is enjoyable, just not what I was expecting in a Scotch ale which ussually showcase some booziness where the alcohol is hidden here.

M. It has a medium mouthfeel with a creamy texture.

O. I enjoyed the beer but it was not quite what I was expecting, I would get it again though.

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Photo of SawDog505
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a 13 oz tulip glass, 2012. Pours a reddish brown, with a half inch of off white head, leaves very little lace. Smell is peat, brown sugar, biscuit, smoke, and a hint of cinnamon spice. Taste is mainly sweet, with some smoke in the finish. Body is medium, a little more carbonation, a little dry as expected, and easy drinking. This is a nice Scotch Al, but earth shattering no.

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Photo of DrDemento456
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Snagged a bottle for about 6 bucks at Giant Eagle. Always enjoy these Smuttynose big beers!

A - I really love the overall appearance. A well over 1/2 inch of sticky opaque colored head that clings to all sides of my glass and never really subsides. Tiny bubbles still floating to the top and just underneath is a clear deep chestnut brown colored goodness.

S - Mild but good. Smoked peat, touch of charcoal roast, and mostly caramel like malts make for a great beer. Also getting some hops so this might be better than expected.

T - Nothing mind blowing and thankfully the smoked peat flavor is minimal because I kind of hate excessive peat flavors (I am looking at you New Holland Chinook Rye!) Mild acidic hops, sweet balanced caramel malts, and mild Rauchbier goodness highlight.

M - Hides the ABV well and seems oily with a slick creamy body.

Overall it doesn't beat their imperial stout or even the Baltic porter but I really enjoyed this offering. Not my favorite style so I shall no revisit.

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Photo of BlurryVisi0n
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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!

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Photo of bluejacket74
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

22 ounce bottle, 2012 vintage. Served in a Sam Adams Perfect Pint glass, the beer pours a mostly clear dark reddish/amber color with a half inch light tan head. Head retention is good, and there's a small amount of lacing. Aroma is nice and malty, it smells like caramel malt, peat/smoke, dark fruit, toffee, and a bit of tea. Taste is mostly like the aroma, but there's also some bitter herbs and some wood noticeable. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and coating with moderate carbonation. I think it's a good overall brew. Definitely worth a try at just $5.99 a bomber.

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Photo of billab914
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

22oz bottle poured into my Devil's Backbone glass. It poured a deep mahogany color with a thin tan head barely covering the top of the beer. Very nice looking color to it.

The aroma has a strong presence of both caramel malts and bready grains. It's get some crisp fruit notes to it as well that seem to keep it pretty balanced for the style. Pretty nice aroma for the style overall.

The taste shows a little more of the rich, caramel malts along with a touch of chocolate. The finish again shows some crisp fruits that help give it some balance. It' got a long dry finish to it as well.

The mouthfeel is leaning towards the heavier side of the style with carbonation being a little below average. Overall, it was a very solid beer of the style. They managed to show off the maltiness but also keep it pretty well balanced. Very enjoyable version of the style overall.

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Photo of Gosox8787
4.32/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Presentation: Bomber bottle chilled and poured into a Cigar City tulip glass. 2012 vintage clocks in at 8.2% ABV. Apparently this vintage was partially aged in red wine barrels according to Smuttynose.

Appearance: Cloudy medium to dark brown in color. Some orange/ruby highlights throughout. Pours a creamy light beige colored head. About one finger in height that recedes into a very thin lacing.

Aroma: Some light smoke and peat notes upfront. Lots of dark fruit notes with some grape and red wine notes that are a bit stronger than I expected. A touch of alcohol but it is well hidden for the most part.

Taste: The peat and smoke notes really stand out. The peat is really nicely done and the smoke is not overwhelming at all. A light sweetness of caramel, dark fruits and a touch of the wine barrels under the initial smoke and peat. The balance of those are really nicely done.

Mouthfeel: Really nice full and creamy mouthfeel. Really nice sharp carbonation.

Overall, a really nicely done scotch ale that does a great job of balancing the peat, smoke and underlying sweetness of the malt. The wine barrel notes are not overdone at all, but definitely show a bit in the aroma and taste. Considering the complexity of this beer and the price, this is definitely a good deal.

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Photo of Treebs
3.46/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Quality in Champaign. Served in a shaker pint.

A: Pours a dark ruby color with a thin tan head forming on the pour. It recedes to a thin film and leaves splotches of lace.

S: Nice peaty smoke with a touch of roasted malts. Nice sweetness as well with just a touch of hops.

T: Nice peat flavors with a little smokey malt. Some roasted malt notes with a little backend sweetness. Minimal hop flavors in the background as well.

M: Medium bodied with a creamy mouthfeel and a medium carbonation level.

O: This was a pretty straightforward scotch ale. Nice peat and smoke with a sweet malt profile.

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Photo of Kinsman
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I vaguely remember having a scotch ale from the last release in 2008 but it's nice to try the updated 2012 version.

Pours a really nice dark mahogany color with a beautiful dense ivory colored head on top. I don't always pay close attention to retention but I'm quite impressed with this one. The top of my beer looks more like a foamy latte right now and its not going anywhere. Beautiful pour!

Greets you with a nice caramel malty sweetness that you'd expect from a scotch ale. A bit fruity as well before a peaty finish. The peat is hard to detect at first but anyone familiar with peated scotch should be able to pick it up.

Biscuity malt flavors along side a nice toffee and raisin sweetness. Slightly smokey but rather subdued in the grand scheme of things. Wonderfully creamy mouthfeel that makes it quite an enjoyable after-dinner drink.

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Photo of metter98
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

On-tap at Pony Bar Upper East Side, New York, NY

A: The beer is hazy amber in color and has some brownish hues. It poured with a half finger high light beige head that has good retention properties and consistently left a thin head covering the surface.
S: There are light aromas of caramel malts and peat smoke in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but the flavors are a little stronger and notes of peat smoke linger through the finish.
M: It feels a little more than medium-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: I enjoyed the smoky nature of this beer because it helped to cut through the strong sweetness and syrupy nature that is usually associated with beers of this style, making it rather drinkable.

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Photo of rdilauro
4.6/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Have to admit, this was only my second tasting of a Scottish Ale. One of my customers told me that this is what a real Scottish ale is all about.

The pour was semi-dark with a small head. The aroma was there, seemed to be mostly malty.
Nothing really standing out.

The initial taste was smooth big and full! I enjoyed the fullness and it gave me kinda of a warmth that you get having a sip of a nice Port.

The finish was long and very pleasant. There was just a perfect aftertaste that made you feel very satisfied.

The second and third sips were even better. I really liked the overall round and full body this ale had. Not hoppy, not bitter, not too much of anything. Just a real good sipping beer

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 286 ratings.