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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

489 Ratings

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Ratings: 489
Reviews: 280
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.52%
Wants: 61
Gots: 31 | FT: 3
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%
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 489 | Reviews: 280
Photo of akorsak
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 650 mL bottle from State Line.

A: The scotch ale is a dark ruddy brown color, concentrated tea. Amaretto highlights at the bottom of the glass add a nice visual. A finger of creme-colored head laced in patches around the glass.

S: The aroma is rather pedestrian. I searched for a long time before anything popped up. What did emerge was malty with a floral, non-hopped element. I expected a little more oomph.

T: The taste is a significant improvement over the nose. Thick malts dominate, vegetal with a a concentrated, smoked element. Underneath the malts are flowers, sweet and juicy, that are not a result of hops. That;'s not to say that there aren't any hops though, they have a citrusy flavor and linger alongside the heather. A veritable meal in a glass.

M: The mouthfeel is lush. The thick malts, heather and touch of peat mix nicely.

D: Except for the underwhelming nose, this is a great wee heavy. The meatiness is filling with no sign of of the slightly high alcohol.

Photo of markskar
4.56/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Disclosure: Portsmouth, NH, Hometown Favorite. Some bias may apply, but the only reason I'm even writing this review is that the 2008 Vintage is a far superior brew to any Scotch Ale they've released within the past 2 years (that I can remember *ahem*). Smuttynose brewed a proper and wonderful Scotch Ale in 2008. Cheers!

That said, I have to mention that the biggest difference to me this year is the reduction in the "smoked" flavors. To me (IMHO--and I have thoroughly enjoyed each and every offering in the Big Beer Series), Smutty's Scotch Ale was netheir good for the style nor my palate for the past couple of years (2006 & 2007).

It was intense--and interesting--don't get me wrong. But it tasted like bacon. That's right, BACON. Too much of the smoked flavors. I used to call it the "Bacon Beer," and avoid it at all costs.

This year is a different animal altogether, and a champion in the making. The smoke is there, but it's just right. Mouthfeel is exactly what I seek--complexity that leave's something to remember. Smooth and rich with rich malts at first, but the abv% (Smutty's website says 8.2%, not 7.8% which BA has posted above) allows for a delayed crisp finish.

A: Dark Copper. Faint, dark haze, but crystal clear at the bottom of the glass. Excellent and seemingly proper clarity for a fresh Wee Heavy. Minimal head retention, moderate lacing.

S: Bit yeasty at this point--should change with longer conditioning. Beyond that, intensely malty and floral. Best part: No smoked ham!

The 2008 Smuttynose Scotch Ale is the reason I stay loyal to Smutty's Big Beer Series offerings.

T: Deliciously malty, with faint hints of smoke that doesn't overwhelm the malts.

M: Smoth at first, but finishes with a refreshing crispness.

D: Outstanding drinkability. Can't wait for tomorrow night!

Photo of MrMonkey
4.13/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep dark amber with bright red highlights and a thick and creamy two plus-finger tan head. A sticky sheet is left behind as it slowly recedes to a thick ring and floating cap.

Smell is somewhat restrained, but there's some smoked malt, a hint of caramel, molasses, cocoa powder, and some dried fruits like raisins or prunes.

Taste starts smokey and sweet, with caramel and molasses. Finishes with some prunes before a bit of alcohol warmth. I remember last year's version being much smokier with the peat smoked malt, and it was too much for me. The smoke is present, but it doesn't overpower the taste this year.

Medium-bodied mouthfeel, with a slight tingle on the tongue.

Great drinkability, and another great Big Beer from Smuttynose! A wonderful early winter release that I look forward to enjoying all season long.

Photo of MrHurmateeowish
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

22oz bomber from Hannaford. Pours a dark copper hazy body with a good inch of khaki colored head. Smells smoky/peaty with hints of chocolate. Chocolate, coffee, burnt malt, peat/smoke, caramel... Rich full body with just enough carbonation. A bit of a sipper, but one sip definitely invites another. I wish my review were more glowing, but this honestly is the best wee-heavy I've ever had, and another slam-dunk for Smuttynose!

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a red amber with a slight bubbly head.

Great aroma of sweet malt, some dried stone fruit.

Wonderful flavors with this one. Sweet caramel maltiness, some herbal/leafy notes, a little hop bite, and some sweet brown bread elements.

Full bodied and mouth coating, a terrific beer for the cool weather. Great before, with, or after the big holiday meal. And at 7.8%, not the overkill on the booze, taste or effect. It was great to share one of these before Thanksgiving dinner.

Photo of bum732
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a nice frothy head, beautiful dark amber color. Smells like bready malt, hint of smoke, faint hops in the background. Taste has nice sweetness up front balanced by just the right amount of hops near the end. Finishes smooth and a tad dry.

Another great beer from Smutty, most scotch ales IMO are heavy and drinking more than one is difficult. Not in this case, very drinkable, nice balance and just a hint of smoke. Great beer!

Photo of evanackerman
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Beer pours a beautiful deep amber into a tulip glass, substantial tan head.

aroma is peat, malt, alcohol

taste is nice smoky malt with a touch of dried prunes a slight bitter finish and alcohol is present as warmth in the throat more than in flavor.

mouthfeel is medium bodied with mild carbonation.

overall, a thoroughly enjoyable take on the style, another winner from Smuttynose. worth a try.

Photo of Brad007
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark red color with a one-finger head into my pint glass.

Aroma is sweet with peat smoked malt peeking through. Warm and inviting.

Taste is sweet at first with the peat smoked malt showing through in the middle, giving way to a bit of alcohol heat in the middle. Smooth. Warming. Just the right balance of malt sweetness.

Mouthfeel is compromised of the remnants of the peat smoked malt and alcohol heat. Throat is coated with warmth.

A rich and warm brew that works well on a cold day such as this one (gotta be at least 25-30 degrees out now). It's not the most complex at first but with some aging, this beer surely can only get better with time.

Photo of erosier
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

L: Pours an amber-brown color with a medium sized and medium bodied tan colored head that laces the glass nicely on the way down.
S: Smells of sweet and roasty malts with a hint of sweet scotchy flavors.
T: Very sweet malts up front followed by a sweet scotchy flavor, then some more roasty malts to finish it up.
M: Very fresh, a bit burnt feeling, the right amount of carbonation. Maybe could have been a bit sweeter.
D: Very drinkable beer.

Photo of roscoehnj
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is the 2007 bottling. I had this last year (or very early this year - I forget) and the aging has served it well. Big blast of smoke and peat in the nose. Sweet caramel and raiseny tastes offset by smokiness. Very nice. Hides the alcohol well but is still a sipper. The sweetness prevents this from being a session beer in my book. I'll definitely buy a few of these every year.

Photo of mnj21655
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

22 oz. bomber bottle conditioned in 2008

Pours a dark brown color with ruby hints at the edges and a bit over a finger of rocky light khaki head that is relatively persistent and leaves some great lacing. Nice deep malty aroma with lots of caramel and some nice earthy and smoky undertones. Taste is very complex. Lots of malty goodness here with strong doses of caramel, a sturdy but not overwhelming smokiness, a nutty character, and some more subtle esters (raisins/plums). Fairly sweet but finishes a bit dry. Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation and a generally thick mouthfeel. Drinkability on this beer is very high. This is simply exceptional. Great complexity in terms of flavors and easy to drink. Highly recommended.

Photo of smcolw
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Foamy, rocky off-beige head that leaves clumpy pieces of lace. Dark amber/light brown color.

Malty aromas of cocoa and crystal malt--slightly sweet and a touch of warming alcohol.

This is a well-hopped Scotch ale. That's not to say this is a hoppy beer; dark malt is the predominant flavor here--nutty and off handedly bitter as if there is black patent. I do not detect any smokiness as noted on the bottle. Rich body with an above average carbonation.

All in all, a very nice scotch ale.

Photo of johnnnniee
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

2008 bottling
Pours a crystal clear brownish red with a fluffy off white head that sticks around for a bit and laces the sides on the way out. Smells malty. Lots of smoke and dark fruit in there with the smoke being the dominant aroma. Tastes of smokey malt, toffee, sweet malty goodness. A little roast and some alcohol peak their heads up in the middle, but the smoke takes over for the finish. Syrupy mouthfeel, medium to thick in the body, medium carbonation. Great smokey scotch ale, I'm going to have to try one from last year and compare.

Photo of bbothen
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a deep mahogany, caramel like color with a thick & bubbly tan colored head.

Smells of smoky, peaty, campfire, some sweetness. But the smoke is quite strong.

Smoky malt, sweet caramel malt, some subtle chocolate tones, toffee, mild bitterness, somewhat boozy.

Smooth, creamy, warming, mild carboantion, medium bodied.

22 0z was a bit much for me. Would personally prefer a 12oz servingt size.

Not my favorite style, but a pleasant experience.

Photo of changeup45
2.79/5  rDev -30.1%
look: 2 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured a cloudy, foggy, dark brown color with little pieces floating and settling towards the bottom of the glass. It poured a thick head but halfway through there wasn't much left. Malty aroma, with a stronger malt, tangy flavor with some spices and brown sugar. Was a little harsh. Not terrible but I probably won't get it again.

Photo of soccerman7
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Holy Smoke

Appearance - Really nice deep brown with a minimal head.
Nose - nice malt and toastiness. can pick up the sweetness and smoke faintly.
Taste - Great malt and and warmth from the alcohol. The smokiness is there and flavors linger.
Mouth - Tasted fairly smooth but had a slight sharpness on the end (possibly from the alcohol or maybe an older keg?) still very good.
Drinkability - Very good. Definitely a Fall brew to brush the chill off.

Photo of Metalmonk
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Big thick head from an average pour, and there's lace stickage happening with a quickness, while the color is a deep burgundy-brown.

Aroma is quite smoky, even for the style...there's a pungent dark fruit sweetness lurking underneath, but by and large there's little to glean from the aroma other than smoke.

Smoke is unsurprisingly the main feature of this beer, while a juicy fruit sweetness makes it way through better than in the aroma. Vinous and succulent, with a mild hint of flowery spice and cinnamon. Smoked cotton candy (?) in the finish. This is not only the smokiest scotch ale I've ever had, but also one of the most complex.

Texture is near-perfect, uber-rounded, creamy, just enough carbonation to pep it up and not bring it down.

Probably an acquired taste...I'm not the biggest fan of smoked beers, despite having a great liking for this style...I find most of them to have a subtler, milder smokiness. But sitting with this, acclimating to it, and taking it for what it is, it grew on me quickly. Yet another impressive brew from Smuttynose.

Photo of Franchise
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This offering from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series pours a thick tan head, with a clear rusty body. The aroma is smokey, sweet, tart, caramel, this is a sweet delicious smell.

The taste starts tart, smokey, with some caramel sweetness. A bit of tart fruit begins to be apparent, nuts, a vibrant carbonation with just enough hops to tell you their there but nothing dominant. The finish is again smokey sweet, with just a touch of bitterness in the back of the throat in the finish.

Photo of morebeergood
4.04/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I have had this guy in my beer cellar for a while now, and I cracked open this 2007 version the other day to celebrate the Celtics good fortune (so far) in the playoffs. Poured into a DFH oversized snifter. Large white head, lots of lacing on the glass. The color was dark brown with a slight hint of ruby to it. The first sniff was a knockout. Peat and smoke all up in the nostrils. Taste was delicious too. Lots of smokiness and caramel notes, with a bit of raisins thrown in the mix. The beer is a pretty hearty, so just a bomber is all I needed. I had a chance to try this beer when it was first released in 2007, and it was really peaty. A year later, this beer mellowed out a bit in that aspect, and seemed to age quite nicely.

Photo of mikesgroove
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This one has been sitting in the fridge for months, I have to admit, and there for probably should
have been drank earlier as it was a 2007 vintage, but it has been refrigerated so lets see how it
holds up. The 22oz bottle was poured into a Pint glass and served at a nice chilled temperature.

Appearance - The look was very nice, with a rich, brown, caramel colored liquid being presented in
front of me. Very nice clarity here as the light was really shining through and looking very nice. A
decent two inch head of white foam rose up from the bottom and proceeded to settle down rather nicely,
leaving behind a nice coating on the glass and about a half inch of pillow like foam on the top.

Smell - The aroma was an interesting mix of malts. I was picking up some nice bready tones in here
almost immediately. Hints of some flowery like aromas coming through now as well. Slightly bitter
aroma, astringent almost from something, but cannot place what it is. Hints of clove, and heather, and
a touch of lavender come through as well. Very nicely done.

Taste - The flavor was spot on to the aroma. A rich bready, malt came through almost immediately, but
as you let it warm, swish it around, and really let the flavors start to come though it got a good
deal more complex. Rich floral tastes coming through, like a nice meadow. Lots of clove coming through
on this, and an almost chewy like grass flavor. Nice hints of caramel to sweeten it up, but it really
had a chewy earthy like flavor overall. The taste had a quick cut off, not really lingering long at
all before cutting off and leaving the taste of caramel in its wake.

Mouthfeel - Nice and light bodied, only fault would have to be that it was a touch under carbonated,
but that's ok. Decent coating feeling and a nice smooth flavor made up for it and gave it a decent
rank overall.

Drinkability - Not bad at all given the Abv, as none was able to be detected. It really did come off
quite nice and overall I could have easily let myself have another.

I really thought this was well done. A more then decent Scotch ale, and a little on the interesting
side. Big fan of Smuttynose and this only improves my opinion of them. Definitely a must try if you
can find them.

Photo of russpowell
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cheers to ppotrias for this one!

Pours an effervescent caramel with 2 fingers of sand colored head. Above average head retention & lacing

S: Slight smokeyness & even slighter caramel

T: Smokeyness & a hint of caramel up front. Sweet malt & some peat, plus dryness as this warms. Finishes with some boozeyness, a bit of toffee & smokeyness that reminds me of liquid smoke

MF: Slick, a bit chewy, low carbonation. This one seems to thin out as it warms

Drinks good for the abv, but the smokeyness seems a bit artificial to me & more malt backbone is needed. I'm somewhat suprised this one didn't measure up to other offerings from this brewery

Photo of BeerSox
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22oz bomber into nonic.

Clear mahogany hue with a khaki two finger head that slowly settles to a thin cap, leaving behind a solid wall of lacing.

Subtle roasty aromas with a touch of caramel. Some light coffee aromas.

Plenty of caramel and light coffee. The hop bitterness and flavor is low, common for the style. Full bodied with a good amount of carbonation. Some creaminess comes in around the middle. The finish is lingering caramel grains. The flavor gets more and more enjoyable as the beer warms.

Not a bad little Scotch Ale from Smuttynose. I feel I have had better though from other craft breweries in the U.S. Nothing compares to the ones you find in Scotland though. This still a solid beer, with some complexity. Recommended.

Photo of dsa7783
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Smuttynose big-bottle series purchased for $5.99 from Super Saver in Somerville...
A hefty pour resulted in a dark-copper, ruby-red colored hue with a minimal frothy head that soon dissipated and left a miniscule amount of lacing...
Thick, malty, caramel-filled aroma with noticeable candied sugars in the nose... Very sweet smelling and enticing...
Very thick, creamy, rich, full-bodied flavor, bursting with vanilla, caramel, strong florals, chewy malts, dehydrated fruits, and figs...
Like the taste, the mouthfeel was likewise very thick, rich, and creamy - certainly a big-bodied, full-flavored beer...
Drinkability was good as well, but took a slight hit due to the ultra-thick and super-rich flavor and mouthfeel...
Not my favorite "big-beer" series from Smuttynose, but a good depiction of the style nonetheless...
Good stuff...

Photo of lpayette
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I purchased this quite some time ago and it's been sitting in my beer fridge for too long. Time to open this up and check it out.

Poured into my imperial pint glass, this beer pours a deep redish amber with stunning clarity, and about a finger of head. I didn't observe much lacing.

The smell is mostly of sweet malts with some medicinal-like attributes.

In the taste peat smoked malt comes to the forefront (which was not immediately noticeable in the smell). The aging that this beer has undergone may have allowed some of the other flavors to fade away while the peat smoked malt remained. Anyway, it's quite pronounced in this particular bottle, and perhaps just a bit too much... just a bit. There's a bit of a hop bite just around the midway point of the finish. Herbal and woody notes throughout with a lingering smoke finish. A very, very slight citrus characteristic (mostly orange rind) comes through at various times during the sip, but is stronger in the finish.

Overall a really good example of the style. Could perhaps be more drinkable if it didn't end so harsh. Just a little bit too much smoke and bitterness for me at the finish. Although I didn't really feel that way until about midway through this bomber... a 12 oz beer may have been perfect in this regard.

Photo of PBoegel
4.12/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber to brown with a modest cream white head.

Aromas are smokey at first, but as it warms the smoke is more subdued and deep maltiness, chewy grain and some chocolate notes.

The flavor profile is much the same. The peat smoke flavor which I have heard so often does not belong in a Scotch style ale is just a hint in the flavor and perfect to me. Give me that touch of peat, let the style guidelines debate its merit. This beer has no hop profile other than a restrained bitterness. Very deep well rounded malt profile with hints of sugar/caramelized fresh ground barley and bittersweet chocolate.

Mouthfeel is heavier side of medium body with a slight creaminess.

Big but very drinkable, probably not more than a bomber in an evening but certainly a couple of points is not out of the question if you had it on draft.

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 489 ratings.