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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

285 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 285
Hads: 514
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: 285 | Hads: 514
Photo of Beejay
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Nice medium amber, with red tones when held to the light. Light tan colored head on top, thick and rich.

S: Nice caramel aroma, biscuity and floury. Smells like freshly baked honey wheat bread. Not much as far as the peat malt coming through the nose.

T: Rich caramel, and some of the smokiness comes out. The bread aromas certainly come through, but there is a bit of a bite to it that I didn't expect. Malty, with just a touch of of smoke makes for a nice hearty wood fired bread taste. Very good.

M: Medium to thick bodied. Nice creaminess to it, and carbonation is dead on. Enough carbonation so it isn't syrupy, but not so much that is lightens the body. Very nice.

O: Overall very enjoyable. Subtle balance of flavors, although I do wish there was a touch more peat to it. Very nice.

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Photo of Chickenhawk9932
4.11/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a deep reddish amber with ruby highlights. It has a full frothy tan head that hangs around and clings to the glass.

A fairly clean nose with some faint yeast and bread notes.

It hits up front with tingle of tasty yeast - almost like a Belgian (not in flavor, but in feel). Fresh baked bread, faint caramel, and some rich roasted malt are all there in a harmony of flavor. This is very tasty and almost too drinkable, with subtle complexity. A very smooth creamy mouth feel.

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Photo of VelvetExtract
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Pours a lightly hazy ruby/copper hybrid. Head is whispy. It never gathers itself and pops away. It keeps a thin posture, but it laces with a sense of purpose.

S-Sweetly herbal with light peaty notes. Lacks intensity. Floral, maybe even subtly medicinal. Of course, there is all the caramel and brown sugar you'd expect (without much strength). Very light smoke and soot.

T-Mossy and peaty. Modest intensity. Not sure of this batch's ABV, but the booze isn't shy here. Dried-out gingerbread cookies. Toffee and caramel hard candy. Herbal. Changes per sip. As my palate becomes accustomed to the flavor, I enjoy it more and more. Hard to describe.

M-Full bodied. Booze dries me out. A sipper. Sippy, sip, sip.

O/D-The smoked, peated and herby aspects of this beer set itself apart from many of the style. It was cool but like a few others from the Smuttynose Big Beer Series, I found this to be a bit too boozy.

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Photo of Gushue3
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

'12 bomber poured into Portsmouth snifter

A 1 plus finger finger head thats slightly brown/red and turns foamy. Body is a clear chestnut with a very slight haze. The head stays for a little while and leaves some lace as it goes down, leaving a thick wad of foam above the body. Body is pretty lively.

S Sweet darker malts with some leather, raisins and maybe some caramel malt.

T Follows the nose pretty close, sweet dark malts and fruit. Some roast, leather and a bit of smoke round out the flavor profile. Finish is sweet malts and a trace of alcohol.

M Medium feel with the bigger side of medium carbonation. Finish is a tiny bit sticky.

O Tasty beer that is pretty nice all around.

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

Pours a rich mahogany color with a big tan head that falls pretty fast to a ring. Some sparse lace left behind but not as much as the original head would of indicated.

Aroma is big malty goodness, peat, and dark fruits, big caramel chewy goodness.

Taste is just like the nose big malts with lots of smokey peat mingled with caramel and dark fruits. Chewy malty goodness with light alcohol notes that blend well with light spice in the finish.

Mouthfeel is big medium not quite full.

Overall pretty much on par with the style, hits spot for big malt bomb.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.48/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

2012, pours a deep copper with a tall, foamy, beige head that holds good retention and leaves some lacing on the glass. Aromas are malty, caramel, toffee,raisin, grain, metallic, earthy, woodsy, leather. Tastes are sweet and earthy, with peat, grain, toffee, raisin, brown sugar, leathery, tobacco leaf, alcohol is overbearing at times, finishes dry and a little sourish. Mouth-feel is a little on the thin side, ample carbonation. Overall, this was pretty good. It's obvious that the brewing process was done properly for the style with some partial fermentation tastes rendered.

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Photo of Vonerichs
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep brown with a reddish tint on the edges.

Smells slightly smokey, damp leaves, and a little caramel.

The peat really pops and there's a real nice smokey aspect. Light sweetness and some herbal notes.

Mouthfeel is creamy with moderate carbonation. It has a pretty heavy body.

This is a real nice scotch all that accents the smoky peat.

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

Poured into a tulip glass. A cloudy dark amber color with a thick tan colored head that leaves lacing on the glass. Toasted malt with a smoky quality to it, also some earthy hop aroma. The toasted malt and smoked peat flavor is apparent up front and then there is a bit of caramel with an alcohol bite that fades into a toasted grain and alcohol flavor and warmth. Medium to full body with a smooth and peppery feel with alcohol warmth. Definitely a quality Scotch Ale. It tastes like this is the beginning of whisky here. Very similar flavors. Some Scotch Ales are heavy on the caramel malt; this beer is not and has a very pure flavor to it. The smoked peat and alcohol flavors are simple yet the taste is very deep.

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Photo of tut2528
3.83/5  rDev -4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: pours a deep amber borderline with a massive thick 2 fingers worth of cream colored head formation with awesome lacing. giving the brew a couple swirls quickly recreates about 1 fingers worth of head.

S: peat is definitely the main player here. i also pick up on fruity sweetness, an ever so slight molasses/caramel note, lemon citrus, spices, and a slight smokey malt.

T: caramel comes out here and its quite nice because I wasn't expecting it since the smell was more peat than anything. i also pick up on a various fruits, predominately berries, herbal spices, a just a slight touch of alcohol.

M: medium (slightly heavy) bodied, nice carbonation, leaves a nice caramel and herbal spice/peat note on the palate.

O: pretty solid offering by Smuttynose. i really enjoy the uniqueness of this brew as I feel that the herbal spices really allow for a nice balance with the sweetness of the caramel. glad to have tried it just wish there was a bit more sweetness to it.

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Photo of Chico1985
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Sierra Grille.

Pours into a Smuttynose tulip maroon and translucent. Big off-white head retains pretty well leaving some good lace as well.

A solid scent full of malt - toffee, toasty malts, dark fruit, light peat. Well-balanced.

Taste is solid as well, definitely malt city, but a good variety and balance. Toffee, butter and bread, caramel apple, dark fruit, sweet tea, toastiness, some brown sugar and light peat smoke. A good balance of smoky and sweet, wish it was a little more intense though, feels a bit tame.

Extremely smooth mouthfeel, velvety. Definitely one of the least harsh scotch ales I've had.

I wish the flavor was a bit stronger but I liked this alot. Great balance and pretty easy drinking, a bomber of this solo would be no problem which is rare for the style I'd say. Gotta hunt down a bottle or 2 of this.

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Photo of BEERMILER12
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

2012 bottle

A: Pours a nice amber color with a tiny head

S: Nice and malty, with a bit of fruitiness. Simple, but good

T: Again, very malty with a light wave of sweetness and fruit. Rich. Get a very light hint of smoke as well, but it's far behind the wall of malt

M: Medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation. Smooth

O: A good example of a more classic style. Doesn't just throw smokiness in there, it's nice and subtle. Leans highly on the malts as well, which is also very to-style. This would definitely age well simply because it is very malt forward. Absolutely worth picking up

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

"Bottle Conditioned in 2007"

A: Beautiful amber-brown in color with a fluffy off-white head that fades quickly and leaves no lace or retention. As expected, good legs on this brew.

S: Smoky, peaty, roasty malt. Booze. Butterscotch. Molasses.

T: I was nervous about this one. Although it was in good hands at Smuttynose until I purchased it in December of 2011, it wasn't in optimal conditions until now in June of 2012. But man, all the great flavors are there and they are huge. Huge complex malts, boozy deliciousness that complements the beer rather than diminish it, yeastiness, and some hops? Really?

M: As expected, incredibly smooth, flavorful, boozy, and little carbonation. Fun to drink. Easy to drink.

O: I'd love to try this fresh as a comparison to see how it has developed over nearly five years of aging. I'm generally not a big fan of this style but this is an incredible beer that has benefitted immensely from bottle conditioning for a long period of time.

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Photo of TK5150
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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.

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Photo of KarlosT
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had this on tap in a tulip glass at the RiRa pub in Portsmouth (waiting in line for Kate the Great).

Given the dates on the other reviews, worried that I am evaluating a different brew. The menu simply mention it was part of the Big Beer Series, and had to rely on the waitress who called it a scotch ale.

None the less, it was quite good. Very sweet, malty flavors.

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Photo of GarthDanielson
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured as part of a barrel tasting, this is from the 2007 vintage. Served in a tulip, the beer is a muddled reddish brown coloring with a yellow-beige head that is low profile and clingy. Slow bubbling of carbonation throughout. Aromas are blended well, with a fruit cocktail sweetness, earthy notes, and a strong, aged booze character. Flavors are robust and full, but only for an instant. Earthy malt forward, with currant and grape character abound, followed by an earthy, somewhat watery caramel apple flavor. The flavors are surprisingly mild and subtle from the aging process, and the barrel imparts only slight woody characteristics. The aftertaste is no different, with a light, effervescent caramel and roasty quality. The finish is slick and oily, leaving a slightly cloying linger on the palate. Strong and flavorful.

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

I don't know if this beer has been released since, but this is the 2007 vintage that I picked up at Chevy Chase W&S a long time back, along with my first 6-pack of Expedition. Oh, the good ol' days.

Pouring a deep garnet with mahogany highlights, this beer is capped with a dense, beige head that rapidly recedes to a ring leaving little lace. The first thing that strikes my nostrils is peat. Not smoky, but peat. Briny, with a touch of toffee, burnt sugar, butterscotch and vanilla are all present. Pretty unique, I really like the nose.

The palate opens with a blend of brine and peat, both mellow, but both still the most dominant flavors in this rather mildly flavored brew. This is followed by toffee, burnt sugar and a mild yeasty fruitiness. Oxidation is unbelievably low here, this smells and tastes remarkably fresh (fresher than the 07 Speedway that preceded this it). Drying and mildly smoky on the finish, this beer is pretty excellent. Medium in body and a touch over-carbonated for my palate, this is rather stunningly good. Just a hair watery, but not enough to significantly detract from enjoyment. A *lot* better than I was expecting. Highly recommended.

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Photo of donkeyrunner
3.31/5  rDev -17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Purchased at the Smuttynose brewery. Bottled 2007.

Muddy copper color with a thin, beige head. Thin skim of retention hangs around until mid glass. No lace.

After four years of aging there's still some hearty peat kickin' around the nose. Scotch and caramel with some fruity highlights.

Unfortunately the flavor didn't hold up as well as the aroma. Tastes like caramel apple, dark brown sugar and a hint of smoke. The flavors blend well together but lack punch.

I'd like to try a fresher bottle.

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Photo of Kranders
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up an aged bottle of this at Smuttynose after a tour, and opened it up during a far too early of the season snowstorm that killed the power. Nothing special during the pour or aroma, but man is this a tasty beer. Nice and malty, with a bit of sweetness and just a hint of that metallic earthy taste I love to find in a good Scotch ale. Great beer that I wish they still made.

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

Smells of thick, sugary malts, with just a touch of earthiness to it: a subtle olfactory hint of the peat-smoked malt inside.

The taste follows these smells almost exactly, as the ale delivers a shotgun blast of sugary and peaty malt. The combination here works well, as the sugary side of the beer contains nice fruit flavors and dark fruit esters, with caramels and perhaps a hint of brown sugar, but the peaty side of the malt lends a stabilizing tang, bringing a smoky, almost-sour quality that, if you've ever smelled a fire lit with dried peat moss, will be instantly recognizable. Hops are also present, giving a nice bitter third layer that lingers on your tongue for a bit after the brew has gone down your throat.

The only complaint I might have about this brew is that the aftertaste is vaguely metallic, as if I were sucking on a penny. Still, that's a very small complaint for what is otherwise a great Scotch Ale.

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Photo of dragonWhale
4.8/5  rDev +20.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Praise be to the good Pat for sharing this delightful little monster. The 2007 bottle popped and served in the dying heat. Crimson is forever! A little oxidized, but absolutely an enhancing of the qualities of this beer, fully integrated. Caramel, fading smoke, a little dark fruit. The age on this beer has put it in such a beautiful place..my belly. This is one of the best beers I've tried in a while. The little bit of smoke just tied it all in. Reminded me a bit of Adam, but I've never had Adam with so much age on it.
Good work, Smutty..

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Photo of justintcoons
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Aged 2 years; vintage 2008

A: Pours a hazy dark brown with a reddish tint. Two fingers of foamy head that dissipate slowly. Very nice lacing with hardly any carbonation.

N: Sweet caramel, booze, watermelon, vanilla and flowers.

T: Blast of rich caramel, smoke, some earth and wood notes and ends with hints of vanilla, floral hops and maybe even some cabbage.

M: Medium bodied and very balanced.

D: Very good drinkability.

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Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at the Porter in Atlanta. 2009 vintage.

Pours a hazy golden-honey color with a half-finger slightly off-white head. The head recedes into a patchy layer on top leaving decent lacing.

Smells of sweet caramel malts with moderate amounts of light toffee and small amounts of vanilla. Also present are syrupy medium fruit aromas that intensify as the beer warms.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors kick things off and are joined quickly by solid amounts of smooth toffee. Midway through the sip hints of light toasted malts and vanilla make an appearance. Near the end of the sip hints of syrupy pears and ripe green apple flavors come into play, fading out into a mildly bitter ending.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with decent carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I didn't have a problem finishing my glass and could have another.

Overall this was a solid beer for the style but it's nothing something over which I'd clamor to have again. Worth a shot.

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Photo of airheadmtrcycle
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

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.

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Photo of claspada
3.4/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pour a dark amber-brown, slightly hazy color. Creates a solid/thick/white head with excellent retention throughout the entire glass.

Nose reveals a pleasant array of aromas of peat smoke, burnt caramel, dried fruit and some toasted malts.

Mouthfeel was disappointingly a bit too thin and watery in the finish for such a big beer. I prefer a thicker mouthfeel for my Scottish styles.

Flavor is like your typical Wee Heavy Ale with an ample amount of biscuit, caramels, toffee, dark fruits and peat smoked malts. Finish is bittersweet with a touch of spice hoppiness coming through to balance the sweetness. Not the best example of a Scotch Ale by any means, but worth the try for the value.

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Photo of msubulldog25
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A rediscovered 22 oz. bottle, cellared in a dark, cool closet for over two years ~ Bottle Conditioned 2007. Opened recently and poured to a short goblet.

A: Deep and warming garnet/chestnut color, plenty of wriggling carbonation. Head is a short-lived 1/4" of dusty tan cream, fair lace in sliding sheets. For a beer aged almost three years, the complexion is mostly clear, a cloud of fine dust and a few flakes - nothing too detrimental.

S: All malty sweetness: sticky toffee pudding, raisins, molasses and cocoa. A little ash/wood and dark fruit.

T: Wow, remarkably peaty upfront - a husky smoke, woodsy barrel. Earthy, rich with berries and red apple skin. Velvety semi-sweet chocolate and an apt but abrupt bittering (slight char) in the finish. Hints at tartness, citric tang. Wonderful complexity.

M: Smooth feel with a pinpoint prickle and a gently prodding alcohol warming. Coating medium body, trace graininess in the finish.

D: As this is the first time I've tried this Scotch Ale, I can't make a comparison between aged and new. Though fresh beer is usually the most desirable, this 'vintage' sipper was still wonderful. Thank you, kind and distant trader for sending...I would definitely look for this again.

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 285 ratings.