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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

290 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 290
Hads: 530
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 12.78%
Wants: 66
Gots: 49 | 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: 290 | Hads: 530
Photo of John_M
4.03/5  rDev +1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on tap at Max's the other day.

The beer pours an amber orange color, with a soft, creamy looking head and very good lacing. The beer smells pretty malty, though I get a whiff of some underlying butterscotch and spice as well. The beer has some pleasant flavors of sweet malt and butterscotch on the palate, but I was hoping for a bit more peatiness/smokiness. Can't speak for others, but I just wasn't picking up all that much flavor complexity, though the flavors were pleasant enough. The beer has a medium bodied mouthfeel and has a fairly light, sweetish finish. Abv. is pretty well disguised, but for all that, I had no interest in drinking more then one of these.

Nice beer. It didn't blow my socks off, and I'm not sure I'd order it again, but still a solid effort from Smuttynose.

Edit from 10/6/12. Well, Max's had the wine barrel aged version of this beer on tap, so mea culpa, I ordered it again after. Frankly, I don't get a whole lot of wine barrel aroma or flavor (there's some, but's pretty subtle), so I can see no reason to enter this as a separate entry.
The beer menu at Max's lists this as a 7.8% abv. beer, but otherwise, it's pretty much the same as sampled previously.l

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Photo of rhoadsrage
3.58/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

(Served in a dimple mug)

A- This beer has a dense but clear auburn-brown body with a light tan mousy head. There is a strong carbonation of tiny bubbles that keep the head going.

S- There is a soft smoky peat note that is pleasant when cold but turns pretty band-aidy when warm.

T- The soft caramel flavor fades into a big band-aid flavor with some softer light brown sugar notes and a light roasted malt note. There is a light peat tartness with a soft bitterness from hops at the finish. There is a slight sweetness that lingers after the finish.

M- This beer has a medium mouthfeel with a slippery texture and no alcohol heat at all.

D- This beer has some nice underlying flavors but the band-aid is pretty dominating.

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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 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.

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Photo of corby112
3.08/5  rDev -22.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a very dark chestnut brown/mahogany color with dark golden amber edges when held to a light source and a very thin tan head that immediately fades leaving no lacing.

Smokey, roasted malt aroma with hints of licorice and chocolate along with some earthy and floral hop notes.

Smooth, creamy medium body with lots of roasted chocolate maltiness, dark fruit(especially dark cherry), licorice and surprisingly, earthy and floral hops. Nice balance of malty sweetness/roastiness and bitter earthy hops. This beer is pretty complex but unfortunately it just doesn't taste that good to me.

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

A: Poured a dark, hazy Brazilian cherry with a foamy, sticky, khaki colored head that was well lasting. A nice splotchy lacing coats the glass on the way down. A moderatly strong carbonation makes its way to the surface beneath the dark, hazy color.

S: The aroma was light overall, with maltiness and some alcohol notes being the most dominant. A fresh wildflower hopping adds subtle highlights while an advertised soft smoked peat moss rounds things out. Overall the aroma was quite soft and wished to have experienced more of it.

T: The flavor opens up with some scotch and water upon first impressions. Some dry whiskey booziness with a thin scorched worty hints were also detected. Overall I think the flavor lacked the depth and body typically per style. The flavor seemed a tad thin at times with an overly aggressive carbonation that distracted. A nice smoked peat moss was perhaps its finest quality and strongest point here.

M: fizzy and left a dry boozy alcohol lacing on the tongue. The body was medium with a light creminess though I think still lacked depth and fullness per style.

D: only slightly above average at best. It takes awhile to warm up to this beer, thankfully it's a 22oz. Bomber. Think it falls short in comparison to others top in class (Founders' Dirty bastard) and was only moderatly good in overall enjoyability.

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

22oz bottle from Yankee Spirits, Sturbridge, MA.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, the reddish-brown liquid forms a deep frothy head, which is slow to fade and leaves ample lace. Strong aroma of maltiness, like a loaf of bread in a bottle, but this bread's been soaking in EtOH, and the alcohol is noticeable. Not overdone, but apparent. Taste does not disappoint, the full malt flavor, slight bite of hops, and warming aftertones of the 7.8% play a beautiful harmony. All this for $2.95?!? Get thee to the store and try it for yourself.

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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 Bighuge
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Rustic looking auburn tone. A bit hazed. The cigarette stained light brown head leaves adequate lacing. Aroma is heavy in its maltiness, yet quite clean. A little peat like smokiness is picked up as well. Overall, the taste is pleasing, but very mellow. A little black cherry in the flavor and some wood tones....cedar-like. Soft maltiness and subdued flavor profile overall. The mouthfeel is very agreeable. Smooth, velvety and creamy. This makes for a nice easy drinking Scotch ale, but it won't wow the hell out of you.

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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 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.

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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 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 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 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 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 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 Cyberkedi
3.94/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Strong, malty aroma has notes of cloves, cinnamon, wood and caramel. Pours a clear sepia with a fluffy and thick, if not too persistent, dark buff head. Flavor - hoo ha, now this is good! Malty, woody, earthy, with hints of cloves and hops, subtle bitter and sweet notes. Smooth texture has average body and fizz, but leaves a nice woody, malty and slightly hoppy texture. This is no wee beer, laddies and lassies!

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Photo of Durge
3.91/5  rDev -2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Enjoyed at the first Warwick Drinking Society's Beer Tasting Session of the year at Ohoove's last night, this donation from Ben the Pull Up King, pours a murky grey-tan color with a full and lasting light oatmeal colored head and similar lacing. The aroma is not nearly so meaty as the appearance but hints weakly at malty smoke, but it's hard to pick up the subtleties here. The flavor comes charging back with a bready/earthy malt blended into a smooth, somewhat resinous brew that goes down quite nicely. I like how this captures that "Scotch" quality, a touch of burnt peat and alcohol while holding the neutralizing sweetness in grainy overtones to make for a drinkable pint, or two, or three. This is the side of Scotch Ales that I like, although perhaps it is not everyone's definition of the style. Put this one on your shopping list.

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Photo of drpimento
3.66/5  rDev -8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

pretty damned good beer! pours with a nice frothy textured head. dark mahagoney reddish brown. really good traditional smokey peaty malty flavor. bit thin in body, but not bad. drinkable, maybe a session beer. Decent finish. The alcohol is definitely present in a boozey, warming sensation. Good cool weather ale.

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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 Immortale25
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a Due South Brewing Co. snifter. Bottleneck says Bottle Conditioned Aug 2015.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 1/2 inch tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a large center patch of sheer surface foam. Resilient lacing leaves a broken ring behind.

S- Toasty, somewhat sweet malt aroma with hints of vanilla and malted milk balls.

T- Very balanced between the sweetness and toasted character of the malts. Incredibly drinkable for the 7.7% ABV. Traces of black licorice and smoke.

M- Slightly creamy with medium carbonation and a fullish body.

O- One of the more outstanding wee heavies I've ever had. Has a more pronounced sweetness than others, which is probably why I like it, but it has all the qualities that one expects from the style.

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

A favorite style of mine and this is a good one...pours a russett brown with little head...cola like in the glass but slightly lighter...nose includes some peat and a lot more HEAT!! You can smell the booze in this one. Sweet chewy malty flavor...not sticky sweet like a doppel...hints of vanilla bean...small peatiness on the taste...not very smoky though...body is medium to full...

Solid enjoyable Wee Heavy..

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

22oz bottle. Nice ruby/amber pour with a tan ring of little bubbles. Carmelly sweet malty aroma. Taste has the standard sweetness of carmel/toffee and malt, but accented with some raisin and a bit of apple. More lively in the mouth than it appears like it would be, yet sticky enough to represent the style well. Nearly no bitterness. Brown sugar nicely melts away nicely. Drinkability is good and improves at it warms. Another solid performer from Smuttynose.

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Photo of maximum12
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Smuttynose for shipping this to Wisconsin where us poor Minnesotans can at least travel a short ways to sample your brews. Send more! It is good to see these seasonals starting to show up on a more regular basis.

Pours a deep, dark red, vaguely bloodish, pretty close to opaque. Smell is good but not terribly forward, sweet malts dominate.

This is a Scotch ale that's good but not great. Sweet malts are hogging the limelight here, with subdued notes of scotchicity & caramel loitering about. A fairly heavy brew.

Smuttynose's good game led me to hope for something more. This is a straightforward interpretation, good, but without any of the singular character I've come to expect from Smuttynose.

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Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 290 ratings.