Dismiss Notice
Sneak peek! BeerAdvocate magazine #104 (September 2015) featuring Leah & Oscar from Highland Brewing in Asheville, North Carolina. Learn more ...

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

281 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 281
Hads: 502
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 9.02%
Wants: 64
Gots: 41 | 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: 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: 281 | Hads: 502
Photo of madelfonatree
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

2013 bottle drank July 2015

Look - Dark brown with red and yellow tint. Medium head with aggressive pour. Light tan head with very light lacing.

Smell - Malt. Caramel. Fruit. Sweet.

Taste - Malt. Caramel. Very sweet finish. Earth. Alcohol.

Feel - Smooth with a little carbonation bomb. Dries up on the tongue.

Overall - I bought this beer on sale for $2. Good. Surprising how similar it was to a wheat dunkel beer I like. It is not skunked which I was slightly worried about. I have no idea where my bottle shop found the dusty, moldy cases and cases of these 2013 big beer series beers. (594 characters)

Photo of Terp96
3.7/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I think it is unanimous that this one is a definite malt bomb.

I poured this bomber into my dimpled 22 oz mug. Deep red, brownish color with very little head retention. I even made sure it was an even pour into the middle of the glass and I managed to get the whole thing in the mug at once. Small amount of sediment was left in the bottle.

Smells of malt and not much else. No hop aroma but a tad bit of smokiness.

Tastes pretty good and what I expected for a wee heavy. Malt up front and malt in the back. There is a definite caramel sweetness that takes over about mid way through disguising any alcohol presence.

Mouthfeel is a little strange. I expected this beer to be smoother but it was too prickly up front. The finish is not as long as I would like.

Drinkability is okay. It tastes good enough to leave you wanting more and it makes a good beer to relax with by the fire on a cold night. I will pick this up occasionally but it will not be one of my go-to's. (984 characters)

Photo of JackStraw22
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a dark amber with golden highlights. Good amount of tan head, nice retention.

Aroma: Lots of malt in this one. There's a yeasty smell that comes through, grassy, a lot like a belgian.

Taste: Oh the malty taste is nice in this. It's not overly sweet, though. There doesn't seem to be anything that's poking out tastewise, but whatever it is is blended beautifully.

Mouthfeel: A little bit chewy, really coats the mouth.

Drinkability: Good, not sure I could down another 22oz, but another glass, sure. (531 characters)

Photo of raverjames
3.97/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I am always happy to see another smuttnose brew on the shelves of the Charleston Beer Exchange. This was one of their first big beer series brews to enter SC. This scotch ale looks like a typical scotch ale. It is dark brown/copper with little to no head. It may have been too cold, in smutty's defense. It smells of caramel, biscuit malts, and light neutral hops. The taste is very light on bitterness. It has a nice bready and malty finish. Medium body allows for an easy consumption. The 22oz is not difficult to consume if you are drinking alone. Over all, this brew is decent. I didn't expect any extreme flavor or exotic spices, so this met my expectations. (663 characters)

Photo of kasper
4.28/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a very dark, opaque mahogany with amber highlights; two fingers of foamy, fluffy cream colored head that produces some nice lacing sheets.

S: Aromas of smoke malts, chocolate, beech wood, and hints of subtle sweet dark sweet fruits. In general, the nose is sweet, smokey but subdued and really inviting.

T: What a mix of flavors. This is a compelling, complex brew. All sorts of things going on here: smoked malt, chocolate malt, roasted grains, tamed raisins, fleshy red fruits like plums, and an alcohol kick. Finish is a tad spicy and bitter, and somewhat dry.

M: Medium bodied, mild carbonation, incredibly smooth on the palette.

D: I'm loving this one. They changed the recipe this year year to a beech wood smoked malt from peat smoked malt. Just a really drinkable big brew. Smuttynose is sooo underrated. (828 characters)

Photo of jtfest
4.1/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As far as the appearance, think Pepsi. Not, darken it a shade or two and you know what this brew looks like. The aroma is pleasant, but very subtle. A bit of malt, some floral hints -- and just a tinge of alcohol. The mouthfeel is full and smooth -- this is a brew that feels good. The taste, however, is what makes this brew remarkable. It is extremely complex, and I found myself experiencing different beers with every sip -- sometimes even during the same draw. There were woody flavors, spices like clove and cinnamon, and a world of other tastes. Every time I tried to "capture" the flavor to describe it, it would morph into something else. This is a chameleon-like brew that just keep surprising me. Very drinkable and highly recommended. (746 characters)

Photo of BierManVA
4.14/5  rDev +3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A creamy malty mouthfeel that glides pleasantly past the taste buds. Average pour. Smell is fruit and malt and a nice hop finish.

Goes down very easy. Pleasant to the palate. Excellent aftertaste.

A very good example of this style. Highly recommended.

John (265 characters)

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

You find yourself in the land of the Celts as the sun fades away. The night is black, but is dark red where the sun has slipped below the horizon. Small tan clouds rapidly give way to the night. As you approach the campsite, you smell a whiff of peat smoke, then scotch, smoked malt, currant, and chocolate. It seems that a feast is about to begin! You step into the firelight, your broadsword at your side, and are heartily welcomed to the feast. Fruit, chocolate, scotch, faint hops, lots of malt, and caramel are all at the table, as we toast a fine Scottish day. Huzzah! It all goes down smooth, leaving an oily slick feeling on your wild beard and gullet. You smack your lips, still tasting the malt, the small tangy citrus, and of course, the scotch whiskey. Now that the feasting is done, a comely lass has you lay by her side, and soon you lay asleep, sated and ready for another day of pillaging... (907 characters)

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. (901 characters)

Photo of StrangeBrewer76
4.65/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

Classic brown with way too much head due to the temp and aggressive pour but after a bit it settled out nicely.

I don't think I've ever smelled anything but an under=ripe apple that smelled more like an under-ripe apple than this at first sniff. It's a great smell in nature but a little disturbing to have in a beer.

Taste belies the smell. This is a perfect brown ale with just the slightest hint of malt sweetness. I would have a hard time identifying this as a Scotch ale in a blind tasting. I would expect more malt sweetness and more boozy texture but I'd rater drink this tan that. Very well done.

Mouthfeel is good like beer. A little sharp with carbonation but medium to light bodied enough to be scanned and accepted as good and moved along. No complaints.

Drinkability is as good as it gets. I could drink this all day.

Score another for Smutty! (861 characters)

Photo of villainchiwwin
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

poured from 22 oz. bomber into tulip glass, 2005 edition consumed from cellar temp. on 4-11-06. sunny bliss.

vibrant, deep red with mahogany hues at bottom of glass. thin head retained well, sexy abstract and intricate lacing left behind by beer as artist (maybe it's my mood). caramel malty sweetness in the nose balanced well with a touch of hops, tho it is a bit too faint - maybe a bit herbal? wonderful upon the sip: big malt sweetness with hazelnut and caramel - even chocolate way back there somewhere, swishing it around; then the Williamettes steps forward, swelling with a sort of sweet bitterness that segues well out of the initial maltiness, smack of coffee in a last death spasm before the swallow. . . nice long finish after this final impression with a gradual sweetness replacing it. smuttynose nails the mouthfeel - excellent carbonation tickles the tongue intensely and then settles into an impressively full and malty body, actually seeming fuller than it is (a neat trick, really), some alchohol-type warmth and a nice soft malty remainder bringing up the tail. A brew that's not hard to quaff, and important to savor. Seems half a year to a year in the cellar for these scotch big beers yields balanced and ripe results. (1,245 characters)

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. (470 characters)

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. (368 characters)

Photo of FirstMan
3.96/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber out of the bomber bottle leaving a nice full head that takes its time reducing into an uneven level on the top of the liquid. No lacing on the sides from the head reduction. Love the label with the big thistle on the front - actually I like the label on most of the Smuttynose big bottle series.

Color is fairly cloudy, which is fine for a scotch style, but there are little chunks of unfiltered yeast floating in there, which is always a downer for me. I've had enough run-ins with spoiled bottles to get a little scared by floaters.

That said... it smells great. Nice malty, peaty, rich aroma with just enough hop floral character to even it out.

The first thing I notice is the chewy mouthfeel and the quick tang of alcohol. That's quickly followed by a nice malt sweetness tempered by a dry hop note. Not overly sugary like some scotch ales and not too heavy on the esters like others. Well balanced. The finish is a little less than I'd like, but it leaves me feeling warm the way a good scotch ale should.

Good for a cold day on the moors, to be sure. (1,091 characters)

Photo of BeerandWhiskeyHQ
3.55/5  rDev -11%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Deep brown, caramel, looks delicious, copper hue in the light
Caramel and toffee. Strong, thick malt presence
Caramel and toffee and heavy with malt. Alcohol presence makes itself known throughout the drink, almost a peat smokiness
There’s a lot of flavor and a good alcohol kick in this beer. It packs a big punch in the taste but comes up a little lacking in the nose besides the basic scotch ale characteristics. Drinkable for a big beer., relatively well balanced.

-BeerandWhiskeyHQ.com (529 characters)

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

Appearance: Pours a thick, dark brown/mahogony with about one finger of white head.

Smell: Syrupy, toasted malt aroma with some fruitiness and an esther alcohol presence.

Taste: Malty nose with some caramel sweetness. Tons of toasted malt with a little bit of fruit. Wonderfun aftertaste — little bit of tea and malt, then boozy warming flavors and some smokiness. Could use a little bit more balance between the hops and the malt, even for the style. Very nice, creamy mouthfeel.

Drinkability: Alcohol is a little too noticeable, which takes away from the otherwise good drinkability.

Picked up a bomber bottle of this as an end-of-semester present to myself. Smuttynose is a brewery I recently started buying, and this is a good beer. I'll look forward to trying more of the Big Beer series. (806 characters)

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

Bright clear copper color with thin white head. Residue linguires as I drink.
The nose is very malty with some flowery notes.
Smooth taste, medium body with a taste of tootsie rolls but lighter. A touch of sour bread on the sides of my mouth as it fades to alcohol. Not overpowering at all, but its there. No hop tastes but it has to be there as the beer is not cloying. Slick finish. This is a very nice beer and Im wondering how the other bottles will keep stored in the cellar. (482 characters)

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

A superb, "home-grown" Scotch ale.

Very ruby-red, dark-hued beer, faint foam lacing. Pretty nondescript aroma.

Taste was a big wow! Enjoyable flavors. Specialty-malts with hop bite with esters aglow (possibly also a hint of caramelization, kettle-induced?). A myriad of flavors combining so well that each taste, once over, cried for more.

It was a bit hard during this session for me to crack its complex of flavors (any hint of smoked peat?), so I just continued to enjoy its taste, mouthfeel and drinkability. Bravo. (529 characters)

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. (382 characters)

Photo of RiekerStarBrew
3.57/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I was served this beer from the bottle into my sniffer glass. The aroma was a sweet, toasted malt. There was a hint of apples and alcohol. I really enjoyed the flavor of this beer. The smoke grain characteristic was pronounced which is a flavor I find desirable. The hop presence lended the beer a dry perception while the alcohol gave it balance. The mouthfeel was grainy. I am not sure this is a beer I would drink a full pint of, but with such an intriguing flavor, it really was enjoyable to sip. (500 characters)

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

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. (510 characters)

Photo of jscondon
2.51/5  rDev -37.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

pours a deep red brown with a smaller head that is not consistently distributed across the surface, it is lovely to look at. the smell is very earthy which is good, but i think that it is too peaty and a little grassy. i really like scotch ales, and have been drinking many of them recently but i find this one to be sub-par. the front is very weak with little profile at all, the middle has a slight smokiness that transcends into a very nice caramel flavor for albeit to brief a time to go into an overwhelming smoked flavor. this powers until the end of the taste which has an undesirable flavor that i can't quite describe.

having lived in porstmouth for a time before smutty took over the old frank jones set up and their intial offerings i have a very special place for these guys, but this big beer series is a disappointment for me. it is too peaty/smokey and unbalanced in the end of the flavor profile. in my opinion this does not represent the scotch ale/wee heavy style at all, it is more of a scottish rauchbier. i would not recommend the smutty scotch ale as a good representation of this beer class, in my opinion they do a much better job with their other big beer series. (1,189 characters)

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! (1,812 characters)

Photo of ESkirv
4.49/5  rDev +12.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Bought this on a whim at Payless LIquors in Fishers, IN while looking for 3 Floyd's brews a couple weeks ago and was pleasantly surprised. I've known for awhile Smuttynose is considered a quality brewer but this is the first of their beers I've ever had. The aroma is quite pleasant (reminded me a little of Kahlua) and the appearance is nice; a creamy head with a dark auburn body. This is a very smooth scotch ale. There are strong chocolate, coffee and carmel notes the moment it hits the tongue, followed by a nice complex tangy finish. It seemed to get better the further into the bottle I got. Very impressed Smuttynose...scotch ales are not usually my favorite but this is one I'll definitely scoop up again the next time I see it. (738 characters)

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. (383 characters)

Smuttynose Scotch Style Ale (Big Beer Series) from Smuttynose Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 281 ratings.