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Pipers Scotch-Style Ale - Sprecher Brewing Company

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Pipers Scotch-Style Ale
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BA SCORE
81
good

209 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 209
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 7
Gots: 5 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
Sprecher Brewing Company visit their website
Wisconsin, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.27% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
Gold Medal Winner in the Strong Scotch Ale category at the 2004 Great American Beer Festival (GABF).

(Beer added by: battlekow on 08-14-2005)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 209 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.58/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Darkish brown with a moderate white head, that leaves some lacing. Nice smoke and tabacco odour. A tad weak mouthfeel, decent taste, malt and spicey sweet peat, and tabacco smoke taste. above average carbonation.
A decent scotch beer from this decent brewer.

Sammy, Mar 03, 2009
Photo of Thorpe429
3.2/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottled shared by drabmuh. Thanks, Matt.

Pours a light caramel color with a single-finger of head. There are a few bits of spotty lacing here and there along with a pretty bubbly head. The nose is pretty light with a tad bit of chocolate and caramel. The taste is slightly cidery along with some caramel, peat, and toffee. The feel is quite thin and slightly astringent. This drinks well enough until the finish, which is quite off.

Thorpe429, Nov 30, 2010
Photo of Texasfan549
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

Texasfan549, Aug 30, 2013
Photo of kjkinsey
4/5  rDev +13.6%

kjkinsey, Jul 31, 2012
Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.28/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Autumn leaves russet topped with three fingers of golden caramel colored foam. The head is so tight-bubbled that it deflates exceedingly slowly, leaving a thin layer of hole-filled lace in its wake. This is definitely a quality beer based on looks alone.

I'm thrilled that Sprecher used smoked malt (at least it smells like it), an added touch that too few American craft brewers include in their Scotch ales. The beer smells at least as sour as it does sweet, with caramel and hints of cocoa assuming center stage alongside the smoke. More power and more depth would have easily earned the nose the next highest score.

Pipers Scotch-Style Ale is a more than solid wee heavy that might be the smokiest that I've ever had. In fact, it tastes like a cross between a Scotch ale and a rauchbier. As a lover of both those styles, I couldn't be happier. Although I expected a bigger beer, there's no denying the (increasing) complexity and deliciousness of this one.

The malt bill includes pale, aromatic, caramel, Vienna and roasted. My uneducated guess is that the brewers concentrated on the mid-range malts since dark caramel is the dominant flavor. As in the nose, chocolate and coffee notes from the roasted barley play a major role as well. A significant amount of hop bitterness and hop flavor (for the style) keeps Pipers from being overly sweet and one-dimensional.

Fine print along the bottom of the label reads 'with hints of peat smoked English malt'. I'm not sure what the brewers were smoking (other than the malt) when they wrote that, but 'hints' is laughable. This is a beautifully smoke-saturated beer that is much more smoky than many so-called smoked beers. Why do I suddenly have a craving for ribs, baked beans and potato salad?

I like my wee heavies to be... well... heavy in the mouth. Maybe not quite heavy, but at least somewhat viscous and chewy. Given the flavor (that I want to linger as long as possible) and the ABV, the mouthfeel is too light. It's improving as the beer warms, but I'm still not impressed.

Pipers Scotch-Style Ale is yet another wonderful beer from Sprecher. One simple change (adding more malt) would turn this already excellent offering into something that I would consider world-class. I'm all over this one the next time I'm in Madison.

BuckeyeNation, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of jaydoc
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

jaydoc, Jan 23, 2014
Photo of ChainGangGuy
3.84/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

12 ounce bottle - $2.99 at Total Wine & More in Kennesaw, Georgia.

Appearance: Pours a darkish amber-brown body with good clarity capped by a smallish, near white head.

Smell: Vibrant caramelized sugars, toast, roast and given a good dosing of fruity esters. All the while, there's pervasive, peat-driven smokiness.

Taste: Toasted, lightly roasted malts hit with a little sweet caramel. Poignant peat character throughout that, when it combines with the upfront sweetness, tastes like a sweet barbecue sauce. Sorta. Fruity esters of golden raisin and cherry. A little herbal hop character, a little bitterness, but it's not enough to keep it from finishing with a sweet, smoky peat flavor. Quite the malt-forward brew, here.

Mouthfeel: Medium-bodied. Medium carbonation. Very, very slight stickiness to the mouthfeel.

Overall: Sweet and smoky!

ChainGangGuy, Jun 30, 2013
Photo of SocalKicks
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%

SocalKicks, Feb 24, 2013
Photo of oberon
3.93/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

It's been awhile since I had a Sprecher brew (back to my Michigan days) so when I saw a bunch available here in the B-lo area I grabbed some.This poured into a standard pint glass a deep mahogany brown with some amber hue a thinner but well retained white head atop.Deep caramel and brown sugar notes obviously malt tilted in its malty sweetness and cake-like dominance a bit of alcohol shows thru in the finish but doesnt distract from the flavors.A decent Scotch ale to be had.

oberon, Mar 25, 2008
Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A_ A brownish red-amber tone, with sudsy foam that dispersed quickly.

S_ Mild yeast esters, banana, mildly phenolic.

T_ Peat-smoked English malt, mild bitterness. Good level of complexity, not overwhelming.

M_ Medium-bodied, quaffable, good level of carbonation.

D_ Fairly average, didn't want another pint after the first, but it was easy to finish.

Label depicts a filtered view of the Tartan pattern of a Scottish kilt, beyond that, the hazy figure of a bagpipe player in the background. Almost what you'd expect to see if you were the drummer in the marching band who drank too much Scotch and ended up on the ground.

emerge077, Apr 30, 2007
Photo of NeroFiddled
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Caramel, chocolate, raisins, figs, and a hint of roastiness appear in the nose of Sprecher's Pipers Scotch-Style Ale.

It's chestnut-brown in color with a short but creamy head of ivory that holds pretty well and leaves some minor lace about the glass.

The mouthfeel is smooth and just slightly dextrinous across the palate with a medium-full body and restrained, very-fine bubbled carbonation.

A distinct note of chocolate appears upfront in the flavor. It's not particularly to style, but it's rich and welcoming... and it is, of course, only "Scotch-style". From there the maltiness diplays a good deal of caramel and more toasty malt across the middle. It's sweetish, but not overdone. Supple dark fruit appears, and some candyish notes come through along with a flicker of alcohol. The bitterness balances it nicely, maintaining a presence but staying low-key. It finishes dry despite the richness of the malt with some residual soft chocolate and caramel, and a light roastiness and subtle smokiness that don't really appear prior.

NeroFiddled, Apr 06, 2007
Photo of nickfl
3.13/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

A - Hazy brown body with red highlights, topped by a small head os off-white foam. The head settles quickly and leaves little lace.

S - Strong peated malt aroma with toffee and dark caramel. Some honey and red apple as well.

T - Toasty brown malt and earthy smoked malt followed by caramel and light coffee flavors. Finishes with some grassy pine hop flavor and light bitterness, leaving lots of smoke and toasted malt on the palate.

M - Medium body, moderate carbonation, and a slightly sweet finish.

D - The peat is dominant and excessive. The aroma had some promise, and I wanted to like it, but the flavor is muddy, syrupy, and unfortunately band-aid like. This could be good if they toned the smoke down a bit and did something to liven up the malt, but as it stands, it is almost a drain pour. The fact that this apparently won a GABF medal just goes to show how hit and miss the judging at those events can be.

nickfl, Oct 12, 2009
Photo of russpowell
2.9/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

I think I got this from czoch75, cheers Clint!

Pours a murky chestnut with a sliver of tan head. So-so lacing & average head retention

S: Caramel, brown sugar & apricots, fades as it warms

T: Toffee, dryness & a touch of band aids??? up front. Smokeyness comes through as this warms, plus dryness plus some peach & apricot, & a touch of burnt caramel. Finishes slightly fruitty & smokey with more annoying dryness; on the verge of cloying

MF: Kind of thin for the style, prickly carbonation

Drinks okay, I expected a helluva lot more from Sprecher. This is just just so-so for a style I truly love

russpowell, Oct 16, 2008
Photo of drabmuh
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Beer poured into a becher glass. Beer is caramel and mostly clear with a slight haze, and a tan head of medium and large bubbles, minimal lacing.

Beer has a smokey / peaty aroma, mildly sweet.

Beer is medium bodied, not carbonated in the mouth, its smoky in the late palate and mildly sweet up front. I was expecting less smoke and more caramel, I got the opposite. It is OK, but I probably wouldn't have it again.

drabmuh, Nov 29, 2010
Photo of mendvicdog
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

mendvicdog, Jan 22, 2013
Photo of WesWes
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The beer pours a brown color with a thick frothy offwhite head that slowly fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a dry, roasted malt scent with a nice smokey/peated malt aroma. The taste is good as well. It has a smooth roasted and crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry with a mild smokiness. The mouthfeel is fine. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is an all around good beer. It has excellent aroma as well as malt character and drinkability; Recommended.

WesWes, May 05, 2008
Photo of jwc215
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

Pours medium brown with a thin head that becomes a wisp. A few spots of lacing stick.

The smell is of peat smoke, toasted toffee, caramel and booze.

The taste is of sweet caramel with burnt sugar and smokey peat. Booze shows in the finish.

It has adequate, fitting carbonation. Fairly smooth despite a sharp bite. A fuller malt body wouldn't hurt it, but it is fine as it is.

Smoky and rather boozy, it is a nice scotch ale to sip on.

jwc215, Sep 01, 2014
Photo of Gueuzedude
3.48/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle number 39319 FL, 063471541, Sampled October 2007
Hmm, a salty smoke character wafts from the beer as I pour this; I bet some peat smoked malt was used here. The beer pours with a frothy, initially two-finger thick, amber tinged, tan colored head. The beer sits in my glass a drab, concentrated, very dark, amber color, but shows a striking, brilliantly clear, garnet color when held up to the light. Wow, this has a lot of peat character here; I was expecting something on the subtle side based on the bottle description, but this is full on salty, smoky, pungently sweet, peat smoke character. The peat character is not huge though and I can get other aromatic notes from the nose; aromas of raisins, toasty grain, caramelized sugars and bright-sweet plum are all noticeable up front, but quickly disappear under the peat if you spend an extended time smelling this brew.

Sweetish and malt up front, this beer tastes of malt derived raisins and prunes up front. This quickly moves towards the phenolic peat notes that more or less dominate the finish of this brew. The peat-smoke character is not quite as dominant in the flavor as it was in the aroma, but it still plays a major role in the finish of this beer. Salty and earthy, with a smoky phenolic note that at times can approach burnt plastic. Despite the malt sweetness, this beer only has a medium heft to it; this helps to keep this drinkable, though a bit more body and malt might stand up to the peat character a bit more. The sweet notes lean towards complexly caramelized / maillard malt sugar notes, but don't quite get fully there. What should be rich & malty, somehow has a little bit too much of a simplistic, simple, sweet malt character to be great (this again going back to the body of the brew).

For those who like lots of peat smoked malt in a beer, this should be right up your alley. Despite a love for smoky, single malt Islay's, I prefer a very subtle backdrop of peat, that just perks up the complexity of a brew. While I would not categorize this as a heavy handed use of peat, I think this would be a much better for me if it had a bit less. Half this amount would still be quite noticeable, and even an 1/8 the amount that was used would add to the complexity of the base beer. While I don't quite think that this beer works, it is quite engaging, and quite contemplative; if the malt character were kicked up a notch (meaning bumping up the final & original gravities a corresponding amount through more malt used and a higher mash temperature) this beer would be quite a bit more enjoyable and even down right great. Still, I am enjoying this brew, so I certainly can't complain too much.

Gueuzedude, Oct 21, 2007
Photo of kojevergas
2.44/5  rDev -30.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.25 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

12 fl oz brown glass bottle with generic label art and branded twist-off pressure cap acquired as part of a 6 pack at me local cornerstore and served into an Independence Brewing pilsner glass in me gaff in low altitude Austin, Texas. Reviewed live. Expectations are low given the brewery. Reviewed as a Scotch ale because it clearly identifies as such. 8.3% ABV per the label.

Served cold - straight from me fridge - and allowed to warm over the course of consumption. Side-poured with standard vigor as no carbonation issues are anticipated.

It's clearly a twist-off cap, but I needed to use an opener. Either I have panzy grip strength or it was capped impractically tight (or both).

A: No bubble show forms as I pour.

Pours a four finger wide head of light khaki colour. Decent creaminess and thickness. Fluffy. Okay frothiness. Head retention is good - about 5-6 minutes. Not too shabby for an 8.3% beer. Inconsistent messy lacing clings to the sides of the glass as the head recedes.

Body colour is a clear translucent/transparent amber-copper of below average vibrance. No yeast particles are visible.

A bit light in colour for a wee heavy. It's not unique or special, but there are no obvious flaws.

Sm: Brown malts, biscuit malt, tobacco, molasses, toffee, amber malts, peat, smoked malt, caramel, Vienna malts, English malts, and a hint of taffy. Sticky. Plenty of residual sugars lend it an aromatic sweetness. Any hop presence is minimal and generic. I don't detect any yeast character or alcohol. The smokiness was unexpected. An inoffensive aroma of above average strength.

It's not particularly appealing for the style.

T: Nowhere near as complex or subtle as it needs to be to compete with the best beers in the style. I get a generally cohesive but certainly not gestalt build of biscuit malt, English malts, toffee, brown malts, caramel/caramalts, Vienna malt, chocolate malt, and smoked malt. Also some molasses and tobacco - neither of which is welcome here; those are tough notes to really pull off and they're not well incorporated here. Heavy sassafras. It's not so much imbalanced as it is loosely put together; it's not a carefully considered flavour profile by any means. The smoked malt comes off limp, making it feel like a cross between a mediocre wee heavy and a weak rauchbier. The peat surfaces mainly in the third act and isn't integrated well at all. A fairly messy brew across the board.

No yeast character, hop character, or alcohol comes through.

Very shallow depth of flavour. Average duration and intensity of flavour.

Mf: Smooth and wet, with some unnatural peat-derived coarseness and dryness in the third act. A bit too heavy on the palate for the lack of diversity/fullness of flavour. Thin and weak. Undercarbonated Lacks a good full body or assertive bold texture. Subpar presence on the palate; it's not approachable or pleasant. Sticky. Syrupy. Doesn't suit the style or the flavour profile well. Poor execution overall.

I could easily see this turning to cardboard with age. Oxidation would ruin this.

Dr: Tough to down given its low quality. I'm not sure what Sprecher was going for with this one, but in spite of the inclusion of elements that sound good on paper (peat, tobacco, toffee, smoked malt) it falls flat. I'd caution friends against buying this one. Poor show from Sprecher. This is the worst wee heavy I've had in recent memory. I definitely wouldn't buy it again, and finishing the 6 pack might prove a chore.

If you're looking for true style paragons, go for Oskar Blues' Old Chub or Founders' Backwoods Bastard.

D+

Not recommended for aging.

kojevergas, Oct 08, 2013
Photo of imperialking
3.5/5  rDev -0.6%

imperialking, Mar 15, 2012
Photo of weeare138
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Appears a hazy, copper toned amber with a small, light tan head that fades into a mild cap and collar. Spotty lacing is left around the glass.
Smell is of caramel, raisins, smoked meat, brown sugar, and roasted nuts.
Taste is of the mentioned aromas with hints of a varietal of ripened fruit and a hint of beef jerkey and cocoa powder.
Mouthfeel is medium bodied, sugary, and slightly thin in the finish.

weeare138, May 07, 2007
Photo of tempest
3.88/5  rDev +10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a single from Princeton Liquors in Maple Grove. Poured a red-brown with a short head. The flavor, straight out of my fridge is a rubbery smoked malt, but it smooths out as the beer warms up. The flavor has a slightly meaty roasted caramel taste to it, with a bit of candy sugar sweetness. The aroma also has a bit of apple to it, and the body is reasonably drinkable. This is a nice beer, though, worth a try if you like smoked beers.

tempest, Jan 04, 2009
Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +16.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

16 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled on 5/30/2011. Pours lightly hazy dark red amber color with a nice 1 finger fairly dense off white head with great retention, that reduces to a small cap that lingers. Spotty soapy lacing clings to the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, toast, molasses, toffee, dark bread, peat, wood, light smoke, light chocolate, scotch, floral, and earthy spiciness. Damn nice aromas with good complexity and balance. Taste of caramel, molasses, toast, toffee, raisin, peat, wood, bread, light smoke, floral, scotch, and earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, toast, toffee, raisin, molasses, bread, peat, floral, scotch, and earthy spiciness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance of flavors with some great complexity; with zero cloying sweetness present on the finish. Light-medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy and slick mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is well hidden with only a small warming noticed after the finish. Overall this is an excellent scotch ale! Nice balance and great flavor complexity; and very smooth to sip on. Really enjoyed this one, very well done.

superspak, Jan 02, 2013
Photo of ejimhof
3/5  rDev -14.8%

ejimhof, Oct 04, 2013
Photo of Huhzubendah
3.85/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle shared by drabmuh. Thanks Matt!

A: The beer is mostly clear with a very slight haze. the color is a burnt orange hue. The head is a half inch thick and leaves some fair lacing behind.

S: The beer smells of sweet malts, alcohol, peat, and smoke.

T: The taste is decent, with a bit more smoke than is usual. I have no complaints with this, as I prefer smokey Islay single malt scotches such as Ardbeg, Laphroaig, and Lagavulin.

M: The feel is OK, with a lingering sweetness and notes of smoke, along with an alcoholic finish.

D: A decent beer. I would drink it again, though I probably wouldn't purchase it.

Huhzubendah, Dec 04, 2010
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Pipers Scotch-Style Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
81 out of 100 based on 209 ratings.