1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Pipers Scotch-Style Ale - Sprecher Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Pipers Scotch-Style AlePipers Scotch-Style Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

203 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 203
Reviews: 119
rAvg: 3.52
pDev: 18.18%
Wants: 8
Gots: 3 | 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
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Ratings: 203 | Reviews: 119 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of homebrewhawk
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz bottle, served in a Duvel tulip. Poured copper/brown with a thin head. Rich malty aroma with fruit, caramel and some smoke. Full bodied with a smooth, rich mouthfeel. Sweet malt with toffee and more fruit. Good amount of peat smoke in finish. Tasty.

homebrewhawk, Jun 29, 2008
Photo of Chugmonkey
1.5/5  rDev -57.4%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1

You better be a fan of Scotch ales and big brews to attempt this one. Super heavy mouthfeel, very sweet tasting. Heavy syrup feel, alcohol bite, just plain hard to swallow. Any good roasty maltiness is overpowered by the sweet taste and syrupy texture. I couldn't even choke down one bottle.

Chugmonkey, Jun 24, 2008
Photo of Drew966
3.73/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Piper's Scotch Style Ale pours a dark reddish brown with an off white head from a brown sixteen ounce bottle. The aroma is very malty with a hint of smoke and is quite good. The flavor isn't as intensely malty as I might like, don't get me wrong, it's still the most dominant flavor, but it just isn't enough. You can taste some smoke, hops are not really in the picture, nor should they be. Worth a try.

Drew966, Jun 22, 2008
Photo of paulthebeerguru
4.33/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Piper's Scotch Ale
16oz. brown bottle

A: snifter. nice, rich mahogany color. slight tan head with a nice retention rate. fair lacing.

S: some peat of the bat. solid roasted malt nose. some raisins and fall fruits with some solid spices. brown sugar.

T: nice smooth maltiness. solid peat flavors, and you can really taste the fire kilned difference. some hints of raisins and plums.

M: very smooth for 8%. nice carbonation level. medium bodied.

D: great representative of the style. solid flavors for a scotch ale, and I would put it up over a McEwan's anyday.

paulthebeerguru, Jun 16, 2008
Photo of Gehrig
4.33/5  rDev +23%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Clear brown-amber body topped by two fingers of off-white head but, as is fairly typical for Sprecher, the foam fades quickly. Modest lacing. Lush aroma, full of roasted malt, caramel, decent citrus hops--nice. The taste is excellent. The roasted malt is front and center, with caramel most prominent. But citrus malt and berry also emerge. Very delicious. I've said it before and I'll certainly say it again here--Sprecher does not get its due for making very good beer. Pipers is very good beer. Creamy and smooth if a tad thin, the mouthfeel could use more hops. Highly drinkable, this is one of the best offerings from Sprecher, which makes many good ones. Pipers impresses me, solidifying my having been won over to good Scotch Ale. Best of all with this, the high ABV (8.27%) is barely noticeable. Very well done, certainly recommended. Sprecher continues to impress.

Gehrig, Jun 14, 2008
Photo of dirtylou
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

16oz stub bottle, i believe obtained at Steve's

appearance: pours into an imperial pint glass and fits nicely, mahogany-garnet body with a light tan froth head and minimal lace

smell: earthy and smoky, caramel malts, not an overpowering nose but nice

taste: smooth and creamy caramel, hints of smoke and wood, big time earthy flavors, big malts...a nice smooth scotch ale from sprecher. try it alongside the bourbon aged version

mouthfeel: great - super creamy and smooth

drinkability: good

dirtylou, May 17, 2008
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 botham
3.95/5  rDev +12.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

pint bottle poured into a snifter. pours a deep garnet color, almost black, with a single finger of light tan head after a hard pour. light lacings.

aroma is earthy, with notes of smoke, lightly roasted malt, and caramel malt. an underlying bready character rounds out the profile.

taste is smoked, with notes of roasted malt and caramel, with the same earthy base. nice concentration, with a solid profile. the smoke works well, but is a bit strong after a few sips.

mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a smooth mouthfeel and a mellow finish of residual smoke and malt.

drinkability is good. this is a solid scotch ale, with just enough smoke to sustain the character and richness of the brew. nicely crafted by Sprecher. cheers!

botham, Apr 25, 2008
Photo of RyanPB
3.18/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Tasty little number. Pours amber, small head. Not much of a scent , which disappoints considering the taste. Very good flavor: smoky, but not overpowering (it would make an excellent transition for someone who likes a smoked porter to try this style). Mouthfeel is pleasant, and the 8.3% ABV makes it a nice chest-warmer on a chilly Spring night in Buffalo.

RyanPB, Apr 11, 2008
Photo of Pauly2X
3.78/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Ruby amber beneath a half finger head.

S- Very subtle, clean and malty sweet.

T- Tastes like what you'd expect a scotsmans beer to taste like. This beer plays host to a pleathora of malts sweet, toasted, and smoked. They all mingle very well and just barely allow for a little hop presence in the finish.

M- Rich and hearty, slightly high carbonation.

D- I just might have to get more, and look for it on tap.

I honestly can't compare it to other examples of the style. This has however opened my eyes to what would of otherwise been an overlooked style. I'll be looking for more Scotch Ales.

Pauly2X, Apr 09, 2008
Photo of wheatyweiss
4.4/5  rDev +25%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 ounce twist off bottle, "Premium Reserve" on the cap.

Appearance is copper in color, crystal clear with a small cap that settles immediately and has clinging bubbles climbing the glass.

Smell is caramel roasted malt with slight corny ester. Bright aroma, like wet copper, or a new penny.

Flavor is heavy caramel malts with a very small hop flavor. Tangy malts that give way to a biscuity flavor. Sourdough on the back, but more like sourdough hardtack instead of bread if that makes sense. Like a sourdough soda cracker. Finishes slightly dry with a little alcohol backing. Very slight flavor of a peaty scotch. Interestingly the smokiness is not apparent in this beer.

(edit) After quaffing this one a little deeper I get slight smokiness on the exhale. I honestly would not have gotten this had I not pulled harder from the glass.

Mouthfeel is bubbly and light bodied, a little lighter than some others in this style. The carbonation is lively, but the beer is a little watery overall. As the beer warms from about 54 degrees it gets thicker and chewier, which os normally just the opposite.

Drinkability is average to good, a good Scotch Ale.

(edit) after taking deeper sips of this one I'm noticing a lot of flavors and characteristics that I didn't get earlier in the glass. I am gonna change my opinion and say this is an awesome representation of a Wee Heavy. Do let this one warm to room temp before tasting, IMO it makes it that much better.

06/25/09 Edit:

I have had a good deal of Scotch Ales since this original review, and every one is rated to style. Let me say that for $6.74 a four pack of 16 ounce bottles, this is a huge bargain, not to mention true to style. I think as far as Scotch Ales go, this interperstation of the style is the best. Easy drinking and tasty as hell, I would pay WAY more for a four pack of these. This Scotch Ale is peaty, earthy and malty huge. The best thing is it is smokey, not fake smoke but, peaty smoke like a good scotch. I know smoke and this is not fake. It is huge and it appeals to me, so I move the marks up, because I love it.

wheatyweiss, Mar 30, 2008
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 Greggy
4.68/5  rDev +33%
look: 1.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Split 3 ways from the large liter swing top*

A- little to no lacing or head despite a vigorous pour into an impy pint glass. Very unimpressive in the head department. The color, however, a dark ruby, boosted it from a 1 to a 1.5.

S- Wow! Dark cherries, cherry bubble gum, scotch, dry dark baking chocolate, and vanilla.

T- Very VERY long finish of malt chocolate, cherries, and vanilla. Very smooth.

M- Low carbonation that makes me wish it had just a touch more to help build the body.

D- 8.27% scotch ale that I will look forward to on certain occasions in the future.

Greggy, Mar 24, 2008
Photo of Slynger
4.05/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

The pipers appears quite clear orangey bronze in my glass, with a creamy, slim, light tan head. Fruity fig aromas accompany a toasted caramel and cocoa sweetness. It is nice, but I do not yet detect the smokiness advertised by the bottle. The taste is much of the same. Fruity with some sweet caramel. Toasted malts flow through to join unsweetened cocoa and just a hint of smoke in a lightly bitter finish. Herbal, tea-like, hops help smooth and balance the flavors. The body leans toward the light end of medium, yet retains enough carbonation to stay quite refreshing and drinkable. This is a nicely done version of the style. It certainly does not drink as heavy as the ABV would suggest. My only complaint is that it could use a touch more smoke, both in the aroma and flavor. Otherwise another quite fine Sprecher offering.

Slynger, Feb 21, 2008
Photo of DogFood11
2.58/5  rDev -26.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2

Fat brown bottle. Poured into a tulip it is an average pour and easily managed. Khaki head sits atop a light brown body. Looks sturdy. Sticky ring lace.

Caramel to the hilt. If you don't like caramel I'd avoid this brew as its kinda sticky and sweet with a built in candied presence. Liquify a caramel nugget and add some carbonation and you have this beer with some dark fruits around the edges.

Notes: Not my cup of tea....litteraly. Its like a sweet tea with a thick body. It seems like its brewed very well and achieved their goal as its not astringent or off but its one of those "not for me" beers although I have liked brews from this style.

DogFood11, Feb 18, 2008
Photo of shadow1961
4.2/5  rDev +19.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Sprecher Pipers Scotch Ale pours a finger of head over a very cloudy
deep amber brew. Carbonation is steady and the nose is your typical
English fruitiness- this one is particularly juicy-seeming. The flavor is
deep and malty, with smoky, earthy, peaty notes and a tiny bit of herbal
hop in the finish barely tickling the throat. Mouthfeel is round, pleasant,
and full bodied. Very nice, and as always, what with those pint four packs
Sprecher sells, a good value too.

shadow1961, Feb 11, 2008
Photo of Talisker
3.68/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A nice example of the Scotch Ale style, emphasizing its unique qualities over those of the typical malty English beers. But I sure don't love the style (and will try to review the beer to style, not to my taste).

Pours a muddy watery brown, sort of like dirty or dishwater or weak iced tea. Little to no head. I notice this of Scotch Ales even in Scotland, so it might just be the style - but there's no way you can find it attractive.

Aroma of deeply earthy malt, not biscuity or bread. Don't know what causes this, but it's definitely in most of the Scotch Ales I try. Maybe it's the smoke character, or something with peat? Taste is really nicely integrated - balanced, and confident in what it wants to be. There's malt, lots of earth, maybe some smoke. Texture might be just a tad thin, but certainly not unpleasant.

You would be hard pressed to find a better example of the style on offer in the USA. The fact that it's domestic and therefore likely fresher than any import is a bonus. Thanks to Sprecher for letting American drinkers in on what Scotch Ale is about - check it out.

Talisker, Jan 19, 2008
Photo of Scoobydank
3.8/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

L: Dark Ruby red color. The head is just a slight light brown.
S:Dark roasted malt.
T:Very sweet burtn mal that over powers and lasts though out.
M: Very little carbonation, so the mouth feel is nice and round. A bit syrupy.
D: Nice example of a Sctoch ale. Very appraochable if not familiar with the style.

Scoobydank, Jan 13, 2008
Photo of KarlHungus
2.98/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

This beer pours a cloudy brown color. The head is half an inch in height, and recedes slowly into a thin cap of foam. The aroma is of caramel with a lot of butterscotch. I like a little diacetyl in a Scotch ale, but this is way too much. It isn't an unpleasant, but it certainly covers up other nuances. The taste is like the aroma. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied, with nice carbonation. Overall, this is a Scotch ale that I would rather not drink again.

KarlHungus, Nov 16, 2007
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 MuenchenerKindl
4.38/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from a big 16 oz bottle to a Stein. The liquid was dark as well as the small 1 finger tan head.

The smell saw interesting foretelling of a smoky malt to come. Also the aroma of alcohol was in the mix.

The taste really struck me. Lots of alcohol taste embedded in a very nice smoky malt flavor. The really hit the spot and I enjoyed it.

The mouthfeel was nice, lots of good body and ok carbonation.

The drinkability was good as well. I will look to get some more. Prosit

Thanks objectivemonkey for this very nice brew. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Sep 02, 2007
Photo of happygnome
3.75/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

a: dark amber color with about an eigth inch of head that dissapears fast leaving no lacing, almost looks like a diet coke with less carbonatoin
s: the sweet malts deffinatly dominate the aroma, maybe a little smoke aroma, little hop presence in aroma
t: the sweet malts really come out in this, very little hop bitterness, a note of alcohol subtly comes to the palate
m: medium bodied beer with little carbonation

overall, I really enjoyed this and kinda wish it was a little more sessionable, but i know that this style does not lend itself to sessionabilty

happygnome, Aug 05, 2007
Photo of Franchise
4/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a ruby brown with yeast floating throughout. The head is thick and strong. The aroma is smokey, sweet, caramel, toffee, some coffee, spicy sweet herbs and just a touch of alcohol. The taste mirrors the nose sweet and smokey upfront with a syrupy mouthfeel, finishing with a light boozey heat. Phenominal balance and flavor what a great scotch ale.

Franchise, Jul 30, 2007
Photo of scruffwhor
4.15/5  rDev +17.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a murky, deep amber hue with very little too sluggish bubbling. Not much head to speak of. The aroma is actually a little scotchy. I detect a profound note of smoked peet. Adds a nice warmth to the sweet malty aroma. Pretty smokey malt taste. Going back to that smoked peet I had mentioned. With a medium malted caramel and light tapioca flavor. Pretty sluggish feel on the palate, but I like it. Very good for slow sipping and contemplation. Its also nice to notice how the smokiness increases as it warms.

scruffwhor, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of
3.63/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

16oz. bottle.

Light brown, with lots of red highlights. Small, tan colored head, creamy in consistency. Head faded fast. No lacing, some legs on the swirl.

Smells malty and sweet. Alcohol comes on pretty strong. Hint of smoke and some slight medicinal scent.

Taste is more sweet than bitter, but the hops certainly present at the finish. They come through as herbal/peppery. Some roast notes. More smoke. Overall taste is a bit like scotch (duh!) - caramel and raisins present. Alcohol there, and rather noticeable.

Medium in body, could be thicker. Low carbonation. Dry. Alcohol warming is prompt and large.

Certainly a sipper. One to try if you like scotch/scotch ales. Alcohol a bit too dominant -- age might help it. From a style standpoint, hops are probably too assertive, but I like the way that they balance the overall sweetness.

, Jul 25, 2007
Pipers Scotch-Style Ale from Sprecher Brewing Company
80 out of 100 based on 203 ratings.