Dismiss Notice
Microbrew Invitational
Join us June 3 + 4 in Boston and help us drink 300+ beers, ciders, kombuchas, meads, sakes and more!

TICKETS: beeradvocate.com/micro/

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale | Dark Horse Brewing Company

very good
586 Reviews
For Trade:
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch AleDark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 9.75%

Availability: Fall

Notes / Commercial Description:
Available September to March.

Added by ypsifly on 01-28-2006

User Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Alström Bros
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Reviews: 586 | Ratings: 1,737
Photo of Sammy
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good one really, on tap at The Hunt Club. This is about a year aged as an old seasonal. Above average mouthfeel from a creaminess, with really chocolate coming through. A tad of roast, but I was not finding the smoke. Not what I would expect from a scotch, nevertheless pleasant.

 281 characters

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a fireside beer, one to curl up with on a cold night in front of a blazing hot fire and sip on. the nose here is great, smoky even for a scotch ale, with some caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness, as well as a pronounced earthy richness. its alcohol strength is only hinted at in the smell. candied malt and bonfire smoke greet my palate warmly. woody malt flavor to this beer is central, the smoke and sweet are secondary. layers of grain come and go, with caramel and toffee sweetness being the residuals and an almost lactose milk stout type of sugar sticking around too, but these sweets are tempered by earthy smoke, a robustly flavored and pretty well balanced brew. fuller bodied and only boozy when it warms up, a good beer for sharing and a fun winter seasonal from dark horse.

 796 characters

Photo of metter98
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A: The beer is very hazy brownish red in color and has a light amount of carbonation. It poured with a thin light tan head that quickly died down, leaving some lacing on the surface and a thin collar around the edge of the glass.
S: Light aromas of dark fruits and sweet malts are present in the nose.
T: The taste is similar to the smell but isn't as sweet and has complex flavors of dark fruits, raisins, tea and toffee. Although no bitterness is detectable, there's enough hops to prevent this from being sticky and sweet.
M: It feels nearly medium- to full-bodied on the palate and has a moderate amount of carbonation.
O: The complex flavors in this beer make it a nice one to sip but it is rather easy to drink because the alcohol is well hidden from the taste.

 767 characters

Photo of Knapp85
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Ordered this beer on tap a while ago at the Tap & Table when it was still open. This beer has a very nice looking deep brown color to it with a creamy tan head on top. The lacing wasn't too sticky but left a few lines on the glass. The smell of the beer was sweet and malty, like it should smell for this style. The taste of the beer has a really nice sweetness throughout, it's a very malty brew. The mouthfeel is smooth and creamy feeling with some light carbonation. Overall I would enjoy having this one again one day.

 522 characters

Photo of BEERchitect
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On tap at Rich O's Gravity Head '08:

As fine a Scottish Ale as I've ever tried. Strong and steady on all fronts. Sweet and peaty with herbal hop character and a complex malt meaty character. The texture is a bit less syrupy than big malty Scottish Ales, but sweetened more and makes it more drinkable. A little cleaner in the flavor than most, and less dirty or smoky. The 9%+ alcohol is hardly noticed, hidden well. A stern copper / ruby hue with fair coabonation / head retention. Spicy and sweet throughout. Deserving of better scores than most BA's have given.

 565 characters

Photo of brentk56
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Pours a fairly clear light mahogany, with a one finger head that displays good retention and leaves a number of lacing dots on the sides of the pint glass

Smell: Beyond the realm of the typical Wee Heavy, this beer has considerable fruit on the aroma, with berries, nectarine and pineapple front and center; also, the more expected caramel and peat aspects

Taste: Opens with a fruity aspect, with dark dried fruits and caramel flavor; the caramel builds by mid-palate, along with some peaty elements; after the swallow, the flavors mellow and there is a hint of citrus in the finish

Mouthfeel: Full body with moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Certainly at the top of the Wee Heavy list in my book; adds some nice American elements to the style that make it eminently enjoyable

 793 characters

Photo of Phyl21ca
3.75/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle: Poured a cloudy dark brown color ale with a small foamy head with minimal retention and some minimal lacing. Aroma of sweet malt with some toffee and caramel notes. Taste is a mix between some toffee and caramel malt with some quite sweet malt notes with some light dry hops. Body is quite full with some limited filtration and some good carbonation. Well done overall but I would have enjoyed it even more with some peat smoke malt notes.

 447 characters

Photo of Thorpe429
3.35/5  rDev -16%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Picked this up in Michigan over Christmas. Served in a tulip.

Pours a very dark brown with a bit of a crimson hue. Off-white head starts out fairly high and falls somewhat quickly into a nice cap and collar. Some spotty lacing on the edges of the glass. The nose is pretty sweet with quite a bit of caramel and some dark fruits. A bit of a smoked character there as well. The peated malt really comes through quite a bit more in the taste, overwhelming some of the other characteristics. Some dryness in the finish; almost woody. Slight bitterness. Drinkability is pretty good, though this is a bit too far toward the peaty end of the spectrum for me.

 652 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool label illustration of a crazed hillbilly one-man-band.

Pours a ruddy brown tone into a tulip glass, with deep vermillion highlights under the light. One finger of foam is formed, that subsides in a few minutes. Tiny spots of lace, not much since the glass wasn't completely dry. Stubborn layer of yeast dregs in the bottle.

Slight sweetness in the nose, banana, a little nutty. Reminds me slightly of a Dopplebock after tasting it. Very malty and earthy, toffee, with a nuttiness that comes through again in the first sip. There's a restrained but pleasant hit of smoky peat, that becomes dry in the finish. Alcohol is somewhat hidden for the high ABV.

Slightly sticky and dry in the aftertaste, just ok. Carbonation is a touch high at first, but smoothes out as it sits in the glass for a bit. I've never had more than one at a time, but a hearty drinker sure could.

 884 characters

Photo of zeff80
3.64/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

No date. Purchased on 12/31

A - Poured out a brown hue with an orangish tint at the bottom of the glass. It had a small, short lived head that left no lace.

S - It smelled earthy and mossy. A good malty nose, too.

T - It tasted of a strong malt flavor. It was biscuity and had a slight spice kick.

M - It was sharp and smooth with a warm alcohol presence. A medium-bodied beer.

D - Don't know when this was retired, but it did lack a little in appearance. I guess I expected a little more overall, too.

 507 characters

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

Poured into a snifter glass a ruddy brown with an orange haze to it a thinner off white head atop.Earth and smoke show thru most in the nose along with some buttery caramel,a good mix of earthiness and peat and sweet caramel and fruit pretty nicely rounded.A good stab at a wee heavy decent complexities but it wont blow you mind.

 330 characters

Photo of BuckeyeNation
4.15/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Turbid pumpernickel brown that lightens to blurry orange peel at the borders. A barely audible escape of CO2 on crown cracking made the small ecru lid a foregone conclusion. The foam melts within minutes and leaves the pint glass virtually untouched. Not a good start, though the beer itself looks fine.

The aroma almost gets the quality train back on the tracks. It's caramel malty and smells more earthy than sweet. Some peat smokiness would be nice, but quite a few American wee heavies fall short in that department. Let's see if it opens up and displays a little hidden depth as the beer gains a few degrees.

When it comes to flavor, Scotty Karate delivers in a major way. *This* is what I expected this big American-brewed Scotch ale to taste like. With a bigger body, we could be looking at greatness. Although there isn't an abundance of barrel-aged character, I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Dark Horse put SKSA in bourbon barrels for at least a brief time.

Flavors include chocolate, golden toffee, butterscotch, sugared pecans, medium-dark fruit, and a tobacco, tea, and hop leaf bitterness that concludes each mouthful with a gradually tightening, focused flourish. It may be nothing more than an overactive imagination, but a phenolic peaty tanginess and a puff of smoke are present as well.

The mouthfeel tends to settle in over time and bulks up just enough to earn the above score. Surprisingly, the understated carbonation works extremely well. I wouldn't add even one more bubble.

Forget the first two scores. I don't drink beer because of the way it looks or smells. I drink beer because of the way it tastes. Scotty Karate Scottish Ale is the real deal and should be sought out by anyone who loves a good wee heavy. Thanks to bakerslp for the bottle.

 1,777 characters

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

Glad Dark Horse finally made it to MA. Next up in the lineup is Scotty.

A: Pours a frothy 1/2 finger head that fades slowly over hazy dark molasses colored brown beer.

N: Some dark malts, crystal, touch of roast, I think some aromatic, etc. WIth that is tons of brown sugar with a little molasses, lots of maple as well, and touch of creamy smoked malts.

T: Starts with a creamy smoked malt actually, quite a bit of smoked malt flavors, that contain maple. hickory, and smoked bacon even. I almost want to call this a heavy Rauchbier rather than scotch. Then comes more sweet malts, heavy thick malts with some crystal, little roast, obvious smoked malt, and even Munich I think. Some chewy malts too. Touch of bitterness. Then comes more sweet flavors, with some brown sugar, some maple flavor, and molasses. The beer overall is semi sweet. There's a touch of booze as well.

M: Medium body with lower but decent carbonation. A little warming booze.

F: Still some sweetness with lingering brown sugar and molasses as well as maple. Smoked malt lingers quite a but as well. Some sticky sweetness also comes through. It does have a weird dryness with the sweetness. Some bitterness comes out more on the finish than on the taste which stems from some interesting earthy hops.

Overall a nice beer. Closer to a heavy Rauchbier than scotch ale, but has its heavy sweetness. Perhaps this is more what a scotch ale should be. I really enjoyed it.

 1,448 characters

Photo of oline73
3.92/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a standard pint glass. This is a bottle that was in the cellar from last year.

Appearance: Pours a cloudy mahogany color with some red around the edges. There is a half a finger of tan head that fades quickly to a ring around the glass.

Smell: Quite sweet with notes of brown sugar, dark fruit, and vanilla.

Taste: Follows closely from the smell. Not quite as sweet, but there are still some brown sugar notes. Also some ripe dark fruit and a hint of vanilla. There is a mild bitterness and a hint of warm alcohol in the finish.

Mouthfeel: Just on the thick side of medium. Mild carbonation and a slightly slick finish.

Overall: Nice and complex. I liked the dark fruit and vanilla notes. Would have again.

 737 characters

Photo of mikesgroove
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

deep hickory brown with a very cloudy and hazy consistency to it. Not bad overall, I could see some carbonation, barely making it out through the haze. Very nice looking indeed.

deep malty backbone was starting to push through. Lots of sweet notes taking over on this one, with hints of caramel, vanilla and nice earthy grains starting to come to the front. Definitely, some wood somewhere in its history as the aroma of oak was huge on this one. Lots of caramel and vanilla starting to take shape here, really lightning it up and make it that much sweeter. Next up in the lineup was a full on assault of the oak and wood flavors that were coming through earlier. Strong hints of oak and bourbon dominating it here, really giving it a deep flavor and pronounced presence. ever so slightly dry hop finish. Really quite complex and very nice indeed.

 849 characters

Photo of ChainGangGuy
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a medium brown body with a thin, beige head.

Smell: Rich caramel maltiness with an intensely bready scent, akin to a fresh-baked loaf of multi-grain bread. Notes of dehydrated fruit chunks, some wood, and a lil' peat.

Taste: Dark caramel maltiness, a taste of sweet sugar. Then, you get your face smooshed into that loaf of bread. Slight peat character. Dried apricots and cherries. Medium earthy bitterness. Drying, wood-hinted finish.

Mouthfeel: A hair above medium-bodied. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: Plenty tasty! I certainly wouldn't hesitate to have another.

 592 characters

Photo of mactrail
3.73/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Sweet and smoky powerful ale. Dark amber with a beige head. Nose is not so substantial but there is a little spice and a hint of Scotch whiskey. Sharp and even acidic in the mouth. Sweetness wears off as the dark, sourish burnt malt comes on. Quite hoppy but bitterness is certainly within bounds. Dark caramel and brown sugar. Fruity tang of dried figs.

This seems more complex as you sip. A very good example that shows restraint with sugar and smoke, but then goes wild with the alcohol. A great sipping beer.

 514 characters

Photo of TheManiacalOne
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Acquired from brewcrew76, so a big "Thank You" goes out to him. Poured from a 12oz bottle into a US tumbler pint glass.

A: The beer is a medium brown color with a very thin off-white head that fades quickly and leaves a thin lace on the glass.

S: The aroma is of caramel, vanilla, dark fruit, bourbon, roasted malts and a touch of hops.

T: The taste is malty and a little boozy up front with sweet flavors of caramel, dark fruit, apples and vanilla. There's a significant alcohol sting that hits from the beginning. The hops presence is mild but brings a little bit of balance. The after-taste is sweet.

M: Smooth and crisp, medium-to-heavy body, light-to-medium carbonation, finish is pretty clean for the style.

D: Tasty, goes down ok, slightly filling, strong kick, decent representation of style, not quite the best Scotch Ale that I've had but it's still a decent beer.

 882 characters

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -15.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

First had: on tap at Pinocchio's, Media, PA

Really smooth, but so much so that it didn't really resemble a Scotch ale at all. Still good though. Brown body with a tan head, and slightly carbonated. Malty aroma and taste, and a bit of dark fruits, and not much alcohol bite. Medium mouthfeel, and moderate drinkability.

 319 characters

Photo of TMoney2591
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a snifter at Durty Nellie's.

One of my favorite rhyming beer names. It pours a murky black-sienna topped by around a finger or so of dirty ecru foam. The nose comprises caramel, toffee, mandarin oranges, a touch of peat-smoked malt, and red apples. The taste holds notes of cinnamon, cherrywood-smoked honey-baked ham, cocoa, caramel, and a hint of oak. The body is a hefty medium, with a somewhat light moderate carbonation, a slightly chewy feel, and a dry finish. Overall, a very nice scotch ale, all the nicer thanks to the understated smokiness.

 561 characters

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

12 ounce bottle into snifter, bottled 8/6/2011. Pours very cloudy dark reddish brown color with a good 1 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Some decent spotty lacing on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, molasses, apple, toasted biscuit, peat, leather, raisin, toffee, light chocolate, and spices. Very nice and complex aromas with great balance and strength. Taste of caramel, molasses, smoke, toasted biscuit, toffee, apple, raisin, wood, light chocolate, earth, and spices. Light spicy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toffee, biscuit, smoke, molasses, and wood on the finish for a good bit. Great flavor balance with a good amount of robustness; and absolutely no cloying sweetness. Light-medium carbonation and fairly full bodied; with a very creamy, lush, and slick mouthfeel. Alcohol is insanely well hidden for being almost 10%, with only a small warming well after the finish. Extremely smooth to sip on for such a big beer; drinks much smoother than some lower gravity beers. Overall this is a fantastic scotch ale! Great balance of flavors with good complexity; and extremely smooth.

 1,170 characters

Photo of Slatetank
4.07/5  rDev +2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

enjoyed this pint from a growler procured by tb69 at Al's

The color is deep copper/bronze with reddish hues and a full cream cap which recedes leaving a slight lace pattern. The color is very apropos and has a nice amount of clarity for the style. The smell is a malt driven ale, very full with caramel and light toasty scents with creamy essence and slight odor of woody scented hops. The feel is sweet with a slight dry toastiness and smooth bitterness with moderate carbonation and mild alcohol impact with subtle bitterness in the finish whether it is malt or hops is unclear as it is very mild.

The flavor has a good amount of malt depth with slight toasted grain up front and subtle caramel w/ mild woody hop accents and light toasted toffee essence that carries a hint of earthy elements with thte mild grass/pine and slight alcohol in the taste and dried fruit from the yeast. This ale is overall pretty high in drinkability with fairly easy to drink for the heft of alcohol it packs, the scottish ale is not mild in flavor, yet still is able to hide some of the brawn. I went back for several tastes from this growler.

 1,131 characters

Photo of Jason
4.34/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours off with a slightly syrupy look to it, thin but dense tiny bubble lace puts up a fight to stay alive. Be careful of the chunks of sediment at the bottom. Clear dark chestnut color. Smells of a freshly opened can of brown bread, bread crust and a faint animal feed maltiness. Hint of alcohol way back in the nose. Very creamy with a full body and light smoothness, just enough carbonation to get by and pick the beer up. Happy happy, joy joy ... what a malt bomb this is. Creamy bready malt flavor throughout, not overly sweet with a hint of caramel and bread crust. The is a minute vague fruitiness, all in all its hard to pinpoint which leads to a very clean alcohol and clean palate. Finishes malty sweet. And to think this coming in at 9.75% abv.

Very impressive, the cleanest Scotch Ale I have ever run into and dangerously drinkable.

 845 characters

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

Got this one from czotch75, cheers Clint, this is my first beer from Dark Horse!

Pours an effervescent caramel with a finger of tan head. Good lacing, nice viscosity & above average head retention

S: Much smokeyness, some oak, & toffee

T: Smokeyness, toffee, oakyness & some leafy hops up front. Toffee, smokey oak & hickory with whispers of caramel as this warms. Finishes dry & oaky,with pecans & toffee; more malt base please!!! Almost pulled a 4.0

MF: Kind of wet, low carbonation, skews a bit malty, like it should

Drinks alright, hides the abv well, but a touch too dry

 581 characters

Photo of smcolw
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark brown broth with a beige, thick head. Despite that, there's no lace. The beer itself is a cloudy brown where the smallest of light shines through the glass.

Sweet caramel aroma. Very much like brown sugar.

Absolutely superb flavor. There's a great blend of darker malts without any burnt notes. More hoppy than most Scotch ales, but I think this adds to the flavor. At nearly 10% abv, it is stunning how little alcohol shows up on the tongue (some comes through on the swallow). This is a deceptively strong beer.

 520 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 586 ratings.