1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch AleDark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
90
outstanding

1,314 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,314
Reviews: 524
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.39%
Wants: 104
Gots: 121 | FT: 10
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company visit their website
Michigan, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  9.75% ABV

Availability: Fall

Notes/Commercial Description:
Available September to March.

(Beer added by: ypsifly on 01-28-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 1,314 | Reviews: 524 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BearsOnAcid
1.53/5  rDev -62.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1 | feel: 3 | overall: 1

Scotty Karate is a dark chocolate liquid with a khaki head. Pretty nice presentation. That's pretty much when the good part ended.

The head fell and I took a sniff. It smelled like alcohol and rubber (yeast autolysis?). I shook up the glass to get a head back and could smell a strong wood/smoke character with some sweet malt and caramel. But it was all dominated by alcohol. As soon as the head fell back down The rubber aroma came back. It's sort of smokey but in an artificial way.

The taste was a bit like the smell. Rubber and alcohol. I let this one sit to warm up before I dumped it out. After a little while I came back and tried it again. The rubber turned into a slightly smokey malt flavor but still lingered in there. Alcohol dominated any sort of flavors coming through.

I just didn't enjoy this beer at all. If I ever cross paths again with this beer I'll re-review it. Seems like it will be easier now that Dark Horse is available in MA.

BearsOnAcid, Mar 03, 2010
Photo of silentjay
3.55/5  rDev -12.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

New distribution to Mass. excited to try! Trying to branch out from my IPA and Imperial Stout phase I've been in for a year.

Bottle art is pretty weird. A lot going on, but nothing draws the eye. Great name, very catchy. Pours dark. almost black with a little brown and a bit of red. Head is not too impressive, but a steady stream of bubbles rises from the Sam Adams Perfect Pint Glass. Light barely penetrates.

Smells a little boozy, with some brown sugar and burnt pie. Malt is apparent, as it should be in a scotch ale. booze smell definitely sticks out, however.

Taste first screams of smoke. Not really detectable in the nose, which is different from most smoky beers i have had, and therefore comes as a surprise. I don't usually like smoky beers and am put off by it in the first sip, however the more i drink, the more balanced the smoke gets with the malt sweetness.

mouthfeel is good. get a tickle of carbonation and the smoky spice adds to that.

drinkability is good. I don't like smoke flavors in my beer and havent really like scotch ales in the past, though I have actually enjoyed the two bottles of this I picked up. alcohol is apparent in the nose, but not in the flavor as there is a lot going on when you sip. Would drink this again, but not on a regular basis.

silentjay, Mar 02, 2010
Photo of John_M
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the Armsby Abbey the other day.

The beer pours a striking dark brown color with good head retention and considerable lacing. On the nose I get lots of brown sugar, coupled with some significant chocolate and a bit of underlying spice. Flavors replicate the nose, except there is also a butterscotch element to the flavor profile that I really like. There's also something of a honey and butter element that is attractive in this moderately sweet beer. Mouthfeel is full with a long, drawn out finish, and drinkability is pretty good (though I started to feel it a bit half way through my glass).

This is a very nice beer from Riverhorse.

John_M, Mar 01, 2010
Photo of indiapaleale
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pour - dark murky brown to auburn with a very dense looking off-white foamy head. This looks rich, malty and sugary...as it should.

Aroma - wow. Lots of malty sweetness, caramel, brown sugar, sweet apple cider and some toasty/biscuity notes. This has some of the aromas I've smelled in a few Belgian beers. Scotty Karate smells fantastic, we'll leave it at that.

Taste - holy sh*t is that good. Big sweet, juicy flavors up front. Raw pressed apples, brown sugar, syrup and some amazing smokiness that is absolutely delicious. There is a nice bitterness in the finish that prevents this beer from being overly sweet or cloying. I keep going back to that bit of smokiness, I really enjoy that in a Scotch Ale. If I had it my way I'd make it a necessary part of the style. Scotty Karate, you have impressed me.

Overall - as far as Scotch Ales go, this is one of the best I've had (personal opinion). The big malt flavors combined with the smokiness make this a great sipper. Something about this beer just seems to really hit home with me. It really screams quality and craftsmanship.

Would I buy more of it? - oh hell yes. I'll be on the lookout for more of this before its off the shelves.

indiapaleale, Feb 25, 2010
Photo of jcnd9803
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- A dark brownish copper colored beer with a off white head that leaves quickly. Very cloudy.

S- Smoky and somewhat buttery, mixed with some caramel. While it sounds a bit odd, it really works well.

T- Very malty and sweet. Caramel, chocolate, vanilla and again the butter. It's really unique.

M- Smooth and creamy.

D- A nice rich, malty brew. Very warming and a great beer to drink on a chilly night. These guys always come through for me!

jcnd9803, Feb 23, 2010
Photo of hosehead83
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a standard pint glass
Dark, syrupy, cloudy brown in color, with a short head of foam that has to fight to stay alive
Aroma-Subtle sweet malt, caramel
Taste-Big malt, caramel, and a surprising underlying smokiness leading to a rather clean drying finish.
Drink with caution as the high ABV is very well hidden. This is a definite sipper.

hosehead83, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of steve8robin
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark with ruby highlights. No head.

S: Smells phenomenal! Booze, oak, and sweet sugars upfront. Breadiness on the backend.

T: Good. Not great. A hint too much water, not super complex. Has a nice boozy / oakiness to it, not a whole lot else.

M: Not enough carbonation on this brew.

D: Goes down super easy despite the heavy booze flavor.

All in all, this is a decent brew to try once. If you like scotch ales / wee heavy's, then you will enjoy this brew. Otherwise, this is not for you if you don't enjoy the boozy flavor.

steve8robin, Feb 21, 2010
Photo of TCgoalie
3.33/5  rDev -17.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

It pours an amber brown with plenty of carbonation. A bit of head that quickly dissipates.

The first whiff reminds me of band-aids...it really does. A bit of oak smell in there somewhere.

The taste brings about some brown sugar and a lot of boozey taste. Hard to pick out flavors because it isn't very complex. There is a bit of a smoky flavor at the end.

It is pretty smooth in the mouth, fairly thin and quite sticky.

A pretty easy drinker for nearly 10% but the quality of beer would keep me from wanting more.

TCgoalie, Feb 18, 2010
Photo of kegger22
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale was a medium brown with a one finger beige head that dissipated to a collar.

The aroma was sweet caramel malt and doughy.

The taste was malty sweet caramel, almost chewy. Scotty also has a nuttiness to its flavor and a definite alcohol presence.

The mouth feel was full bodied with modest carbonation.

Drinkability was good for an almost 10 ABV.

Not my favorite Scottish or Scotch ale, that would be Robert the Bruce, but this was very good and certainly worth having again.

kegger22, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of philbe311
3.83/5  rDev -5.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

I've been excited to try this one for a while... It's another step on my quest to find the perfect Wee Heavy...

A - A very thin, half fingers worth or so, of very fizzy tan head recedes with blinding speed leaving only a thin ring of bubbles around the edge of the snifter... An uber dark dense brown color... Opaque... A modest amount of moderate paced carbonation rises along the sides of the glass...

S - Great nose... Everything a Wee Heavy should be... Leaded with caramel... Notes of chocolate... Notes of peat... A vague smokiness... Slightly nutty... Quite appealing and solid all the way around, I only wish it were ever so slightly more pronounced and assertive...

T - Semi sweet... All the expected flavors are present, but they are a bit cluttered which has a negative consequences when it comes to the rich complexity I expect from a Wee Heavy... Caramel dominate... Muted chocolate... Peat... A tinge of nutmeg... A slight smokiness on the finish...

M - Medium bodied... A tinge of carbonation throughout... Dense... Slightly chewy... Even... Smooth... The finish is just a bit chalky...

D - A very good looking brew with excellent aroma... We lose a little bit when it comes to flavor and mouthfeel we lose a little bit... However, this is a solid brew all the way around... I won't have any trouble working my way through the rest of the 4-pack... Alcohol is well hidden in terms of taste and heat, but catches up with you pretty quickly...

philbe311, Feb 12, 2010
Photo of BigMike
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Dark mahogany with a half finger of off white head. Minimal lacing.

S: Dark dried fruit, chocolate, and a smoky burnt oak aroma.

T: Lot's of toffee and chocolate. A nice alcohol warmth. The exhale after the swallow is like what your clothes smell like the day after you've been sitting in front of a campfire for a few hours. Pretty sweet on the finish.

M: Mouthfeel seems a tad light for a beer with such a big flavor. Smooth finish. I would like a bit more substance.

D: I like this beer. It's not as smoky as i thought it was going to be. Very drinkable for 9.75%. Besides the initial warmth the alcohol is pretty well hidden. I would definitely drink this again.

BigMike, Feb 11, 2010
Photo of Natural510
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber sienna color with minimal head, solid ring of lacing.
Sweet toffee & caramel nose with hints of wood and yeast.
Flavor is rich, syrupy toffee malt with heavy peat smoke. Alcohol is pronounced and warming. Astringent, bitter finish.
Full in body, true to style along with the flavor.
This one has balls and certainly not for the faint of heart. Drinkability depends on one's tolerance for the heavy character and smoky attributes. For me, it's right up there with Founder's as the best of the Scots, right here in the States.

Natural510, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of BARFLYB
3.3/5  rDev -18.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle poured into a tall glass, great artwork.

Scotty has a dark mud like brown muck of a look, it's not nearing black at all, karate looks like a brown ale. A flimsy off white vanilla cap surounded the surface leaving stringy lace.

Smells consist of sweet malts, caramel, toffee vibes, some cinnamon and a earthy scent with warming.

Opens with malts and caramel with some faint chocolate and smoke background. In the middle there is a muddy dirty taste and than some various nuts. There is a splash of alcohol on the end.

The feel is fine but a bit muddled and not as smooth as other versions. Scotty is above medium bodied with low carbonation inside. A good solid body for a wee heavy and the almost 10 percent is almost all hidden.

In the end I just did not like how this came together, it seemed a bit clouded and disjointed and I think the alcohol could be toned down. I tried this on tap to and it was not that much better.

BARFLYB, Feb 07, 2010
Photo of Katahdin
3.53/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a very, very dark color, almost pitch black with a nice tight head that clings to the glass perfectly. Head is creamy and frothy, body full. Aromas is musty, like a wet fall day almost. Taste has a lot going on, dried cherries, twigs, leafs, earthy. Brewer notes said hints of asparagus - failed to pick that up, not sure I'd enjoy it in my beer if I did. Goes down smooth with a lingering taste like black licorice/coffee cross. A wonderfully enjoyable beer on a cold winter night.

Katahdin, Feb 04, 2010
Photo of gatornation
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

pours a dark brown color almost like a stout it has a 1 finger head that stays with the pour with a beige clinging ring..the smell is dark with roasted coffee , toast, nuts, currant fruits and toffee/malts with a nice balance of hops with some roasted malts ..the taste is outstanding its roasted coffee some chocolate, nuts, and toffee i taste some fruit in this one some fig some nutmeg and some hops.. WOW a lot going on in this wee-heavy its creamy smooth with the almost 10% abv its not detectable.. delicious... its one of the best scotch ales ive had..it beats dirty bastard it beats robert the bruce..this is the one.. try/buy this one and enjoy it with a robust dinner or around the fireplace

gatornation, Feb 02, 2010
Photo of kiddynamite920
4.33/5  rDev +7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 Oz bottle into a Duvel tulip.

A: One of the darker scotch ales I've seen. Nice fluffy tan head thats sizzling down slowly. Deep brown with some red highlights, not much light getting through this one.

S: Smells dark and roasty with some chocolate and coffee. Malt presence is strong with a nice spice note. Has a nice bread/biscuity aroma as well.

T: Wow. Very robust and roasty flavor with a good amount of hop bitterness. Bitter chocolate and cold coffee are very pronounced. Great sweet malt flavor, balanced nicely with some bitter hops.

M: Delectably smooth, full and flavorful. Very drinkable and the alcohol is almost nonexistent on the nose or palate.

D: Super smooth and full bodied, exceptionally drinkable beer.

kiddynamite920, Feb 01, 2010
Photo of endincolorado
4.28/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Though the pixelated art looks a bit low-budget, the drawing is very cool and the label has grown on me quite a bit.

Appearane is a deep, nearly opaque red-brown body with a nice tan head that settles slowly. Moderate lacing.

Aroma is nice and sweet, heavy on caramel malt, with a somewhat nutty character and very little hops.

Delicious flavors- heavy on roasty malt, caramel, molasses and some fig-like sweetness. Almost no hops. Sweet finish.

Mouthfeel is appropriately full-bodied with a nice creamy texture. Very satisfying.

Not too sweet, almost perfect for the style.

endincolorado, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of vurt
4.08/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to brewdan for this gem. Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into a nonic pint glass.

Appearance:
Scotty Karate is a rich, slightly murky auburn color topped by a disc of thick foam the color of eggnog. The head shrinks from finger-height down to a sturdy skin in a few minutes, and leaves behind a few bits of sticky lacing.

Smell:
Starts with moist brown sugar and a terrific, substantial smokiness with some peat underneath. Bready malt follows, along with light notes of flowers and sweet raspberries. Caramel, a bit of damp earthiness, and a whiff of alcohol in the finish.

Taste:
Starts with caramel sweetness and more toasted malt than the nose suggests. The sweetness enhances a well-integrated smoky flavor which starts early and lasts through the swallow. The middle has flavors of dark chocolate scented with raspberries and flowers. Light twang of tartness from the wood and smoke. A mild and welcome bitterness leads to a smoky, bittersweet finish.

Mouthfeel:
The medium body is lighter than expected. Low carbonation adds a soft bite to the smooth, creamy texture.

Drinkability:
This beer has a good collection of flavors, an appealing malty sweetness, and a prominent smoky character. The high alcohol level in this beer is really well hidden, revealed only by a light note in the nose and a subtle warmth on the palate. A fine example of the strong wee heavy style. And if you like smoky beers, don't miss this one.

vurt, Jan 30, 2010
Photo of Ryan011235
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 11/30/09

A - Dense, cloudy & near-impenetrable brown with muddy plum highlights. ¼ inch head dissipates quickly. Swirling revives a thin layer. Minimal retention. Very few patches of lace; essentially none by the end.

S - Raisins, plums, caramel & dark sugars are upfront & most notable. Hints of smoke, peat & vanilla. Toasted dark bread. Reasonably sweet without too much booze.

T - Raisins, plum & caramel are apparent from the onset. Earthy hop bitterness toward the finish. Toasted malts, dark sugars & peat round it out. Vanilla undertones.

M - Full bodied with fairly low carbonation that offers a mild kick. Grittiness is easily appreciated & a welcomed mild bitterness lingers on the finish.

D - It's a bit murky but quite drinkable regardless. I'm glad more Dark Horse brews are making it down this way.

Ryan011235, Jan 28, 2010
Photo of OldSchoolGamer
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have to admit, this past year I have transitioned from a hophead to a malt lover. Hoppy beers just seem to lack the complexity a nice, malty beer offers. Case in point, Scotty Karate from Dark Horse.

A: Pours a dark, murky brown. Very opaque. Almost looks like a brown stout. Head is somewhat creamy, but dissipates to a nice layer of film.

S/T: Every time I inhale this beer, I get something different. It is that complex. First off, there is a definite smoke character in there. Probably the most dominant aroma. I also smell sweet caramel, dark cherries, coffee, chocolate, and some alcohol. Taste is both intense and very balanced. This is a beer that gets better as it warms, no doubt. Again, the smoke is the most dominant character in the beer. Tons of sweet malt with a decent amount of coffee. Other flavors come in and out in waves. The chocolate, caramel and cherries are all there. Besides Backwoods Bastard, this is the best Scotch Ale I have tried to date.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Not Stout thick, but pretty close. Finish is a little cleaner and more dry than I expected. This is a 9.75%ABV brew, so this is definetly not something to slam down. One is enough, but you will have to sip on this one anyway to enjoy all the complex and robust flavors here.

I was taken by surprise by this one. I tend to hate Scotch Ales, but this beer might have caused me to rethink my overall opinion of the style. Its that good. Might be the best Dark Horse beer I have had yet.

OldSchoolGamer, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of Magpie14
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: heavy reds and light browns are the bulk of the body. Some burnt orange is resting at the bottom of the tumbler and near the top. A bland ecru colored cap grew and melted away to a mere ring of fuzz. Not much in the way of lacing...I mean nothing

S: whew, the range of smells is rather unique. From smoked malts to toffee and caramel with a peppery spice. The malts gather a doughy sugar cookie smell. This is nice!

T: the flavor experience is on par with the nose and then some. The "then some" is filled with chocolate malts, light 'n' crusty leafy hops, dark fruits, and some pronounced tobacco spice characters. These flavors melds with the sturdy smoked malts, rich toffee, and buttery caramel notes. This is a big boy and fits right in with the Wee Heavy title

M: creamy and pretty heavy. The mouthfeel accentuates the flavors and vice a versa and carbonation is spot on within

D: one of the best Dark Horse brews I have had yet. This is a great number and deserves a try...solid marks all around

Magpie14, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of mdwalsh
2.83/5  rDev -30%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Not a huge head, but that's okay, though really it fades to nothing pretty fast. Tan head. The beer is very cola colored but has some good active carbonation going on. The head is now totally gone.

S: Mildly grainy, but mostly malty sweet. No Alcohol, but really not much of anything. Perhaps it's smoke. Yep, it's a very artificial smokey aroma.

T: The taste is really quite bad. No specific off flavors I can detect, but it's very dry, not sweet at all. I get maybe roasted grain. Maybe. No alcohol, which is good, but something just bad about it. I've now had 4 of these beers on different days months apart and they all had this same taste that I really haven't tasted anywhere else. It's not undrinkable, but it's not likeable and it's not something I want in a scotch ale.

Ok, upon reading some others, I identified the flavor as smoke, but I think it's very poorly executed. I think it's totally artificial tasting and way to strong.

M: Again, dry, it's light and a little sparkling, just not what I want in a Scotch Ale, totally not to style.

D: No thank you.

mdwalsh, Jan 21, 2010
Photo of nrbw23
4.15/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a murky reddish brown color with a thin head. Head turns into bubbles around the edge.

S- Smells of malty, bready, smokey and a touch of alcohol.

T- Tastes of dark fruits, bready, and toffee like. Nothing over powering just about perfect.

M- A touch of the thin side and low carbonation.

D- I was almost shocked when I read this one is 9%. A very solid beer and will be back for more.

nrbw23, Jan 20, 2010
Photo of jakeyb
4.4/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Nutty brown color, not as dark as I expected for a scotch ale, with a 2 finger head that dissipated rather quickly.

S-Heavy nuts and cocoa with a soft smokey undertone.

T-I really enjoyed this beer. It wasn't overpowering, but still quite rich. Very nut-forward with a smokey finish.

M-Thick but not too rich. Velvety smooth.

D-Very Drinkable! I'm generally a little cautious with Darkhorse's stouts, but this was exceptionally easy to drink but still had enough complexity to make it interesting. The Scotty Karate was a quite pleasant surprise that I will be sure to drink again :)

jakeyb, Jan 17, 2010
Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark copper color with red hazy hues when light is shined through. the head is a thin bubbly tan color that has almost no retention and leaves almost no lace

S-the bready malt comes in first, some sweet caramel malt next, hints of molasses, with a faint smokey aroma

T-the taste is quite different, as in the nose, the bready caramel malts set in first, they are taken over by a big smokey flavor with lots of peppery spice. there is some molasses in there and the finish shows a slight amount of citrusy hops

M-extremely smooth and slightly syrupy with a medium body and a high amount of carbonation

D-its very smooth and hides the alcohol very well. the smokiness makes it less drinkable for me but all the malts seem to follow the style.

cpetrone84, Jan 17, 2010
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,314 ratings.