Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch AleDark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale

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1,475 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,475
Reviews: 546
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 104
Gots: 172 | FT: 11
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
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Ratings: 1,475 | Reviews: 546 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of rembrant
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Looks--2 finger tan head on a deep brow/ruby garnet pour. Nice look, a "Picture pour".

Aroma Typical of this brewer,a variety of malts lead the way,both soft caramel and toasty darker goodies. A little fruit-hops,a touch of smoke and chocolate.

Taste As with the aroma big malt mix with chocolate leading the way and waves of complexity. I did not get as much "peat smoke" as some reviewers seemed to find,though perhaps that appears more as it warms. The Hops appear early as dark fruits with the bitterness coming slowly,sharing the aftertaste with some licorice.

I've been exploring Dark Hors's big dark ales for a few weeks and all share some traits,Big and complex but very drinkable,a potent malt mix,a tendency to fruity hops with,in some cases the woodsy/pine coming on late,a lot of clever transformations.

This, Boffo brown, Reserve Black Bier and even Double Crooked Tree DIPA have a tendency to challenge one's ideas of what the "Type" is or can be...and I like that. One does get a sense they found a core Malt bill that they modify a bit to accomodate different brews,bringing a "family resemblance",however,some very crafty hop designs and the different processes do give all their brews their own statement to make.

Mouth-Top notch. The carbonation copes on late with the bitter end of the Hop dance,after a big lush malt lead that starts thick then shifts and lightens. Neat transformation.

Drinkable Yes,while the flavors feature bold thick malts theres some tangy fruit turning into a hop zing at the end that refreshes and enhances.

I liked it.

note....in my original notes I missed the ABV...I didn't notice the heat/weight of a +9% in there.

Photo of emmasdad
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks Megan, for bringing this one over the other night. Poured a nice medium mahogany color, with a smallish light brown head. Aromas of whisky, caramel, dark brown sugar. Smooth and warming on the palate, with dark fruit, caramel and brown sugar. A very delicious and drinkable scotch ale.

Photo of jmdrpi
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

the beer pours into the glass an opaque chocolate brown color. the slight head quickly disapates to just a thin collar. the smell is dominated with a whiskey aroma with butterscotch and brown sugar in there as well. taste is a little boozy up front, then mellows to allow sweetness of the maltyness (is that a word?) to come through. taste improves as it warms. the body is a little fizzy on the tongue, body is medium, with a lingering aftertaste.
not too strong to affect drinkability. I would definitley drink again

Photo of rmolledo
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

*This is a 3 year aged bottle so my experience may differ from others.

A: Murky brown with a tiny tan head along the parameter of the glass.

S: Roasted Malts, Caramel Sweetness, Peaty spiciness. No hop Aroma.

T: a tasty take on scotch ale. Sweet but not too sweet. Nice and Roasty with a spicy tingle. Very mellow and subtle for a 9.75% but that might be because of the age.

MF: Very thick and creamy with a carbonation tingle at the end. Little Alcohol burn as well.

D: A very good scotch ale. very similar to Old Chub by Oscar Blues.

Photo of Mebuzzard
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Served a bit too cold, letting it warm up a bit. Dark chestnut/almond pour with a slight, semi-creamy, off white head. Ruby highlights on the borders.

Caramel up front in the nose. Sweet bread and toffee. Vanilla and a soft hint of bourbon in the end. I haven't had many Dark Horse beers (actually, just one other) but have been impressed thus far. The aroma and look of this one is promising.

Caramel isn't as intense in the mouth as in the aroma. Not as rich. Vanilla isn't as intense either. Actually nothing is. A bit of smoke enters, yet it seems thin. The quick hit of carbonation lifts up the flavors a bit too early methinks. The malt doesn't have time to settle. Still, the lingering flavors are enough to keep me coming back for a sip. Makes it easier to drink, for sure.

Nice beer.

Photo of dstc
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours brown with a ruby hint. Small brown head falls to nothing. Thinnest of lace.

Smells of boozy raisins and brown sugar.

Big sweet flavor full of malts and dark fruits, like a Belgian Quad. Booze is obvious and ends with a mild sweetness.

Full and smooth in the mouth with an alcohol tingle.

Nice, I like it. Rather sweet and strong to be an easy drinker. Try it.

Photo of dpnelson1978
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Reviewed from notes.
Original tasting: 12/12/2009

12 oz. bottle into tulip.

$10.99 / 4 pk.

S: Woody and smoky from the onset. Some malty sweetness pushes through. Some medicinal notes as well. Not sure what to think of this.

A: Small, loose head that quickly dissipates leaving not lacing, and a creamy cover. Hazy dark brown body that blocks out most light. Good cover retention.

T: Bit of an odd taste. Somewhat sour, with a sweet malty backbone highlighted by raisin flavors and smoke on the back end. Not something I look for, but a much better application of smoke than previous experiences.

M: Medium body with low carbonation (almost flat). Very smooth, with low bitterness.

D: Very drinkable brew, especially considering I don't generally enjoy smoke in my beer. The very fact that I didn't throw it down the drain is a minor miracle.

O: Not something I would buy again, but I wouldn't go out of my way to dissuade others. Maybe the taste will grow on me some day.

Photo of SpeedwayJim
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 2 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz. bottle into a Blue Point snifter.

A: Extended pour yields an unpward cascading 1 finger coarse, off-white head that collapses as quickly as it forms into a thin wisp of foam atop the brew. Beer is a cloudy, near opaque, mud-water brown. I can see the clay-like sediment at the bottom. Not the most appetizing beer to look at. Lacing is non-existant.

S: Booze is prominent in the nose. Dried plums and dates and heavy brown sugar and caramel. Aggressively sweet but pleasant though the flavors are a bit muted.

T: Tea leaves provide a tiny bitterness in the background from the start. Booze, dates, plums, and caramel opening. Sweetens significantly as it warms in the mouth. Huge malt presence with no hop character to be found. Very appropriate for the style. Finish is spicy from the carbonation with a hint of toffee and a toasted malt bitterness. Aftertaste leaves a sticky, oily, sweet film on the palate.

M: Medium bodied, nice, moderate carbonation, and real rich in the mouth. Smooth going down with an accented finish and a sticky mouthfeel.

D: Although I'm not too high on the look of this beer, everything else about it is very appropriate. Nice and malty and rich with a great boozy kick. Complex. Appropriate feel that makes it go down easy. Drinks much easier than an almost 10% brew. If this one is found near you, definitely give it a shot. Great beer typical of its style.

Photo of divineaudio
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 oz into a pint glass.

color is a deep garnet with amber highlights. gave me a thin cap of tan head and very little lacing.

smells strongly of brown sugar and raisin. a bit earthy with some alcohol presence.

taste is good with tons of sweet, carmel malt and notes of smoke. has a mild, herbal hop presence and a spicy alcohol warming in the finish. definitely malt forward.

mouthfeel is on the fuller side of medium with the right amount of carbonation.

coming from someone who loves malt heavy beer, this goes down pretty easily. could i drink this all the time? given the abv, probably not, but that doesn't stop it from being delicious.

Photo of semibaked
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a Pint Glass.

A - Pours near black with some brown highlights with almost no head at all, looks pretty watery.

S - Sweet roasted malts, molasses, and coffee are the main smells I get from it.

T - Coffee bitterness, roasted malts, sugar, and molasses, pretty tasty.

M - Medium bodied, creamy and some slickness. Also medium carbonation too.

D - One of the few beers I like from Dark Horse, this is a very well rounded scotch ale and recommended to all you like the style.

Photo of levifunk
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

a - cloudy brown color. tan head

s - scotch, grape, caramel and brown sugar.

t - taste is not what i was expecting. Its more relaxed and not in-your-face flavor. Has a solid grain body that many scotch ales lack. topped with caramel and prunes. hotness finishes the flavor and warms your throat.

m - medium body, not too thick. carbonation level is spot on.

o - I've been looking forward to this one for a long time, and it did not disappoint. one of my favorite scotch ales.

Photo of mgbickel
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a Perfect Pint glass. A smallish sunflower head formed on top of a ruby (almost brown) body. The head lasted for some time but did not leave any trails or lace.

The nose is burnt caramel, malts, earthy grains and booze.

The taste is pretty complex. You get a lot of malts and sweet caramel up front. The middle is more grassy-grainy and the finish finds a slow, warming, alcohol burn.

Medium mouth feel, oily with light-moderate carbonation.

This is a very tasty beer but the drinkability suffers a little due to the boozy finish/aftertaste. Will buy again...

Photo of beertunes
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into 10oz glass. Poured a a dark reddish-brown with a slight trace of foam, not really head, that left no lacing.

The aroma was fairly benign, with traces of peat, maple syrup and brown sugar poking their noses out. On the tongue this beer really showed it's true colors. Gently assertive peat receives the most attention. After that there's a nice smokieness that goes well with the slightly grainy malt.

The body is full and smooth, it coats the tongue nicely with being sticky or heavy. Drinkability is very nice, I'd easily have several of these and this isn't my favorite style.

Overall, a very good beer that's worth seeking out.

Photo of akorsak
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A 12 oz bottle purchased at the Brass Rail poured into a snifter

A: The scotch ale murky crimson red/brown, opaque due to the color and not sediment. No significant head came out of the pour; only a thin white band hanging around thereafter.

S: The nose is strong, evidemt from the first sniff. Peated malts, lightly smoked, betray their rich caramel background quickly. Definitely more caramel than peat but both are in abundant supply.

T: Rich, decadent caramel kissed with smoky peat, that is really all one needs to know about this beer. The caramel is full, warming even, in its strength. Mid-sip and on through the end the smokiness rears its head. The smoke is dense, thick enough to match the rich caramel. The depth of maltiness makes me think that hot rocks were dropped into the mash. The one-two punch of caramel and smoke is very enjoyable, filling with absolutely no indication of alcoholic heat.

M: Don't come around here looking for hops or anything remotely similar, this is a malt-lover's paradise. Bready, grainy, wholesome, delicious.

D: No booziness, that's a big plus. Indulgent malts, that's a plus. Plenty of peat smoke, that's a plus. I'm not seeing any downside. An excellent wee heavy.

Photo of jlindros
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
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.

Photo of Huhzubendah
3.95/5  rDev -2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Very dark brown, one and a half inch head that fades rather quickly. A nice sheet of foam is visible as you tilt the glass to one side. There is a substantial amount of sediment floating in the beer.

S: Roasted malt, toffee, slight alcohol.

T: A pretty tasty offering. This beer possesses a subtle smokiness, nice roast flavor with hints of toffee and figs. The beer is slightly sweet, as is common with scotch ales in general. Overall, an enjoyable brew.

M: A tad thin. On a positive note, the 9.75% abv is hidden very well.

D: A great sipper. I enjoyed this one while relaxing on my porch.

Photo of urwithdave
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Drank it from my cigar city snifter.

A- nothing spectacular. It pours dark brown in color. When held to the light it appears almost aubrn with red highlights. No head at all. No lacing either.

A- very sweet malts! Caramel,toffee, and brown sugar mainly. The booze is present.

T- pretty good! I get candy apples out of this right off the bat. It then goes to the sweet malts. The molasses is very prominent and there is a bit of oak or smoke. Yes, that rhymed. No, I didn't do it intentionally. Back to the beer...the smoke saved this one for me because it balanced the sweetness out some.

M- a little undercarbonated imo. The sweetness left my teeth hurting...it wasn't that bad, but u get the point.

D- its a good beer, but due to the sweetness I wouldn't be able to drink to many of these.

Photo of colts9016
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a pint glass at 47 degrees. I got this bottle from stonequarrywest, thank you so much. I have been wanting to try this beer for a while.

Appearance: A half finger light tan foamy head that has some retention. The color of the beer is dark brown. The clarity is opaque with some haziness. There is some carbonation bubbles in the bottom of the glass.

Nose: A rich earthy malty aroma. There are notes of molasses, peat, sea, toastiness, biscuit, yeast, and bread. There is some fruity characters, cherries, and figs. Some other aromas are floral, caramel, and wood.

Taste: A rich malt flavor. There are characters of light roasted malt, caramel, toffee, peat, earthy, biscuit, yeasty, and bread. There are notes of dried cherries, bread, fruity esters, wood, and molasses.

The mouth feel is dry, creamy, and low carbonation.

Overall: The body of the beer is medium thick and the finish is medium full. This is one of my favorite Dark Horse brews. It has a lot of character, low hop flavor, and rich malt present. The malt isn't over powering, but rather balanced. I love this beer.

Photo of glid02
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle shared by Jeremy - thanks!

Pours a hazy reddish-brown color with a half-finger off-white head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving solid lacing.

Smells of heavy caramel malts with good amounts of milk chocolate and toffee. Also present are spicy aromas reminiscent of pumpernickel.

Tastes similar to how it smells. Sticky caramel malt flavors with hints of toastiness kick things off. Small amounts of spiciness make an appearance before being overtaken by sweet toffee and mild amounts of milk chocolate flavors. Toffee and caramel malt flavors carry through to an ending that's on the sweet side but with a light tempering bitterness.

Mouthfeel is good. It's got a nice thickness with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is also good. I finished my glass without a problem and could have another.

Overall I thought this was a very well done wee heavy. Worth a shot.

Photo of bluejacket74
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle. Served in a pint glass, the beer pours a hazy dark brown/copper color with about an inch beige head that went away quickly. There's also a small amount of lacing left on the glass. Aroma is nice and malty, the beer smells like caramel malt, peat/smoke, toffee and nuts. It tastes like smoke/peat, toffee, nuts, raisins, molasses and also a bit of an earthy flavor. The smoke flavor lingers around in the finish. Mouthfeel/body is medium, it's a bit creamy and rich with moderate carbonation. Drinkability is good, it's smooth and easy to drink. The almost 10% ABV isn't very noticable at all. I think this is a good brew, I'd definitely buy this again.

Photo of garymuchow
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Don't have a thistle so a old bar 8 oz glass will have to do.

Wonderfully nice toasty, sweet, caramel malt. Yum! Pushes too rich, but doesn't quite get there, fortunately.
Tan narrow cap, tops a beautiful amber with browns and copper. Very clear.
Nice smokey flavor, if it stays in balance this will be exceptional. Man that smoke lasts, start to really rather long finish. It also helps balance off the richness. Unfortunately, the smoke keeps the nice sweetness and caramel too much in the background <sigh>. Just a tad of alcohol in flavor and much more in warmth.
Very nicely carbonated and so finely. Smooth and rich enough to create some heft. Dry enough so that it's not too much.
This seems to be drinking really well, maybe I'm just thirsty, but making in through this glass is no problem.

Photo of alleykatking
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from 12oz bottle. Had during the Dark Horse tasting.

A- Pours a hazy murky brown color. One finger beige head dies down to just a whisp on the top of the beer. Light streaking lacing on the sides of the glass.

S- There is a big nutty malty body on this. Light toffee notes come in and out. Coffee notes in the backing aroma. Earthy in the overall balance.

T- Sweet toffee notes in the front of this. Caramel notes in the middle with some light earthy flavors. Light hops in the middle with a sweet malty finish in the ending.

M- Medium mouthfeel. Carbonation is good for the style. Smooth and creamy in the mouth. Sweet toffee left on the palate with some earthy hops in the aftertaste.

D- Nice scotch style ale that I would love to drink again and again. Dark Horse makes a fine scotch ale and I hate to share it.

Photo of smcolw
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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.

Photo of prototypic
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Scotty Karate pours a darker copper color. It looks a little hazy and almost deep red when held to light. An off-white head tops it off. It rises to about a finger and falls quickly. Lacing was a little sticky, but definitely on the lighter side. Meh. It's alright.

The nose is okay. It's a little on the weak side, and isn't exactly deep or complex. It's malty smelling. Caramel malt seems to rule the day. It might smell a tad sweet, but barely. A little yeast is noted throughout. There's an earthy quality to it that I can't quite put my finger on. Alcohol is masked well. It smells okay, but isn't going to win any awards.

The flavor is where it shines. It is nice malty. There's a mix of caramel and chocolate flavors. The chocolate variety gives it a slight cocoa-esque vibe. It doesn't taste sweet. Not to any material degree anyway. It's slightly herbal and earthy. It has an almost tea-like flavor that's noted throughout. I'm also getting a little raisin. The flavor profile is deeper than the nose suggested. Alcohol is noted, but is masked pretty well. It's not overpowering at all. Good stuff.

Scotty Karate has a medium body. Carbonation is mid-range. It's smooth, and seems to get a little chewy with warming. Drinkability is good. I like the flavor quite a bit. It goes down nice and easy. I'd easily be good for a couple of bottles.

Dark Horse continues to impress. Scotty Karate is a nice Scotch Ale. I'm really tempted to award the next highest flavor score, but just can't get there. It seems to lack just a little something extra to get it there. Nonetheless, it's very good. The nose could use some work, but it's a solid performer otherwise. Easily recommended.

Photo of Lazerlobe
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Rich earthy mud, small head that dissipates quickly

Sweet roasted malts, some bacon,

A ton of smoked peat, big malts and the smoke keeps lingering

Medium bodied with low to medium carbonation. It's a hot day and this is still refreshing.

I will have a couple of these while I read a book. Solid evening.

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,475 ratings.