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Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale - Dark Horse Brewing Company

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

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1,553 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,553
Reviews: 562
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 109
Gots: 215 | 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:
Beer added by: ypsifly on 01-28-2006

Available September to March.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,553 | Reviews: 562 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Cylinsier
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz.

Pours an opaque blackish brown with a fine yellow-white head about a half inch thick, seems to retain quite well.

Smells of rich toffee and caramel along with some apple sweetness and a mild hint of hop.

The flavor is rich and sharp, with buttery caramel sweetness combining with a bit of apple tartness, some spiced character, and a very subtle hop element.

Feels moderate to full with a tingle of carbonation in the back of the throat and some noticeable alcohol warmth.

Very interesting and enjoyable brew but doesn't bother at all to hide its strength. Can feel a bit oppressive as a result, but in spite of that I like it a lot and would have it again.

Photo of Chico1985
4.09/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Had this on-tap long ago and enjoyed it, picked up a bottle for review a couple months back.

Pours dark brown with not much light getting through. Beige head turns to cap quickly but stays that way. Sediment visible.

Great scent. Peat, musty caramel, baked apples, reminds me of a good liquor.

Peat, toffee and caramel most noticeable in the taste, some earthy hops, toast, hints of chocolate and light+dark fruit.

Pretty solid mouthfeel overall, carbonation is a bit on the low side, not boozy.

Very enjoyable scotch ale. A big peat/earthy profile which I liked alot. Definitely digging Dark Horse so far.

Photo of fsvan
3.69/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Bottle, poured into a New Belgium Globe. Thanks to titosupertramp for the chance to try this one.

A- About an inch of off white head that dissipates quickly. Deep brownish red in color. Murky. Is this unfiltered? It appears that it may be, but there are no clumpy yeast. I don't recall ever being unsure of this before. Hmm.

S- Big peaty malts, as expected. Only a tiny hint of the almost 10% abv.

T- Follows the smell with peaty malts, and a good dose of caramel. The taste is actually rather subdued vs. the smell. Again, the alcohol is pretty well hidden for it being 10%.

M- Shockingly light bodied for the style and abv.

O- This a good beer, and one I'm glad to have gotten the opportunity to try. That being said, there are others of the style that I prefer.

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

A- Ruby to chestnut in coloration. While the head was initially fairly solid, it receeded very quickly. Moderate carbonation. Very slight amounts of lace.

S- Background caramel and a dash of all grassy, spicy, and bittering hops. The aroma was somewhat blurred due to the competing ingredients, but what seemed to stand out was the liquor-like qualities in this. I'm not talking about alcohol, but it smells a bit like rum.

T- Caramel malt is balanced by hops, but strangely the hops leave little proof of their existence. The entire drink is bittersweet and balanced. There's a little bit of brown sugar and toffee, as well as what could possibly be raisins.

M- Fairly smooth, but a little bit too dry. It was literally like this drink sucked all the moisture off my tongue. Medium body for the style.

O- Drinkability was exceptional aside from the mild heat it presented in the stomach. I've never really known Dark Horse as a brewery that goes over the top. They always seem to have potent flavors, but in a you can't miss it way, rather than being all in your face.

This brew is smooth and very nice on the palate, but I just wish it had a bit more kick. I'm pretty sure that I'm drinking the 3/4 year old version right now, so I'll hopefully catch it this fall and try it fresh. Regardless, another solid beer from Dark Horse.

Photo of Duff27
3.79/5  rDev -6%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Fizzy, short lived beige head atop a murky brown beer. Lacing is nil.

S- Smell is of peat. Dark fruits?

T- Caramel malts and mouthwatering smokiness, no hop presence. Noticeable boozyness.

M- Coats the mouth, carbonation is low.

D/O- A good scotch ale but not outstanding. In the upper tier as far as ABV for the style. A nice sipper during an evening of any season. Thanks for the bottle MammothBrew!

Photo of lurpy1
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked this one out based on the funny name. I'm not familiar with the style, what the hell, I'm a gomer.

Crayola brown color. Browner than a true brown. Maybe the glass is just dirty.

The smell is predominantly caramel and toffee. As is the taste, but it's cut nicely with some bitterness so it's not at all cloying. Medium bodied, and these guys did a good job balancing the carbonation.

Good stuff. I've only been able to find Dark Horse's IPAs and Sapient on tap, but would love to park next a keg of this one.

Photo of n2185
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Pours murky brown with two fingers of beige head that recedes into a very thin ring with no lacing.

S: Sticky sweet caramel with a touch of vanilla followed by a bit of a graham cracker smell There's a distinct alcohol aroma as well.

T: Similar to the aroma, lots of sticky sweet caramel. There is a touch of vanilla as well as a hint of smoky roasted malt. Slight alcohol burn on the finish.

M Thick body with low carbonation, this beer is sticky sweet and thick.

O: Overall, a decent beer. Nothing really makes it stand out from the pack, but it's not bad by any means.

Photo of mdvatab
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured from 12oz. bottle into shaker pint.
No bottled-on date to be found.

Aroma: Scotch, buttery caramel, some apple tartness, and scotch again. Very complex and enjoyable aroma here.

Appearance: Creamy light tan head slowly settles. Opaque chocolate-brown body.

Flavor: Chewy caramel maltiness w/ peppery scotch flavor. A very light metallic twang. The other great things going on with the flavor, though, mostly conceal the metallic note. Hop bitterness makes a late appearance toward the end, and smoked peat shows up at the finish.

Mouthfeel: Medium carbonation, and a full, chewy body.

Overall: An extremely tasty scotch ale. Definitely has the exact flavor that one would expect from a scotch ale: carmelly sweetness, balanced by hop bitterness. This is a very rich, full-bodied style, and I don't think I could drink several of even the best examples of the style in one sitting. That said, it's a delicious, satisfying style to be sure, and I look forward to enjoying the Scotty Karate rendition many times in the future!

Photo of OtherShoe2
4.3/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours medium murky brown with a decent off-white/yellowish head. No real lacing.

Sugars, bread and some dried fruit in the nose. Butter/caramel?

Great malt sweetness, a brown bread or breadcrust element, bruised fruit, brown sugar sweetness and some bitterness. Not a hint of alcohol even at near 10%. WTF? -- a good thing.

Fuller bodied with adequate carbonation.

Wonderful beer. Hidden booze, flavor complexity, easy to drink. Loved this. Another winner from what is becoming a real favorite brewery.

Photo of Arenbeer
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into a tumbler glass

A- Pours a dark dark brown with no head at all but some nice alcohol legs on the side of the glass.

S- Sweet caramel and toffee up front with burnt dark sugars like molasses and brown sugar as well as some dark fruits.

T- Just like the aroma. Nice dark sugars with sweet caramel malts and slight toffee. Dark fruits come out like raisin and plums. Some slight oak and vanilla maybe but very slight.

M- Medium bodied with moderate carbonation and a slight bitter finish.


Photo of Eldalonde
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Deep amber body with a thin creamy head. Loads of sweet caramel in the nose, some vanilla, and a bit of chocolate as well. The flavor is not as cloying as most Scotch ales, so that’s a good thing. Caramel and chocolate initially with some cinnamon, a bit of oak, and a short and rather sweet finish.

Photo of NEhophead
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

12 fl oz brown bottle served in a snifter.

Pours a muddy maple in color. Creamy, off-white head that fades to the snifter's sides after a moment without leaving a sheet. No noticeable lace.

Sweet molasses, toffee, and rich brown sugar. Aged, dark fruit that are blended to olfactory perfection: fig, date, raisin, and red apple. Deep port-like alcohol whaffs that marry well with lingering brown sugar.

Molasses and sweet brown sugar that give the the creamy malt base a deep, dessert-like richness. The alcohol presence has a touch of peat and whiskey that provides a nice spice. The dark fruit flavors; raising, date, and fig, are brightened by orange and green apple. A wave of vanilla in the aftertaste round out the richness and muted, aged fruit.

Full bodied; smooth and creamy textures with intermittent slickness as a result of the alcohol presence.

In a word, this Scotch Ale is delicious. One of the better versions of the style that I've had to date. Absolutely one that will be making a return to my fridge.

Photo of jbertsch
3.84/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured into a tulip.

Beautiful deep mahogany color. Too bad the head is fizzy and leaves quickly with no trace. I didn’t expect a sticky lacy head anyway. A few bubbles bop around the top.

Aroma is thick with yeastiness, along with notes of brown sugar, caramel, cherry and rust.

The taste screams bready, malty goodness with a bit of caramel apple, a little dark fruit, and coffee-syrup like notes that lend themselves to the mouthfeel. There’s a heat kickback on the finish.

Fairly full body/weight with a slick mouthfeel.

Overall this was enjoyable enough for a style that I’m often indifferent about. Full of flavor. Mouthefeel is just ok, but that’s often the case for me with this style. Still recommended, and I would drink it again.

Photo of thagr81us
3.92/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks goes out to a74gent for this as an extra in a past trade! Served from bottle into a Delirium Tremens snifter. Poured a chocolatey brown with a minimal off-white head. Maintained decent lacing throughout the glass. The aroma was comprised of sweet malt, dark chocolate, and caramel. The flavor was of sweet malt, dark chocolate, caramel, and slight peat. It had a medium feel on the palate with mild carbonation. Overall this was a pretty tasty brew. It had a definite peat presence going on here, but was not overly invasive to the palate. I'm not a big peat fan so this was a nice compromise for me. The flavor and aroma were very nicely balanced. If both would have been a little more complex this could have been a great brew. Definitely worth trying or ticking either way.

Photo of cosmicevan
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to gnemesis and Urbancaver for both providing some Dark Horse love.

a - Poured a deep red, almost brown with a thin off-white head...too murky to see anything through it.

s - Somewhat syrupy malts...not too sweet, kind of subtle. Bit spicy and festive smelling, but very timid.

t - Much like the nose, syrupy malts...also some brown sugar and caramel. Some dark fruit...ABV is well hidden. Quite tasty...easy drinking.

m - Thick and rich. This beer is so thick you can chew it.

o - Overall a very thick scotch ale, but nicely balanced and pleasant tasting.

Photo of Rifugium
3.38/5  rDev -16.1%
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.

Photo of jdhilt
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a three-finger light tan head that fades quickly leaving traces of lace. Cloudy mahogany color, ton of yeast left in bottle. Medium carbonation and medium bodied. Nose is bourbon and caramel, flavor is same with light sweet bourbon and caramel, expecting but no dark fruit. $2.95 for a 12oz bottle from Julio's Liquors Westborough, Ma.

Photo of readbaron
4.07/5  rDev +1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Schwea for the awesome extra.

Pours a murky dark brown with orange highlights and a thing off-white head that fades into a thin ring with a bit of lacing.

Smell is very good - not quite as sweet as I was initially expecting - which turns out to be a pleasant surprise. I was thinking it'd be more like a wee-heavy. Some caramel sweetness, some fruit - cherry, possibly plum, and a lot of bready malt. Quite nice.

Tastes a lot like it smells. Dark fruit up front, then caramel malty sweetness - but not overly so. More bready than cloying, and finishes with a bit of heat. A nice, complex beer.

Mouthfeel is good - could use a bit more carbonation to open it up and make it feel creamier.

Overall - another great beer from Dark Horse.

Photo of dnrobert24
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

My first Dark Horse Brewing Co. beer--Scotty Karate. Great name. Funny logo. I like this beer.

I'm not sure how "to-style" this is as I believe it has an earthy quality that I'm not used to in scotch ales (other than peat). To be honest, I liked that. It took the beer in a different direction. Less sweet, more grainy. Also, more boozy. The booze added some nice marachino cherry notes to the nose layered on the typical dark fruit and grains. Flavors abound, including more dark fruits, peat, and dark chocolate. Despite the abv, it was amazingly drinkable, if not a tad thin compared to other scotch ales. Perhaps the best praise is that I wanted more even when my glass was empty.

Thanks to Randalld for the opportunity.

Photo of herman77
3.67/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark mahogany with a small, but lasting cream colored head. Hardly any lacing.

S: Very scotch whisky like. Sweet honey, toasted malt, carmel, a bit of peat and smoke. Some earthy qualities too.

T: Big malty flavors. Lots of toasted malt and some black pepper spice. Some sweetness, honey and dark berries. Peat and a slightly odd earthy, almost dirt like taste near the end. A bit of alcohol near the finish, think this one has some age on it though.

M: Medium to fuller body. Pretty smooth feel with a moderate to lower carbonation.

O: Drinkability isn't the greatest, one is enough. It is pretty high in abv, but it doesn't seem quite that high, though it still a big bruiser of a scotch ale with in your face flavors. An imperial scotch ale...

Photo of Dubbledown
4.62/5  rDev +14.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Friday, 3/18/11
Scotty Karate - Scotch Ale
Dark Horse, Alc. 9.75%, 12 oz.

Purchased warm and refrigerated at home for 2 hours. Poured into a 14.9 oz. nonic, 52 degree temperature. Good head, which quickly recedes. Low to moderate lacing. Color is a deep, almost black-reddish-copper-gold. First sniff reveals heather, toffee and caramel, with a faint scent of sour apple. First taste is of caramel with a good hop-alcohol backbone, apple, fresh heather, other flowers and a hint of black coffee. The mouthfeel is silky and remarkable. The brew evaporates on the tongue and palate, like a fresh iced cola. It doesn't taste like cola but it feels like a cola. Quite a funny experience, but very enjoyable. As one continues to drink, one tastes dark winey, almost port flavors. This is a very great American scotch ale. In my opinion, this beer is in the same league as Orkney's Skullsplitter, and that is the best compliment I can pay this ale. Serving temperature was 52 degrees. Serve it even 5 degrees colder and you'll likely lose half these flavors. Fifty to 55 degrees, get ready for a healthy ride; it's strong. One of these per session is enough.
Final taste: a little dark chocolate.
Highly Recommended

Saturday, 3/19/11

After 24 hours of home refrigeration, the ale was served at 40 degrees, and indeed most of the delicate flavors were gone. How often do we review a beer at too cold a temperature? I guess it's a lesson to us all.

Sunday, 3/20/11
Addendum to Scotty

Had another Scotty today. Took beer from the fridge and put it on the sideboard for 45 minutes before consuming. Tasted better than at 40 degrees, but even though the temperature was back to the same 52 degrees as Friday's beer, it didn't taste as good. Many sharp, spicy notes came through but most of the subtle sweet notes were lost.
Don't let this beer get too cold. Never lower than 52 degrees.

Grade A+
Purchased at Stoney's, 4 pack $8.99

Photo of Sensaray
4.43/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pours dark brown with a reddish hue. Audible fizzles and the 1 finger head dissipates quickly. Somewhat of a haze, cant see through. tan

Smells of sweet dark fruity malts. Cherry aromas dominate

Fruity malt up front, not as cherry as the smell but still cherry, then a sweet coffee-esque taste with brown sugar and toffee is added to this. A hop profile is there, and a bity alcohol finish. The sweetness stays in the aftertaste. Kinda got some smoky as well.

Mouthfeel is smooth. Good carbonation.

Overall I like it. Nice complexities and smoothness.

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

Picked this brew up at Julio's during EBF weekend.

Appearance: Pours a cola-brown color with plenty of fizz and a nice two inches worth of tan colored head. Retention is good, so is the lacing.

Smell: A bit of fruit (cherry?) and plenty of bready malt. A very slight bit of booze lurking in the back, but I find it barely noticeable.

Taste: Some nice fruity bits, cherry stand outs a lot. Very malty with a little bit of booze, flavors are what I expected from a potent Scotch Ale.

Mouthfeel: A bit lighter in body than I expected, which isn't really a bad thing. Crisp texture, good carbonation.

Overall (Drinkability): Not a bad drinking Scotch Ale, pretty much what I expected. Though not a style I'm a huge fan of, it's a tasty brew and I wouldn't turn it down if offered one.

Photo of Fluke828
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle poured into a Cigar City Snifter.

A: Slightly aggressive pour yields a thin head that never really disappears and leaves minimal lacing.

S: The smell reveals a sweet oaky creaminess with a darker fruit/subtle booze aroma. Perhaps some roasted malt/bread as well as darker fruits. Inviting for sure.

T: Definitely get some sweet caramel and even some roasted toffee flavors as well. Sweet citrus also comes through albeit without any sort syrup-feel, rather a nice, crisp hop bitterness towards the back end. Fantastic balance and taste.

M: Superb. As mentioned above, no syrup-like feeling, rather a pleasant creaminess that is perfectly carbonated and the tingly feeling is married beautifully to the hoppyness on the finish. Subtle heat on the finish but absolutely the perfect amount.

O: Wow. What a special brew. I really think I am developing an affinity for Scotch Ales. This is delicious (borderline refreshing even!) and doesn't have an overbearing warming effect as one might expect. Perfect balance from start to finish. Really enjoyed this one.

Photo of mdaschaf
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Review from notes 2/25/11. Thanks to Cuzco for this one!

A: Pours a dark brown, small head formation which dissipated quickly leaving a small layer of foam on top. Decent lacing.

S: A little smoky, some brown sugar, raisins, and nutty.

T: Some caramel malt, the brown sugar returns as well. There is a distinct bready flavor and some darker fruits - cherries.

M/D: Slightly bigger than medium bodied with very nice carbonation. Has a nice smooth mouthfeel. A flavorful beer that is a nice treat. Solid for the style for sure.

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,553 ratings.