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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

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

1,354 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,354
Reviews: 527
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 107
Gots: 138 | 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: 1,354 | Reviews: 527 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BierFan
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

No freshness date that I was able to find. Poured from a 12 ounce brown bottle into a flute.

Appearance: Very thin head vanishes in literally seconds, leaving me with only the dark red beer. It's almost black, really.

Smell: Very sweet and malty. That's about all there is to it.

Taste: Quite a bit of smokiness to it. Earthy is a good word to describe this beer. More complex than most Scotch ales I've had.

BierFan, Feb 10, 2009
Photo of israel
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to pwoods for providing the opportunity to try this beer

A - Opaque with a slightly thin head that kinda goes away quickly and just forms a halo of sorts around the rim. there's no lacing and I can see carbonation bubbles streaking along the sides to the top.

S -Definite dark fruits with an alcohol presence, reminds me of a fruit bread. Great aroma and very inviting, I caught myself smelling this beer more than was necesarry.

T - After my initial taste I had to double check the ABV% to make sure this beer was actually almost 10%, very smooth for such a alcohol presence. The flavors don't seem overly complex but this works really well for this beer IMO. Lots of malty goodness accompanied with flavors of dark fruits and candies.

M - Not a ton of carbonation which really works well for this beer. The beer just sorta slides over my tongue leaving a smooth pleasant aftertaste.

D - This is a great tasting scotch ale and one that I will definitely seek out again, but being so high in alc.% you really can only have so many of these.

israel, Feb 08, 2009
Photo of kels
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Had a bottle of this at Foran's in Detroit last weekend. Here's the review:

Appearance: Dark brown/black with amber highlights and a short, quick-fading light tan head. Very little to no lacing remains.

Smell: Very strong presence of alcohol and smoky, woody peat hit the nose immediately, followed by a less intense malty presence. Smell is forward and pleasing.

Taste/Mouthfeel: The defined flavors of peat and charcoal combine with very sweet malts. All that heaviness is balanced really well by a bright citrus hop presence that doesn't outweigh the sweetness with too much bitterness. The carbonation is moderate, and the mouthfeel is slightly thin.

Drinkability: Definitely high. Really smooth and pleasingly complex representation of the style.

kels, Feb 01, 2009
Photo of Chicchan
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Wow! Dark Horse strikes again. This is my new fav. Dark and malty w/ a bread/fruit nose. Tastes like bread without the bite of the 9.75% alc. Not to be underestamated. I've only got 2 left on the shelf and one is going to my basement for aging. Peace!

Chicchan, Jan 26, 2009
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.22/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got this brew from SirSketch, Thanks Zach!

12oz bottle served in a standard pint glass.

L - murky brown color with a tan head that settles to a ring/layer.

S - sweet date/fig in the aroma.

T - sweet dark fruit flavors upfront with a sour cherry bitterness on the finish.

F - medium/full bodied with mild carbonation.

D - drink it slow and enjoy.

JoeyBeerBelly, Jan 25, 2009
Photo of morimech
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with a small, tight tan head that hangs around until it eventually settles to a thin cap. Malt really comes through in the aroma. Has a smell of dark bread, toffee, and hazlenut. Thick malty taste. Just a hint of dark fruit and nuts. Sweet flavor overall. No hint of the 9.75% ABV. Thick and creamy mouthfeel combined with the maltiness makes this a big beer. One of the best Scotch Ale I have had and one of the better Dark Horse beers.

morimech, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of kasper
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle compliments of pepsican, likely over a year old but aged in refrigeration.

A: Pours a semi transparent mahogany with ruby accents. A burnt copper head appears oh so briefly though never more than a millimeter or so before fading to a ring and leaving a sticky leg or two on the class.

S: Huge aromas of butterscotch, carmel, banana date nut bread, and some red ripe fruit that I can't put my finger on. One of the most enticing aromas I've picked up from a brew lately -- never had a scotch ale before, actually.

T: Wow, where's the almost 10% ABV? This puppy is smooth as *$)# -- big carmel flavors up front, bitter of bitterness like butterscotch snapps on the end. Not overly complex here, but delicious.

M: Smooth and somewhat slippery. Really low levels of carbonation. Not sure if this was the age on the brew or the intended result, but it doesn't work against the brew like would be common in other cases or styles.

D: Really tasty sipper that goes down twice as smooth as one would think after reading this brews credentials. This beer has opened my eyes to the scotch ale wee heavy style. Looking forward to trying some others.

kasper, Jan 13, 2009
Photo of Bung
3.68/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Suprisingly dark brown pour, not a lot of light gets through this. No head to speak of.
Sweet brown sugar, malt and booze aromas. Booze aroma increases as it warms.
Tastes raisin, sweet malt, toffee, molasses. Maybe just a hint of smoke. Did not get any chocolate out of this. Alcohol is not as present as in the nose. Could be fuller bodied, but it is not supposed to be a heavy, though the alcohol content makes me think were thinking about it. Does have nice stickiness, which increases as it warms.
Did not find this terribly drinkable.
Good overall, but not great and not as good as the other dark offerings from Dark Horse.

Bung, Jan 11, 2009
Photo of TurdFurgison
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. The beer is dark red with a creamy tan head. The smell is all malt and ethanol, very sweet and caramel-like, very good for the style. The taste is likewise good, malty and sweet with an alcohol burn. A thick and rich meal in a glass. Can Dark Horse do anything poorly? They are an excellent brewery, I'm pretty confident in each purchase from their fine arsenal.

TurdFurgison, Jan 10, 2009
Photo of KeefD
4.28/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a very dark amber brown color with no head from a hard pour and no lacing. Aroma is nutty, with loads of caramel and dark sugar. Flavor is loaded with caramel. It's sweet, but not cloyingly so. Hints of nuts, a little bit of maple syrup, and the lightest herbal, grassy hop tinge in the background. It's definitely not balanced. This is sweet and malt centric. I like it. I like it a lot. Mouthfeel is thich and creamy, medium to full bodied. If the alcohol truly is 9.75%, I'm impressed because I can't taste or feel it at all. Very nice brew. I think I'll have another.

KeefD, Jan 09, 2009
Photo of luciusgilmer
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Wanted to try another Scotch ale after trying 2 underwhelming local brews (Bell's Christmas and Arcadia Creek).

A: a nice effervescence as the bubbles rose to a head, diminished, then rose again; a good hearty rust (roux) color. A lot of stuff stuck to the bottom of the bottle.

S: nice, toasty, if a bit on the alcohol smelling side (this is a 9.5 or so ABV).

T: very rich; not smelling or tasting "toffee" per se, but it's sweet mixed with malty and toasty.

M: This was fine, smooth, even a bit creamy, if a bit high on the ABV for me for these flavors, meaning I detected the alcohol a bit early

D: I'll try again perhaps--only qualm is the higher alcohol makes this more of a sipper, but its flavors don't necessarily warrant that.

luciusgilmer, Jan 07, 2009
Photo of Gehrig
4.47/5  rDev +10.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A thin finger of slightly tan froth rests atop a cloudy mahogany body with toasted orange highlights. Modest duration and lacing somewhat deter Scotty Karate's presentation, making mine based on a great color. Rich aromas--cinnamon, toffee, chocolate, roasted hazelnut coffee--delicious.

The taste is a wonderfully complex amalgam--part dense, malt, part sour, but more sweet--like a sweet-and-sour sugar cookie, honestly. This is a testament to the bready malt pervading Scotty Karate. A hint of raspberry finishes this off.

Splendid mouthfeel, with the smooth malty texture carrying the day but not without more carbonation than I expected. Very delicious but also strong, the 9.75% ABV catches up before this is through. Yet this us a tremendous Scotch Ale, ranking right there with Founders Dirty Bastard, the perpetually underrated brewery Sprecher Pipers, and Traquair Jacobite atop my personal list of favorite Scotch Ales. Very delicious and not to be passed by.

Gehrig, Jan 03, 2009
Photo of mentor
3.33/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Pours a half finger light brown head over a clear rich brown liquid. Head soda pops away. Smells toffe, rich caramel, mild chocolate. Wet overall with tame clean alcohol. Mild citrusy and a tannic earthiness.

Tastes robust. Rich wet sweet with dark grains and dark fruits. Malt is toffee, dry chocolate, and a gentle sour astringency. Fruits are fig, dark raisin, and berry. Finish dries from alcohol and a bit too strong carbonation, which is good as the beer would be way too sticky sweet otherwise. Smoked grain is very low and comes across mostly in the end. Blends well into the chocolate. Thick sticky mouthfeel and medium, yet aggressive carbonation. Drinkability is meh.

mentor, Dec 29, 2008
Photo of deereless
3.55/5  rDev -11.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A: Dark latte color, medium layer of foam, somewhat murky, no lingering signs of carbonation - 3.50, S: Slightly vinegary, some alcohol aromas, overly ripe to rotting plums that remind me of a plum brandy, heavy on the malts - 3.25, T: Strong bitterly sweet malts, mildly sour, dates and black raisins - 3.50, M: Heavy - 4.00, D: Scottish Ales are outside of my area of expertise but this one is very pleasant and drinkable - 3.50

deereless, Dec 23, 2008
Photo of Tone
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark, cloudy brown color. Great head of an off-white color (2/3 inch) , good retention, and decent lacing. Smells of sweet malts, slight fruit aroma, and a few other ingredients that are beyond me at this time of rating. By far, the most complex beer I've rated up to this point - wow. Fits the style quite nicely. Tastes of roasted malts, some sweetness possibly from malts, low carbonation, sharp bitterness in the background (some herb or spice). There's a tart aftertaste and a dryness after a sip or two. Overall, a strong beer with lots of flavor and body. Complex from beginning to end - worth a try.

Tone, Dec 20, 2008
Photo of Beertracker
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark Horse presents Scotty Karate Scotch Ale. Scotty Karate pours up with a modest carbonation that creates a sustainable, cream colored head that neatly rings the murky, mahogany brown-deep russet body. The clarity becomes much brighter as the beer comes to room temperature. The doughy, sweet aroma shows some nuttiness with a touch of perceivable roastiness along with plenty of caramel, treacle & toffee character. There's a lovely fruity, spiciness that's reminiscent of freshly baked persimmon stollen along with an earthy smokiness that emerges as the beer warms in hand. The generous flavor starts off big & bold with a rich caramel, chocolate laced maltiness that's barely contained by a moderate bitterness which brings a touch of balance to this malt monster! There's an interesting dark, spicy, ripe fruitiness e.g. black currants, blackberry cobbler, figgy pudding that underlies each sip which eventually leads into a rich, satisfying, cheek warming finish. This is a fine Scotch Ale for those long, cold winter night's ahead. Here's to Scotty Karate!

Sláinte! Beertracker

*Trader's Note: Thanks to aqsprint for the opportunity!

Beertracker, Dec 18, 2008
Photo of seaoflament
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to Scoobydank for this extra.

Pours a muddy, dank brown with about half inch of foam. Not much retention.

Nutty malts, caramel, brown sugar, cola, vanilla, fruity, and a slight peaty aroma in the background. Slight smoky with overtones of oak. A bit of raisins and plums.

Loads of caramel, toffee, vanilla, oak, cherry, and raisins. Nutty and cola flavors in mid-palate. Toasted finish. Fruity alcohol finish.

seaoflament, Dec 12, 2008
Photo of xfactor9600
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter by the bartender from the tap.

A-Deep, dark brown beer with a quickly disappearing tan head.

S- Wafts of caramel and hops.

T- Virtually no bitterness. Strong hints of toffee, which I did not perceive in the initial aroma of the beer.

M-Carbonation was somewhat low, but it made the beer very smooth.

D-After a long week at work, it was a nice change of pace beer. I liked it so much that I had a second one and convinced another at the table to give it a try.

xfactor9600, Dec 10, 2008
Photo of CHSLBrew
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A-Deep, dark brown beer, appears to be opaque. Poured a thin tan head, low retention down to nearly nothing.

S-A wallop of caramelly goodness! Under this, there were some hints of toffee and some light fruits.

T-Strong, deep toffee with a rather smooth alcohol on the finish. Even a bit of biscuity, toasted malt flavor is able to poke its head through. Some highlights of fruitiness. Bitterness is imperceptible.

M-Creamy and smooth, medium-full body. Carbonation was medium-low.

D-Wow. Although not my typical beer choice, this Scotch ale is pretty darn good. Deep flavor, though perhaps a bit more one-dimensional than expected.

CHSLBrew, Dec 09, 2008
Photo of MacDomer
3.53/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into my standard pint glass.

A - Delivers a great big creamy light tan head on the pour. Very nice rich, clear dark maroon/mahogany with ruby highlights. No lacing whatsoever.

S - Dark fruits, dark cherries, the faintest hint of vanilla, and a hint of alcohol. Then lots a lots of caramel malts.

T - Tasty, but not very complex. Dark fuits, toasty caramel, slight smokey notes. A bit milky? Not much alcohol in the taste.

M - Feels undercarbonated to me. Very, very smooth, but a bit thin.

D - This was nice to try, but I won't seek it out. I generally like Dark Horse, but this wasn't one of their best brews. Alltogether this was decent enough.

MacDomer, Dec 07, 2008
Photo of SaucyA
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Fresh 2008.

A - Sniftered. Pours with a nice off-white head that quickly disappears into a little ring around the glass. The color is a deep chestnut with amber highlights. Carbonation moves through the body at a slow rate.

S - Dark fruits, cherry juice, slightly smokey malts, no booze. An almost German hefe yeastiness, underlying melted caramel.

T - Well put-together, if a little muted. I'm gonna wait for this to warm up a minute. A huge malt-bomb. Earthy characteristics, little to no bitterness on the finish. This is just a sweet, peaty, malty brew with nothing off... and nothing stand-out. Worth drinking, and well worth the price of admission.

M - Right on as far as I'm concerned. Medium-light bodied plus a creamy, fine carbonation.

D - Quite drinkable, as there's nothing that'll stop me, aside from the ABV.

Notes: Scotty Karate may not be the best Scotch Ale ever made, but it's nothing to scoff at. For the price, and the taste, there's no better option in Michigan.

SaucyA, Nov 26, 2008
Photo of littlekidlover
4.33/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I poured a bit of the Scotty Karate into a wine glass. The beer is a transparent reddish brown. Smells of caramel and raisin, little bit of smoke, less smoke thanThree Floyds Robert the Bruce. I was overall fairly impressed, for the style it is one of the better ones I've had. I like Robert The Bruce a little more, but just a little more.

littlekidlover, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of Morbo
4.58/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a lovely clear sienna, with just a finger of pale beige head that doesn't stick around for very long. There is quite a bit of sediment, but luckily it all stayed in the bottle. Be careful when pouring!

The nose is sweet maple, raisins, and just a hint of smoke.

Flavors are earthy, with tons of dried fruit, particularly raisin and cherry, a hint of red apple is in there too. A touch of cocoa in there somewhere. There is some honey-like sweetness, but it is not cloying. A touch of herbal hops and some peaty smoke in the finish, especially as it warms.

The medium body and low amount of carbonation make for a wonderful creamy mouthfeel, with just a bit of dryness in the finish.

The 9.75% alcohol is barely perceptible, which can be dangerous in a beer that is this creamy and delicious. This is incredibly drinkable for such a potent brew.

Morbo, Nov 25, 2008
Photo of cokes
4.38/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Mostly cloudy, blackened, cherrywood-highlighed in color, with a thinning beige dome.
Aromatic of cranberries, currants, roasted grain, almonds, coffee, sherry, brandy, and an ever-growning smoked peat mistiness as it warms to room temperature.
It flows sweetly into the mouth with toffee and honeyed grains with some dryish,background java notes. Fruits pop up and disappear. An apple here. A bruised pear there. A date someplace else. Some scattered raisins. A plum, or two. Some sort of jammy berry mixture. Brown sugar and bread sweep everything up, and then it's suddenly cookie-like...a booze-dipped Fig Newton. Smoke peeks out, wispy but muddy, ancient, and maritime, and discernably Scotch. Alcohol is grapey, present, with a bit of woody (or Scotchy) sherry presence.
Full bodied. Virtually no carbonation. Notably boozy. Balanced all the way toward malt. Still, this manages to drink with some haste.
This is simply a massive, multi-faceted, malt missle.
Gotta love it.

cokes, Nov 24, 2008
Photo of cadenwhitaker
2.85/5  rDev -29.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a medium dark cloudy color. Taste was smoky, full, earthy and... did I mention smokey? I've had a few beers that are over-smoked (no real way to put it) and this beer could almost fall in that category. I'm not a fan of smoked beers as, like hops, if overdone it can drown out all the other flavors, but it is kept in check well with this beer.

cadenwhitaker, Nov 24, 2008
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,354 ratings.