1. Rating beers by attributes (look, smell, taste, feel, overall) is back! Read the latest update ...
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. 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

1,311 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,311
Reviews: 524
rAvg: 4.04
pDev: 11.39%
Wants: 104
Gots: 119 | 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: 1,311 | Reviews: 524 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of mntlover
3.58/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky cloudy brown with reds showing thru, the small tannish head falls to a ring quickly.

Aroma is nice big and sweet, with lots of rum soaked fruits, molasses with brown sugars roaming freely mingled with light spices. You can tell this is one big brew by just enjoying the aroma.

Taste is wow really lots of sugars roaming here, in fact they try to dominate all, all hail king molasses. Some fruity flavors try to sneak thru but come out more rum soaked the fruity. But from the smell would have thought it would be more alcoholic but its not. Finish has some light spice mingle din the big sweet molasses/brown sugars. A big brew here but not to complex, good but too one sided sweet.

Mouthfeel is not as big as you would think say a big medium here, nice sugary feel with mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is ok too one sided for me, and probably pricey too, but glad I got too try it. Want to thank merlin48 for this bottle.

mntlover, Aug 02, 2007
Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed April 5, 2007. 12 Oz Bottle. A very barleywine-esque aroma with intense, deep malt character in apple wine, special B, light pipe tobacco, raisins, cream, walnuts and some port-like fusels. Bright, alive and rich. Pours a ruddied pale brown, with a rim of creamy off-white. Flavor finds warmer ground in a field of sweet alcohols, figs, middle malts, including a bit of roast in a smoky wisp of coffee dredge and cocoa powder, adding some unique depth to the beer. Not thin bodied, nor heavy. A pretty nice body, actually, well balanced by the soothing roast edges and a lemon-pepper hop smack. Great caramelization and nice construction. A bit of yeast climbs in the backseat as we fade down a dusty road. Thanks Shaun! A quite fun Scotch Ale!

CharlesDarwin, Jul 21, 2007
Photo of
4/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Slightly hazy, dark amber/orange color. Modest, light tan head. No lacing, decent legs.

Aroma of a malt bomb, sweet & fruity. Honey & peaches. Vanilla. Earthy & peaty.

Taste very similar to aroma, sweet more than bitter. Caramel and sweet wheat bread. Tastes a bit like scotch, but much more mellow. Tea flavors. Touch of herbal bittering at the finish.

Medium + in body. No to low carbonation. Not drying.

Overall, pretty good and true to style. A bit sweet for my tastes, but a nice change up. Sipper for sure. Alcohol incredibly well hidden.

, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
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.

emerge077, Jun 30, 2007
Photo of grub
4.18/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

got this one from autumnaldave in a recent trade. thanks dave!

12oz bottle.

pours medium brown, slightly reddish when held to the light, with a bit of dense tan head that drops fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is nice. lots of smoke. light caramel. biscuit malt.

taste is nice. light smoke. low bitterness level. chewy biscuit malt. bit of toffee and caramel. touch of alcohol. light roast. straight forward, but wholly enjoyable.

mouthfeel is great. low carbonation level and big chewy body are perfect.

drinkability is great. i wouldn't guess this was over 5% abv. well balanced and very enjoyable. thanks dave!

grub, Jun 26, 2007
Photo of gmcfarre
3.88/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a traditional pint glass

A - Dark amber colored with minimal head and therefore minimal lacing.

S - Heavy malt with oaked, caramel flavors and good portions of alcohol. Spicy alcohol at that. Dark fruits make an appearance, especially raisin.

T - Again, heavy malt with lots of woody, sweet flavors. Touch of raisin and a good deal of alcohol.

M - Smooth with minimal carbonation and a nice alcoholic bite.

D - Alcohol seems more present than it should be in a beer of 9.75abv, making this at times seem like a weak whisky. Still, its an interesting beer that is tasty and enjoyable if the flavors hit your sweet spot.

gmcfarre, Jun 05, 2007
Photo of BitteBier
4.2/5  rDev +4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, dark caramel color. The head bubbles up relatively slowly to form a thin layer and then abruptly breaks up into nothingness. The nose is strong--unabashedly malty and sweet with alcohol clearly there as well. Dark, ripe fruit comes through too. The taste follows suit, with sweet malts quickly yielding some space to dark fruit and alcohol. The malts invoke a dark, whole grain roll. This one clings to the mouth and tongue but finishes with a surprising bit of crispness. Goes down dangerously easily.

BitteBier, Jun 04, 2007
Photo of IntriqKen
2.85/5  rDev -29.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A nice golden orange mahogany color topped with a very small white head that disappears way too soon.

Aromas are sweet amber malts, brown sugar, lots of dark fruits (plums, prunes, raisins, etc) and a hint of alcohol. More of a peat than a smokey aroma is present.

Taste is very sweet and syrupy dark fruits...almost cloying as it coats the tongue. A little smokey peat tries to come through at the end but gets overpowered with strong alcohol. As it warms and as you drink it and the palette adjusts, more of the smoke flavors come through. Initial cloying sweetness never dissipates, however.

Mouthfeel is cloying syrup.

Aftertaste is slightly smokey and strong alcohol.

IntriqKen, May 26, 2007
Photo of stouty1
3.13/5  rDev -22.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Must have gotten a bad bottle. Picked this up at the brewery in March. No head and flat. Ruby red highlights that glows orange around the rim. Smells of dark chocolate with caramel. Very malty with a nice bitter finish that stings the tongue. I will try again and hopefully change my review.

stouty1, May 23, 2007
Photo of nlmartin
4.35/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

The beer was served in a imperial nonic.

Appearance: The beer has a mahogany coloration with orange notes of coloration. Major chunks are floating in the beer. The head of the beer has a biege coloration. The head had minimal retention.

Smell: The beers aroma is a very pleasing melange of smells caramel maltyness, peat, smoke, fruit apples and plums, spicey plums. In short this beer smells really good.

Taste: The beer delivers a major vanilla caramel malt bomb. The maltyness combines with a tart fruityness. The sweetness of the beer is kept in check by a combintation of peat, smoke, spicey alcohol, cloves and other spices.

Mouthfeel/ Drinkability: This beer has a fat malty body. The beer is full bodied and very smooth. The beers carbonation is on the low side but not problematic. This is a very easy to drink beer. If you love a big malty beer treat you will love this beer. Unfortunately I found this beer at Kahns in Indianappolis. I will search in my neck of the woods for this beer.

nlmartin, May 20, 2007
Photo of flexabull
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark amber color with a faint head.

Aromas are sour, dusty, of stewed fruits, and a bit of alcohol.

Taste is surprisingly sweet, and restrained. Not overpowering at all like the nose suggested. There is a fruity apple crispness on the first sip, and then the beer settles into a tart and creamy finish.

Mouthfeel is nice, a bit light, but still better than average.

A very easy to drink Scotch Ale. The alcohol is barely noticed in the flavor. I'd love to have another.

Bottle courtesy of Indybeer. Thanks again!

flexabull, May 07, 2007
Photo of GbVDave
4.22/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a 20oz imperial pint.

A: Opaque, chestnut colored body with orange hues. Bubbly, khaki-colored, one finger head recedes quickly, but maintains an unbreakable ring and skim all the way to the bottom of the glass.

S: Stellar aromas of sweet caramel malt, and peat with some tart fruit and hops thrown in for good measure. Earthy and natural.

T: Malty, one-two punch of caramel and smoky peat. Some earthy spice, tart apples, overripe dark fruit, and chocolate during the middle and then the finish turns sweet and slightly bitter.

M: Medium bodied and smooth. Sweet, smoky, tangy, and bitter. Great combination of flavors and feelings.

D: A very nice Scotch Ale. Just the right amount of sweet, spicy, and smoky. Very real and natural flavors. Sometimes the "smoke" in Scotch Ales, to me, tastes like a phony flavoring. This seems very real and subtle and is very enjoyable. Unfortunately, with this much alcohol, this is not sessionable. Although, the brewers at Dark Horse did a commendable job of burying the alcohol flavors and aromas.

GbVDave, May 06, 2007
Photo of marcobrau
4.1/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

A light to medium brown Scotch Ale that pours with enough foam to create a quarter-inch beige head that falls to a collar of foam. This beer smells of a single malt with raisins, dates and alcohol. The mouthfeel is very smooth with a luxurious caramel malt flavor laced with a light bitterness that builds toward a surprisingly dry finish. Bitter roasted coffee with cream flavor. This beer picks a punch, so be careful!

marcobrau, Apr 16, 2007
Photo of demcorhip
4.03/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance
Almost opaque, deep chestnut coloured ale, with deep amber hues at the edges of the glass where the light passed through its substantial body. Solid two finger, light tan coloured head is supported by a mild level of finely bubbled carbonation. Thin sheets of lacings gradually returned to the liquid in my glass as i drank this tasty brew.

Aroma
Rich malty aromas of toffee and plum, honey, hint of walnuts, vanilla, and cocoa also present. Alcohol also evident on the nose, as well as notes of smokey clove spice. A touch of lemon and earthy grassiness also present.

Taste
A tasty, rich malt bomb. Will have to take this head to head with Dirty Bastard some day. Loads of toffee with hints of butter and vanilla, notes of fresh dark fruits, mostly plum with lesser amounts of cherry, honey, and a touch of cocoa powder. Mild smokey clove like spicey note also present, and finishes in a mild earthy touch of lemony hops.

Mouthfeel
A big, almost full bodied, malty brew with an almost sticky, malty sweetness. Close to cloying, but its creaminess and and light spiciness keep it in check. It also helps to balance out this rich malt bomb, along with the touch of earthy hops, although this is definitely a malt forward brew.

Drinkability
Quite drinkable, although more than one of these rich malty treats would be a challenge. Definitely too big and rich to be session fare, but it makes a great sipper on a cold night in April. Will gladly drink more of this sweet malty treat.

demcorhip, Apr 11, 2007
Photo of schusterbauer
3.85/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

i don't care what a scotch ale is supposed to be. this is enjoyable beer. swampy thick brown liquid that looks like it should taste like a fudgesicle. strong boozey aromas laced with fruitiness and wood. red fruit, strawberries, wet soil, heavy malts, fermenting fruit salad (as opposed to canned cocktail). warming alcohol burn is present in the throat, much more so than i would guess from the flavors. drank two of these on an early spring night with Gruyère cheese, strawberries, and garlic-stuffed olives. no complaints here!

schusterbauer, Apr 03, 2007
Photo of MuenchenerKindl
3.68/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz bottle to a small glass. This brew looks real promising. The liquid is a dark copper with nice carbonation. The head is small of white and leaves just a bit of lace.

The smell is good a woody sweet malt. Not much alcohol I expected more.

The taste is not as bold as I expected, slightly smoky malt and a bit of butter scotch.

The mouthfeel is good nice body, could use a bit more carbonation.

The drinkability is a bit off as this beer has a hard time going anyplace it is rather mondaine, does not stand out and make a stand. It kind of stands tall in the back and watches the action. MK

MuenchenerKindl, Apr 01, 2007
Photo of mcallister
3.2/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Basically what you would look for in a Scottish style. Nothing extraordinary but it is a nice looking brew. A burnt caramel/amber color with a small tan head that fades quickly into a ring and leaves no lace. Sporadic floaties wonderously navigate the sea of gold.

Toffee and caramel stick out with a milk chocolate edge. Peat smoky pockets lie deep within. Plum and fig fill out the dark fruit profile with a hints of earth and leather.

This isn't a bad Scoth ale but it's mediocre middle is very discouraging. Big alcohol burn on the finish in the chest. Caramel is full and up front. Things fall apart and come back together in the finish with a chewy toffee, semi sweet chocolate, raisin, plum, tobacco, leather, and the big sky.

Mouthfeel is really hurt by the lack of a mid palate. If not for that and the alcohol burn this could hit the average mark in drinkability.

mcallister, Mar 31, 2007
Photo of karengarys
4.25/5  rDev +5.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This pours translucent medium-dark brown with little head. Glops of gook plop into the glass from the bottom of the bottle.

This smells predominantly malty.

This tastes really - thick.... Hmm... over 9%? wow... Well, the taste does hide the alcohol quite well - there is a balance of sweetness, thickness (?) and malts. There is a raisin like flavor too.

Mouthfeel is creamy at first, but as it sits and warms it sort of reduces itself, abut it does remain.

Finish is sweet, and clean. no yickey aftertaste.

What a beer! I have not liked offerings from Dark Horse overall, but this is quite the exception. It is like a cross between a Scotch heavy and an RIS - both styles I happen to like. But, it is different enough to say: wow! This is fun and different! So, if you like those rich heavy styles, definitely give this a try. If you are looking for another pale ale, well - look elsewhere.

karengarys, Mar 22, 2007
Photo of shivtim
3.95/5  rDev -2.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A beautiful hazy quite dark brown/red, with a small but dense beige head. Smells of sweet roasty malts, coffee, maple syrup, and bourbon. Taste is warm malts, brown sugar, toffee and alcohol. Maltiness lingers for awhile. Mouthfeel is good but slightly undercarbonated. Drinkability is good except for ABV.

shivtim, Mar 07, 2007
Photo of BeerBelcher
3.63/5  rDev -10.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

I've had several Dark Horse beers lately, and have been fairly impressed by their offerings, and the smokey flavor of this beer makes it no exception.

Appearance is a hazy red-brown with abundant white head. Aroma is a sour oakiness. Flavor to me is like a smoked butterscotch with a bit of sourness at the finish. Mouthfeel is slightly sticky...the flavor of the beer lingers on the tongue quite awhile. Rather drinkable for this style.

BeerBelcher, Mar 05, 2007
Photo of neonbrown82
4.05/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This is a decent scotch ale, if not a bit sweet for my tastes. Pours to a dark nutty brownish amber color. Fairly clear when held up to the light. Very little head to speak of, thus retention is a non-issue. No lacing either.

The smell is great. Has a heavy caramelized malt aroma with a hint of woodsmoke. A hint of ethanol burns the nostrils. From the smell of it, it's shaping up to be a good scotch ale.

The taste is good, though it is a bit cloying in sweetness. Too much caramel malt perhaps? Maybe could have gotten better caramel flavor from a longer boil without the cloying sweetness of overusing caramel malt. Has a hint of smoked malt, like rauchmalt as opposed to peated malt. Just enough to give it that hint of smoke without the smoked bacon flavor. Has a decent alcohol burn in the finish with a light hop bite. Almost tastes like a scotch whiskey.

The body is very thick from the caramel malts. The carbonation is so soft on the palate it almost seems flat. It is also very warming, as one could imagine. It would be tough to drink more than one in a sitting, but it would make a nice pairing with a fine scotch.

neonbrown82, Feb 27, 2007
Photo of merlin48
3.93/5  rDev -2.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Interesting label art on the bottle, as pictured. Pours a hazed, dark caramel body with absolutely no head and just a wisp of lacing. Aroma is malty sweet with notes of brown sugar, toffee, and dark fruits. Hints of smoke and floral hops. Medium body with low carbonation. Taste is sweetish malts balanced by a slight floral hops bitterness. Some dark fruits add more sweetness. The alcohol is slightly warming. Has some characteristics of a Belgian dark ale but still an interesting and enjoyable take on the style.

merlin48, Feb 23, 2007
Photo of rhoadsrage
4.38/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

(Served in an American pint glass)

A- This beer has a dark brown opaque body with a red glow from the base where the light comes through. There is a thin creamy head that creates sticky layers of foam after each sip.

S- This beer has a soft dark toasted malt but not black roasted malt notes. There is a hint of bacon or wood smoke that is very soft and adds a nice depth. There is a caramel malt hint that comes through as it warms a bit.

T- The taste of dark roasted malt has some caramel malt and chocolate malt notes to it. There is a soft smoke note in the background and a light nougat note at the finish that adds a nice depth. There is a light hint of Band-Aid but it is a nice touch. There is also a soft cola note in the malt aswell.

M- This beer has a medium-full mouthfeel with a soft fizz fills out the mouthfeel. There is a very soft alcohol warmth in the finish.

D- This beer has a smoke that is very well done and great malt depth. So often American Wee Heavys are tons of peat flavor that is nasty but this beer really has the perfect peat hint in the background to support the great malt flavors. This beer is still very drinkable.

rhoadsrage, Feb 19, 2007
Photo of mjd83goblue
3.7/5  rDev -8.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz single for $1.99

A: Pours a ruddy brown, somewhat cloudy/dirty looking. Small head, very little carbonation.

S: Smells quite fruity, not as much caramel/toffee as I would expect. A big sweet malty smell.

T: Dark fruits, some buttery toffee. A hint of peaty smoke. Only the slightest warming from the alcohol

M: Sweet without beeing sticky.

D: Quite good. The alcohol is pretty well hidden here.

Overall a pretty good beer, as are most from Dark Horse. This one makes a nice nightcap.

mjd83goblue, Feb 18, 2007
Photo of objectivemonkey
3.8/5  rDev -5.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Into a pint glass, pours a dark unappealing brown, no head, then some, then none, with a sickly looking film on top, and bubbly ring. Looks like sludge, unfortunately. Aroma is highly sweet malts, dark fruits, plums and over-ripe apricots, some boubon maybe or some other liquer I can't distinguish. Taste is powerful, boubon, fruits, similar to aroma, but the mouth is kind of thinnish to medium, which doesn't mingle well with the noticably higher alcohol content. Its decently drinkable, but a bit quirky, as most Scotch Ales are for me I guess.

objectivemonkey, Feb 13, 2007
Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,311 ratings.