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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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1,549 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,549
Reviews: 562
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 109
Gots: 213 | 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:
Beer added by: ypsifly on 01-28-2006

Available September to March.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,549 | Reviews: 562 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of DrDemento456
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I got to say I was really impressed with this one. Pours a dark amber, sort of hazy but not as dark as a porter just slightly dark. Had a half inch of head. Smells of slight bourbon, caramel malts, and faint hops. Taste was amazing for almost 10 percent, you get faint alcohol then a bite of hops to mellow, then the sweet caramel finish. Mouthfeel didn't seem that heavy at all with a medium kind of body. I was assuming the entire time it was around 8 percent! Drink ability is kind of good if I were to find it again but this one was on tap at a place in south side so I may find a bottle of this stuff floating around somewhere. The best part was the tap handle was a shotgun shaped and they said everyone always asked "whats on the shotgun?" Smooth beer.

Photo of uno99
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Didn't take notes on this one, but I'm impressed enough to do a review anyways.

A: I'm not super familiar with scotch ales, but I've had a few before and this one is on par for the style. Nice butterscotch color with not much head. lacing is good however.

S: huge malts. quite sweet. perhaps some peat.

T: Wow. Wonderful chocolate, toffee, and tobacco. Medium fruit backbone. VERY good stuff

M: Perfect medium feel, not sticky at all despite the sweetness. and excellent carbonation.

D: Could drink a few of these for sure...

Photo of IronCitySteve
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on tap at Fatheads Pittsburgh.

A: Pours a hazy amber color with some reddish hues on the edges. Provides a small off white foam head that quickly dissipates. Not much in the way of lacing, some spotty lacing.

S: Very pleasant malt character. Sweet chocolate, caramel, bread, molasses and dark fruit.

T: A very nice malt taste, not overly sweet. The dark fruit hits the palate first. A nice mix of raisins and plums. The chocolate and caramel come out in the middle and the back end and really support the malt profile.

M: Thick slick and creamy. Very smooth on the palate.

D: The alcohol is hidden nicely in this beer. Despite the high ABV, I could enjoy several in a sitting, especially on a cold winter night.

Photo of Wamba
4.5/5  rDev +11.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer was recommended to my by the local beer distributor in Peoria, IL. When he discovered that I like scotch ales he said I have to try this one.

This is a very important lesson that everyone should learn. Trust the beer man!

This beer blew me away! The smoothest scotch ale I have ever tried. Sweet, smooth and strong!

Looks a bit like a watery stout and has a very woody aroma. But the taste, oh, the taste! Sweet, smooth and strong! Did I mention that already?

The folks over at Dark Horse have a world class beer on their hands.

Photo of davesway10
3.63/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Nice offering from Dark Horse, of the scotch ales i've had this one is near the top. good stuff. Excellent deep dark body, nice head. taste is smoke and molasses. but what else would you want from this style. I'll continue to buy this one. nice beer.

Photo of BeerEndevour14
4.18/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This strong beer does not keep you guessing. It is straight forward, and the Scottish style yeast resembles a Belgian that is balanced and creamy, this beer is great from start to finish. Preferred warm (about 50-52F) vs. cooler(refrigerator; <42F) based on the 12 oz. bottles and great for an evening dinner pair, besides for spicy dish. 9/10 or A- overall.

Photo of BrewCrew2010
3.35/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Made the mistake of pouring the whole bottle in the glass so that may affect my review...

A: A dark hazy amber body with red highlights capped with a light tan head that dissipates quickly to a pin stripe ring around the edge of the glass. Also, there is mild visible carbonation that maintains the minimal head.

S: A strong and sweet caramel and chocolate malt aroma with hints of dark fruits, nuts, and molasses. The nose is also warm with booze.

T: The smell is better than the taste I have to say- definitely drink this one at room temperature because it gets better as the drink goes on. A little sour and peaty, but the strong malty flavor takes over the palate easy. Some dark fruits, but not much, as well as nutty notes. No significant aftertaste. The high ABV can be detected in the favor effortlessly as well.

M: Medium body with light carbonation and a lean texture, and a warm finish.

D: I don't have access to this so I don't see myself drinking a lot of these. It's a good beer, but nothing amazing. I would definitely drink it again, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it. This one I think gets better with food, versus by itself.

Photo of soze47
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Hazy reddish brown. Lots of action on the pour, but this one pours like it is very viscous. Carbonation activity persists through out the drinking of this one in the form of very small and slow moving bubbles.

Aroma: Malty for sure, almost like honey wheat bread. It is caramelly too and a bit warm from the booze.

Taste: Curious beer here. Very malty on the onset, almost too sweet, but a sudden burst of hops and spice balance it soon after. Almost no aftertaste.

Mouthfeel/Drinkability: This is an almost miracle beer. It is extremely viscous and almost slimy in your mouth, but it finishes absolutely clean. The flavor here is very robust, but the body and viscousity take it all down on the swallow. Even at 9.75%, this one is very drinkable.

Overall: Some of the main reasons I don't enjoy some Scotch ales is the accumulating sweetness and cloying nature of their bodies. However, this one packs a balance flavor, full body, but manages to avoid my personal pitfalls of the style.

Photo of Duhast500
3.7/5  rDev -8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pored from a 12oz. bottle into a Guinness/Harp Half and Half pint glass.

The color is a dark black with some maroon/red highlights and and finger of foamy brownish/beige head and a little lacing.

The smell is a bit toasty malts with some chocolate malt flavor kicking in. Some caramel.

The taste is a malt swirl at first, a row of toasty malt flavor that goes into a caramel and chocolate flavor that reminds me of a Rollo candy. Some smoky flavor comes out at the end and it surprising and pleasing at the same time.

The feel of this beer is a pretty easy, drinkable beer. It goes down smooth and is refreshing with a small aftertaste that gives back a caramel flavor.

Photo of cbutova
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark brown with a nice creamy light tan head. Good head retention, it eventually falls to a small cloud and ring. Very little lace here.

S- Nice aromatic strength bringing a good forward malt profile. It is roasty, caramel and has toasted nut hints. Dark fruit, common in the style, also makes a nice appearance. One thing I notice missing is that buttery sweetness I get a lot in Scotch Ales.

T- The roast, toast, nutty and caramel malt holds up nicely and is BIG. Dark fruit is pretty big as well. Alcohol shows its face on and off but does not hurt the flavor much.

MF- Moderate body with an initial oily feeling to it. It is pretty creamy and somewhat bitter. The alcohol warms the palate and lets you know this one is big.

DB- A scotch ale that shows its size. The malt profile is huge and not as sweet as most other examples of the style, sort of has a Brown Ale feeling. Alcohol gives this one a rough edge but there are certainly times when I look for that. Definitely worth a shot, especially if you enjoy the style.

Photo of radioscooter
3.41/5  rDev -15.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

One of the first 'craft' beers (or technically just slightly exotic beers) I was introduced to via our explorations at Pittsburgh's Perrysville Tavern years ago was McEwan's Scotch Ale. I fell in love with its slightly sweet and malty flavor. Since then, I've made it a point to try Scotch Ales, Barleywines, Wee Heavys and the like whenever I can, though I'm more of a Quad guy by nature.

Since it was removed from US export and may in fact have disappeared altogether, though nobody is certain and there seems to be plenty in Canada, McEwan's has been a bit of a fond memory to me. I recently traded for a bunch of it and have been hoarding it closely. This has, more than anything else, illustrated my need to replace it with a suitable current Scotch Ale. At the time of me discovering it, it was one of the only options. I tried Traquir House and similar but though they may be better technical examples of the style, there has never been one I've liked as much as McEwan's. Now there are many more fine craft breweries making Scotch Ales, so it's a whole new horizon of taste testing for me!

That's the preamble, on with the tasting. My few trusted Beeristas (I own that. You can use it but remember where you heard it.) have been helpful in steering me toward some new contenders. I am trying not to just compare them to McEwan's but on their own merit. This one was suggested to me by Arron at Mr. Bones in Greensburg, one of my regular new beer haunts. They're low on quads and Belgians and a bit too in love with hops for my taste but they have the American craft brew expertise honed like a fine blade. Arron knows his brews and is super helpful and does a great job explaining and suggesting things.

This is one of those beers with a dumb cute name. Not a s dumb as some. Funny. But as with my music - I don't care for humor with my beer. But it won't stop me from trying it. Don't know this brewery at all. Nice label.

Pours a bit cloudy, which I welcome. Nice, thick head that settles into a frothy perfect shallow topper. Smell has me worried - I am smelling too much hops for a Scotch Ale. Or so I thought.

I always let my dark ales warm up so the taste and mouthfeel are changing over the time I write this.

Nice caramely robust taste and the flavor is not overly smoky (like Traquir House) but not as sweet as I'd like. Toffee, dark fruits but just slightly. Herbal aftertaste. There's a bitter quality that brings it a bit out of the Scotch Ale category and into Tadcaster type generic brown Brit Ale thing going on here that a lot of the American craft brews sometimes end up at. they miss some of the complexities that separate the different nuances between Scotch Ales, Barleywines, Brown Ales etc.

Great smooth mouthfeel. Outstanding actually. Like a cream stout has but more delicate and lighter. reminiscent of a Fuller's ESB. Not biter though. Definitely has that burnt malt and barley thing going on but...

Just too hoppy for a S.A. in my opinion. Because of the overriding love of IPA's etc. I think the American brewers are just too afraid of not delivering that hop-crazy taste. Sometimes you have to just cut to the chase and work in some dark malty sugarr, guys. Let it go.

As it warms it loses charm, the flavor breaks down a bit but keeps its ridiculous smoothness, which is a huge plus. Alcohol feel is present but in no way conspicuous.

I like it and I'd drink it again. And it has the markings of a Scotch Ale. But think of it like a bitter brown that someone added a dash of "Scotch Ale Flavor Syrup" to.

Photo of bsp77
4.25/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Very dark, turgid mahogany with thin head.

Smell: Toffee, plum, and alcohol is noticeable upfront, with some cherry, peat and spicy English hops. Almost a touch of clove.

Taste: Strong malts that are just barely sweet, with toffee, plum and a nice layer of spiciness from the English hops. Some light peat smokiness, but very light. Slightly cherry-like aftertaste that is a tinge medicinal at first, but improves as it approaches room temperature. As with the aroma, there is almost a light Belgian clove/spice taste, as I have noticed before with very high abv Scotch Ales.

Feel: Full, chewy and smooth body with low carbonation. Slightly warming.

Drinkability: Very dangerous Scotch Ale, as it does not seem to be close to 10% at all. Complex and, blessedly, not too sweet. Just a great Scotch Ale overall.

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

Enjoyed on tap at Shakespeare's.

Hazy nutty brown colored body. Slight khaki colored head is left atop when the pint glass got to the table. Retention is not particularly impressive, scant lacing left clinging to the glass.

Chocolate and caramel malts. Subtle smokiness and molasses finding just beneath. Very earthy aroma.

Like any good scotch ale, Scotty Karate is heavy on the malts. Chocolate, brown and nutty malt flavors are strong on the front of the palate. Toffee and smoky flavors emerge mid palate. Light earthy bitterness is buried under the malt.

Full bodied Scotch Ale with moderate carbonation. Very smooth texture with a somewhat long finish.

Scotty Karate is a bit different than many Scotch Ales but that is not a bad thing. Very easy to drink, the alcohol is held in check very well. Could drink a couple of these in a sitting. Great beer for a cool fall night.

Photo of LairdChisholm
4.34/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - Pours an opaque chestnut brown. There was a slight cream colored head that had sub par retention. No lacing here. There is a fair amount of sediment hanging around the bottom.

S - Smelled this one as I poured it. Unfortunately when I did smell it, It smelled mostly of alcohol. When I put my nose to my glass, I got some dark fruits that consisted of plums and raisins. There was also some caramel, butterscotch, and alcohol. Really strong nose but there is room for improvement.

T - Malts all over the place. There are some strong, chewy caramel malts upfront, followed by a strong butterscotch taste. The after taste consists of juicy dark fruits, mostly grapes and plum. There is maybe a bit of fig also. There is a lot going on here and this Wee Heavy tastes great. The balance could just use a tad bit of work and it would bring out these flavors more and make this Ale incredible.

M - Very, very heavy mouthfeel and yet a higher amount of carbonation than I expected. Makes for an interesting, but very good feel.

D - This is a sipper for sure. i don't want to run to the fridge for another but It taste great and every sip is enjoyable. I would recommend this.

Photo of perrymarcus
3.75/5  rDev -6.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle served in an oversized wineglass.

pours an opaque, deep mahogany tone with a finger's worth of a beige/tan head that quickly dissipates into a collar around the glass; spotty lacing evident.

nose is fronted by caramel maltiness and accompanied by earthy, peaty notes.

caramel malt pulls through in the flavor, as does the earthy character, but i get some subtle fruitiness i didn't pick up in the aroma... nice smack of smoky peatiness, as well as a peppery note... distinct bitterness to the finish. 9.75% ABV present but not overpowering. all in all, a decent if unspectacular scotch ale.

medium-bodied mouthfeel with appropriate carbonation. wouldn't object to a revisit, but i'm set with a bottle per sitting.

Photo of BeerImmediately
3.44/5  rDev -14.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Catching up on some old reviews...

Pours visciously thick/slick, with a 1F thin head over an opaque brown body w/just a hint of caramel edges. No lacing.

Aromas of camp fire, tire rubber, and toffee candy.

Flavors of cigar smoke, charred malt, toffee, and burnt bread. Almost Rauchbier-like.

Thinner mouthfeel than expected, but still syrupy. Light carbonation to cut thru the alcohol.

A nice beer overall w/about average drinkability for the style.

Photo of JeremyHB
4.7/5  rDev +16.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Caught this beer kind of by surprise as it was 'on sale' for 9.99 a 4 pack of 12 oz bottles.
Poured off with just a slight head that developed slowly. Had some tiny bubbles near the sides of my goblet that seemed to be hanging on for dear life. Didn't have the complexity I expected but certainly not a plain beer by any means. Typical scotch ale nose of dark subtle maltiness, the scent fills your nose but does not give up a lot without the drink and swallow to go with it.
A really high ABV is well hidden, I don't get too much booziness or even warming but I expect that to pick up as the glass warms a bit through drinking.
For those familiar with the style I think this will be remembered as a 'forgettable' Scotch ale, and I do not mean this in a negative way, i.e: The Italians use this as an incredible compliment in wine because it is so utterly drinkable that the flavors melt into the palette causing you to go back for another taste as soon as it is 'forgotten' by the palette. Not an exceptional finish, but a very malt forward: chocolate, caramel (60L?) and bready backbone with a nondescript hop character.
This style is certainly defined by its malts and the malts in this brew are in harmony with each other. Without the hop bitterness offset there is little to hide behind. This is a true craftsman beer and very drinkable for the style.
Recommend drinking at a higher temp than I did (fridge temp approx. 35 F) because as it warmed the flavors became more decipherable and more palatable.

Photo of jera1350
3.62/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A semi-murky brown color with a thin tan head that recedes pretty quickly. A little lacing.

Quite malty with notes of chocolate candy bar, banana, light smoked peat, caramelized sugar and dark fruit. Very sweet smelling.

Charred wood, burnt sugar, caramelized plum and toffee. A bit of a scotchy booze and cola as well. A good dose of hop bitterness as well. A bit confusing on the palate.

Mostly smooth, close to a full body.

A decent take on the style, but just not doing a whole lot for me. The taste is a bit confusing and the alcohol is up there which brings the drinkability down.

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

Had this on tap at a local bar that just added it, "Lyndale Taphouse" in Uptown Minneapolis.

Nice brown colour, tasted malty, biscuity, caramely (is that a word?)!
Considering it's 9.75% I didn't think it was overpowering in terms of the alcohol content but I wouldn't have more than one at a time. Surprised (and happy)! that it was served in a pint glass.

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

A-A dark brown with not much light coming through, thin tan lace head on pour

S- A sweet sugar and caramel and alcohol

T- Sweet caramel with a roasted/smoked malt finish, the finish is spicy underline of alcohol but not over power from all the other flavors

M- very smooth, low carbonation

D- If you dont like a Scotch Ale you will not like this beer (no shit I know) but if you do like it this is one of the best I have ever had. I have had them new and I have had them aged. New they have a lot of different flavors standing alone but age them for a couple months and they blend very well

This bottle was about a year or so old

Photo of domtronzero
3.87/5  rDev -4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A - Slightly hazy, almost murky reddish brown with a big, long lasting tannish off-white head. Little lacing.

S - Caramel, sweet, toasty and bready malts. Slight roastiness. Otherwise clean.

F/M - Sweet, toasty and bready malts. Caramel and toffee. Light roast. Medium-low hop bitterness. Medium body with a slick, oily finish with a lingering caramelly aftertaste. Moderately-low carbonation.

D - Good, but sweet and slick. Kinda thick but finishes pretty clean. One glass was great, but I probably won't have two in a row.

4.49/5  rDev +11.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle into snifter: from notes.
A: A dark brown hue in the body, the tan head retreats quickly. An unfiltered ale, with sediment in the glass, also leaves no lacing.
S: A sweet note of port, the scotch presence is pronounced . Subtle notes of brown sugar.
T/M: A silky mouthfeel, with a smooth mellow finish. A bit of spice on the front, with a nice and mellow liquor body. The finish is a crazy good bold, non-carbonated brown sugar smoothness that cannot be beat. A mellow body with the sweetness of brandy, this is truly a great brew.
D: I could session this brew, being that it is high in ABV and price, I don't feel that, this would be the case, but overall a very drinkable brew in regards to overall tastes.

Photo of TonyReaves
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Dark, dark brown. Not a lot of head. Poured thick and creamy.

Smells like milk chocolate and dark bread. At this point you could tell me it's a porter and I'd believe you.

Sweet, with chocolate, molasses and dark English malts. A hint of hop bitterness at first. A little warmth in the finish, kind of like a Kahlua drink. This tastes luxurious. A while back I hammered on Harpoon Chocolate Stout for tasting just like chocolate milk, but it tasted like the heavy chocolate flavors here actually come from malt, and the creaminess feels like the result of oat malt.

I love the creamy mouthfeel. This is a heavy beer that I could spend an hour on (I won't.) I'm really glad I picked this up.

Drinkability is what I'd expect for a Wee Heavy. I'll be following this with something lighter-bodied and more bitter.

Photo of 7ways
4.04/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Delirium snifter @ 50*
Dark brown, small tan head, tiny bubbles.

Smells like a candy factory, mostly chocolate. Also caramel, gummy bears, molasses, and rum. Very pungent, it hit me in the face as soon as the bottle was opened.

Damn that tastes good. Not much if any of the chocolate I smelled. This is a new bottle, but tastes like it's been aged because of the great complexity and cohesion. Very malty showcase with a touch of hops. Caramel, toffee, nuts, everything I want from a wee heavy.
Subtle hint of smoke and buttery alcohol in a well balanced finish.

Mouthfeel is regrettably thin. This beer deserves better.

Photo of rembrant
4.21/5  rDev +4.5%
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.

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,549 ratings.