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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

Educational use only; do not reuse.

1,515 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 1,515
Reviews: 554
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.41%
Wants: 108
Gots: 191 | 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: 1,515 | Reviews: 554 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of levifunk
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
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
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
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
3.8/5  rDev -5.7%
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
4.37/5  rDev +8.4%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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
3.74/5  rDev -7.2%
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
4.27/5  rDev +6%
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
3.97/5  rDev -1.5%
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
4.27/5  rDev +6%
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
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
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
4.17/5  rDev +3.5%
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
3.85/5  rDev -4.5%
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
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
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.

Photo of wagenvolks
2.72/5  rDev -32.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12oz bottle into a Duvel tulip. Thanks to screach for leaving this one behind for me after a recent tasting.

Somewhat under-impressive appearance, with a thin auburn-ruby body capped by a listless head. The tan bubbles retreat to a thin ring around the edge of the tulip, while the center dissipates quickly. Nose, a little better. Dark Belgian fruits don't really belong in a Scotch Ale, but the notes of raisin, black cherry, fig, and orange peel are pleasing. Toffee and molasses malts make up the backbone, while traces of vanilla and bourbon waft about.

The taste of Scotty Karate struck me as bacon soaked in hop-flavored coffee. Unique, sure...creative, perhaps...but tasty? Not a chance. Charred, beefy malts fight with medicinal phenolics in the finish, flooding an otherwise pleasant chocolatey scotch malt profile. Pine sap bitterness on the end tastes out of place and overly-complex. At least the near 10% ABV is well-hidden. Mouthfeel is muddled and over-carbonated, giving it a thinner body than it should have. Juicy at times, crisp and dry at others. I'm normally a big fan of Dark Horse, but this beer is a hot mess. Avoid.

Photo of webmanspidey
3.81/5  rDev -5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Bottle poured into a large snifter. Dark purple/brown color.. fizzy with medium head. Smell is floral and perfume-like: a mix of potpourris and spices. This a really odd-smelling beer, unlike any I've tried. Taste is smoky and creamy. Reminds me of a mellowed-whiskey or cigar smoke. Alcohol presence is very tame, and this is surprisingly drinkable.

Photo of Pabs311
3.77/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- pours a hazy brown w/ nice beige head that settles quickly with minimal lacing.

S- nutty maltiness with some grass, hay, earth and sournesss. interesting nose. haven't smelt anything like this for a scotch before.

T- alot less earthy tones and more malty, nutty sweetness here. alot more pleasing to than the nose for me.

M/D- medium bodied, low carb. good drinkability. overall interesting beer and worth a shot.

Photo of teovaldi
4.39/5  rDev +8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a very dark brown with a very small head that leaves little lacing.

Smell is lots of sweet malts with slight coffee.

Taste is very sweet but a nice hop bitterness comes through to give this great balance. Finishes with a malty sweetness.

Mouthfeel is creamy and smooth, slightly sticky and there is no alcohol.

Drinkablity is high despite the high ABV. I could put a few of these back easily.

Photo of tigg924
4.27/5  rDev +6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: 1/3 inch head, cloudy, reddish-brown in color, sediment is noticable

Smell: earth, hay, cherry, and toffee

Taste: toasted malt, earth, caramel, cherry, and toffee

Mouthfeel: medium/heavy bodied, very sweet with a bitter backbone, moderate carbonation

Drinkability: Wow what a great beer from Dark Horse. A nice and complex, semi-fruity, rich, and malty masterpiece. This hits all the high points of Scotch ales. I wish I picked up a four pack of this.

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

Brown bottle with no freshness indication to be found but with nearly 10% abv we wont have any issues here. Pours a clear dark amber/brown with a finger of khaki colored head. Head receeds fairly fast with an audible crackling of the bubbles. It disperses to just a thin film on top of the beer supported by pretty much constant bubbles of carbonation. Aroma is...wow. This is the first time I can truely thank myself for being a homebrewer and being able to identify the unmistakeable aroma of pete smoked barley. The nose also includes other malt and an vibrant alcohol presence. Taste is inline with the smell of the beer. Pete smoked barley creastes the minor illusion of sipping scotch. Flavors of heavy malt, smoke, oak and alcohol prevail. Medium to heavy feel would seem more full bodied if it didnt have such a modest amount of carbonation. Very drinkable to the point of being dangerous considering it flirts with double digits worth of alcohol. Lingering taste of the pete'd barley is left in the mouth. Very nicely done overall with the only gripe that the amount of the pete smoked character pretty much overwhelms the other flavors this beer could have shown. As it warms, a little note of sweet caramel comes through the smokiness and the alcohol remains notably warming.

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

Purchased a 4 pack at PHP in Brookline. Noticed a layer of sediment at bottom of bottle, was careful not to pour into glass. Served in stemmed glasses. Murky brown color. Nice sized head. Good amount of lacing. Smell was malty and smoky. In the taste, there was definitely a peaty flavor, but it was much more subdued that other scotch ales I have had recently. I think it prefer it this way actually. The scent and flavor of smoke and peat is there, but it doesn't overpower the beer. Very much just a nice background aspect. Smooth body, could be a bit thicker, but that might reduce its drinkability. High abv is certainly noticeable about halfway through the glass. A great beer, surely worth a try from a brewery that is just gaining some presence in the Mass market.

Photo of nickd717
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Bottle via trade thanks to dug on BA. It's a scotch ale!!! Hahaha, sorry, inside joke.

Pours a ruddy medium brown color with a lasting beige head.

Aroma is nothing special, caramel malt, earth, and mild peatiness/roast.

Flavor is pretty great though, caramel, toffee, and peat smoked malt, along with a little vanilla and earth. Complex.

Medium-full and smooth on the palate, barely a hint of booze.

Pretty drinkable. Good beer overall, looking forward to the other 3 bottles of this SCOTCH ALE (!!!) dug was kind enough to send me.

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

On tap at Brixies in Brookfield Il served in a 10oz. snifter

It pours a deep cloudy brown with a 1 finger head that lingers throughout most of the drink.

The nose is huge smoked malt and a sweet caramel smell to it. This one is just a malt bomb in the nose.

The taste starts off with a nice malt sweetness, caramel, some bready biscuit character. It then transforms into a ton of smoky flavor at the end; maybe peat smoked malt. It's really nice and smoky and reminds me much more of a nice scotch than anything else I've had. I really enjoyed the smokiness and the hint of alcohol at the end which brought everything together.

The body was medium full and was on the lower side of carbonation. The huge amount of smokiness at the end hampered drinkability and the 10oz. snifter was a perfect size as I think it would start to be a bit much if I it was served as a full pint.

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

Purchased in a mixed six pack from Save-On, Mentor, OH for $2.24 for a single 12 oz. bottle. Poured at fridge temp into my SA glass. Had to moderate the pour to get it all into the glass. Nice ecru head, but kind of short lived. Ahh, but that's to be expected from a beer of this size. Not much lacing if any. Color is a deep chestnut brown, but it is not opaque. Back lighting the glass shows a little turbidity, but you'd have to look for it.

The nose is very understated. Earthy with a touch of caramel malts is what I get. Nothing "peaty" about this at all, but we'll check the flavor.

Wow .. impressive flavor. Very complex blend of malt flavors, including dark fruit, tobacco, treacle, and caramel toffee. Trying to detect any hop bitterness, but I can't. The closest thing I come to that is a mild tea flavor which keeps the beer from being cloyingly sweet. I suspect that if you let this warm up, you'll get even more flavors. The alcohol is warming (in the tummy) but not noticeable on the palate. Mouthfeel is medium, and it could be a bit bigger. Carbonation is restrained, as it should be for a beer of this size. Drinkability is a tough one on this. To be responsible, you wouldn't call this a session brew. However, I could easily quaff 2 or 3 of these in an evening (slowly). Very enjoyable stuff. So much more flavorful than, say, Railbender from Erie Brewing (and I've been drinking Railbender for about 15 years!).

This is my first Dark Horse brew, and I'm impressed. Recommended, and looking forward to trying some of their other brews.

Na Zdravje!

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,515 ratings.