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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1,471 Ratings

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Ratings: 1,471
Reviews: 543
rAvg: 4.03
pDev: 11.66%
Wants: 104
Gots: 169 | 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:
Available September to March.

(Beer added by: ypsifly on 01-28-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,471 | Reviews: 543 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Ryan011235
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter on 11/30/09

A - Dense, cloudy & near-impenetrable brown with muddy plum highlights. ¼ inch head dissipates quickly. Swirling revives a thin layer. Minimal retention. Very few patches of lace; essentially none by the end.

S - Raisins, plums, caramel & dark sugars are upfront & most notable. Hints of smoke, peat & vanilla. Toasted dark bread. Reasonably sweet without too much booze.

T - Raisins, plum & caramel are apparent from the onset. Earthy hop bitterness toward the finish. Toasted malts, dark sugars & peat round it out. Vanilla undertones.

M - Full bodied with fairly low carbonation that offers a mild kick. Grittiness is easily appreciated & a welcomed mild bitterness lingers on the finish.

D - It's a bit murky but quite drinkable regardless. I'm glad more Dark Horse brews are making it down this way.

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

I have to admit, this past year I have transitioned from a hophead to a malt lover. Hoppy beers just seem to lack the complexity a nice, malty beer offers. Case in point, Scotty Karate from Dark Horse.

A: Pours a dark, murky brown. Very opaque. Almost looks like a brown stout. Head is somewhat creamy, but dissipates to a nice layer of film.

S/T: Every time I inhale this beer, I get something different. It is that complex. First off, there is a definite smoke character in there. Probably the most dominant aroma. I also smell sweet caramel, dark cherries, coffee, chocolate, and some alcohol. Taste is both intense and very balanced. This is a beer that gets better as it warms, no doubt. Again, the smoke is the most dominant character in the beer. Tons of sweet malt with a decent amount of coffee. Other flavors come in and out in waves. The chocolate, caramel and cherries are all there. Besides Backwoods Bastard, this is the best Scotch Ale I have tried to date.

M/D: Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied. Not Stout thick, but pretty close. Finish is a little cleaner and more dry than I expected. This is a 9.75%ABV brew, so this is definetly not something to slam down. One is enough, but you will have to sip on this one anyway to enjoy all the complex and robust flavors here.

I was taken by surprise by this one. I tend to hate Scotch Ales, but this beer might have caused me to rethink my overall opinion of the style. Its that good. Might be the best Dark Horse beer I have had yet.

Photo of Magpie14
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: heavy reds and light browns are the bulk of the body. Some burnt orange is resting at the bottom of the tumbler and near the top. A bland ecru colored cap grew and melted away to a mere ring of fuzz. Not much in the way of lacing...I mean nothing

S: whew, the range of smells is rather unique. From smoked malts to toffee and caramel with a peppery spice. The malts gather a doughy sugar cookie smell. This is nice!

T: the flavor experience is on par with the nose and then some. The "then some" is filled with chocolate malts, light 'n' crusty leafy hops, dark fruits, and some pronounced tobacco spice characters. These flavors melds with the sturdy smoked malts, rich toffee, and buttery caramel notes. This is a big boy and fits right in with the Wee Heavy title

M: creamy and pretty heavy. The mouthfeel accentuates the flavors and vice a versa and carbonation is spot on within

D: one of the best Dark Horse brews I have had yet. This is a great number and deserves a try...solid marks all around

Photo of mdwalsh
2.83/5  rDev -29.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

A: Not a huge head, but that's okay, though really it fades to nothing pretty fast. Tan head. The beer is very cola colored but has some good active carbonation going on. The head is now totally gone.

S: Mildly grainy, but mostly malty sweet. No Alcohol, but really not much of anything. Perhaps it's smoke. Yep, it's a very artificial smokey aroma.

T: The taste is really quite bad. No specific off flavors I can detect, but it's very dry, not sweet at all. I get maybe roasted grain. Maybe. No alcohol, which is good, but something just bad about it. I've now had 4 of these beers on different days months apart and they all had this same taste that I really haven't tasted anywhere else. It's not undrinkable, but it's not likeable and it's not something I want in a scotch ale.

Ok, upon reading some others, I identified the flavor as smoke, but I think it's very poorly executed. I think it's totally artificial tasting and way to strong.

M: Again, dry, it's light and a little sparkling, just not what I want in a Scotch Ale, totally not to style.

D: No thank you.

Photo of nrbw23
4.15/5  rDev +3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Pours a murky reddish brown color with a thin head. Head turns into bubbles around the edge.

S- Smells of malty, bready, smokey and a touch of alcohol.

T- Tastes of dark fruits, bready, and toffee like. Nothing over powering just about perfect.

M- A touch of the thin side and low carbonation.

D- I was almost shocked when I read this one is 9%. A very solid beer and will be back for more.

Photo of jakeyb
4.4/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A-Nutty brown color, not as dark as I expected for a scotch ale, with a 2 finger head that dissipated rather quickly.

S-Heavy nuts and cocoa with a soft smokey undertone.

T-I really enjoyed this beer. It wasn't overpowering, but still quite rich. Very nut-forward with a smokey finish.

M-Thick but not too rich. Velvety smooth.

D-Very Drinkable! I'm generally a little cautious with Darkhorse's stouts, but this was exceptionally easy to drink but still had enough complexity to make it interesting. The Scotty Karate was a quite pleasant surprise that I will be sure to drink again :)

Photo of cpetrone84
3.88/5  rDev -3.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A-pours a dark copper color with red hazy hues when light is shined through. the head is a thin bubbly tan color that has almost no retention and leaves almost no lace

S-the bready malt comes in first, some sweet caramel malt next, hints of molasses, with a faint smokey aroma

T-the taste is quite different, as in the nose, the bready caramel malts set in first, they are taken over by a big smokey flavor with lots of peppery spice. there is some molasses in there and the finish shows a slight amount of citrusy hops

M-extremely smooth and slightly syrupy with a medium body and a high amount of carbonation

D-its very smooth and hides the alcohol very well. the smokiness makes it less drinkable for me but all the malts seem to follow the style.

Photo of jamie2dope
4.05/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Usually Dark Horse flies beneath the radar for me, but when one of there beers is included as an extra, bring it on. Color is dark brown, and slightly lighter toward the bottom of the glass. I may have left this one in the freezer for a bit too long, as not much head formed after a hard pour. The nose has peat, smoke, chocolate, caramel, and again, some smoke. Taste has all the aspects of a good strong Scotch Ale that I like, such as the smells listed above. What I am amazed by is how well balanced this beer is. Sometimes Scotch Ales can come off a bit one sided or dirty, but everything works really well here. One can also really get the Scotch aspect from a beer like this. The 9% provides a very nice warming sensation to accompany all of the complexities going on. It definitely feels like a full bodied beer, while at the same time coming off very elegant and drinkable. One of the best Scotch Ales I have ever encountered without a doubt. It would be nice to have Dark Horse around here. Cheers to Mike for throwing in this great extra.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a Nonic. 9.75% ABV, Guest artist #1 James Mestamaker, No date.

Thanks to Sweemzander for hooking up the Scotty!

A - A tall pour gives off a small light khaki head of loose bubbles with poor retention that winds up as a thin layer. The color is a deep and clear blood red with little in the way of carbonation coming up.

S - Toasted caramel malts give off a caramel cube sweetness and a toasted bread aroma. A hint of grassy hops lingers in the background and a mild "liquid smoke" aroma comes out. Not very pungent overall.

T - What the aroma lacks in strength the taste more than makes up for. Strong toasted malts with a caramel sweetness and a quick hop flavor that is all overwhelmed by a well-balanced but prominent smoke finish. It a beer could taste like it had just come off the grill, this would be it.

M - Smooooth and clean wit a medium body and low carbonation finish. The end is dry and the smoke flavor lingers for quite some time.

D - I'd stop after one. The flavor could be a little cloying or even downright undrinkable to some I'm sure. I'm enjoying it for what it is though. Very Scottish.

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

looks great in a tulip glass, deeo brown with a tint of crimson. getting a big smokey nose with hints of caramel and vanilla. somewhat nutty as well.

taste is dominated by malt obviously,nice deep caramel flavor in the beginning. a bit of milk chocolate,some roasted flavor with a faint smokiness in the finish. very tasty.

mouthfeel is a bit thin, somewhat overcarbonated. very marginal difference. great sipper, easy drinking for a huge beer.

Photo of capmspeegs
3.98/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

This is my first review.

A- cloudy, almost like a dirty pond, dark amber around the edge of the glass

S- Oak, chocolate, butter, slight booze

T- Heavy malt, oak, smoke, roasted grain.

M- Full, creamy, like the first sip of a poorly mixed float

D- Decent to good. Faint warming on the finish

I really enjoyed this beer. Definitely would recommend it to anyone who enjoys scotch ales. Probably wouldn't drink more than a couple though, it is a bit heavy. All in all a great beer.

Photo of MbpBugeye
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Muddy brownish copper colored beer with a off white head that doesnt stick around too long. The beer is nearly clouded completely over.

S- Smoke, butter and chocolate are the strongest characteristics in the smell. There is some caramel underlying it all. Its quite a surprising smell actually.

T- Nearly a big malt bomb as the style should be. This is actually sort of strange to me at times. Sweet, caramel, chocolate, vanilla and butter. This one is hard for me to describe.

M- Smooth, low carbonation.

D- Slightly warming. This beer is a pretty rich and malty brew which is a good thing, its 17 degrees here tonight.

Photo of eddocron
3.1/5  rDev -23.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

This is my first review and hope it looks well, even if not my favorite beer.

A dark brown pour, little foam and ring that doesn't last long.
Very malty - molasses like. fruit hint. The alcohol seemed detectable in the sample I had.
Taste was initially tangy, almost bitter, but not quite. Leaves a malt taste on the roof and tongue. It seemed to improve as AI let it breathe.
This is the first Scottish Ale I've tried. For comparison, I love dark ales, like Ommegang Abbey Belgium ale and Founders Breakfast Stout. This overall was more bitter and had an after taste I didn't like much.

Bottle serving.

Photo of Avagadro
3.83/5  rDev -5%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Murky with a burnt umber color and a frothy head. No noticeable lacing.

S: Aroma is quite muted. There are faint whiffs of vanilla and butter. I would like to have a bit more strength behind the nose.

T: Somewhat sweet, with heavy notes of oak, vanilla, and butter. Seems to be more of a traditional scotch ale, in that there are no notes of peat smoke. Very tasty.

M: Full body with a creamy texture. Compliments the rich flavor quite well.

D: A fine example of a Scotch ale. Worth checking out for anyone that agrees that it is a style that deserves more attention.

Photo of champ103
4.35/5  rDev +7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours a dark ruby/brown color. A small white head forms, and recedes in a moment. Light lace.
S: A malty treat. Lightly roasted with some chocolate and smoke. Oatmeal, and dry wood.
T: Again, very malty. Chocolate and toffee. Lots of meaty smoke, light peat, and oatmeal again. There is a ton of smoke here, almost Rauchbier like.
M/D: A rich and full body. Velvety smooth and creamy. This is a good beer to sip on.

I really like this. It is pretty much spot on for the style. A little more smoky than most, but that is not a bad thing at all. Highly recommended.

Photo of gobucks1
4/5  rDev -0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark brown into a snifter with a medium sized head that dissipated rather quickly. It had light lacing throughout.

Smokey/malty nose with carmel and light fig notes.

Sweet molasses taste with hints of chocolate and figs. Finishes with slight hops and smoke.

Fairly carbinated mouthfeel, smooth and medium bodied.

A very good representation of a scottish ale but with the high ABV, makes it difficult to have too many.

Photo of snaotheus
3.73/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

12oz bottle poured into a pint glass

Pours a very light brown (for a scotch ale), medium beige head, big fat carbonation. Smells very smokey and sweet.

Taste is extremely smokey with a sort of caramel sweetness behind it. There's an odd sourness in the background that makes my jaw clench a little (not in an unpleasant way). The alcohol is evident in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is light but filmy, very carbonated and effervescent. Fairly drinkable, but the sweetness would get to me after a while.

Photo of beerman207
4.1/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Thanks to Bamadog for the recommendation on this brew.

A: Poured into a pilsner glass very hard - left about two fingers head. Color is a dirty brown.

S: Smell is chocolate and sweet licorice. Also lots of dark fruit coming through the nose - possibly some figs

T: Taste is of prunes, chocolate, and licorice. Very nice and different flavor compared to other Scottish Ales I've had.

M: Decent amount of carbonation

D: Very high and I wish I had another sitting here to crack open. Great offering from Dark Horse.

Photo of birchstick
3.93/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - a very dark brown without much head to speak of

S - caramel malts dominate - there is also some toffee. The nose is all malt.

T - this opens up with a lot of sweet, caramely malts. There is also some sticky molasses in there. On the finish there are some very faint piney hops and a touch of toastedness (maybe in place of smoke?).

M - this goes down really smooth, medium bodied, and a bit watery. The abv is very well hidden.

D - Scotty Karate is one of the better scotch ales I have tried. However, I didn't get much of the peat or smokiness that I am used to in scotch ales. That aside, the flavor profile was very good and enjoyable throughout. I am glad I picked up a 4 pack of this.

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

Chilled and poured into a Duvel glass. Glass of cold water on the side to sip from periodically.

Appearance: The beer pours out a dark brown almost mahogany and has a slight haze to it. The ¼" light tan head recedes rapidly to a thin ring and a patch of foam. Initially sipping leaves a bit of a ring and some minimal speckles of lacing. Later on sipping leaves minimal spots of lacing even though the ring persists.

Smell: The aroma is sweet and rich, with malt contributing caramel, toffee, and fresh baked cinnamon bread. There is also some sort of fruity character here which I am having trouble identifying, but there are no hops or alcohol detectable.

Taste: The flavor has a smoky character that persists throughout, along with traces of chocolate or cocoa and some sweet caramel. There is some fruitiness here but again I can't pin it down (maybe plum?). There seems to be no alcohol or hop flavors to be found.

Mouthfeel: The mouth feel is medium bodied and soft with a slight tartness which in my experience is quite unique so far. The carbonation is light but long lasting. The finish is long and ends both dry and with some dark chocolate and fruity tartness.

Drinkability: This is a very interesting and complex beer and a nice interpretation of a Scotch Ale. If it were not for the ABV I could drink several of these in an evening. I really would like another and would be happy to do so. Very drinkable

Photo of WVbeergeek
3.78/5  rDev -6.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

I love the artwork it's from a guest artist out of Austin, TX, what's better to represent that then a viking hat adorned fu manchu wearing one man band musician rocking out on the drums, guitar, and banjo with foot pedals intact for effects. Pours a murky dark cola amber brown with ruby highlights when held toward the light. Head was quickly dwindling highly carbonated fizzy sounding as it settled, kind of a turn off at first with minimal head left behind. Aroma has a caramel plum fruit and raisin infused booziness at first sniff. With my first sip in addition to caramel, plum, raisin and booze I get an oak barrel or tree bark bitterness with evident smoked malts gathering on the palate together a touch of whiskey and vanilla this is complex like some herbal tea with a whiskey chaser blended with birch syrup root beer if that makes sense at all. With my next few sips the smoke meat characteristic even jumps into the party I'm sure this may be peated malt at this point but it's really riding a wave with carbonation that is sharp but not too lively. Mouthfeel overall is a bit cloying for me, at this point the carbonation is sharp but not lively it kind of lands flat as soon as the initial harshness passes the palate, but a smoked meat syrup layer is left behind with some charred oak and minimal vanilla that bring the heat with it. Drinkability overall depends on what your into, me I'm having carbonation issues, but does that effect my experience as a whole. Final answer it has to because it effects the way that the other flavors are sensed on the palate. In this case I feel that smoked peated malt sensation overstays it's welcome yet makes the beer memorable in an extreme sort of way. Booze ridden for sure but this beer is going for all of that, I applaud the effort it was a fun experience but damn how many of these can or do I want to drink?

Photo of jampics2
3.65/5  rDev -9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a snifter.

Looks good - nice brown tootsie roll colored body and small eggshell head. There isn't much of a head, but it provides a small halo for this lovely looking beer.

Smells surprisingly fruity for the style. I'm getting what smells like stone fruit, then some malt and a touch of earthy smoke.

Taste is good. A nice ride from the malt sweetness to ripe rasins to a nice bitter and smoked peat finish. This is really a great variety of distinct but cohesive flavors - one wave with many peaks. Runs a tad bit hot, but the aftertaste makes the alcohol seem like a natural finish.

Mouthfeel is good. A bit over-carbed for my tastes perhaps. Considering the high ABV, I find a lighter amount of carb makes the ale feel more substantial. But the right density.

Drinkability is average. Nothing really calling me to have another, but still a good one-and-done beer.

Photo of beertooth
4.2/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle poured into my friend's Selin's Grove shaker pint.

This beer pours a hazy burnt amber color that clears up slowly. There's a thin head that's fading into a tiny collar. It looks like a tasty scotch ale.

The nose is full of rich caramel malts, raisins, earth,and a little alcohol. It's smells lush and sweet.

The first sip follows the nose. Lot's of sweet caramel, sweet pears, dried dark fruits, some smoke and earthiness, and a touch of bitterness. The alcholol is hard to detect, but you know it's there. It finishes a little sticky and bitter.

Mouthfeel is medium to full bodied with a low level of carbonation as per the style.

Ok, no please excuse me while I finish up this 4-pack.

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

Another offering from Dark Horse, this label actually looks a lot better than the horribly boring B&W labels that plague their other offerings.

A: Not impressive, but not horrible. Amber-Chocolate body with the slightest head that hides faster than a vampire in sunlight. No legs or lacing to be had on this, but still enjoying the color.

S: Charred caramel bready malt, smoked raisins, tobacco, the pete...maybe the style is making think this is bigger than it really is?

T: The taste strikes harmony with it's aroma with the exception of the smokiness and tobacco taste being more evident. Sweet, smokey, and malty. Pleasant with the alcohol evident in the finish as it warms the back of my throat.

M: Medium bodied with little carbonation, slight syrup-like feel with the sweetness of the beer.

D: Maybe my taste buds are becoming insensitive, but this beer isn't overwhelming to my palate at all. The price is right and it certainly has my stomach a little warmed up. One of the better Dark Horse brews I reckon.

Photo of techfed87
4.13/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Just off of the bottle art, I like this beer. And with a stated 9.75 ABV, it looks like quite a kicker. I'm drinking from a 12-oz. bottle, which came as part of a 4-pack at a local specialty store.

Pours a darkened head, dissipating in about 30 seconds to a light film over a barely opaque dark DARK red color. Through the thinner parts of the glass some light can pass through; however the thicker parts of the glass are completely opaque.

Smells distinctly of pears. I once had a very fine scotch that had the same nose to it. It's very distinct, in a way that makes you question just how distinct it is.

Taste beings with a very peaty quality to it. It's earthy and soddy and very organic to it. The pear taste is there, but not as distinct as before.
The alcohol is very well hidden in this. It doesn't taste like it were nearly 10% ABV, which in this case is a good thing. It doesn't distract from the overall notes of the beer.

Having tried other scotch beers, this gets my mark as one of the better ones in the genre. Try it sometime, you'll like it.

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
90 out of 100 based on 1,471 ratings.