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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.
very good

566 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 566
Hads: 1,627
rAvg: 3.98
pDev: 5.78%
Wants: 117
Gots: 254 | FT: 13
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: Reviews & Ratings
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale Alström Bros
Reviews: 566 | Hads: 1,627
Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

32 ounce growler filled at DeCicco's in Ardsley, NY

Pours dark brown, medium khaki head, leaves low nicely developed lacing.

Nose is loaded with maple, caramel, toffee malts and a hint of smoke.

Full flavor scotch ale, with smooth waves of caramel, maple and again toffee. Simply delicious malty goodness. Full of flavor, but not overly sweet. Nicely done. Glad to get to try this one on draft (397 characters)

Photo of brutusmuktuk
4.39/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bottle with a brown color and a very light white head. Has a scotch aroma. Taste is also strongly scotch and sweet. Has a nice full body flavor and goes down smooth. I enjoy scotch ales and this is a very enjoyable one. I also have to give kudos for such a cool and catchy name. (292 characters)

Photo of zimm421
4.09/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a SA Perfect Pint glass. Appears a dark amber to brown color, with a thin tan head. A thin film was left after the head dissipated, with a ring around the edge. Some lacing is left behind as you drink.

The nose is deeply malty, with tons of caramel, toffee, brown sugar, and dark fruits coming through. It's not overwhelming, but smells wonderful immediately after pouring. The taste follows suit, as expected, with loads of brown sugar and ripe dark fruits coming through. There's also a touch of smoke coming through, and it adds another wonderful level of complexity.

The mouthfeel is full to medium bodied, and sticky, with good levels of carbonation. This beer is very well made, and wonderfully deep. Very enjoyable to drink, and keeps you coming back for more. Even at nearly 10%, the alcohol is hidden, and it's very drinkable. (870 characters)

Photo of MDDMD
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A-zipper color with a nice off-white head and good lacing

S-toasted malt, caramel, dark fruit, spices, little alcohol

T-toasted malt, caramel, light spice, dark fruit, hint of cocoa, lid. Bitter finish

F-medium body with moderate carbonation, smooth

O-very flavorful scotch ale, nice sipping (295 characters)

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.05/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Bottle purchased at AJ's in Henrietta, NY.

Pours a darkish brown, not quite opaque in parts. Half inch head, not much lacing.

Smells malty, of the caramel and toffee bent. Slightly earthy/dirty smell.

Interesting tastes- chocolate, oak, smoky vanilla, lots of earthy tobacco like flavors, bit of a sour twang too, that doesn't detract too much.

Mouthfeel is a bit thin for the style. Medium to light carbonation. Creamy mouthfeel.

Decent scotch ale from Dark Horse. A fuller body would bump the score up significantly. (523 characters)

Photo of BreakfastStout
3.62/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Super excited to try another offering from Dark Horse. I absolutely love Crooked Tree IPA so this should be a treat.

A: Cooper color, aggressive pour led to a small head that dissipates very quickly. Lacing is nonexistent.
S: No alcohol detected. And this is 9.75% so that's a little scary. A bready malt aroma dominates
T: A bit of a let down. After having some of the recent Founders Bastard offers, Backwood and Dirty, I was expecting a bit of a scotch whisky kick. That's not at all evident here. What alcohol is in here is very well hidden. That's not a good thing. I get a slight bitter tang at the end.
M: Not chewy at all. As a matter of fact, not much going on here at all.
O: Just OK. This is an example of the unevenness of this style of beer. This one is OK but I would not purchase again. Give me a Backwoods Bastard and I'll knock you on your ass to beat you to the bar! (886 characters)

Photo of 71ADub
4.08/5  rDev +2.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

[since I found a bottle that was a year old, it may have affected the score.]

A-nice dark copper hue, light tan head dissipates fairly quick, but some residual head clings to glass. Some sediment in pint glass, so I am assuming it was bottle conditioned, which lead to some really nice tiny co2 bubbles.

S-warm, with some hints of roasted malt.

T-good alcoholic warmth up front, finishes with some malty bitterness, then some malt, finally the alcoholic warmth. All nicely balanced.

M-Velvety smooth - nailed it. med. low carbonation

O-I like the fact that the alcohol doesn't try to rape you when you sip this. As I am drinking this with a cold, I would like to re-evaluate this once my cold is gone. But I am super-impressed with it even with my shnozz on the fritz :) (775 characters)

Photo of ISmith87
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A - 4 - Looks like a scotch ale! Nice copper color that is pretty clear with a tan head that leaves nice lacing. Bottle is really cool.
S - 3.75 - Little bit of peatiness, some bready malts, yeast smell.
T - 4.25 - Nice caramel, peat, bourbon flavors. Brown sugar, bread, cinammon. More of a sweet scotch ale rather than a strong one.
M - 4.25 - Nice feeling beer, medium mouth feel. alc covered completely. Aftertaste sweet bready malts.
O - 4.0 - It's a good beer. Not the best scotch ale or wee heavy out there, but it's good. A good Michigan beer. (554 characters)

Photo of StonedTrippin
3.78/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

this is a fireside beer, one to curl up with on a cold night in front of a blazing hot fire and sip on. the nose here is great, smoky even for a scotch ale, with some caramel malt and brown sugar sweetness, as well as a pronounced earthy richness. its alcohol strength is only hinted at in the smell. candied malt and bonfire smoke greet my palate warmly. woody malt flavor to this beer is central, the smoke and sweet are secondary. layers of grain come and go, with caramel and toffee sweetness being the residuals and an almost lactose milk stout type of sugar sticking around too, but these sweets are tempered by earthy smoke, a robustly flavored and pretty well balanced brew. fuller bodied and only boozy when it warms up, a good beer for sharing and a fun winter seasonal from dark horse. (796 characters)

Photo of Brenden
4.44/5  rDev +11.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

In the bottle or on tap, this has to be one of the finest of the style easily available.

It's a clear, though darker colored, brown-orange with a burnished orange-red tint to it, particularly in the light. The head is smallish but it holds, some sparser bubbling on the top of the foam giving way to a tighter, creamier tan cap of about 1/4-1/2 finger. Lacing is a mixture of spotting and thin patching but in slightly more than moderate density.
This is a malty Wee Heavy for sure. It's doughy with a bit of crust and plenty of caramel and dark fruits. There's a nice earth and wood undertone that comes through as well, and the balance and depth of all these things is excellent. Sweet but not too sweet, earthy, bready, but not without a bit of floral hops to it, this beer almost has everything.
The flavor is likewise complete. It's undeniably malt-forward, but doesn't deny the hops completely. Toast and dough, caramel, vanilla and fruits, a bit of smoky peat coming in, and some earth and wood; it's pretty much got it all, and none of it overdone.
The body is full, moderately carbonated, lightly crisp, and delightfully creamy all with just a hint of dryness cutting the sweetness on the palate to make an exceptionally well-rounded mouthfeel. It's also one of the cleanest out there, no astringency or grainy character to speak of. (1,343 characters)

Photo of alaimoa
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

As far as the wee heavies go I don't think you can get much better except having a barrel aged version. You would have fooled me by saying this was almost 10% ABV. Dangerous because you don't taste any heat and its a smooth smooth drinker
Appearance is deep mahogany with a half glass thin ring of head
Smell is faint when its cold but when warming up I am getting cherry, caramel, apples, dark chocolate
Taste is spot on with a bit of sweet dark fruit leading into a smooth malt profile that isn't overly sticky and no booze heat
Feel is a just a notch under stout thick (571 characters)

Photo of rlee1390
3.95/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A-Deep but clear ruby, one finger tan head.

S-Lots of malt, dark fruits, cherries, vanilla, roasted notes, tad bit of alcohol.

T- Starts with some malt and dirt notes. Then a tad bit of vanilla. Good bit of bitterness. Beef jerky like notes, peat.

M-Lighter not much carbonation, but mainly just too light.

O-Maybe this was bottled in the beginning of the year. But the beer lacked the strong malty notes I expect from the style. (433 characters)

Photo of KYGunner
4.07/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

There's a certain charm to the cloudy dullness, yet glowing brilliance of this dark cherry red color. The head simply did not hold out as the foam was built on an eruption of fizz that ebbed away quickly.

The scent is layered with tons of divergent aromas. I get a pronounced chocolate, only to get hints of Graham cracker graininess. I then get dried fruits such as prune date and raisin. I also get some maple and molasses or sorghum.

The flavor is less diverse but very clean. The flavor has maple syrup and molasses with a little fig and crab apple.

The feel is almost absent of carbonation with a smooth, clean touch. It has an almost water like smoothness and at nearly 10 pct ABV, there's not a hint of alcohol. (721 characters)

Photo of RobertColianni
4.25/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4.5

16oz draft pour into Pint Glass at The Ram's Head in West Chester, Penna. (Feb. 20, 2012)
12oz draft pour into Flute at Hawthorne's Beer Cafe in Philadelphia, Penna. [readjusted] (Oct. 18, 2013)
12oz bottle pour into wine glass from 2013 release. [re-reviewed] (Nov. 12, 2013)

A: Mahogany with plenty of yeast sediment and a khaki colored head that quickly turns into a thin, spotty cap.

S: Big sweetness notes of dried cranberries, black cherries, and toffee. The similarities to a world-class quadruple are imminent. A dry alcohol booziness tingles the senses after about twenty minutes of warming and forward toasted notes linger, but are still overtaken by those dried, fruitful aromas of sweetness.

T: Huge notes of dried cranberries, again, but with a slightly chocolate, raspberry nuance towards the finish. Sweet, but pleasant and tastefully done.

M: Heavily malted, but fermented perfectly to leave a slight chalkiness but very smooth body thinned out by alcohol.

OVERALL: I've had great kegs and poor kegs on clean lines and great bottles and poor bottles out of proper glassware, so I have a feeling that poor quality examples are out there, but when Scotty Karate is on point it's damn good! I also believe that this beauty would age fantastically, but be cautious as some bottles and kegs may have more yeast buildup than others and really effect flavors.

NOTE: Live review @ The Ram's Head in West Chester, Penna. on February 20th, 2012 readjusted after October 18th, 2013 when draft at Hawthorne's Beer Cafe in Phila., Penna. was ordered, and re-reviewed on November 12th, 2013 with a 2013 bottle. (1,618 characters)

Photo of schepelz
4.33/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

12oz bottle served into a snifter.

A - Deep amber-brown. A little bit of light tannish head that fades quickly.

S - Major malt and carmel notes. Quite sweet. Getting some distinct darker fruit aroma has it warms up a bit.

T - Big initial taste of caramel, toffee, and bread. Very well balanced scotch ale with it finishing with a nice bitter note. Not boozy, but slight alcohol coming through. Like others have stated, alcohol very well masked being almost 10% abv

M - Medium body and smooottthhh

O - Definitely one of my favorite scotch ales. Big smooth drink. Will definitely be partaking a few of these over the next couple of cold winter months. (654 characters)

Photo of don1481
4.2/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

Serving: 12oz bottle poured into a pint glass.

Appearance: Dark, reddish brown. Some sediment visible bubbling up and down. Small amount of foam lingers.

Smell: Caramel, malt, bready. A little booziness.

Taste: Boozy. Definitely boozy. But... not in a bad way. Definitely softens up once it warms up a little more. Not as soft as a Skull Splitter, but still... pretty soft.

Mouthfeel: For something just about 10%, it's pretty darn smooth in the mouth. Perhaps too smooth? Oh, heck - no such thing!

Overall: Yes, please. Provided I remember to let it warm up a little more next time! (588 characters)

Photo of BradtheGreat7
4.01/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

So I'm pretty stoked to review this. I've had a few different Dark Horse brews, but never written a review. This is however my first time having Scotty Karate.

12 oz brown bottle. Lovely bottle shape and the label is well.. Interesting. Some maniac who appears to think he's living during the Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock era.. Which isn't a bad thing! By any means. This is a colorful and catchy name, bottle, and label. And I have no doubt the quality is top notch. Funny how the best breweries get the label art right almost every time. This was poured into a stemmed tulip glass. Belgian style tulip.

A - pours a dark murky chestnut color. Brownish amber with sediment floating within. Head is pretty small and thin and the color of a light brown. Head basically vanishes to a tiny ring of lace leaving minimal stick.

S - dark fruit and a whiff of caramel malt up front. Tiny hints of milk chocolate with more dark fruit creeping up. A really nice dark fruity aroma with the alcohol doing its part.

T - more character than the nose. Dark fruit and caramel malt get things rolling with a sweet sugary note splashing the palate. Wow! Very nice. Peat and a touch of smoke highlight the flavor. Really surprised by the notes of peat this ale has. Alcohol isn't overpowering but definitely adds more to the dark fruit notes and a touch of Scotch spice. The smallest note of cocoa hits just before the malty finish.

M - nice texture and almost too easy to drink. Hardly believe its the abv it lists. Smooth and creamy feel with easy going down. Flavorful and enjoyable experience that even light weights can sip. But remember to read the label. It is nearly 10% abv.

O - not my first Dark Horse brew, but a very good one regardless. Well deserving of the first review from this Brewery. I'm actually more stoked I can get Dark Horse stuff in Ohio. One of those good moments discovering Dark Horse. Scotty Karate is a very good Scotch style ale. It has all the right juice to become someone's go to big beer. Very enjoyable and very well crafted. Scotty Karate is a must try and one to go back to every Autumn. (2,114 characters)

Photo of mvanaskie13
3.93/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 4

Poured into sam adams custom glass, color is light brown, transparent, clearer around the edges.

Smell is wonderful blend of malt flavors: caramel, toast, raisins, plums, hints of booziness emanate behind it.

Taste is just as nice as the scent, malt flavors through a range toffee, caramel, raisins, plums, light toast and roastiness; bitterness is strong but not overpowering.

Mouthfeel is not as pleasant in it is lingering presence, biting on the tongue for a time after the flavors subside. Possibly the type of bittering hops but maybe its just an off flavor from the strength of this brew.

Overall, a very delicious, wonderful smelling brew. Mouthfeel seems off to me, would expect more lingering sweetness, but the strength could be working against the brew in this regard. (785 characters)

Photo of justintcoons
4.32/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.25

12oz bottle poured into a snifter.

Murky chestnut brown with a 1/2 finger of tan head that dissipates quickly.

Caramel, hazelnut, bread, candy sugar and hints of cocoa.

Huge notes of caramel doused breads. Tons of maltiness. Brown sugar, hazelnut and candy sugar. Light notes of cocoa nib and peat smoked malt.

Full bodied, silky, smooth and sweet.

Now that's a Scotch Ale! The 9.75% abv is hardly noticeable. Good stuff! (466 characters)

Photo of Ridgeback
3.34/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Pours out a nice dark reddish brown with a very nice tan head. The head dissipates fairly quickly. Overall this looks very pleasing to the eye

S - Slighlty bready with a faint smell of bananas. This tipped me off that something might not be right here for this particular sampling. For a scotch ale this wasn't what I expected. The aroma is nice however and very inviting.

T - Waaay over the top. This isn't bad but what I was expecting for taste wasn't there. I can pick up a hint of that signature scotch ale flavor but it is overpowered by a toffee flavor and a malty sweetness. I suspect that this particuylar batch didn't quite get finished...maybe due to the higher ABV.

M - Not unpleasant but you do get sense that there is a lot of alcohol in this beer. It almost warms you up after you swallow. For as big a beer as it is, it seemed a thin possibly due to the alcohol content.

O - This isn't a bad beer but not what I expected when I picked it up. I think the high alcohol content is interfering with the scotch ale beer style. I suspect that tis particular batch was quite done...like the yeast died out before completely finishing the job.

On a positive note...I like where Dark Horse Brewing is going, a big version of a hearty beer style. I don't think they quite have it with this batch but it won't deter me from trying any of there other offerings. I this case it seems the yeast they are using wasn't able to tolerate the amount of malt that was used. (1,477 characters)

Photo of emyers
3.7/5  rDev -7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a Founders snifter.

Appearance: Dark ruby-brown color with a one-finger off-white head which dissipates quickly and leaves a nice lacing down the glass.

Smell: Fruity - much more fruity up front than a typical scotch ale. There's some dark fruits as well as fruity yeast esters. Caramel, leather, and a light smokiness round out the aroma. Pretty complex.

Taste: A little lighter in flavor than the aroma would suggest. Fruitiness is also more subdued. The caramel, leather, and smoke come out more here. There's also a bit of iodine flavor on the finish that I'm not particularly fond of.

Mouthfeel: Medium to thin body. I definitely prefer more body in my scotch ales. The carbonation level is also a bit higher than I would like.

Overall: This is a very solid example of a scotch ale, but ultimately a bit rough right now. I feel like this would benefit from some age. (902 characters)

Photo of Dope
3.69/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

No date but I believe this to be at least 2 years old.

A: Pours a murky brown with a big fizzy light brown head. Head fizzes out fairly quickly but with great retention. Decent tufts of lacing everywhere.

S: Toffee and caramel. Some dark fruits and some dark bready malt.

T: Again, lots of toffee up front and throughout the beer for that matter. Decent amount of caramel sweetens it. Touches of dark fruits. Dark bread malt in the finish. Finish and aftertaste is a dry, almost bitter toffee with a little bit of peat in fact.

M: Smooth and medium bodied.

O: Decent scotch ale. Toffee heavy, if that is your thing. I'm not a huge fan so I couldn't give it big points. Still one of the better ones out there if I'm honest. On the sweet, caramelly side as well. (767 characters)

Photo of CFHMagnet
4.23/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Midway through my pour I get aggressive, to no avail. I fail at pouring this one, and release less than a 1/2 finger of light borwn head. The body is a rich reddish brown color, with heavy carbonation going on. The beer gets no lace.

It smells awesome. Very malty with big caramel notes. I get a little alcohol on the back end, but its complimentary.

Again, this is very malty. Caramel and toffee play around, with a hint of dark fruit to flesh it out. The alcohol is very well masked. Earthy on the back end.

This is medium bodied, likely due to the heavy carbonation keeping it moving. It seems like it wants to leave a residue but doesn't quite get it in one go. It takes several sips to build this up on the back of the tongue. (735 characters)

Photo of JRdaSconnie
4/5  rDev +0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Picked up from single bottle selection at Stein's in Rhinelander. Fridge for a bit then into Spiegelau tulip.

S: Big malt, toffee/dark caramel, booze, maybe some diacetyl.

A: Deep cherry tinged brown. Not much head, no residual foam, no lace. Crystal clear.

T: Hearty malt, loads of caramel and toffee. Wonder if they boil down first runnings, very complex caramel. Kinda over the top fruity but that blows off. Again maybe some appropriate diacetyl.

M: Moderately full but not heavy. Low carb. Some of the darker sugars and booze help to dry the end out.

O: Glad I grabbed it. Need to keep trying Dark Horse. May grab another to age. (639 characters)

Photo of clayrock81
4.03/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured a brownish body with one finger head and some lace patches on top of an aroma of mostly bready and sweet dark malts, little bit of java, dark chocolate, toffee, caramel possibly, some woodiness. Taste/mouthfeel is more of the same as fuller bodied and smooth thanks to some bready oakiness and there is a good of sweetness thanks to caramel, chocolate, toffee, and a little bit of dryness from bready malts and booze added into the finish as well as some crisp hoppiness. A very enjoyable and hearty sipper. (514 characters)

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 566 ratings.