Dismiss Notice
Save $5 when you subscribe to 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine and select auto-renew.

Subscribe now →
Dismiss Notice
Join Our Email List →

And we'll send you the latest updates and offers from BeerAdvocate, because knowing is half the battle.
Dismiss Notice

Pre-order your Respect Beer "Hipster" Hoodie today!

Plus: Free shipping (US only) on orders of $25 or more until 12/18/15. Just select "Free Shipping" at checkout.

Shop now →

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

576 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 576
Hads: 1,664
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.55%
Wants: 120
Gots: 271 | FT: 14
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: 576 | Hads: 1,664
Photo of maxcoinage
4.16/5  rDev +4.3%

A Bottle to DFH signature glass, 2 finger head. dark brown beer

S caramel, bread, some peat

T starts off with malty sweetness, a bit of smoke in there, caramel, some darjpk fruit

M good carb. Medium body smooth.

O great scotch ale can't believe this is almost 10%. Dirty bastard is still my fave but this is up there

 323 characters

Photo of beerdedking
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%

Well balanced Scotch Ale. Not a ton going on in the nose, and not the thickest of heads, but the
flavors of caramel, grape/black cherry, and peat all play amongst each other with out one dominating
the profile. Nice to sip, but not overly heavy for the ABV. Goes down smoothly. Would drink again...

 303 characters

Photo of Trooper92292
4.61/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

I let this beer age for 6 months and after the long wait I finally had it. Worth the wait. So much better aged. It's really smooth and just tastes fantastic. Beautiful color and just fantastic finish. Buy a pack and let it age for 6-8 months.

 242 characters

Photo of keithmurray
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%

Appearance - dark mahogany color with slight tan head

Smell - raisins, prunes, plums, toffee

Taste - much like the aroma - raisins, prunes, toffee, plums

Mouthfeel - Medium plus body, medium carbonation, sweetness upfront, slight bitterness/astringency on the finish, booze is masked well for the most part

Overall - this is a great scotch ale that I'm glad is available in my market. It will be a staple in my fridge for when I have a craving for the style.

Price Point - $7.99/4pk 12 oz. bottles

 502 characters

Photo of barczar
4.06/5  rDev +1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours an opaque deep brown with a frothy, lingering khaki head.

Notes of treacle and toffee erupt from the glass, with dates and prunes adding complexity. Rum soaked raisins come to mind, along with a slightly savory, not quite soy character.

Flavor reveals brown sugar and caramel malt serving as the backbone, becoming nutty and toffee like in the slightly sweet finish. Underlying notes of muted prunes, raisins, and dates are welcome distractions from what could be slightly cloying malt sweetness. Cola characteristics emerge late.

Body is on the full side, with modest carbonation and moderate alcohol warmth.

Nice malt character, with a decent amount of estery complexity. Some may think this to be too sweet, but I enjoy it.

 736 characters

Photo of fscottkey
3.32/5  rDev -16.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A: Nice clear ruby red - with light penetration. 1/2 a finger head last no time at all.

S: Slightly metallic smell.

T: Follows the nose up front - with a slight metallic taste. Booze in the mid palate and a slight scotch after taste. As it warms the alcohol tones down some and there are sweeter notes.

M: Medium body low carbonation.

O: I am a little disappointed. I wanted so much from this guy. But the nose was lacking and the taste hits with a lot of booze. It just feels unbalanced. I searched for a born on date - in hopes of bailing them out (like I got an old one) but I can't find it. As it warms there is additional sweetness which yanks some of the scores up out of the basement.

 695 characters

Photo of lochef81
4.21/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

This wonderful scotch ale pours a deep mahogany color with a small off white head that leaves generous lacing and thick legs. The nose is a rich bouquet of caramel malts, woodsy notes, smoke, and a hint of booze. Mouthfeel is thick and syrupy; in the best opulently rich way. The flavor follows the nose with lots of sweet toffee malt, earthy peat, and gently warming alcohol. I'm a big fan of both Dark Horse and Scotch ales and this is one of my favorites. If they made a bba version, I'd be in heaven.

 504 characters

Photo of Pencible
3.76/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 3.75

A: This poured a clear dark mahogany with moderate tan head.
S: It smelled like earthy roasted barley and nutty malt, with some copper hops.
T: It tasted like pumpernickel bread and roasted barley and nutty malt, with some copper hops. It had a clean earthy aftertaste.
M: It was thick with moderate carbonation. Nice big body.
D: This was a nice beer with decent scent and fitting taste. The body was great, and the alcohol was well hidden. It had a smooth finish too, so it was easy to drink. Probably not for aging, and nothing unique or memorable fresh. But not bad either.

 577 characters

Photo of cjgiant
3.79/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

My original review stated I wasn't exactly sure what to look for in a Scotch Ale; I have a better idea now, but it's still not a familiar style.

A: cloudy amber-brown with good edging head and some lacing
S: couldn't get much, but what I hit was sort of like raisin bread. The smell made me think this beer would be one dimensional.
T/M: at nearly 10% I expected an alcohol taste, but it didn't hit me except subtly near the middle-end. The up front taste is similar to nose, muted raisin and nuts, more bitter than expected. I actually think it's strangely too AIPAish in feel. I almost want some more alcohol bite that bitterness.
O: hides the ABV well, and is (perhaps dangerously) drinkable. Perhaps also that's why I rated it lower, it doesn't seem to be indicative of what I think of the style (that I know less about than some).

 836 characters

Photo of GOBLIN
3.63/5  rDev -9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark Horse Scotty Karate


Poured into pint glass

A: Reddish brown not quite as dark as other Wee Heavy brew/Scottish Ales.

S: Meh' . . . not much really. Ok, but not inviting

T: Good, typical for style. Not bad at all but not mind blowing either

M: Smooth, like a light scotch ale

O: Enjoyable for sure. Not as flavorful or full bodied as I like in a scotch ale but it did the job on this cold, rainy, dreary Ohio day.

 429 characters

Photo of Billolick
4.03/5  rDev +1%
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%
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 +2.5%
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%
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 +1.5%
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 -9.3%
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 +2.3%
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%
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 -5.3%
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 +11.3%
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 +5.3%
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 -1%
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%
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 +6.5%
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 +8.5%
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

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 576 ratings.