Dismiss Notice
Get 12 monthly issues of BeerAdvocate magazine and save $5 when you 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.

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

579 Reviews

(Read More)
Reviews: 579
Hads: 1,691
Avg: 3.99
pDev: 19.55%
Wants: 126
Gots: 285 | FT: 13
Brewed by:
Dark Horse Brewing Company
Michigan, United States | website

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: 579 | Hads: 1,691
Photo of zdk9
3.23/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I believe this is my first taste of a wee heavy, so it'll be an interesting review.

A- Pours a dark and cloudy light mollasses color. Just a film of head and just a small pocadotting of lacing.

S- Carmel and a little more carmel. There's some hoppiness just in 'aftersmell', very earthy.

T- Carmel taste hits the forefront of my tongue, accompanied by brown sugar. There is some slightly citrusy hoppiness, with bitterness in the back of the tongue. Interesting but somewhat one-demensional.

M- Very syrupy, with just enough carbonation to cut through.

D- A decent beer, not something that I would prefer over other dark horse offerings, but maybe I'll change my mind after some more wee heavy examples.

 708 characters

Photo of Blakaeris
4.3/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours deep mahogany with amber highlights. Head is a slight ring.

Aroma is very smokey, peaty, caramel malt.

Taste is generous caramel malt up front. Sweet, brown sugar with orange notes and toffee. Finish has an amazing smokey quality along with a pleasant warming alcohol sensation.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and quite chewy.

A very flavorful and interesting brew. One of the best scottish ales I've had. Get this one. Very smooth, great caramel smokiness. High ABV is dangerously well hidden.

 501 characters

Photo of bashiba
4.59/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured dirty brown with copper highlights, slightly cloudy and a thin soap ring head.

Smell is great, a nice big malty sweet odor, almost desert like with hints of smoke, chocolate, and caramel.

Taste is great, big smoked malt flavor with hints of chocolate and caramel and a bit of earthy hops, a minor bit of noticeable alcohol.

Mouthfeel is thick and oily with a bit of a dry and warm finish.

Very drinkable for a 9.75ABV beer, Love it, The only thing I didn't like was the shockingly bad label, but I just won't look at it and put all of them in my fridge backwords.

 575 characters

Photo of SaCkErZ9
4.53/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Thanks go out to hoppymeal for this one.

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass. Dark, ruddy maroon colored beverage. One finger sized head that is mocha in color. Some nice retention that normally isnt seen in a Wee Heavy.

Aroma is chocolatey, with some coffee, toffee, and dark fruits. Very pleasing aroma. Alcoholic and fruity ester notes as well.

Chocolate and roasted malts. Wow. This is pretty tasty. Fruity and very malty. This is completely balanced as well. I know that all the malts in a wee heavy are hard to balance, but somehow, this one really works.

What a pleasant surprise. This was a great treat. Thank again to hoppymeal for this gem. Full bodied with perfect carbonation. I could drink this all night. A great beer.

 746 characters

Photo of Bighuge
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Dark, muddled scarlet red. Thin light brown head. Lacing is spotty and sporadic. Decent aroma. Pretty roasty and nutty for a Wee Heavy. But there's also notes of dampness and bread pudding on the nose. Body is light-medium and very lightly carbonated. This beer has a good flavor and with this mouthfeel, it flows across the palate pretty damn easy. (Almost feels like a cask ale out of a bottle.) A little bit of a dry, chalky aftertaste, but to me, it's appealing. The flavor doesn't carry over the roast and nuttiness from the nose....which is o.k. It's more of a peaty, smoky malt base with some juicy undertones of plum and raisin. Slightly lingering roasty bitterness. For 9.75% a/v, the alcohol is hidden quite nicely. It lingers a litte on the aftertaste as well, but is really not that noticeable during the drinking. Which is a bit of an accomplishment I think. Dark Horse is definitely a brewery to reckon with.

 922 characters

Photo of sacrelicio
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Good scotch ale from a little brewery new to the Twin Cities - a little secret craft brewer among those in my crowd. Good malty brew, fruity with berries, cinnamon, chocolate, fig, prune, whisky, etc. Very nice fruity smell, delicious, dark burgundy color, nice a drinkable still.

 280 characters

Photo of feloniousmonk
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

scotty karate, dark horse.
the beer birthed by a misconception.
9.75%? hoo, that's big for a Scotch ale...well, all right, then...

Dark burgundy hue, near mahogany, minimal head

Aroma: cookie dough, cinnamon bread, toasted and sweet, warm malt, light spice, caramel and toffee...mmmm...

Taste: big malty mouthfeel, cracked pepper meets toasted malt, alcohol feel is pronounced early...but I like it.
Dark fruits, blackberry and currant, perhaps...rich, delicious, roasty, toasty malt...mmm, mmm, mmmm.

Medium bodied, long finish, toasted dark fruit, dry, and altogether...not bad. MAybe even good. A bit too boozy, though...I think. but a fine beverage nonetheless.

 670 characters

Photo of bushbeer75
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 oz brown bottle out of a 4-pack

Scotty Karate poured a dark mahogany color with a thin small tan head that dissipated rather quickly. Smell and taste is of fresh caramel, smoky chocolate, and a little cinnamon. A fuller bodied ale that is smooth and balanced, a little chewy, and slight prickly carbonation. This is very drinkable ale that hides its 9.75 abv with only a slight warming alcohol finish.

I can’t decide which Michigan Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy I like better –Scotty Karate or Founders Dirty Bastard - both are very good! Guess I need to do a side-by-side tasting.

If you are a Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy fan, this brew is worth seeking out.

Note: Am wondering why this ale appears in the retired category. Scotty Karate still appears on Dark Horse’s web site and is found in Michigan stores. Scotty K. also just won a Silver Metal at the GABF this past weekend – A BIG CONGRATS! to the Dark Horse crew. Scotty Karate would be missed if ‘”put to pasture”.

 972 characters

Photo of Wasatch
4.35/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Thanks goes out to unclejedi for this brew.

Poured into a chalice a cloudy mahongy color, nice carbonation, little fizzy head which went away pretty quick, some tiny oil slicks left behind. The nose is malty, hoppy, spicy, oaky, and some caramel. The taste is very nice, malty/hoppy, slightly spicy/oaky tone, lots of caramel. The alcohol is hidden pretty well. Full body, well-rounded brew. Very drinkable, a very tasty Scotch Ale. Always nice to have a Dark Horse brew in the house.

 485 characters

Photo of orbitalr0x
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle with a black cap. Pours into my glass a hazy, opaque brown with ruby highlights. A small light tan head appears and then quickly falls to a ring around the top. Aromas start with caramel malt accented by some figs and raisins. Some brown sugar and a bit of red grape skin. Earthy peat in the back.

First sip brings big caramel and bready malt upfront. It's followed by raisins and a somewhat distinct red grape flavor. Figs, brown sugar and a faint touch of hops. Earthy peat is there in good form. Flows down with a good malt sweetness that doesn't get overpowering. Finishes with a hint of alcohol and somewhat dry astringency.

Mouthfeel is rich and creamy with a subtle carbonation. Big maltiness that goes down smooth at the same time. Pretty easy to drink for a bigger beer. Overall, this just doesn't really wow me like I thought it might, but it's a solid brew overall.

 890 characters

Photo of WesWes
3.82/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

The beer pours a cloudy brown color with a very thin offwhite head that fades to spotty lacing. The aroma is good. It has a wonderful crystal and smoked malt scent along with a mild alcohol aroma. The taste is good. It has a smooth and sweet crystal malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes with a light smokiness/alcohol feel. The mouthfeel is decent. It is a full bodied beer with less than adequate carbonation. This is a good beer. It just needs some more CO2. The appearance and mouthfeel suffer because of it.

 519 characters

Photo of soupyman10
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a deep cherry brown with about a half finger of off-white head that dissolves quickly to a little film of bubbles. No lacing at all. Nose of strong toffee, light saltiness. Taste is similar; lots of strong, sweet, spicy molasses. Crazy toffee. The salty background shows up later, along with some light prunes followed by some light hoppiness in a solid aftertaste. Medium body with very light carbonation. Tastey beer, especially for dessert. Great sweetness. Almost cider-like. Not my favorite scotch, but not bad at all.

 529 characters

Photo of Viggo
3.65/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Thanks to Lexx for picking this up in Michigan.

Pours a slightly hazy orange/brown, thin off white head, settles to a thin ring around the glass, some lace spots, some legs as well. Smell is very sweet and malty, toffee, raisiny, dark fruits, light alcohol, cherries, brown sugar, nice. Taste is spicy, raisins and toffee, lots of fruits, alcohol, nice and caramelized, smells better than it tastes, but still enjoyable. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. I like my scotch ales a bit thicker than this. Thanks Lexx!

 530 characters

Photo of Dogbrick
4.23/5  rDev +6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a translucent orange color with a thick and fluffy white head that dissipates slowly. Spotty lacing. The aroma is grassy and yeasty, and a friend mentioned that it also smelled like an opened packet of ketchup which is 100% true. Light-bodied with flavors of apple and citrus, plus yeast and spices. The finish is tart and fruity with a lingering spice character. Refreshing and good all around.

 411 characters

Photo of jjayjaye
3.67/5  rDev -8%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Hazy dark brown color with no head or lacing, but there was a ton of visible carbonation for a short while after the pour.. The smell is an unobtrusive sweet malt with a light, sort of barrel aged fragrance. The mouth feel is rather light bodied and lightly carbonated. There is a small footprint from alcohol, but the 9.75 ABV is a real sleeper. The flavor is sweeter and at first chocolate then dark fruit and caramel. I'm not getting much roasted malt until the finishing breath. A reasonable drinker; not at all what i was expecting.

 537 characters

Photo of Phatz
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Found at Bello Vino Markets in Ann Arbor Michigan. Scotch Ale is a favorite style of mine so I hoped for great things here. It is not bad. This beer certainly needs to be allowed to warm. I also think tis is a beer that will do better with some aging.

Appearance: Pours a muddy brown color with some ruddy hues a small instantly fading head and no lacing.

Smell: Malty brown sugar spices and dark rum like alcohol, wood and slight peatyness.

Taste: There is an over ripe dark fruit attribute a slightly sour nip and alcohol showing through. The underlying body is sugary with caramel and brown sugar raspberry cherry prune and butterscotch toffee and plenty of spices while the alcohol prance around on the palate.

Mouthfeel: It is hot and boozy medium body that feels big with the prickles on the tongue.

Drinkability: This is certainly a nightcap sipping beer. It is tasty but too hot at the moment. I really want to put one aside for a year or two and see what happens.

Hope this is helpful.

 1,010 characters

Photo of BlindPig
4.77/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A- Thin airy tan head ontop of a muddy dark brown body.
S- Alcohol, big earthy tones, some grass hops, big malt body, some dark fruits, maybe just a hint of cherries, and there is just something I can't pin point.
T- YUM! A very nice blend of all the different flavors (which follow the aroma). Nothing is over powering which is VERY surprising sayings its 9.75% ABV. The alcohol does warm the back of throat but very smoothly and then gets hot after awhile but it is a soothing hot (kind of like a heating blanket where it slowly gets warm until it is pretty hot but it feels really nice). The big earthy tones linger on from start to finish with a nice dry aftertaste too. Smoke is buried in with all the flavors. Light bitterness lingers on but not much hop flavor besides few hints of grass. Cherries do come through along with some other fruits. Maybe some raisins? Just very complex with tons of layers to it. Just amazing.
M- Medium t full body with low carbonation which helps to make it a smooth feel. Also has the sticky feel to it from the raisins or grapes?
D- Just a great beer. I hope I can get my hands on some more of this before it is not to be found any more. It would also be interesting to see how this would be with more age on it. Not sure if it would just start to go down hill or if it could get even more rounded and complex (which would be hard to do).

 1,379 characters

3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First off let me just say that the label artwork is really cool.

A very vigorous pour gets only a skim of a quick fading tan head. Body is a ultra dark brown and when held to light it shows a little murky hue. Super sweet malty nose includes a tidal of dark ripe fruit notes, it comes almost cordial like. Silky sweet richness coats the entire mouth on the first sip. Drinkability is smooth and enjorable. This one may be slightly flat due to lack of carbonation. Mouthfeel shines with roasty malt. A very solid scotch ale overall.

 534 characters

Photo of mntlover
3.6/5  rDev -9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours a murky cloudy brown with reds showing thru, the small tannish head falls to a ring quickly.

Aroma is nice big and sweet, with lots of rum soaked fruits, molasses with brown sugars roaming freely mingled with light spices. You can tell this is one big brew by just enjoying the aroma.

Taste is wow really lots of sugars roaming here, in fact they try to dominate all, all hail king molasses. Some fruity flavors try to sneak thru but come out more rum soaked the fruity. But from the smell would have thought it would be more alcoholic but its not. Finish has some light spice mingle din the big sweet molasses/brown sugars. A big brew here but not to complex, good but too one sided sweet.

Mouthfeel is not as big as you would think say a big medium here, nice sugary feel with mellow carbonation.

Drinkability is ok too one sided for me, and probably pricey too, but glad I got too try it. Want to thank merlin48 for this bottle.

 949 characters

Photo of CharlesDarwin
3.84/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Originally reviewed April 5, 2007. 12 Oz Bottle. A very barleywine-esque aroma with intense, deep malt character in apple wine, special B, light pipe tobacco, raisins, cream, walnuts and some port-like fusels. Bright, alive and rich. Pours a ruddied pale brown, with a rim of creamy off-white. Flavor finds warmer ground in a field of sweet alcohols, figs, middle malts, including a bit of roast in a smoky wisp of coffee dredge and cocoa powder, adding some unique depth to the beer. Not thin bodied, nor heavy. A pretty nice body, actually, well balanced by the soothing roast edges and a lemon-pepper hop smack. Great caramelization and nice construction. A bit of yeast climbs in the backseat as we fade down a dusty road. Thanks Shaun! A quite fun Scotch Ale!

 764 characters

Photo of
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz. bottle

Slightly hazy, dark amber/orange color. Modest, light tan head. No lacing, decent legs.

Aroma of a malt bomb, sweet & fruity. Honey & peaches. Vanilla. Earthy & peaty.

Taste very similar to aroma, sweet more than bitter. Caramel and sweet wheat bread. Tastes a bit like scotch, but much more mellow. Tea flavors. Touch of herbal bittering at the finish.

Medium + in body. No to low carbonation. Not drying.

Overall, pretty good and true to style. A bit sweet for my tastes, but a nice change up. Sipper for sure. Alcohol incredibly well hidden.

 572 characters

Photo of emerge077
3.85/5  rDev -3.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Cool label illustration of a crazed hillbilly one-man-band.

Pours a ruddy brown tone into a tulip glass, with deep vermillion highlights under the light. One finger of foam is formed, that subsides in a few minutes. Tiny spots of lace, not much since the glass wasn't completely dry. Stubborn layer of yeast dregs in the bottle.

Slight sweetness in the nose, banana, a little nutty. Reminds me slightly of a Dopplebock after tasting it. Very malty and earthy, toffee, with a nuttiness that comes through again in the first sip. There's a restrained but pleasant hit of smoky peat, that becomes dry in the finish. Alcohol is somewhat hidden for the high ABV.

Slightly sticky and dry in the aftertaste, just ok. Carbonation is a touch high at first, but smoothes out as it sits in the glass for a bit. I've never had more than one at a time, but a hearty drinker sure could.

 884 characters

Photo of grub
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

got this one from autumnaldave in a recent trade. thanks dave!

12oz bottle.

pours medium brown, slightly reddish when held to the light, with a bit of dense tan head that drops fast and leaves no lace.

aroma is nice. lots of smoke. light caramel. biscuit malt.

taste is nice. light smoke. low bitterness level. chewy biscuit malt. bit of toffee and caramel. touch of alcohol. light roast. straight forward, but wholly enjoyable.

mouthfeel is great. low carbonation level and big chewy body are perfect.

drinkability is great. i wouldn't guess this was over 5% abv. well balanced and very enjoyable. thanks dave!

 629 characters

Photo of gmcfarre
3.87/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12 oz bottle poured into a traditional pint glass

A - Dark amber colored with minimal head and therefore minimal lacing.

S - Heavy malt with oaked, caramel flavors and good portions of alcohol. Spicy alcohol at that. Dark fruits make an appearance, especially raisin.

T - Again, heavy malt with lots of woody, sweet flavors. Touch of raisin and a good deal of alcohol.

M - Smooth with minimal carbonation and a nice alcoholic bite.

D - Alcohol seems more present than it should be in a beer of 9.75abv, making this at times seem like a weak whisky. Still, its an interesting beer that is tasty and enjoyable if the flavors hit your sweet spot.

 658 characters

Photo of BitteBier
4.17/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a murky, dark caramel color. The head bubbles up relatively slowly to form a thin layer and then abruptly breaks up into nothingness. The nose is strong--unabashedly malty and sweet with alcohol clearly there as well. Dark, ripe fruit comes through too. The taste follows suit, with sweet malts quickly yielding some space to dark fruit and alcohol. The malts invoke a dark, whole grain roll. This one clings to the mouth and tongue but finishes with a surprising bit of crispness. Goes down dangerously easily.

 517 characters

Dark Horse Scotty Karate Scotch Ale from Dark Horse Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 579 ratings.