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Claymore Scotch Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Claymore Scotch AleClaymore Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,251 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,251
Reviews: 439
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 11.98%
Wants: 37
Gots: 106 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Great Divide Brewing Company visit their website
Colorado, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  7.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-22-2009

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,251 | Reviews: 439 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Slatetank
3.87/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

I had this on tap at Al's of Hamdpen in Enola, PA. Served chilled in a Nonic.

The color is as close to black as brown get, like a good strong cup of cofee, with a very small ring of pale tan capping which is made up of tiny beads. The retention and lacing are ok. the clarity is tranclucent with a medium brown hue at the base of the glass. The smell is good, plenty of toffee-like aromas w/ some mild cocoa and accents of cedar and light nutty toast odors. The earthy aroma brings to mind tobacco and mild vanilla with a hint of coffee. the feel is good, but a little high in carbonation for my taste, mild roast and creamy texture with some mild bitterness and very low alchol presence for the abv with a semi-dry finish.

The taste is very good, I like how the malt and yeast are integrated with some dark fruit notes like date and light cocoa with some woody elements as well. The flavor brings a gentle toasted grain which also comes off like roasted beans, but is not really bready, just smooth and chewy. The only drawback to this beer for me is it lacks a little in the complexity factor, a very drinkable beer mind you, and I found it to have a very well hidden 7.7% abv, but there are many better examples out there IMO.

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

318th review on BA
bottle to NB globe
12 oz, bottled on 7/13/10

App- Very dark brown like a nice dark rum. Decent 1/2 finger head that receded quickly.

Smell- A very sorted mix of some roasty malt, dense sugars and a oaky sweet vanilla.

Taste- First the smoky flavors come in, then the roasty sensual malts and finally some smooth vanilla as it warms. Was very tasty.

Mouth- Soft medium bodied with a nice medium carb level with a caramel malt and vanilla after taste.

Drink- Good, as usual from GDBC. Very smooth and easy to sip on.

Photo of Another6Pack
3.46/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Very dark pour - almost as black as a porter. Big bubbled and light black one finger head that was thickest at the edge of the glass. Thin lacing that clings momentarily before running back down into the glass in sheets.

S: smoked malts dominate. To my nose, the smokiness runs just this side of a damp campfire. Not deterring, but noticeable.

T: A quick hit of spice at the start that is accentuated by the carbonation; smoky malt middle before a very, very dry, sweet finish.

M/D: average. Dry, abrasive mouthfeel and smokiness would keep me from having any more than one in a sitting.

Photo of dbossman
4.15/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: Dark brown--nearly black--with a very thin film of a head; lacing is okay

S: Lots of hay, alfalfa, and other grains--some burnt and roasted grains; a bit musty; but all in all a nice malty smelling beer

T: Beautiful malt profile; lots of roasted and burnt qualities on the malts; subtle medicinal quality; so smooth

F: Very creamy with a nice mouth coating

D: This is a damn good beer with such a nice malt profile; one of my favorites of the style

Photo of Lolli1315
4/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Very dark brown in color with deep ruby highlights, definitely not quite opaque. Small layer of creamy tan head composed of small bubbles that becomes very slightly patchy but remains mostly in tact. Noticeable ring around the glass that lends to some lacing.

S- A deep malty smell hits the nose long and hard to begin with traces of caramel lingering beneath. Some smokyness begins to come through towards the middle of the smell with low dark fruit esters just noticeable in the form of prunes and raisins. The end continues with the malt and a small amount of alcohol just becomes noticeable.

T- Rich malt forward with the same caramel character that helped to compose its complexity in the nose. Medium is dominated by a rise in the smoky flavor which is much more noticeable than in the smell. In the middle there is a lingering of malt in the background as well as nutty flavor. Raisins begin to emerge slightly in the middle as well lending to a slight fruit ester character. The end of the beer finishes in a medium bitterness and a slight touch of alcohol along with a slightly lingering smoky flavor.

M- Medium-full body with moderate-low carbonation. Carbonation is slightly prickly on the tongue and finishes with the mouth only slightly dry, not fully attenuated as the sweetness lingers.

D- Altogether a well rounded beer for the style. I think that it would have improved from a little less bitterness in the finish as well as a slightly dryer finish (only slightly). The smoky character may also needed to be turned back just a touch. Certainly would get this one again though.

Photo of chugalug06
4.19/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A- Very dark amber color with very little head or head retention. You're almost able to pour the beer straight into a glass without worrying about over flow. Head dissipates quickly with only a rim of white head remaining. No lacing is left behind.

S- Heavy carmel with hints of licorice. Light appearance on my nose with remaining hints of wood(?) and cherry(?).

T- Very carmel and slightly vanilla/coffee. Holds it's shape during consumption nicely. Very well rounded and robust, an easy drinker.

M- Very little carbonation, just enough to hold the beer together. Carbonation is not overbearing and ages very well.

D- One of my favorite beers with consistent drink-ability. Once you set it down a few minutes later your mouth will be calling. A good beer for after work or late afternoon on a weekend. I would not recommend this beer for sporting events.

Each year when this beer is released it's always one of my few go-to beers. Consistent and hold body nicely with a year +/- in the celler...


Photo of thedoubler55
4.2/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- Dark opaque in color, leaves a nice 2 finger tan head with nice lacing around the glass as you sip.

S- Maltiness with a slight hint of aged scotch, little hints of caramel

T- Same as the smell, little bit of booze at the tail end.

M- Medium bodied not to much carbonation

D-Great brew from great divide, would definitely like to have this one again. First time was at The Porter Bar in Atlanta,GA ON TAP!

Photo of biegaman
4.12/5  rDev +7.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This stygian brown Scotch Ale, which bleeds a sooty, red-violet tone at off angles, instantly conjures cold winds, peaty foothills and crumbling castles to mind. The last time my imagination was similarly enchanted was in reading Macbeth. It's entrancing but I can't help but note its flatness: even the outlining ring is inconspicuous; considering the higher a.b.v, however, that's not the end of the world.

Claymore Scotch Ale may not be as intense as a Highland whiskey but I'd argue that it's every bit as complex. Yeast esters and full-on, unbridled maltiness combine for a heavily anchored base of bruised dark fruits upon which are piled interchanging notes of exotic spices, singed wood, smoked pork, roast barley, molasses and peat. The lack of alcoholic intensity notwithstanding, I'd be very curious to learn how it pairs against actual scotches.

When the aroma is good, more of the same is never a bad thing. Once again, a stiff backdrop of dried, singed, smoked and then spiced wood supports an earthy, peaty, sweet cast of flavours that range from bruised plum to licorice-y herbs to a combination of honey, brown sugar and molasses that would likely make a divine bath for a pork roast.

The sweetness, however, is perfectly restrained. The dryness, peatiness and smokiness (and distant, heavily subdued spiciness) all rotate around one another like the eternally revolving giant blocks of the cosmos. While it has a level of complexity normally proscribed to the rock glass, it can easily, joyfully be drank by the pint. If any alcohol is present, it is only adding to the beer's already impressive nuances and hinders quaffability little.

Great Divide's Claymore Scotch Ale is, to borrow a term from Mary Hirsch, a rubber sword: it makes a point without drawing blood. That point is that American brewers have left no stone unturned and are by now brewing all styles of beer as well (or, in many cases, better) than the brewers of the styles' originating countries themselves.

Photo of FleeVT
4.07/5  rDev +6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz brown bottle with bottled on date.

A: Pours a chestnutty mahogany-ie brown. Very little head to speak of.
S: Nose places deep almost burnt caramel up front with some dark berries. Not so subtle earthy hints mixed with some residual yeast.
T: Brilliant! More sweet caramel and molasses, subtle dark berries. Generous malty backbone that is not over the top. I usually look for a bit higher alcohol content on this style, but Great Divide has nailed it. Hops are faint, as they should be.
M: Great medium bodied for the style. A well hit gravity with a moderate amount of carbonation that cleanses and warms on the way down.

Overall I was not looking forward to this after the pour and nose, but it is fantastic. Look forward to another bottle to see if any preconceptions change on those fronts...

Photo of BeardedRiker
3.9/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Upon pouring this beer I found it to be much darker than I expected. It had a deep red-ish brown color that I could hardly see through. The head was a good two fingers and caramel tint. Ales are the most diverse beer in terms of tastes, colors, lightness and darkness, etc. and the Claymore Scotch Ale proves that. It is dark and flavorful to easily be confused with a porter.

There is perhaps a slight liquorish-ish (yeah, that's a word now) flavor at the very beginning but very soon comes a delightful sweetness of molasses or caramel. Finally there is a finish of dark malts with a bit of nuttiness.

She's a dandy.

Photo of Seru1
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: Good off white foam but not to much. Nice Dark color with a Ruby brown aura.

Smell: Lots of burnt character here with a few hints of cherry. I almost smell an almost oaky aroma.

Taste: Oddly not as sweet as I'm used to in this style. Hints of smoke and cherry play with Toffee and end in a pleasing nuttiness. Not Common in other Wee Heavy's I've had but quite tasty.

Mouthfeel: So rich I nearly included it on my taxes. It really fills the mouth and lingers with a pleasing aftertaste

Drinkability: Usually Wee Heavies are so sweet I can't drink many in a sitting. But this is quite balance and mellow. the sweetness is there but not dominate. I think I could have another just fine.

Photo of keithmurray
3.61/5  rDev -6%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Beer pours a deep eggplant, nearly black colour with tan head

smell - burnt caramel, burnt firewood

taste - smoky,toasted caramel, molasses, hint of cherries

mouthfeel - smoky, slightly sweet upfront, slightly bitter finish, medium carbonation, medium bodied beverage

drinkability - decent beverage for the style, maybe wouldn't have more than one in a sitting, this is a sipper for sure

Photo of cyrock1
4.42/5  rDev +15.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Burnt Brwon to black with a tan head.

Smell: Haevy burnt toffee and coffee aromas.

Taste: Sweet roasted malt with hints of chocolate and coffee.

Mouthfeel: Moderately heavy with lively carbonation and a hint of hop beitterness on the end.

Drinkability: Excellent ballance of toasty malt flavors and sweet malt makes it go down super smooth and linger delightfully on the tongue.

Photo of Jesse13713
2.62/5  rDev -31.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Pours a brownish black with barely any head at all. A little carbonation with poor to average lacing. Looks like coffee quite a bit.

Smell - Dark fruits, barley and malts are present right away. Prunes are slightly present as well. It does not smell hoppy at all.

Taste - Yeasty and filled with dark fruits, specifically plumbs. I also get a tangy cherry zing followed by a maple, brown sugar and coffee aftertaste. It does, however, taste quite medicinal. I agree with a below reviewers comments about it tasting quite buttery.

Mouthfeel - Bitter and quite alcoholic.

Drinkability - A little hard for me to get through, but quite tasty in some respect. The flavors were very complex.

Verdict - I enjoyed the dark fruits and buttery taste, but it isn't uncommon to find that in a lot of beers. While the taste was complex, it didn't respectfully agree with my taste buds.

Photo of Miketwolf21
3.73/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

I love scotch ales and have been searching for my favorite everyday kinda scotch ale. As I pour the freshly bottled claymore into my snifter I notice the low carbonation levels. The stubby custard colored head never exceeded a half of a finger even with a rougher pour. The smell is somewhat unfocused, with pale malts mixing with roasted and smoked malts. The hop profile is mostly noble hops with maybe a touch of cascade.
Coming into the first sip I was kind of disappointed since other scotch ales i have tried smelled more rich and warm.
The malt backbone is just not warm enough and is not integrated well with the noble hops. It tastes like 30% pilsner, 30% amber ale, and 40% stout. When I taste distinct styles in my beer I tend to think of homebrewing where you sometimes combine recipes of different styles. Basically it tastes a little unpolished, which sometimes I enjoy and other time i don't. But back to the taste: flavors of brandy and chocolate chip cookies emerge after the obvious flavors of barley and noble hops disappear quickly. It just tastes like they didn't boil it long enough. The flavors are great, but when I drink it the they just don't integrate well together. I had high expectations which may be the issue here but it is after all a slightly above average scotch ale.
The mouthfeel is also slightly above average. It should be chewier and have finer carbonation but all in all not distracting.
Drinkability is where this thing shines. It begins to taste better with every sip simply because my ability to discern overall flavor profile tends to diminish after even just a beer. And since the flavors of chocolate chip cookies and brandy are pretty delicious, I can see myself wanting another at the end of the night. This after all has a unique flavor, one that I may enjoy at other times. Its just that I always scrutinize my first beer of the night and challenge it to make me enjoy it. Beer always tastes different depending on the situation and I think this beer is just not a sipper that is meant to be distilled of its flavors. Its meant to be in a pint glass and gulped with friends.

Photo of Thads324
4.09/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

poured into an english pint

A : a black, heavy looking color with a thin film of tan head, tiny almost nitro bubbles. Not wee heavy looking at all, but more like a stout or small porter.

S : bready malt upfront with a finish of caramel and toffee. on second and third whiffs there is a hint of butter and a more dominate toffee with just a wee bit of smoked malt. very little hop to speak of, although it lingers throughout.

T : starts with a blast of beautiful caramel and smoked flavor, followed by a finish of hop bitterness. The flavor is excellent. Very much like the aroma.

M : solid and right on for an almost 8% beer. could use a little less carbonation though.

D : The drinkability is great considering the abv.

Overall I really like this beer a lot. The appearance is inviting, although a bit too dark for being so low on the alcohol side of a "wee heavy". It is a 120 schilling looking 80 schilling beer. regardless, it is definitely great tasting.

Photo of Gobzilla
3.85/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: poured a dark brown with brown highlights and had a thin head leaving a little lacing sticking to the glass.

S: caramel, toffee, and molasses were noticeable on the first whiff with some roasty character but had grainy and mild herbal notes.

T: the taste had more toffee and caramel flavors with a hint of coffee, molasses, and brown sugar. The various grains did come through but were very mild.

M: the brew was medium in body with a fair amount of carbonation which had a sweet, herbal, slighty roasty, and creamy finish.

D: the brew was pretty drinkable but was just an average wee heavy.

Photo of patreely12
4.17/5  rDev +8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - almost black with a ruby hue in the light. about one finger of tan head, which dissolves to a creamy film at the top. darker than most scotch ales I've had. very similar to the appearance of a stout.

S - roasted malts. smells of coffee with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. faint hint of caramel too. underlying presence of the alcohol.

T/M - the first thing I think of when I drink this is "stout". the body and everything is very similar. alcohol and roasted malts on the front. though the alcohol is the first thing I taste it's neither strong or off-putting. the coffee with bittersweet chocolate is the most prominent flavor on the back end and leaves a slightly dry aftertaste. body is on the fuller side. great flavor, kind of a mix between a scotch ale and a stout.

D - particularly drinkable despite the heaviness and ABV.

Photo of SirRuss
4.05/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A - A ruby-hued, thickly dark brown body foretells a sweet treat ahead. The head is equally informative as it's ephemeral presence confesses gentle carbonation, and the absence of lacing offers further validation for those not already convinced.

S - Sweet scents of butterscotch, caramel, and chocolate icing lend some serious substance to a complex aroma, which also exhibits a touch of bourbon, and a subtle spicy overtone of chilli dust and white pepper.

T - Sugar-speckled caramel introduces the profile from the forepalate, which smoothly transitions into the mid almost immediately. Chocolate notes take control as light hops lend a welcome bitterness and create the first sign of depth. Entwined butterscotch imparts the luxurious impression of cracked Brandini Toffee, and hints of dark stone fruit are unmistakably reminiscent of old world fruit cake. Whisky notes, detached from the sweetness, instill independence to the finish, and ripples of dark malts and hops gradually roll into the distance as it leaves its final impression. Yet despite demonstrating complexity, the depth of the overall profile is somewhat lacking. By failing to fill all these vital corners, this brew falls disappointingly short of the score that I wish I could give it in this category.

M&D - Wonderfully smooth, and pleasingly unusual. It achieves originality from a transitional characteristic, which sees a light but lively carbonation on the fore palate gradually fade away until nothing is left but a silky smooth swallow. Its stickiness should also be mentioned, but it does not exceed expectations for the style, and is more decadent than disputatious.

O - Despite blunted edges, this Claymore is definitely forged from a complex composite that creates an intimidating impression, and is definitely worth wielding again.

Photo of hopsyum
4.28/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into tall glass from bottle.

a- Barely any head even when poured somewhat aggressively. Beautiful deep ruby red color when held up to the light, otherwise appears dark brown.

s- Smells good. Malts are very present, and accentuate the "scotch" smell. Sweet smelling.

t- Yummo! Thick and sweet, there is more carbonation than I would expect from such a heavy beer, but in this case it actually works to liven up the thickness. The malts are the most present flavor, with hints of stout-like coffee flavors. Somewhat bitter aftertaste, in a scotch-like fashion. Nice.

m- A lot going on here. This beer is thick and creamy and stays around for a while. It leaves a sticky residue in the mouth (that's what she said) that is sweet and bitter at the same time.

d- Undecided. I was somewhat full when I drank this beer, but although it tasted delicious, I can't tell how many I would be able to drink. It is thick and sweet and bitter, I dont know how long I would be able to drink it.

Photo of SteveS1
3.77/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Look: Dark brown w/ruby coloring at the edges. Small tan head with a little retention.

Smell: Warm alcohol, grainy malts, sweet toffee

Taste: Sweet grains on the tip of the tongue and palate, warm peat and roasted coffee finish. Dry roasted aftertaste, not particularly bitter.

Feel: A bit round, with even carbonation

Drink: Very drinkable, but complex enough that you can enjoy sipping it.

Not as sweet as expected, certainly more on the bready side.

Photo of BB1313
3.41/5  rDev -11.2%
look: 3 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.25

Bottled on December 23, 2010. 12oz bottle poured into a standard pint glass. Pours a dark brown with ruby hues. There's little head and lacing going on. Lots of malts and grains up front. I'm picking up hints of caramel, toffee, and a slight amount of chocolate. Once again, lots of malts and grains, maybe too much. Finishes with a minor warm burn. Mouthfeel is good, unfortunately it's the best thing going. Drinkability isn't the best, I found myself nursing it. It's not that this is a bad beer, just not interesting enough to keep my attention. At the end of the day, it's still well crafted.

Somewhat dissapointing, I always have high expectations from Great Divide, so I won't hold it against them. Still a beer I'm sure someone can really enjoy. It's not bad, I just wasn't crazy about it.

Photo of jpkoch1962
3.33/5  rDev -13.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 4

It's difficult to review a beer that is generally good, but falls outside of the style guidelines.

The beer pours a very dark brown, almost opague black. The moderate carbonation provides a nice but short lived head with decent lace. The aroma is a weak whiff of bready malts with some roasted notes. The front end, middle and finish of this ale was a smooth and malty. Roasted malts came through in the finish. Not bad.

However, this is not a Wee Heavy. Except for the alcohol (7.2%), this is poor rendition of the category. Wee Heavy's should get most of thier character from a heavy malt load, long boil times, and long maturation. The taste should be intensely malty, with smooth sweetness, and a dry finish. This is closer to a stout or a strong dark ale.

Claymore is a good ale, don't get me wrong. I wouldn't turn this down. But, like many micros Great Divide dumbs down a classic style.

Photo of JayS2629
3.65/5  rDev -4.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Dark cola. Black with brown hues. Nice tan creamy head which recedes quickly but leaves nice creamy rings of lace.

S- Roasted malts, smoke, wood tones, nutty notes, hints of chocolate. Sweet malt forward, earthy tones.

T- Roasted malts with a quick follow up of oak, smoke, clean wood tones, and a hint of booze. Bitter coffee in the aftertaste. Touch of hops. Malt forward. Reserved but robust. Quite complex. Biscuits, heavy molasis, and toffee with a dose of cofee and scotch.

M- Medium bodied, creamy, smooth, slight boozy bite in the finish.

D- Very nice balanced beer. A little on the thick side and boozy aftertaste. Nice for a sipper.

Photo of BigPlay1824
3.68/5  rDev -4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Tulip Glass. Claymore pours a near black color with slight brown hues when held up to the light. As it is poured into the glass it generates a nice amount of creamy light brown head that dissipates rather quickly. The brew leaves a scattered amount of lacing around the glass which I have found to be typical of the style. Claymore Scotch Ale has an overall scent of deep malts (possibly coffee malts) and dark roasted nutty scents. The taste of this brew is not exactly what Ive come to expect of the style but, that being said, it is not in anyway unpleasant. The initial taste is that of deep malts with a slight molasses note backed by roasted nut hues. As the brew finishes, more of the woody flavors and a very slight scotch note work their way onto the pallet. There is very little alcohol burn which really helps it drink easily. The brew is very smooth on the pallet and has a nice complexity of flavors. Overall, I would have liked to have seen more scotch notes in the scent and even more of the same in the taste but I did find the brew to be quite pleasant.

Claymore Scotch Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,251 ratings.