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Claymore Scotch Ale - Great Divide Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Claymore Scotch AleClaymore Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,110 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,110
Reviews: 421
rAvg: 3.84
pDev: 12.24%
Wants: 35
Gots: 54 | 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:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: ClockworkOrange on 01-22-2009)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,110 | Reviews: 421 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Holland


3.48/5  rDev -9.4%

A: very dark with little if any light showing through, even along the edges. I poured it when it was about 45 degrees, so there was very little head. Lacing kept throughout the glass though.

S: toasted grain, caramel, toffee, and some earthy tones

T: very earthy, but I can't detect the peat. Some butterscotch - it's a bit sweeter than I thought.

M: Medium body, lightly carbonated (again, could be the temperature, though I've had it before), and leaves an earthy finish. This is a smooth scotch ale.

O: I like scotch ales, and I like Great Divide. Somehow this one doesn't work out as well as I thought it would. Try Founders or Oskar Blues or Dark Horse for a better scotch ale.

04-19-2011 01:41:59 | More by Holland
Photo of TheSarge


4.55/5  rDev +18.5%

Pours good with a fizzie yet somewhat sticky tan cranium. The body is dark ruby red in color and is cleanly filtered.

The aroma is figgy and perhaps raison as well. The metallic hops give it a copper kind of smell like a roll of pennies.

The taste is rich with caramel, cola, fig, vanilla, and an herbal finish. Oh there is a peaty smokiness to this as well.

Feels very full in body, moderately carbonated, a tad creamy, and barely warm in the end. This is about the best Scotch Ale I've had as of yet.

04-12-2011 23:23:22 | More by TheSarge
Photo of thebrood1987

New Jersey

4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

I only gave it a 4 in appearance because the head disappears quickly. It pours nice and black and looks like a stout. It does smell delicious though with thick malts and caramel and maybe some spicyness from the hops. The taste is even better with an extremely smooth thick sweet malt taste that reminds me of caramel that is roasted some. As you drink the beer more and more you get the earthy hop on the back of the tongue and I'm happy its there even though its subtle and comes in the taste real quick.

It reminds me of a less hoppier Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale that isn't dry. Actually that's how I can explain this beer the best. Even though I like Dogfish Head's IBA better because it has more of that earthy hop that tastes real delicious with the scotch ale caramel creaminess this beer still has all those qualities too and its delicious. This is a quiet sleeper of Great Divide. It's a beer that shoudl definitely get some more attention because its great one.

04-12-2011 01:35:24 | More by thebrood1987
Photo of Reaper16


3.95/5  rDev +2.9%

served on-tap @Egan's, Tuscaloosa, AL, into a pint glass

Pours a dark, dark brown like the pots of coffee that grizzled auto mechanics make in the morning. It has something of a bluesteel tint to it; that's how dark this beer is. I'm not sure that I've had a Scotch Ale or a Wee Heavy as dark as this one. The bartender gave me absolutely zero head, so I can't comment on the head or the lacing (and as such, won't factor their absence into my score).

The first thing that came to mind when I smell Claymore is "balance." It smells every bit like a beer that knows what it is and is confident with itself. Sure, its nearly entirely malt-driven, but no one malt aroma stands out as dominant. The caramel is balanced with the coffee grinds which is balanced with the toasted almond which is balanced by the tobacco leaf which is balanced by the black tea. Yes, the leafy flavors are indicative of an actual hop presence. The only thing I can find fault with in the nose is a lack of intensity in those aromas, and in a slight alcohol presence.

The taste follows the nose very closely. Lots of nutty malt flavors -- almond, something approximating pecan -- along with some more herbal/leafy hop flavors. I pick up on some very slight vanilla; feint ghosts of vanilla, really. The alcohol lends some peppery sweetness. It's strange to me how big a role the alcohol plays on the palate. The alcohol presence made me think this beer was approaching 9% ABV, but it's actually slightly more than a full percentage point lower than that (7.7%). That alcohol presence works to undo some of the subtlety that the otherwise-balanced flavor profile achieves. But be aware that I am nitpicking, looking for a reason to score or not score this beer a 4.5 in the style. I love the balance, but the alcohol hurts it just a bit.

The alcohol makes you think that the beer should be a bit heavier in terms of mouthfeel. It's nicely medium-bodied, and would be suitable for much of the flavor profile. But that pesky alcohol is here and unaccounted for and makes the beer seem more watery than it actually is.

Overall, this is one of the finer examples of the Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy style that I've come across. If Great Divide could figure out how to keep the alcohol in check then the smell and taste scores for me would go up to 4.5 and the mouthfeel perhaps too, and this would be nearly an A+ beer for the style. There's a lot of potential in this beer. I might have to pick up a six-pack and see if the alcohol is more subdued in the bottle.

04-09-2011 18:48:10 | More by Reaper16
Photo of beer4colin


4.25/5  rDev +10.7%

A - pour is a deep dark opaque with a light head.

S - nice roast with the good roast with a good smokiness.

T - taste is what A Wee Heavy is all about. And Great Divide delivers a head shot with Claymore. This is a beautiful blend of chocolate and coffee, with a nice brown sugar finish. Alcohol is very understated but, by style, is definitely there, very nicely balanced.

D - I could easily see this as my Friday nighter. Then off to bed!

04-07-2011 19:28:44 | More by beer4colin
Photo of rawfish


4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

Pours incredibly dark for the style, nearly opaque dark brown with garnet highlights that travel halfway up the glass. Half finger parchment colored head with little retention and leaves spotty lacing on the glass.

Noticeable sweetness a little syrupy edge lingers over roasted malt and a hybrid coffee and hot chocolate aroma. Slight fruity esters on the back end, banana and ripe black plums.

Malt dominant, good balance of coffee flavor, dark chocolate and touches of sweetness. Rounds off with drying bitterness, though hop flavor is not evident it is felt, along with a second wave of coffee flavor and campfire wood. Rich flavor, malts nearly as bold as a porter.

Prickly carbonation, medium bodied with a mouth feel that degenerates from slick and easy to slightly sticky as the beer warms

Great example of a wee heavy, bold malts balanced just enough by the hops and smokiness. Recommended.

04-05-2011 23:37:07 | More by rawfish
Photo of Franz4


2.9/5  rDev -24.5%

A- pours dark brown, almost black, and nearly opaque but just a touch of light coming through the pint glass.

S- some smokiness and a touch of a chocolate roastiness in it. Smokiness seems to come from some peat.

T- Smokiness comes through in the taste as the dominant flavor, not much else is noticeable. I expected more malts flavors.

M- seems a little thin, almost no carbonation.

O- Well, this wasn't quite what I was expecting. I've enjoyed different smoke beers in the past, and this seems to be the dominant piece of this beer, but it just doesn't quite pull it off. If I'm looking for a scotch ale I'll go elsewhere, as this is just average.

04-02-2011 00:23:50 | More by Franz4
Photo of gfreed


1.65/5  rDev -57%

I know jack about beer brewing. I think I do know something about Scotch ale, however. This one is... well, it's one of the worst I've had. Bad Scotch ales taste like over-boiled peas and beans. This one tastes like that *plus* wet dog fur. Or maybe it's wet cat fur. Or a wet wool coat that hasn't been cleaned in three seasons and could really, really use a good cleaning RIGHT NOW. In any case, this is one Scotch ale to avoid. I had a headache before I even finished the bottle. If you want a good American SA, head to the aisle that holds Founders Dirty Bastard. Better still, head to the aisle with the Orkney Skull Splitter.

03-29-2011 01:08:11 | More by gfreed
Photo of DesMoinesMike


3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

$1.79 at Beertopia

Continuing St. Patrick's Day I went for the beer my wife picked out at the store. Good eye, hun.

It's a very dark red with just a hint of light at the edges of my perfect pour glass. The aroma is malty with a bit of spice lit cinnamon. The taste is nicely malted, sweet with a touch of spice and caramel. The body seems just a tad thin. The finish is a bit on the dry side. It's a good example of the style and worth a repeat bottle or 6.

03-19-2011 02:52:44 | More by DesMoinesMike
Photo of Slatetank


3.88/5  rDev +1%

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.

03-17-2011 14:13:47 | More by Slatetank
Photo of FosterJM


4/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

03-17-2011 04:45:26 | More by FosterJM
Photo of Another6Pack


3.5/5  rDev -8.9%

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.

03-13-2011 20:08:00 | More by Another6Pack
Photo of dbossman


4.15/5  rDev +8.1%

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

03-08-2011 00:21:12 | More by dbossman
Photo of Lolli1315


4/5  rDev +4.2%

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.

03-02-2011 02:26:05 | More by Lolli1315
Photo of chugalug06


4.2/5  rDev +9.4%

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...


03-02-2011 02:04:02 | More by chugalug06
Photo of thedoubler55

New Jersey

4.22/5  rDev +9.9%

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!

02-28-2011 00:09:48 | More by thedoubler55
Photo of biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

4.1/5  rDev +6.8%

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.

02-27-2011 22:31:13 | More by biegaman
Photo of FleeVT


4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

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...

02-27-2011 02:25:05 | More by FleeVT
Photo of BeardedRiker


3.9/5  rDev +1.6%

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.

02-25-2011 21:56:32 | More by BeardedRiker
Photo of Seru1


4.05/5  rDev +5.5%

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.

02-25-2011 01:13:26 | More by Seru1
Photo of keithmurray

New York

3.65/5  rDev -4.9%

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

02-22-2011 00:58:44 | More by keithmurray
Photo of cyrock1


4.43/5  rDev +15.4%

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.

02-13-2011 06:57:13 | More by cyrock1
Photo of Jesse13713


2.63/5  rDev -31.5%

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.

02-12-2011 19:07:29 | More by Jesse13713
Photo of Miketwolf21


3.73/5  rDev -2.9%

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.

02-11-2011 17:53:20 | More by Miketwolf21
Photo of Thads324


4.13/5  rDev +7.6%

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.

02-10-2011 20:45:40 | More by Thads324
Claymore Scotch Ale from Great Divide Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 1,110 ratings.