Piper Down Scottish Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Piper Down Scottish AlePiper Down Scottish Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
82
good

239 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 239
Reviews: 59
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 10.99%
Wants: 12
Gots: 44 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  5.80% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: BeerAdvocate on 06-15-2003

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 239 | Reviews: 59
Reviews by hawkmage:
More User Reviews:
Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -29.9%
look: 2.75 | smell: 2.75 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.5

Served on-draught into a 4 oz taster at Ballast Point in San Diego. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a half finger beige floater. Body colour is a rich clear copper-amber/chestnut (for extra pretension). No yeast particles are visible. No bubble show.

Sm: Caramel, vague hints of oak, and malt. A very restrained aroma.

T: Caramel, amber malts, a hint of oak, and malty sweetness. Simply built. Underwhelming. Lacks complexity and subtlety.

Mf: Smooth. Dry, especially on the finish. Poorly executed; it doesn't suit the flavour profile at all. Decent thickness. Overcarbonated.

Dr: Downable but pedestrian. I wouldn't have it again, but it's not awful for the style. I expect better from Ballast Point.

Low C-

Photo of oberon
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

Pours a rich clear amber with a half finger light tan colored atop that settled into a frothy mass.Aromas are on the sweet side with alot of caramel and brown sugar,light toast lingers.Caramel and vanilla malty flavors dominate the flavor profile from beiginning to end with just a hint of toastiness.Not bad but one of the more one dimensional Scottish ales I have had in its sweetness.

Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.9/5  rDev -20.3%

Beer really needs to warm up before the nose gets released and the flavors show themselves, and by then the mouthfeel is thin, pushing watery. Very soft nose begrudgingly gives up caramel and a hint of peat. Taste is quite muted and muddled, with the caramels darker, almost burnt. Meh.

Photo of tigg924
3.96/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Taste is peat, toffee, and toasted malt. There is a nice smokiness that lingers throughout. One of the better Scotch ales I have had recently. Worth a try, especially on tap.

Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +9.9%

This has a big malty nose with kettle sugars and a hint of smoke.
It pours a brilliant chestnut under a 1” quickly dissipating off-white foam cap.
Piper Down attacks the palate with rich British malt spiciness, a touch of malty tartness, and some caramel to toffee kettle sugars. A touch of earthy herbal hops balances a light sweetness throughout.
The beer is chewy with medium carbonation and a touch too sweet.

Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

22 oz bottle served in a wine glass.

Pours with a very durable tan head that leaves some sticky lacing. The body is dark red-brown and clear but almost opaque.

Aroma: very pleasing malt forward with a touch of smoke.

Flavor: Very good flavor if a bit low in intensity. Low in smokiness for style. strength nutty flavor with dark grains and a impression of dark bread. Good, lingering malty aftertaste.

O: a bit tame for style but very enjoyable.

Photo of glid02
3.55/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Had on-tap at Beachwood BBQ in Seal Beach, CA.

Pours a brownish-red color with a one-finger light tan head. The head recedes into a wispy layer on top leaving light lacing.

Smells of lightly toasted caramel malts with a bit of smokiness and medium fruit aromas. As the beer warms the fruit aromas become stronger.

Tastes similar to how it smells. The first half of the sip is nice as it consists of the caramel malt and light smokiness, however midway through the sip the fruit flavors join in and disrupts what was a good thing.

Mouthfeel is alright. It's a bit on the thin side with moderate carbonation.

Drinkability is OK. I finished my glass however I'm not too sure about another.

Overall this has the potential to be a good beer, however as it stands now I'm not quite sold.

Photo of samtrillo
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

A slightly translucent purple amber with a cute thin off white head.

Caramel malt nose expected from a Scotch ale. Not too strong but pleasant.

Taste is similar. Lacking in complexity. A nice caramel malt with some bitterness in there.

Mouthfeel is crisp and light. Medium carbonation.

Overall it's a fine example of a Scottish style Ale but nothing I'm crazy about. I prefer Scotch Ales...

Photo of TheSixthRing
3.68/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a clear, deep and beautiful ruby red with a finger's worth of khaki colored head. Good retention, leaving clumps of suds and across the surface and a nice ring around the edge. Lacing is spotty, with little stick.

Smell - Caramel hits first, followed by some earthy and slightly grassy hop bitterness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel flavor off-set by some moderate hop notes that hit on earth, light tea leaf and slight grass bitterness. Finishes much the same it begins. Some vegetal notes come into play as the beer approaches room temp.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with soft carbonation and light creaminess. Goes down quite nicely, though thins in the finish and as it warms.

Overall - A decent, approachable Scottish, though the more I drank, and the warmer it got, the more downhill it went. Suggestion? Don't try to savor it!

Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Blue Palms Brewhouse. Served in a wide mouth tulip.

Dark, though not opaque burgandy body with a tiny but persistent off-white head.

Aromas of peat, caramel, slightly toasted malt, and light esters.

Peat, malt, caramel, and a faint grassiness suggesting noble hops on the palate. Lacks a little depth, but the flavor profile is still quite good.

Smooth and medium bodied with moderate carbonation.

This sort of rides the line between a Scottish Export 80/- and a true Wee Heavy - though I think it is really a weaker rendition of the latter...

Photo of Fatehunter
3.85/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Pours a finger of head on a dark straw body.
The aroma is caramel, candy and brown sugar. Rich but nice.
The taste has a good dose of malt but maintains a good balance not letting the sweetness run wild. Caramel mostly.
The texture is thicker with low carbonation.
Nicely done.

Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

Pours an effervescent crimson with a pinky of cream colored head. Stays effervescent,
Okay head retention & lacing

S: Faint brown bread & leafy hops

T: Brown bread, a little smokeyness, & faint leafy hops up front, some caramel as well. Pears & apple skins as this warms, more caramel & smokeyness. Finishes a little fruity, slightly sweet, & with faint smokeyness & leafy hops, plus slight dryness, faint brown sugar notes

MF: Light/medium body, fairly firm carbonation

Drinkable, but I would take an Odell 90 shilling any day. Granted it is a little weaker
Not a bad take on the style, a little over-gassed, just doesn't impress style-wise

Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap @ Ballast Point Old Grove on 11/11/09. Served in a pint glass.

Pours a deep, clear amber, with a thin frothy covering of off-white foam. This stays rich around the edges, with some wisps in the center, leaving back some robust lacing. The aroma smells of toasted malts, a hint of smoke, spice, fruity esters, and some sweeter caramel notes, which are taking on more of a butterscotch tone as this warms. Not a whole lot of force here to the nose but seems to fall in line with ABV, which was listed as 5.6% on the board.

The taste is a little roastier up front, that then gets sweeter in the middle, with sugary toffee and fruit. Finishes spicy on the lips, with a lingering gentle smokiness. Not much hops, with any bitterness mostly coming from the malt. The mouthfeel is medium bodied, with a softer feeling carbonation up front, which then gets a little sharper towards the back of the swallow. Much like the aroma, this isn't super deep by any stretch, but seems to fall right in with the ABV.

Well done take on the style here by Ballast Point, with just the right amount of balance between the malt, spice, and smoke. Remaining on the lower side of the ABV style spectrum kept this nicely drinkable.

Photo of HalfFull
3.93/5  rDev +8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Drawn from the cask into a pint glass, this beer measures a hefty 9.1% ABV this year. Pours a burnt orangey-chestnut in color with a full inch of dense off white head and lots of action, thus yielding a yeasty opaqueness to the beer. A nice looking pour though a bit un-beerlike in color, if that makes sense. Offers strong retention and lacing.

Nose is up front with caramel malt and butterscotch flavors. It gives a sense of an upcoming sweetness that never materializes. A bit of alcohol can be found on the nose as well as the tongue. Taste is similar to the nose and offers a very long finish on the malt. Flavors of butterscotch segue to a somewhat spicy finish, with a hint of pepper, cinnamon and brown sugar. Offers a very nice feel, partly I would assume from the style, and partly from the beer engine. Drink is good and would be higher if not for the ABV.

Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev +9.9%

Pours a light red/amber red with a nice caramel kissed head that dissipates rather quickly.

Candied malts, burnt sugar, caramel, and slightly earthy.

Sweet caramel/burnt sugar on the front with a very muted booziness on the backend. A little bland.

Mouthfeel has less booze than I'd like from my Scottish Ales, but soft and smooth nonetheless.

Overall, this starts off nice in the nose and at first glance, but doesn't really go anywhere. Not overly complex, a little bland, but worth a shot. I love Scottish Ales, but this is just a little meh for my taste.

Photo of mscudder
2.87/5  rDev -21.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Served in a snifter.

A - Deep ruby hue with a fair head. Below average retention.

S - Light dark fruits, caramel malt and brown sugar.

T - A bland aggregation of amber malts, caramel, prune and light smoke flavor. Everything seems unpronounced.

M - Lively carbonation. Far too thin to support it all.

O - Some qualities of this beer show promise, but it just does not come together for me. Perhaps my least favorite BP brew I've picked up.

Photo of philbe311
3.62/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A standard pour yields three plus fingers of ultra lush light khaki colored froth goodness that displays a bit of a rocky top as it settles... Rock star retention... The color is a translucent carmelly light-to-medium brown... A light to moderate bit of slightly sluggish micro sized carbonation... The nose displays a heavy dose of light brown sugar to start... There are light notes of caramel and toffee... Lots of bready malts... Just a slight whiff of peat... Simple and straight forward... The palate is rather uneventful... Some dark bread malts... A hint of brown sugar... Perhaps some peat... Not much else... Very understated in terms of overall flavor profile... On the lighter side of medium bodied... A bit thin and slightly watery... Limited carbonation... Goes down easy enough, but highly uneventful... A simple but unspectacular Scottish Ale... Not bad, but aside form a stellar appearance there isn't much to experience or remember here... I personally think there is a severe shortage of Scottish and Scotch Ales in the current craft beer marketplace, but unfortunately this one doesn't fill the void...

Photo of TruePerception
3.53/5  rDev -3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Ballast Point's Piper Down, Scottish Ale. 5.8% ABV

A: Just over a finger of head. Nice, clear red tone. Decent lacing.

S: Smells slightly soured. Not fruity sour, but milk gone bad/yogurt sour. Medium molasses. Very light char.

T/MF: Multigrain cereal, and light char. This much lighter than the other Scottish Ale I tried. Moderately crisp, too. Though it doesn't taste it, sharp tingle towards the tip of the tongue is telling me there's some acidity to this.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle, into a Belgian tulip glass.

Photo of RyanK252
3.77/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle poured into a BarrelHouse Brewing Co pint glass

A: Pours deep ruby brown with a frothy khaki brown head that settles and laces lightly.

S: Roasted malt, toffee sweetness, and dark fruit.

T: Roasted malt, a hint of coffee, dark fruit, cherry and plumb, earthy hops, and toffee sweetness.

M: Light to medium body, moderate carbonation.

O: Pretty drinkable, but nothing super special.

Photo of gatornation
3.35/5  rDev -8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

A-pours a clear amber color with an off white head a afresh collar
S-sweet malts and fruit
T-sweet on the front end with light floral hops very little malts
M-sweet and thin fruity with good carbonation
O- did not taste like a SA but more like a session red ale

Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.75/5  rDev +3%

A: Burgundy brown with light shining through.

S: Peat and malt.

T: Like the nose: Peat, malt, caramel and toffee, scotch, raisin bread, and brown sugar. Awesome flavor.

M: Right at medium with a lot of carb. It would be slightly better with a fuller mouth feel I think, but then again this is nice and refreshing.

O: I really like this brew. Not sure why the BA score is so low. It has a nice set of flavors and isn't overpowering.

Photo of Nugganooch
3.71/5  rDev +1.9%

22oz bottle into a standard pint
Notes from 07/11/2014

A: Bright auburn body with a reddish-orange hue and minor hazed look. Thick topper of khaki suds that holds tightly compacted for over a few minutes. Nice trellis work of tracked lacing decorates the glass all the way down the drink.

S: Biscuit malt and toasted bread up front with a light buttery caramel presence. I get some modest raisin or dried fruit type esters there as well. Aromas are pretty straight forward and all about the malts here which is a nice change up for me.

T: Malty biscuit with toasted elements and some fig like fruit segue into a more than expected American type hoppiness. Gives a off a piney note along with some citrus peel and earthy minerals. While the hops may seem somewhat out of place here it works well and the bitterness is kept on the lower end. All in all some nice flavors here with good balance and drinkability as the alcohol is really well disguised.

M: There is a moderate heft of maltiness to the body and the feel is a bit watered down at times. Although a big drying effort towards the finish really saves the overall experience.

D: This is a really nice brew to pick up every now and then. Far from being my favorite amongst the style as it’s not incredibly complex nor does it give you much to think about. It is however well crafted and quite tasty.

Photo of sulldaddy
3.9/5  rDev +7.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Had a draft of this brew in a pint glass at the brewery.

The beer pours a clear rich mahogany color with a thin edge layer of head at best.

Aroma is mild but toffee, some brown sugar and a bit of grainy malt come through on the nose. I dont get any booze here and maybe just a hint of earthy hops in the background.

First sip reveals an average body and minimal carbonation. Texture is smooth and the beer is really easy to drink. Some stickiness on my lips after each sip.

Flavor is all malt with caramel and grain, with just a bit of brown sugar mixed in, maybe a little roasted malt showing up? No realy hop hits and the booze is well covered.

The beer goes down very easy and proves to be a tasty, albeit one dimensional brew. I enjoy it and think it could be sessionable if the ABV were about 1.5% lower.
check it out if you like malty brews.

Photo of charlzm
3.33/5  rDev -8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Consumed June 19th, 2012 at Blue Palms.

Dark ruby color with caramel highlights. Nice ring of off-white foam that lasts all the way to the bottom of the glass, though not especially sticky.

Aroma is smoked peat, a melanoidin character and a touch of brown sugar.

Flavor is much like nose. Peaty, smoky, caramel, maybe rye as well? Melanoidiny. Unexpected citric zing in there, too.

Dry on the finish, medium bodied,

Not what I expected form a scotch ale, but not bad.

Photo of womencantsail
3.75/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

On-tap at Ballast Point (Old Grove) this past weekend.

A: The pour is a clear, dark amber color with a bit of an off-white head which leaves some fairly nice lacing.

S: The aroma is quite pleasant. Notes of molasses, toffee, smoke, and lightly roasted malt fill the nose. There might be a bit of sugar and fruit in there somewhere.

T: The flavors are a bit bland and watery, but still decent enough. Molasses, roasted malt, and a bit of peat are the primary flavors, but again, not all that intense.

M: Despite the disappointing flavors, the body is still fairly nice (though a bit thin) and the carbonation is low to moderate.

D: This was a fairly decent beer and would be a good starter beer for someone looking to try out Scottish ales. I say that because the flavors of these types of beers can be a bit overwhelming, so the tame flavors would be a good segue.

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 239 ratings.