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Piper Down Scottish Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Piper Down Scottish AlePiper Down Scottish Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.

63 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 63
Hads: 282
Avg: 3.62
pDev: 22.65%
Wants: 17
Gots: 71 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 63 | Hads: 282
Photo of tonistruth
4.24/5  rDev +17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

on tap @ San Diego Brewing Company

A- chill hazed garnet, 1/2" off white head with a thin film of clinging lace, decent retent

S- caramel, toffee, brown sugar, toasted malts

T- burnt brown sugar, toffee, caramelized malts, roasted caramel aftertaste, molasses, tasty, nice burnt & sweet balance

M- medium bodied, a bit rough, pleasantly lingers though

D- tasty, very tasty, Scottish, don't miss this one

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Photo of BenwayPHD
4.19/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

Pours a dark, auburn red with a very thin brownish yellow head. The aroma is very one note. It's almost entirely sweet, caramal malt with subtle dark fruit notes. The flavor is top notch. Very dark. Very creamy. Tastes like a rich English toffee. This would be greatly improved with a nice rum barrel aging.

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Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4


On tap at Home Brew Mart.

A: Transparent reddish brown with a finger of light brown foam.

S: Lots of caramelization. Toasted biscuit accompanies bready malt and a firm earth presence. Lightly nutty with some dark fruit.

T: Lower moderate sweetness with a low earthy bitterness and a suggestion of citrus. Caramel is pronounced and there's a dash of toffee. Baked bread blends with biscuit and a restrained brown sugar note. I get a little raisin and plum.

M: Upper medium in body with moderate carbonation. The mouthfeel is sticky and viscous.

Overall: An enjoyable, fundamentally sound example of the style. Recommended.

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Photo of ElJacobian
4.03/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I don't understand why most of the ratings are so low - this is a great ale. If you are expecting a bunch of hops and tropical flavors then I could see why you'd be disappointed. The color is a great dark ruby, like a chocolate cherry dr pepper. Not too much of a smell but I'm getting a lot of toffee. The taste is wonderful - dark fruits, heavy toffee, caramel and malt. Very bold, heavy beer that is well balanced in my opinion. This is probably one of the best dark ales I've had.

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Photo of BeerDawgs
4.01/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

22oz bomber with no best by date. Its fresh though...summer 2014

A - Ruby red, almost brown. Half a finger of head but no sticky lace

S - Not much aroma, some apple notes and lost of English malts

T - Surprisingly the taste is much better than the aroma.

M - Highly carbonated but medium bodied. Oily and slick. Pleasant aftertaste.

O - I am not a big Scottish Ale fan, but I dig this one. Probably the best Scottish Ale I have had, and I could probably survive being in a UK pub if this one was on draft all night!

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

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Photo of augustgarage
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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...

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Photo of Kegatron
4/5  rDev +10.5%
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.

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Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev +10.5%

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.

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Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev +10.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Clear sweet tea body, solid lacing.

Aroma: light caramel and melanoidin.

Flavor: Medium intensity roast, caramel, meladnoidin. Lots of assorted earthiness in the background.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied.

A fine exmaple of

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Photo of tigg924
3.96/5  rDev +9.4%
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.

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Photo of HalfFull
3.93/5  rDev +8.6%
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.

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Photo of thehooksman
3.91/5  rDev +8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I admit I'm not very familiar with this style. The others I've had seemed to be quite heavy in that Scotch whiskey peat flavor. This one, on the other hand, is not. From tap into a pint glass, it was a clear, deep red-brown with a finger of creamy off-white foam that lingered for a bit. The aroma was sweet malt, caramel, and nuts. The flavor struck me as just a really good Bock, but with a small hint of smoke and peat in the aftertaste. The mouth was medium and smooth. I'd definitely have this again.

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Photo of sulldaddy
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%
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.

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Photo of Eddiehop
3.9/5  rDev +7.7%

Pours a deep/dark wood color with a hint of red. Spotty bubbles in the middle of the glass, really limited head to speak of, 1/4 finger or less.

Taste of malt with a few of the darker fruit notes but nothing overpowering. Overall, fairly good drinker. This beer style is not near the top of my list, but I'm a huge fan of Ballast Point. I think its a well done brew.

As another reviewer indicated, its not incredibly complex, but it does have a nice taste.

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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.85/5  rDev +6.4%
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.

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Photo of Chandango
3.8/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Very new to this style of beer, so I may amend this review after tasting more scottish ales, but as a general beer drinker, this is pretty good, with lots of 'slightly' aspects. It pours a deep amber brown color, with a slightly off white head that disappears quickly. It smells slightly sweet, roasted malts, a bit nutty that also comes through in the first tasting. It's got a nice balance of sweetness, with the slightest hop finish (kind of wish there was just a bit more actually). Overall a drinkable beer and pretty good beer

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Photo of arizcards
3.79/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a bomber from TW Arrowhead in late May for $4.99. No intelligible bottling date.

Beer poured brown with a nice tan head that dissipated quickly.

Nose is light caramelized malts.

Taste is dominated by those caramelized malts, light sweetness but enough hopping to keep the taste nicely balanced.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall a very tasty brew that is true to the Scottish Ale style. Definitely give it a shot if you are into this type of brew!

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Photo of superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

22 ounce bottle into pint glass, bottled on 12/24/2013. Pours fairly crystal clear reddish brown color with a 1-2 finger dense light khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass, with a light amount of streaming carbonation. Aromas of caramel, brown sugar, molasses, toast, brown bread, light roast, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, and toast/yeast earthiness. Nice and pleasant aromas with good balance and complexity of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and light hop notes; with solid strength. Taste of caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light roast, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, and toast/yeast earthiness. Slight earthy bitterness on the finish; with lingering notes of caramel, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light roast, raisin, plum, apple, herbal, and toast/yeast earthiness on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance, complexity, and robustness of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and light hop flavors; with a great malt/yeast flavor balance and zero cloying flavors after the finish. Medium carbonation and body; with a very smooth, crisp, and fairly creamy/bready mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with zero warming present after the finish. Overall this is a very good Scottish ale style. Good balance and robustness of dark/bready malt, yeast ester, and light hop flavors; and very smooth and crisp to drink. A nicely enjoyable offering.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.77/5  rDev +4.1%
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.

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Photo of TheJollyHop
3.76/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

On tap at Tony's Darts Away

Clear dark mahogany brown body with a finger of fast fading tan head.

Aroma is almost no where to be smelled. Barely anything noticeable other than some faint toasted nuts.

Sweet malty body full of milk chocolate, caramel, and some almond buttered bread. Sweet and slick finish with some early arriving bitterness that doesn't overtake the substantial malt character, but keeps the beer from becoming uncomfortably sweet. There is also some light coffee and tobacco flavor as well.

Medium carbonated and and light bodied, while being slightly creamy. Highly drinkable Scottish ale with an expressive malt body but lacking in aroma.

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Photo of titty_mcbitty
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%

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.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
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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Photo of srandycarter
3.75/5  rDev +3.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A - Pretty dark amber with off while head that leaves immediately.

S - Smoky, somewhat reminds me of peat. Spices and fat malt.

T - Taste matches smell though little thinner and more watery than I would have thought.

M - Creamy, but light and not lingering. Not much coating.

D - Very easy to drink!

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 63 ratings.