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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.

58 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 58
Hads: 265
Avg: 3.63
pDev: 23.14%
Wants: 16
Gots: 60 | 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: 58 | Hads: 265
Photo of Jimlikesbeer
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

Not really a scotch ale to me. Good taste though, just not what I was expecting. Caramel with just a hint of sweetness. No hop after taste. I agree with some of the other reviews that this is more of a bock style of beer. Great product for the price.

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Photo of thehooksman
3.91/5  rDev +7.7%
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 Beer-Revelry
2.97/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 2.75

This scotch ale just didn't do it for me, and I expected better from Ballast Point. The aroma and taste reminded me more of a slightly smokey bock than a scotch ale and the flavor had a distinct metallic flavor that killed it for me. One of the worse scotch ales I've had. To fans of the style, I cannot suggest this brew,

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Photo of arizcards
3.79/5  rDev +4.4%
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 Trooper92292
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Regardless of the score, I really enjoyed this. First of it's kind I've had but it's definitely something I want to buy again and have with my friends.

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Photo of russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -3.6%
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

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3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear, clean brown - red against the light, small head - no retention and little lace.
Malty, toffee, a little spice in the aroma.
Brown sugar, light spice, dark fruit and very little bitterness but not overly sweet either,
Easy to knock back and not easy to recognize as a Scottish Ale.

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Photo of tigg924
3.96/5  rDev +9.1%
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 ElJacobian
4.03/5  rDev +11%
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 Totalpackage411
3.65/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.75

This is a good beer, not a great one. It is one of the better ones I've tried from Ballast Point. The beer goes down smooth and tastes good, a pretty basic ale.

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Photo of RyanK252
3.77/5  rDev +3.9%
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 beergoot
3.31/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Deep, brownish-red colored body; massive, lightly off-white head; thick, gently rolling carbonation bubbles. Gently sweet, mild caramel scent. Light caramel malt flavors; fair hop bitterness, especially at the finish. Light to medium body; a bit watery for the style; mostly dry finish.

Overall, a rather disappointing beer. It lacks the depth and complexity of a malt-centric Scottish style, being generally weak and unimpressive overall. No, I wasn't looking for a heavyier Scotch ale styling here, but I did expect a richer feel and presence overall. The flavors and mouthfeel come across weak-kneed and insipid, with little malt boldness within the taste or feel. A relatively surprising dud from Ballast Point...

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.85/5  rDev +6.1%
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 StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

a fine tasting example of the style, but its the feel that throws me a little on this one. cool to have a beer from these guys thats neither hoppy or real dark and intense, seems those make it to the market less. this looks thin for what it is, more caramel than brown in color, but with a nice inch of khaki creamy head on top of it, quite clear too. the nose is fine, a touch of peaty smoke and molasses sweetness under a drying european style yeast strain. the flavor matches the nose almost exactly, but add just a dab of vanilla, and an unexpected hop bitterness like green tea on the back end. its not as heavy on the smoke and roasty malts as the style usually is, which is fine, but the feel being so light i think is a turn off. i need a little more meat to these, and while i like the idea of a session type scottish, it just doesnt really pan out here. still, the quality of the beer is enormously high, like all ballast stuff, and i like the unique mellowness of the malt bill. cool beer, but i prefer their hoppy stuff quite a bit more.

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Photo of KevChiTown
3.45/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.25

Disappointed. I really like Ballast Point and I think they rep west coast styles so well, but damn did they miss the bus with this. English pub ale. Almost generic Totally misses the Scotch Ale style for me.

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Photo of brewskifan55
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a taster glass at a bottle share

A: Dark brown with a tan one finger head that lingers. Thick lacing.

S: Heavy malts with a side of toffee, caramel and light peat.

T: Follows nose with a smooth, malty/caramel ride. Peat really didn't pop up on the taste. Smooth, sweet, but not as much umph as other Scottish ales.

M: Lower carbonation than I was expecting. A light mouthfeel. And I feel this is what brings the whole experience down a notch.

O: A great price for a bomber. A sessionable ale to share with friends. Just nothing exciting, unlike so many other Ballast Point creations. Worth a try at this price.

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Photo of barnzy78
3.59/5  rDev -1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

22oz bottle, nice fair bomber price of $3.99 - what a bomber should be.
A - brown colored ale with a persistent, dense, beige head
S - malty nose with toffee, caramel, grain, earthy peat
T - malt forward but nice balance and easy drinking with notes of caramel, toffee, toasted grain, earth, spicy hops, peat
M - light to medium body, modest carbonation
O - what I'd expect for a Scottish ale. I'm not sure I'd buy it again, but glad to try it. If it was a dollar more I wouldn't have bothered.

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Photo of philbe311
3.62/5  rDev -0.3%
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...

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Photo of BenwayPHD
4.19/5  rDev +15.4%
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 Jadjunk
3.56/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

"Our Piper Down Scottish Ale hits all the right notes for the Ballast Point Bagpipe Corps that inspired it. We created this very low hopped, malty ale for the band to enjoy using UK Maris Otter malt, roasted barley, UK hops and low fermentation temperatures. Then we let the brew's sweet complexity build over a three-hour boil. Full of roasted caramel flavor, it's a pub classic with Ballast Point personality." Brewed in the style of a Scottish Ale, available as a rotating annual release in 22 oz. bottles and on draft.

Poured from a 22 oz. bottle to a Ballast Point pint glass. Served above 45 degrees Fahrenheit.

(Appearance) Pours a crisp frothy head of a caramel-mocha complexion over a pale cola-brown body. Retention is average and lacing is light and spotty. 3.5

(Smell) Bready caramel grain, smooth English malts and a pinch of light roast for an aromatically pleasant, slightly sweet-smelling Scottish ale. Undertones of grape juice and a pinch of molasses rounds out the body. Potency is medium. 3.75

(Taste) A bit roasty up front, Piper Down edges out the peat and roast with a wave of caramel bread, unsweetened toffee malt and fruit sugar, finishing on dry grape with a drizzle of light caramel syrup. Altogether it's a bit drier with a much thinner profile than I had anticipated. Goes for high drinkability within a style that isn't meant to be the best thirst-quencher. 3.5

(Mouthfeel) The texture is softly slick, medium chewy and lightly dry. Carbonation is soft, generating a smooth, frothy mouthfeel. Body is medium for the style, medium+ overall. Balance is very slightly sweet over acidic earthy bitter. Alcohol presence is low, and there are no notable off characters. 3.5

(Overall) Piper Down runs a bit drier than I expected, although it's a very enjoyable ale still. There are superior Scottish Ales out there with better balance and depth of flavor, although at such an attractive price point, this ale in particular may be worth seeking out, especially for a style that doesn't have too many competing regular releases from craft breweries. As a lighter-bodied Scottish ale, I can't be too unforgiving about its shortcomings. 3.5

Ballast Point Brewing Company's
Piper Down Scottish Ale

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Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev +10.2%

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 maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -0.8%

Bought for a long-simmering dislike of the asswipe bagpiper who woke us up every Sunday for years at the MN Renaissance Festival at 7:00 AM with his caterwauling. I’ve despised bagpipes ever since, & would have loved to see that “Piper Down”. 22 oz. bomber split with my wife.

Glad I got that off my chest. The pour is a palette of dark orange/light red, kinda purty, plenty of carbonation. The beer fairly reeks of caramel, with a back-up of light brown sugar. Not a bad start.

Piper Down grows on me slower than a black morel. There’s a strong brushstroke of caramel & the aforementioned brown suggah, but underneath that are subtle shadings. Roast, molasses, mild layering of bitterness, rounding it out with more light sweetness. Certainly easy to drink, if I were a Scottish bagpiper, I might never be sober. Assuming, of course, I hadn’t driven screwdrivers into my eardrums already.

Not the awesome-fest I’ve come to expect from Ballast Point, but a good, solid brew.

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Photo of pat61
4/5  rDev +10.2%

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 titty_mcbitty
3.75/5  rDev +3.3%

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.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.9/5  rDev -20.1%

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.

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 58 ratings.