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Piper Down Scottish Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

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BA SCORE
82
good
72 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
72
Ratings:
336
Avg:
3.61
pDev:
22.44%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
94
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Piper Down Scottish AlePiper Down Scottish Ale
BEER INFO

Brewed by:
Ballast Point Brewing Company
California, United States | website

Style: Scottish Ale

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 5.80%

Availability: Rotating

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate on 06-15-2003

User Reviews
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Reviews: 72 | Ratings: 336
Photo of kojevergas
2.55/5  rDev -29.4%
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-

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Photo of mscudder
2.87/5  rDev -20.5%
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.

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Photo of BuckeyeSlim
2.9/5  rDev -19.7%

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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Photo of Beer-Revelry
2.97/5  rDev -17.7%
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 WoodButcher
3.02/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

The color was the best part of this beer. Poured a deep amber caramel color with a thin head that dissipated quickly with little lacing. Nose was sweet malt and little more. Likewise the taste was mostly malty with a bit of caramel, minimal nuttiness and a late bitter finish. Overall this was an underwhelming brew. Just nothing remarkable. Very one dimensional and not a great example of a scotch ale. If anything it was more like a typical amber ale, but even that would have been an unimpressive example. For the i prices you pay here on the east coast for Ballast Point I'd expect something special. This could be a Saranac or other non-craft brew. BP better step it up with more than fancy IPAs if they expect me to buy their beer.

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Photo of Murrhey
3.02/5  rDev -16.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured on-tap in a taster at Ballast Point in San Diego, Calif. Reviewed from notes.

A- Half a finger white head. Low retention. Some filmy white lacing. Bourbon brown color.

S- Caramel and sugar, malty. Subtle smell.

T- Sugary and malty, caramel and toffee. Not a lot going for it.

M- Smooth and crisp with a wet feel. Not great.

O- Mediocre beer. Unfortunate.

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Photo of Beejay
3.06/5  rDev -15.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: A ruby brown color with a large tan head.

S: Roasted grain, caramel and brown sugar.

T: There is a certain sweetness to this, and very subdued. Fairly light roasted malt, with notes of caramel and cream.

M: Medium light in body, with moderate carbonation, there is a little cling in the finish, but not nearly as rich or thick as what a standard Scottish would be. There is definitely a very English flavor to this, but almost too mild for the style. Almost like a more robust brown.

O: Overall it is tasty, but not necessarily what I think of when I think Scottish Ale. There is almost a softness to it, that I think is in opposition to what this beer should be.

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Photo of Texter
3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.25

Surprisingly low in alcohol for a Scottish Ale, not bad but there are much better examples of the style elsewhere, which is probably why this is in a sampler pack at my local store. There is always one beer in the sampler that makes you kind of regret getting the pack to begin with.

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Photo of Westsidethreat
3.1/5  rDev -14.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Thin looking rootbeer colored brew. Head is thin, color of moth balls.

S: Red berries, caramel with a hint of peat.

T: Starts bland with hints of minerals. Really basic chocolate flavors move in leaning towards the powdered cocoa side. Next comes some boring dark berries. Finishes bland and somewhat boring.

M: Thin and Fizzy.

D: A simple and straight forward scotch ale.

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Photo of Darkmagus82
3.2/5  rDev -11.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours a deep mahogany brown color with a one finger head of tan colored foam. The head fades rather fast leaving a good deal of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell- The aroma of the brew is strong of a roasted malt and molasses smell. Along with these aromas comes some other smells of caramel and darker fruits with just a hint on a floral hop note.

Taste – The taste begins much drier then I would have anticipated from the nose, starting with just a hint of caramel sweetness mixed with a rather stronger roasted bready taste. As the taste advances the caramel upfront fades away with a light dark fruity flavor taking its place. At the same time some hop flavors of a grassy and floral hop taste mixed with a little bit of graininess come to the tongue and with a light earthy hop coming at the very end, one is left with a rather dry and roasty taste to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel- The body of the brew is on the thinner side with a carbonation level that is rather low. The low carbonation is nice for the style, but a thicker body would have accentuated the roasty flavors slightly better. Overall, it was an OK feel.

Overall – I have to say I am a bit disappointed with this Ballast Point brew. They normally do most all styles nice, but this was way too dry and flavorless for a Scottish ale in my opinion. Certainly not their best…

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Photo of mactrail
3.25/5  rDev -10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pleasant quaff of peat-scented amber ale. Tastes so much like some kind of malt liquor. Fruity taste of blackberries. Malty and just faintly sweet. Hops are subdued and leave only a bathtub ring of bitterness. More of a winey taste than beery.

Cherry-red amber color in the pint glass. Not a lot of foam. Decently carbonated in the mouth. Fairly light bodied in a more quaffable style of Scottish Ale. Not an outstanding example of the category, but a different sort of smokey amber.

On tap at the Pearl in Point Loma.

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Photo of LXIXME
3.29/5  rDev -8.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Great burnt amber reddish color sits below a minimal off white head without any lacing sticking to the glass.
Weak Scottish tasting beer was a bit off setting since the aroma has a decent Scottish sweetness to it.
I'm usually a fan of Ballast Point stuff but I'll have to wait for the new and improved version of a Scottish Ale from these guys before I try it again.

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Photo of Mitzvahman72
3.3/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.75

Malt forward with a bold dark red, it boasts a slightly dry, slightly fruity balance with a slightly sweet, slightly roasty taste. It also has a slightly acidic aftertaste that makes it not as similar to Karl Strauss’ Red Trolley Ale. There isn't any peat taste found in this beer! However, you will find it in Sprecher Brewery’s Piper’s Scotch-style ale, Ale Smith's Wee Heavy and even Belhaven Brewery’s Wee Heavy. A good non-peat Scotch ale will be the Kilt Lifter from Moylan's Brewing Company in Novato (Don't let the not-so-classy beer name discourage you. This is a good beer!)

Meanwhile, I recommend going for the pumpkin version of this beer called the Pumpkin Down. It really improves on the overall design of this beer!

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Photo of beergoot
3.31/5  rDev -8.3%
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 charlzm
3.33/5  rDev -7.8%
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.

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Photo of gatornation
3.35/5  rDev -7.2%
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

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Photo of robbyc1
3.38/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.25

The look is a clear, dark amber with an off-white head which leaves some fairly nice lacing.

The aroma is caramely, seems to be bit of sugar and fruit in there.

The taste is slightly sweet, the flavor is solid roasted malt with a deep molasses finish, lacking any smokiness for the style.

The body is still medium heavy, with not overly done carbonation.

Very drinkable beer, a solid starter beer for someone looking to try out Scottish ales.

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Photo of KevChiTown
3.45/5  rDev -4.4%
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 russpowell
3.5/5  rDev -3%
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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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

On tap at Haven Gastropub in Pasadena, CA.

Pours a clear dark copper with a khaki head that settles to an oily film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down. Smell is of toasted malt and caramel aromas. Taste is much the same with a mild bitterness that quickly fades after each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good but straightforward and simple beer.

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Photo of Jimlikesbeer
3.5/5  rDev -3%
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 Ozzylizard
3.5/5  rDev -3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Undated bottle at cellar temp into standard pint glass
Aroma of malt, perhaps a hint of peat
Head average (4 cm), rocky, light brown, rapidly diminishing
Few clots of lacing
Body red-copper, clear
Flavor begins and ends sweet with a distinct malt taste; no hops, no alcohol, perhaps a trace of diacetyl.
Palate medium to full, creamy, soft carbonation.

While this meets the criteria for a scotch ale, I’m not sure whether the slight diacetyl flavor and faint peaty are really there, or whether I’m just being hopeful. Unexceptional.

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Photo of oberon
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
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.

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Photo of snpub540
3.52/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

On tap at The Haven.

Pours a clear brown hue with some amber highlights at the bottom and edges. Not a lot of carbonation or a lot of head. No lacing.

Aroma is bready and sweet with a small amount of toast in there too.

Taste is caramel sweet upfront with bready and yeasty notes turning up as well. A little smoke and bitterness are in play towards the finish as well.

Smooth, nice body on this one. Easily drinkable.

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Photo of TruePerception
3.53/5  rDev -2.2%
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.

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 72 ratings.