Piper Down Scottish Ale - Ballast Point Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Piper Down Scottish AlePiper Down Scottish Ale

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BA SCORE
83
good

55 Reviews
THE BROS
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no score

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Reviews: 55
Hads: 250
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 12
Gots: 45 | 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: 55 | Hads: 250
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- (719 characters)

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. (447 characters)

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. (289 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
3.02/5  rDev -17%
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. (366 characters)

Photo of Westsidethreat
3.1/5  rDev -14.8%
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. (379 characters)

Photo of mactrail
3.25/5  rDev -10.7%
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. (520 characters)

Photo of beergoot
3.31/5  rDev -9.1%
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... (718 characters)

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. (472 characters)

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 (262 characters)

Photo of robbyc1
3.38/5  rDev -7.1%
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. (446 characters)

Photo of KevChiTown
3.45/5  rDev -5.2%
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. (207 characters)

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 (653 characters)

Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (487 characters)

Photo of Ozzylizard
3.5/5  rDev -3.8%
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. (537 characters)

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. (387 characters)

Photo of snpub540
3.52/5  rDev -3.3%
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. (422 characters)

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. (522 characters)

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. (787 characters)

Photo of Jadjunk
3.56/5  rDev -2.2%
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
3.55/5.00 (2,233 characters)

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... (395 characters)

Photo of MUSHROOMCLOUD
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (287 characters)

Photo of barnzy78
3.59/5  rDev -1.4%
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. (494 characters)

Photo of maximum12
3.6/5  rDev -1.1%

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. (992 characters)

Photo of BrewBakerE
3.61/5  rDev -0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

On tap @ Beachwood BBQ.

Pours dark brown with a quickly dissipating tan head. Carbonation level may be low for some, but just fine for my personal taste. Very slight notes of carmel on the nose, but not much aroma. Seems to open up a bit, as it warms. Overall a good scotch ale that I will drink again. (303 characters)

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... (1,143 characters)

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
83 out of 100 based on 55 ratings.