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: 252
rAvg: 3.64
pDev: 9.07%
Wants: 13
Gots: 49 | 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: 252
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 StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +2.5%
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. (1,049 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 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. (869 characters)

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. (1,217 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 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 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 superspak
3.78/5  rDev +3.8%
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. (1,450 characters)

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. (451 characters)

Photo of HopHead84
4.05/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

3/2/2012

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. (636 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 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 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. (177 characters)

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. (418 characters)

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. (277 characters)

Photo of srandycarter
3.75/5  rDev +3%
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! (303 characters)

Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev +9.9%
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 (236 characters)

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. (854 characters)

Photo of arizcards
3.79/5  rDev +4.1%
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! (484 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)

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)

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