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Piper Down Scottish Ale | Ballast Point Brewing Company

YOUR RATING = None |
BA SCORE
82
good
70 Reviews
THE BROS
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BEER STATS
Reviews:
70
Ratings:
328
Avg:
3.61
pDev:
22.44%
 
 
Wants:
18
Gots:
90
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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: 70 | Ratings: 328
Photo of StonedTrippin
3.73/5  rDev +3.3%
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 -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 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 -0.6%
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 +16.1%
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 -1.4%
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

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Photo of larryarms847
4/5  rDev +10.8%

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 -0.3%

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 +10.8%

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 +3.9%

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 -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 Eddiehop
3.9/5  rDev +8%

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 Nugganooch
3.71/5  rDev +2.8%

22oz bottle into a standard pint
Notes from 07/11/2014

A: Bright auburn body with a reddish-orange hue and minor hazed look. Thick topper of khaki suds that holds tightly compacted for over a few minutes. Nice trellis work of tracked lacing decorates the glass all the way down the drink.

S: Biscuit malt and toasted bread up front with a light buttery caramel presence. I get some modest raisin or dried fruit type esters there as well. Aromas are pretty straight forward and all about the malts here which is a nice change up for me.

T: Malty biscuit with toasted elements and some fig like fruit segue into a more than expected American type hoppiness. Gives a off a piney note along with some citrus peel and earthy minerals. While the hops may seem somewhat out of place here it works well and the bitterness is kept on the lower end. All in all some nice flavors here with good balance and drinkability as the alcohol is really well disguised.

M: There is a moderate heft of maltiness to the body and the feel is a bit watered down at times. Although a big drying effort towards the finish really saves the overall experience.

D: This is a really nice brew to pick up every now and then. Far from being my favorite amongst the style as it’s not incredibly complex nor does it give you much to think about. It is however well crafted and quite tasty.

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Photo of Zach136
4/5  rDev +10.8%
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 samtrillo
3.59/5  rDev -0.6%
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...

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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 superspak
3.78/5  rDev +4.7%
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 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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Photo of chinchill
3.85/5  rDev +6.6%
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 BeerDawgs
4.01/5  rDev +11.1%
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 TheSixthRing
3.68/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance - Pours a clear, deep and beautiful ruby red with a finger's worth of khaki colored head. Good retention, leaving clumps of suds and across the surface and a nice ring around the edge. Lacing is spotty, with little stick.

Smell - Caramel hits first, followed by some earthy and slightly grassy hop bitterness.

Taste - Follows the nose. Caramel flavor off-set by some moderate hop notes that hit on earth, light tea leaf and slight grass bitterness. Finishes much the same it begins. Some vegetal notes come into play as the beer approaches room temp.

Mouthfeel - Medium-bodied with soft carbonation and light creaminess. Goes down quite nicely, though thins in the finish and as it warms.

Overall - A decent, approachable Scottish, though the more I drank, and the warmer it got, the more downhill it went. Suggestion? Don't try to savor it!

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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 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 lsummers
3.63/5  rDev +0.6%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Pours a deep amber that's close to a dark cola color. Smells of some sweet tablet and some brown sugar syrup. Subtle dark fruits and a touch of some roasted caramel malts. Taste has tons of caramel sweetness, with notes close to that of some Scottish tablet. Very light on the tongue and leaves a bit of body behind. Carbonation is a little on the lower side. The smell definitely compliments the subtle roasted malts and dark fruits. Overall, I was really excited to try it and I'm glad I did! It's a solid, very drinkable Scottish style ale that won't leave you feeling overly imbibed or full. If I were in the mood for this style on a summer day, this one might be my first pick. Otherwise, it might not hold up to the body of others in it's style on those cold dark days.

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Piper Down Scottish Ale from Ballast Point Brewing Company
82 out of 100 based on 70 ratings.