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Traquair House Ale | Traquair House Brewery Lld

601 Reviews
For Trade:
Traquair House AleTraquair House Ale

Brewed by:
Traquair House Brewery Lld
United Kingdom (Scotland) | website

Style: Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy

Alcohol by volume (ABV): 7.20%

Availability: Year-round

Notes / Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

Added by kbub6f on 06-07-2000

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Reviews: 601 | Ratings: 1,019
Photo of supercodes
4.01/5  rDev -3.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Traquair House Ale is a bold, delivery of what can best be described as a black ale/wee heavy. With a taste that is milder than a barley wine, and not as smokey or chocolatey as a stout, Traquair House Ale relies on strong flavors of malty caramel that results in a fantastic aftertaste. This is a beer with bold flavor, but with plenty of sweetness without the strong dose of alcohol that accompanies most barley wines.

This is a highly recommended beer for those who want a fantastic sipping beer with loads of flavor, but without the over-powering inebriates.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3.25 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

Poured into a perfect pint.

3.25 A: Dark amber brown that is constantly changing color based on the amount and angles of light. One and a half fingers of frothy beige head. Retention is a bit below average and not much lacing is left.

4.75 S: The nose on this is incredible. I just had the Jacobite Ale not long ago and I can now smell what was under all that coriander. Powerful, yet supple peat and mineral. Molasses, caramel, and brown sugar. Oaken woodiness. Earthy and outdoorsy. Doesn't have the big, bold aromas of a lot of American brews, but it has the sophistication and integration of the Trappist brews. Really well done.

3.75 T: The taste is very good, but it's only a tenth of pleasurable as the smell. Still, it's a tasty brew. Peat and mineral. Oak and earthiness. Caramel, molasses, and brown sugar. It comes together well, but just not as well as the nose. I'm picking up a big more tannic astringency than I'd like as well.

3.5 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. A bit of tannic astringency on finish. This could benefit from some more creaminess.

3.75 D: Overall it's a pretty damn good brew. I didn't pick up any astringency in the Jacobite, so maybe this is just how this batch turned out.

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Photo of maltyb
4.35/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark ruby red/chestnut colour with a tight and creamy off-white head. The head falls into some lace with a good ring.

Aroma: Estery, roasted malts and vanilla, some molasses and brown sugar.

Mouthfeel: Smooth, but surprising carbonation for it's strength. It's a bit a thin. The carbonation leaves a sharp and quick aftertaste with some astringency and a dry feeling after sipping. The alcohol gives a warmth as well.

Taste: Smokiness, reminiscent of good bourbon with a slight peatiness (explains bourbon/smoke combo). Vanilla is there, and the malts come through more, it is quite enjoyable. The aftertaste is fairly clean overall.

Overall I really enjoyed the beer, it's a good representation of the style, and a style I quite like. I wish the aroma was a bit more powerful, and the carbonation could be a bit lower with some some more thickness in the mouth, but I'd definitely drink again.

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Photo of BeerRefugee
3.59/5  rDev -13.7%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a clear dark red. Thin tan head that dissipates fairly quickly. Strong, sweet aroma of malt and dried fruit. Flavor is raisins, dried cherries, toast and just a hint of vanilla. A little more alcohol burn than usual for the style. Medium body. Slightly slick, oily finish and very mild carbonation.

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Photo of SLeffler27
4.29/5  rDev +3.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Fills a Dogfish Head snifter with murky, ruddy brown ale and a quick, thin creamy beige head. Each swirl leaves a viscous film on the glass.

Sweet toasted malt gives way to strong fig and light sherry. Some brown sugar and cashew or hazelnut is also discernible.

Malt is up front with moist wheat bread or perhaps pumpernickel. Fruit flavors are less prominent, followed by milk chocolate that comes out after warming. There is a nice balance to the sweetness of butterscotch and dates in the mild finish.

A medium to full body with cotton texture, fizzy carbonation and light alcohol.

This is a comfortable beer with enough character to be interesting but not so much as to be distracting from other pursuits while consuming. Warmth is a good friend to this beer, which was aged four years in the cellar.

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Photo of brewsclues
4.5/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.5

Out of a bottle on 3-5-2013 - it's no wonder they call me "McCree!" - love this wee heavy.

A decent pour out of the bottle, a nice amber color without much foam on top - a consistent white ring all the way around the glass even towards the end. Also sort of looks like a beer I could make, which is why I don't give it higher marks here.

Smell: oh wow. Sometimes the malt on these Scots is too robust to ever get much of an olfactory kick, but this one has plenty of it. Earthy garden, fresh grass, plenty of floral notes, and tons of freshly baked bread. I really dig that. Makes me feel like a regular ol' Scot.

Taste: fresh, smooth, lighter than expecting, and plenty of kick on the way down. Very easy aftertaste. Not a lot of carbonation, but doesn't feel flat. Just like a wee heavy heavy should be.

Mouthfeel: Doesn't coat the mouth the way I was expecting. That's a very nice thing. Sometimes these malt bombs leave me feeling like I just left the WIlly Wonka factory - this is actually crisp, believe it or not.

Just overall an excellent, excellent beer. Would grab this again in a second. Great representation of a nice, drinkable, malty beer that goes down well at almost time.

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4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Just drank the second bottle I bought in 2006...WOW!

Dirty, rich, Port-like, smoky, vanilla - slick mouthfeel, little carbonation. Definitely raising my score for taste and overall...this one sat in the cellar for 7 years and showed out well.

2006 review:
A - 1/2" off-white cream colored head. Falls quickly but retains as a cap. Dark brown scotch ale. No lacing.

S - Rich and malty. Tangy aroma. Fruit (fig). Syrupy raisin. Spice?? Sweet. Toffee. Some floral hop aroma hiding back in there.

T - Mellow malt. Hint of smoked malts at first subdued and then begins to blossom somewhere about 1/4 of the way through. A pleasant bitterness creeps up way late in the finish. This beer is somewhat more complex than my review. I have another bottle for later so I can re-visit this review if needed.

M - Between medium and full-bodied mouthfeel. Slick. Low carbonation. Soft (almost delicate) and smooth, smooth, smooth.

D - Very drinkable. So mellow yet with a good deal of complexities. Definitely let this beer warm up some before diving in. Somewhat pricey but well worth the try.

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Photo of Dope
3.99/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Bottle states best by June 2018.

A: Pours a nice medium/dark brown with a big fluffy/fizzy light brown head. Fades at a moderate pace, leaving some decent swatches of solid, fluffy lacing behind. Good head retention too.

S: A bit of smoke and peat. Oaky. Very malty in general, sweet with a bunch of caramel and dark fruits (figs?). Brown sugar for sure.

T: Heavy brown sugar, molasses and caramel; quite sweet. Hints of peat, becoming stronger in the middle as the sweetness fades. Decent bit of smoke and bitter chocolate in the middle too. Quite oaky and extremely drying in the finish. Almost pure wood and tannins in the aftertaste, to the point of being leathery. Herbal hoppiness here too, similar to an amber ale. Lingering aftertaste is extremely drying.

M: Medium bodied, moisture-suckingly dry in the finish and aftertaste. One of the driest finishes on the beer I've ever had.

O: Interesting beer. Lots of typical scotch ale flavors. Nice transition from being sweet and malty up front, to being dry and and tannic and even a little bitter in the finish. Regardless, surprisingly complex and balanced brew. Having said that, I much preferred Jacobite.

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Photo of ThisWangsChung
3.7/5  rDev -11.1%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.75

16.9 oz bottle into a nonic pint glass.

A: Pours a deep cola brown color. The head is a one finger white shade which quickly descends into a thin film. Lacing is okay.

S: This is quite caramel-forward in its malt profile, and also some biscuity malt/yeast interplay as well. There's an element of dry chocolate here, alongside some brown sugar, molasses I have some trouble detecting the oak barrel here, but it's not a negligible presence. Quite pleasant.

T: At first, I notice some vaguely smoky caramel malts, before giving way to some brown sugar and molasses. The exhales present a lot of smoky chocolate on the palate - and is probably my least favorite aspect of this, due to how dangerously close they come to tasting like flatulence. Unlike Jacobite, there's a faint presence of leafy, herbal finishing hops which helps balance the sweet maltiness in conjunction with the barrel tannins. Not particularly complex, but it goes down with superb ease.

M: Extremely clean and dry finishing. A slight amount of alcohol-concealing residual sugar lingers past the initial tannin presence - however after a while the tannic quality accumulates, which goes even further toward drying the palate out. I might even surmise that the heavy (but not harsh) dryness kills its potential complexity. Firm yet gentle carbonation helps ease this one down superbly.

O: Personally, I'm more inclined to prefer a less bone-dry Scotch ale (like Old Chub). I'm also a bit let down in its lack of depth; but on the flipside, the drinkability this presents is impressive. All things considered, a bit too expensive ($8/16.9 oz) given that it seemingly focuses on drinkability over complexity. That doesn't mean it isn't very good, however.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.08/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4

Best by Jun 2018
500ml served in a snifter

A - Pours a very dark brown, with a small beige head.

S - Rustic caramel malt, burnt toffee, charred apples, earthy peat, deep sorghum molasses, cocoa, smoked malts, the caramel malt runs from front to back.

T - Charred caramel malt, rugged smoked tea-like bitterness, chocolate, molasses, plum fruit, burnt cereal grain, finishes smoky and bitter.

M - Incredibly smooth, full body, perfect amount of carbonation.

Dense malt profile, smokey, charred, bittersweet flavors meld with an almost perfect mouthfeel. Good drinker for a February evening.

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Photo of kojevergas
3.17/5  rDev -23.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 2.75

Bottle (2002 vintagE) served into a Samuel Smith's nonic at a tasting. 8.5% ABV. Expectations were high given its reputation. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a beige ring/floater but no head at all. Body colour is a caramel-biscuit/beautiful copper. Rich and inviting. Truly appealing.

Sm: Wood, biscuit, and heavy heavy malts. Vinegar. Boozy heat. Heavy caramel. Hints of oxidation. A unique, striking aroma. Quite strong, with evidence of poor aging.

T: Oxidation, raisin, malty sweetness, graham cracker, wood, caramel, and candi character. Very striking and unique. Time has refined it, but it's not at all at ideal age; it's been cellaring far far too long. Has some troublesome off flavours, but also some masterful ones.

Mf: Smooth, wet, and nicely thick. Carbonation holds up even after ten years. Surprisingly well put together for its age.

Dr: Drinkable but well past prime. I'd like to try it far younger; maybe at three years. Aging past five years seems like a terrible idea. I'll have to revisit this one, but there are buried elements that really strike me.


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Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.86/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Bottle I brought to share at jmgrub's tasting.

Pours a clear honey brown with a foamy khaki head that settles to a film on top of the beer. Small streaks of lace form around the glass on the drink down either. Smell is of malt, brown sugar, and dark fruit aromas. Taste is much the same with an alcohol kick on the finish. There is a mild amount of spice bitterness on the palate with each sip. This beer has a lower level of carbonation with a slightly crisp and medium bodied mouthfeel. Overall, this is a pretty good beer but I think it smells better than it tastes.

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Photo of draheim
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.25

330mL into a snifter. Pours a clear brown color w/ a thin head that dissipates to a collar.

Aroma is semi-sweet and malty with a trace of mineral. Subtle dark fruit.

Taste is fruity and subtly sweet, tempered by a hard mineral quality I can attribute only to the water. Figs, dates, raisins, toffee. Exquisite balance.

Mouthfeel is medium-bodied with a dry, clean finish.

Overall a rock-solid beer. There's nothing flashy or showy about it, but the more time you spend with it the more you realize that it has an understated elegance. I think the key that holds everything together is the water.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.94/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A half finger of light tan head on a brown/reddish colored body.
The aroma is caramel malt and oak. It's deeper than just those two scents.
The texture is crisp, which balances the wood and caramel malt flavors. A moderate bitterness also plays against the malt to produce a balanced and nicely complex ale. Lower carbonation and medium body.
An enjoyable ale with better than normal complexity and depth.

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Photo of ummswimmin
3.97/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I poured this from the bottle into a tulip style glass. The resulting foam from the pour was about a finger and a half. The foam was pretty sticky, which lead to some decent lacing on the side of the glass. The House Ale is very dark brown; very hard to see through.

The nose off of this one is pretty minimal. I get decent nuttiness and oak off the top.

This beer is surprisingly easy to drink. I saw that this could be aged until 2018, and I thought that the beer would be thick and challenging. The body isn't thin, but it feels like a porter in texture.

In the body I got a decent amount of malt. You get more of the oak, and there is a decent presence of english hops. There is good balance to this beer.

Overall a pretty good wee heavy. This one is not nearly as over powering as most.

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Photo of Enthusiast
4.02/5  rDev -3.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The pour was pretty dark, and the head was very thick. It almost reminded me, visually, of a stout. The head wasn’t as pronounced as a Guinness, but still pretty impressive for an ale.

This beer has tons of flavor, and a complexity that you don’t typically see. The oak barrel’s influence is obvious and appreciated. It doesn’t hit you in the face, but is more of a trailing flavor that keeps you thinking about it as you contemplate your next sip.

I found this ale to be fairly sweet, and it reminded me of a Newcastle Brown. In fact, I’d say it was one of the sweeter beers I’ve had in awhile. I may have been avoiding them, but upon review, I shouldn’t.


I truly enjoyed every drop of this elixir. I don’t remember having an Ale that was aged in oak barrels, and if you’re wondering if it makes a difference, it does. The trailing oak flavor was a perfect compliment for a cool evening in a warm bar, and I look forward to an opportunity to try it again in the near future. I strongly recommend giving this a try.

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Photo of Immortale25
4.28/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Poured into a 3floyds tapered glass. Label says BB JUN 2018.

A- Pours a medium brown color with a 3/4 inch light tan head that retains well before becoming a thick ring around the edge of the glass and a solid sheet of surface foam. Full ring of sticky lacing.

S- Notes of mocha, caramel and a hint of booze.

T- Starts off with some roasted malt and a bit of oak, then moves into some alcohol and hop bitterness before ending with a slightly metallic flavor. Everything is well-balanced and smooth which almost results in a neutrality of flavor but, once multiple sips are taken easily, the beer's character comes through loud and clear.

M- Creamy and semi-thick. Medium-full body and medium carbonation.

O- This is quite wonderful. Pricey but mostly worth it due to the high drinkability. Traquair continues to be solid in my book.

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Photo of notchucknorris
4.42/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

First of all, this really isn't a style that I'm a big fan of. That said, this is a tasty beverage.

A: Pours a murky almost pond scum like brown color with a thin light brown head. Not the best color in the world, but once it's in the glass, becomes a deep mahogany color that looks a lot better.

S: Probably the best thing about this beer. A rich and complex dark fruit aroma. Fig jam, toffee, black raisins, light butterscotch, fruitcake and golden raisin. Really nice.

T: Opens with a modest dark fruit flavor and a touch of booze. Toasted oak, a faint peatiness, raisin and some faint burnt brown sugar. Finish leaves just a trace of warmth with a touch of oak. Alongside Dieu du Ciel's Equinoxe du Printemps, one of the best scotch ales I've had.

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Photo of endovelico
4.05/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Let me say first and foremost, this is not a particularly unique or complex beer.

Don't get me wrong! It will definitely challenge your palate and depending on your sensitivity to given aromatic compounds and Qualia you might get anything from caramel, raisins, honey and peat to darker fuller flavors such as ripe grapes, chocolate, cherry, anise and even some ash (On the nose or tongue).

My problems with it, is that it lack the boldness and fullness you get from other beers of the style (the almost candy-ish and boozy notes) and the lack of depth, as it feels like you're having a beer that can't get itself to develop expression as it warms up and gets oxygenated. Having said that however, this beer is still a treat on the tongue, standing out as challenging, elegant, and most importantly extremely sessionable.

Finally and what I've yet to mention is what makes this beer remarkable. Like I've already hinted at, this beer isn't the best at any particular aspect even within it's own style. This beer does however, carry alot of 'soul'. It might seem like over-romantization, but it's something that i really struggle to put into words. It just feels like it was made with the purpose of capturing a specific frame of existence, and that it somehow perfectly captures it. I personally find it hard not to wonder off to a roadside tavern in the Scottish coastland. It really IS an experience like one of the bros pointed out.

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Photo of waldoiverson
4.15/5  rDev -0.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bottle into nonic

A: dark brown, cola color with striking creamy tan head, seems fairly viscous, little carbonation present int he glass, great lacing

S: dark fruit, cinnamon, bitter chocolate, slightly alcoholic, licorice

T: wow, this is good. char and chocolate blend into a fruity center, cherry like, a bit of a hit of alcohol, then finishes bittersweet with mineral overtones

M: lively with carbonation with a strong dry and tannic finish. this is a no nonsense beer.

O: Excellent, balances the dark and sweet tones in a very grown up manner.

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Photo of frankiepop
4.36/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is a healthy looking wee heavy Scottish ale. Nice head with a little staying power. But the aroma is something to write home about. A sweet malty strong aroma hits me and tells me I am going to drink something special. I think this smell is the best part of this brew.

A low carbonation delivers a slow rich smoooth beer that lingers on your tongue with a not too sweet caramel malty flavors. One of the best in its genre.

Drink this beer to John Cage's Finnegan's Wake as i write this on what is John's 100 birthday? Wow. Sleep well my dear departed sweet man.

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Photo of Mediczod
4.7/5  rDev +13%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This is an outstanding Scotch Ale. Dark amber, head fades fast. Smells of malt, peat, toffee and scotch. Lightly bitter with a slightly sweet aftertaste. Very smooth. One of the better Scotch Ales out there. I hesitated at spending $7.25 for a bottle of it, but it was worth every penny. I'm buying this one again!

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Photo of LiquidAmber
4.17/5  rDev +0.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured into a MacAndrew's thistle glass. Pours a cloudy dark mahogany amber. Thin, meduim tan head with good retention and lacing. Nice aroma of caramel, dark dried fruit, light vanilla; earthy. Flavor follows with well integrated caramel malt, toffee, dark dried fruit, light vanilla and a hint of smoke and mustiness. An unexpectedly dry finish and somewhat more subdued flavor than I expected, but nicely balanced and pleasant. Medium bodied, but has a light creaminess that gives an excellent mout feel. A very nice scotch ale from a great traditional brewer.

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Photo of bump8628
4.27/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Not many good Scotch Ales available here, but this one of them. Pours mahogany with a thin, loose ecru head. Rich caramel and toffee, subtle mustiness like mossy decomposing wood, nice spicy oak note, vanilla and toasted nuts. Balanced bitterness, with an earthy hop flavor, slightly metallic mineral note on the finish. This is a relatively young bottle and is already super mellow. I like the new 500ml format as opposed to the old 330ml bottles.

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Photo of rapidsequence
4.12/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

11.2 oz bottle bought at Bottle Revolution a while back. No date on the bottle.

Appearance: Very dark amber-ruby-brown. Off white head that mostly fades quickly, but leaves a bit floating on top. Just some spots of lacing.

Smell: Rich and malty with lots of caramel and raisin aromas. A little smoke and earth. Tiny hint of cinnamon? Complex.

Taste: As with the aroma, very nice malty flavors. A bit more peat and smoke in the taste, as well as some alcohol-- more than expected for a 7% beer. The alcohol at the end washes away some of the malty finish, which is a shame. Some roasty bitterness at the end as well.

Mouthfeel: Really only medium, as the alcohol flavor makes it finish a bit too clean and dry.

Overall: A very good wee heavy. As above, a bit too much alcohol flavor-- burns like a 9 or 10% beer. Nice complexity of aroma and flavor.

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Traquair House Ale from Traquair House Brewery Lld
93 out of 100 based on 601 ratings.