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McEwan's No.1 Champion - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Not Rated.
McEwan's No.1 ChampionMcEwan's No.1 Champion

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
84
good

56 Ratings
THE BROS
-
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 56
Reviews: 35
rAvg: 3.7
pDev: 13.78%
Wants: 1
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scottish Ale |  7.30% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: bditty187 on 08-24-2003)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 56 | Reviews: 35 | Display Reviews Only:
Reviews by Zimbo:
Photo of Zimbo
3.53/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The most commonly found 'wee heavy' in Scotland and made in the Caledonian brewery in Edinburgh. I haven't had this since the switch until now.

The delicate dense but fluffy heavy head formed pretty easily. In the mouth there is now a more dominant almost black treacle quality which is rich and more complex than it once was. Seems more rounded as well with some vinous qualities almost like Caledonian 80 but bigger.

Drank this chilled but as it warmed up it became much more raw and overwelmingly boozy and confected . Still a bit simple to be honest.

Zimbo, Sep 25, 2010
More User Reviews:
Photo of jazzyjeff13
4/5  rDev +8.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A 500ml bottle with a BB date of Oct 2011. Label describes it as an award-winning ale.

Poured into a Sam Smith's pint glass. A dark reddish-brown colour with medium carbonation visible when held up to the light. Large off-white head with a creamy texture that holds up well. The aroma is quite something - rich dark malts with lots of sweet fruity notes; raisins, plums and stewed fruit as well as a hint of caramel. Overtones of alcohol. Complex.

A powerful taste; sweet dark malt with a bitter finish. Notes of fruit and some roasted flavours. A warming sensation from the alcohol. Sweet on the tongue as you swallow, followed by a lingering malty bitterness. Mouthfeel is smooth and syrupy - it feels good for the style.

An impressive ale with a big flavour, though probably not everyone's cup of tea. The first time I tried this it conjured memories of throwing up after drinking too much...but my palate has since matured ;)
I'm not sure how this stacks up to other strong Scottish ales, but it's worth seeking out to try.

jazzyjeff13, Jan 29, 2011
Photo of ivanwatling
4.33/5  rDev +17%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Appearance: brown colour, no head. I like a creamy head so this only receives an 'average' score.

Smell: Beautifuly sweet and rich.

Taste: Powerfull, rich. Balance between thick sweetness and sharp bitterness, pehaps just learning towards bitter.

Mouthfeel: Pleasant lingering aftertaste, perfect carbonation balance.

Drinkability: Far too strong to have more than one bottle, would probably be too rich anyway. But one bottle is a warming, comforting experience.

ivanwatling, Dec 07, 2010
Photo of Miha
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

Miha, Jun 02, 2013
Photo of JohnW
4.22/5  rDev +14.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured dark bronze colour, with dense creamy head, that was off white in colour, and lasted well down the glass. Rich sweet aroma, malty, fruity, raisins cinnamon, roasted (but not burnt) caramel very appealing. Initially very sweet, more so than I expected, but not cloying in any way. Very rich without being too heavy, extremely fruity, like plum pudding, roasted malts and barley, hint of licorice and chocolate, very pleasant. Considering its strength of 7.3% it is an easy beer to drink, and very suitable for a cool evening to warm you up! Enjoyed this very much, and I think it's likely it keeps well and matures gracefully, as the bottle had best by date of 2003! I had it at the back of a cupboard and had forgotten all about it! Maybe I should get some more and do the same thing again!

Second tasting some months later - had another bottle with well within use by date (not 2 years past!) and did not seem as smooth or rich, so maybe this is better for keeping in a dark place for two or three years!

John W
B'ham UK August 2006

JohnW, Aug 16, 2006
Photo of ltdantheman
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

ltdantheman, Feb 26, 2012
Photo of MaevaS
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

MaevaS, Aug 02, 2014
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +6.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Top notch for its style, brought back from London by Mark B. Wonderful wheat though boozy aroma, scotch colour, small white head and significant lace. Great easy mouthful, dry aftertaste with hop leaf. Good malting, understated carbonation. Bit of roasted barley.

Sammy, Jul 12, 2006
Photo of beerinabottle
3/5  rDev -18.9%

beerinabottle, Jul 07, 2014
Photo of bditty187
3.55/5  rDev -4.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Brought back from Ipswich, England by my girlfriend’s parents…

Darkish ruby-brown hue, translucent, light beige head, slightly more than a finger’s worth, excellent retention. Thick rings of lace were produced. The nose is weak… light hints of malt, nuts, and butter. Disappointing. The palate is malty with very little hops influences, the alcohol is discernible… slight spiciness and licorice hints… the sweetness (and butteriness) grows as the beer warms, bready. The body is a touch thin, watery in spots… very drinkable, easy to quaff. Low carbonation… silky mouthfeel. Sweet/spiced aftertaste. This beer has its moments of greatness… the bouquet does lack in potency and it is somewhat simplistic but overall it’s a damn nice brew. Try one.

bditty187, Aug 24, 2003
Photo of avylover
4.28/5  rDev +15.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours out a lighter shade of clear mahogony. Had this in the U.K. very nice creamy & malty aroma,which goes right along with the caramel & ever so slightly fruity taste,. Nice carbonation creates a nice full and creamy mouthfeel with nice drinkability. The sweet caramel maltiness flows across my tongue all the way home. This almost heads into barleywine teritory, at least with the sweet maltiness. Most excellent, and a must for a malt monster wanting a strong ale. Once again, a very drinkable strong ale.

avylover, Mar 14, 2005
Photo of AEK
4.35/5  rDev +17.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

500ml brown bottle poured into a Gordon's Thistle glass.

A. Autumnal red in colour. A nice thick lightly tanned bubbly head sits above and it doesn't say 'goodbye' too soon.

S. Vine fruit and brandyish notes dominate the nose.

T. Lovely and bitter although some malt sweetness emerges. Rich with hints of port, the alcoholic warmth soon bites.

M. Smooth and almost heavy.

D. A delicious strong ale from Scotland. Strange how this is Gordon's Scotch Ale that is brewed for the Belgian market but the %ABV has been lowered from the 8.5% ABV for Belgium to 7.3% for the British market. Although the alcohol content has been lowered it is still a warming beer, great for sipping on a cold evening as it is today even though it is almost June!!

AEK, May 29, 2010
Photo of zebedee
3.58/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured a deep ruby, with a thick off white head, which diminished to a nice layer. Plenty of thick lacing left on the glass. The smell was similar to a wine, raisins, prunes, dark, fruity. The initial treacle flavour gave way to a blackcurrant/liquorice combo, with a hint of pepperyness and a lingering bitterness. This felt heavy in the mouth, and had a warming effect due to the alcohol content. In fact, the alcohol was very noticeable, and became a bit too much as the pint diminished, hence the 3. Way too heavy to session on, and a bit sticky, but nice as a one off I'd say. I did struggle to finish it. I don't think I'll be having this again, but I'm glad I tried it.

zebedee, Sep 07, 2006
Photo of BlackHaddock
3.43/5  rDev -7.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Brown bottle, 500ml, best before Oct 2007, drank 1st feb 2007.

Poured into a straight pint sleeve glass.

Dark, very dark, where is my 'Deep Purple' collection, I can't remember, most likely in the attic. Off white head soon disappears to leave a wispy covering on the liquid.

Caramel, burnt malts and biscuits (cookies for my American readers) cooked for too long, all come to mind as I sniff out the aroma.

Sweet, creamy and heavy, well it is 7.3%, the burnt malty aroma is in the taste also, but not enough to turn your tastebuds against the beer, a good complexed feel to it really.

Sweetness stays, malts and dark, bitter chocolate, arrive later as the mouth is drying.

This beer grew on me, as I drank it, rich is too strong a word to describe it (although the label does), well off, or comfortable would be better terms to use. Will I have another, yes, but not tonight.

BlackHaddock, Feb 01, 2007
Photo of vinicole
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

vinicole, Sep 13, 2013
Photo of pin
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

pin, Jun 05, 2012
Photo of utfiero
4.44/5  rDev +20%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Color- rich Spanish oak brown. Medium head.

Aroma- mild hops, caramel, roasted malt, hint of Christmas cake. An excellent strong Scotch ale! Starts with a mild roastiness, moves quickly to Christmas cake, raisins, and spices, finishing with a linger cake, fruit, and coffee roastiness. Beautiful experience. Poured from 500 ml bottle into a small drinking glass while in Huntly, Scotland. Procured from a local store in Huntly.

As a side note, the photo posted is out of date (or perhaps for export bottles).

Mfg website www.mcewans.co.uk

utfiero, May 20, 2014
Photo of Absumaster
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A clear, brown beer with a 1 inch head that is creamy and fine-bubbled.

Smell of diacetyl, pretty heavy but on the spot for a Scottish ale. A big caramel malt base and a spicy and herbal bottom layer. Appears to be piney.

Taste is sweet with clear notes of diacetyl. A lot of malt covered with caramel malt. Some hints of smoke and caramelization. The mouthfeel is sticky and leaves a layer of sweet caramalt in my mouth. The spices are just detectable, they add a spicy, herbal and a little medicinal taste.

Absumaster, Mar 14, 2008
Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
3.75/5  rDev +1.4%

His_Royal_Hoppiness, Nov 18, 2012
Photo of jakea
3.25/5  rDev -12.2%

jakea, May 08, 2012
Photo of mdagnew
3.98/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

500ml bottle bought from Tesco

Poured a dark mahogany red / brown colour... Slightly off white head poured quite thick and foamy and faded to nice layer...

Aroma - Sweet caramel / bready maltiness with light toasted notes, treacle, dark fruits (raisins, dates), lemony sharpness...

Taste – Quite sweet toasted maltiness, fairly strong hop bitterness, raisins, coffee, brown sugar...

Feel - Quite smooth and slightly oily.. Medium / full bodied. Pretty drinkable..

Overall - A pretty good beer....Well worth a try...

mdagnew, Mar 13, 2006
Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -18.9%

cfalovo97, May 09, 2013
Photo of GreenCard
3.95/5  rDev +6.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: dark brown, great clarity, nice spongey layer of tan foam with good retention, lace

Aroma: syrupy sweetness, dark honey, hint of smoke, hazelnuts, hint of chocolate, roast alcohol

Flavor: initially quite sweet with a rounded malt backbone, then a twinge of roast starts the counterpoint while peppery alcohol comes in; licorice, toast, a bit woody; balances out nicely with a somewhat sharp bitterness on the back of my tongue, just before it finishes semi-sweet with an aftertaste of brown sugar and a lingering bitterness

Mouthfeel: full body, smooth/silky texture, mild carbonation

Other comments: "No. 1 Champion" is not an overstatement since, of the McEwan's beers I've tried, this is the best by far. But because of the richness, a full pint of this stuff is a lot for one sitting. Not that I didn't thoroughly enjoy it!

GreenCard, Oct 03, 2004
Photo of jhm
4/5  rDev +8.1%

jhm, Aug 20, 2012
Photo of endless1408
3.5/5  rDev -5.4%

endless1408, Jun 02, 2014
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McEwan's No.1 Champion from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
84 out of 100 based on 56 ratings.