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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.

59 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 59
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 3.71
pDev: 13.48%
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)
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Ratings: 59 | Reviews: 36 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Sammy
3.93/5  rDev +5.9%
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.

Photo of BlackHaddock
3.43/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of wl0307
4.15/5  rDev +11.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

BB 31 AUG 2006. Served cool in a goblet.

A: dark mahogany hue; a tight, creamy+frothy pale-beige head comes with good retention, leaving even sheets of lacing~~
S: deeply toffee-ish and creamy malts come in full force... along with malt-syrup, molasses, caramel, preserved dark fruits (like plums), light licorice, and more cream to follow... It's so creamy rich and round, a bit like thick, strong Belgian dark ale without the yeasty and exotic fruity edge.
T: thickly-textured lightly-sugary and toasted maltiness prevails upfront, gradually settling to a bed of rich semi-sweet dark fruits; the mouthfeel undergoes a slow transformation, into a lightly spicy/"stimulating" touch of licorice on top of a magnifying herbal+woody bitter aftertaste... that creeps into every corner deep down the palate and lingers for a great long time. The creamy malty overtone supports the ever-evolving flavour profile, making the experience of this beer a vertical, or "3D", one.
M&D: ultra-soft and creamy on the mouthfeel while the spiciness provides a constant stimulation as does the lingering bitterness. This beer, being as strong as 7.3%abv., is very successful in hiding its alc. under the guise of great smoothness and creamy texture. Very satisfying for a late-night digestif or a winter warmer~~

Photo of bark
3.9/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

The colour is dark copper with a tint of brown. The pale beige foam is thick, firm and three fingers high.

The smell is generous with sweet flavours of diacetyl, nuts, dark rye bread, nuts and a somewhat smoky touch.

The carbonation is soft and pleasant.

The taste is quite complex with notes of rye bread, smoked ham, diacetyl, treacle, cream and a gentle bitterness. The taste develops into an almost sherry-like taste of sweetness and alcohol with a hint of salt.

The only drawback to this fine ale is its alcoholic strength – I got pretty tipsy after 500 ml of this 7.5% brew.

Photo of AgentMunky
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured from a 500mL bottle into a pint glass.

A: Nice half-finger of creamy head. The rich mahogany-coloured beer is clear, but so dark as to obscure vision through it.
Good lacing.

S: Malty, with some barley gain, a bit of fruit (apple? raisin?), and a touch of toffee.

T: Nice, strong tastes of malt and caramel. One user suggested black treacle; I concur. The taste is rich, sweet, and a tad alcoholic. The end taste is warming and figgy. Aftertaste is slightly bitter, which was a surprise (but not an unpleasant one). Very interesting, well-rounded beer.

M: A little boring, but nothing to complain about. A bit dry.

D: A very nice beer indeed! Heavy, filling, warming, and, above all, satisfying. I will buy it again; recommended.

Photo of jazzyjeff13
4/5  rDev +7.8%
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.

Photo of bditty187
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
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.

Photo of arizcards
3.8/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Picked up a 500ml bottle at Tesco in Aviemore for 1.55 pounds.

Beer poured a brownish copperish color with a big tan bubbly head that sustained well. Nose was a bit malty and not much else. Taste was heavilly malty, with hints of dark fruits and a light fruity hop finish. Mouthfeel was smooth, almost creamy like. At 7.3, this is about the biggest beer I tried in the UK, this was an extremly interesting beer to be enjoyed one at a time.

Photo of mdagnew
3.98/5  rDev +7.3%
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...

Photo of cfalovo97
3/5  rDev -19.1%

Photo of Absumaster
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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.

Photo of BDTyre
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Not bad, but way too sweet for me. Rich brown-ruby colour. The head is slightly off-white, thick and creamy. It takes a long time to settle down and even then big, fluffy chunks float around in it.

Very sweet, rich and sugary scent. It almost smells like this has syrup added to it. Slight fruit presence to it, but the predominant smell is syrup and sugar.

This is reflected in the taste too - very syrupy, and it comes off almost like molasses at times. Other than some very faint sweet fruit hints, there is almost no suggestion of hops.

Decent mouthfeel, but this is a little too sweet and the alcohol really shines in this.

Photo of flyingpig
2.8/5  rDev -24.5%
look: 4 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Very dark mahogany brown colour with a tanned brownish white head that is quite foamy. Retention is good with some lacing too.

Sweet smelling but with a very strong background alcohol smell that comes from the beer. There is an initial sweet toffee and caramel aroma that the drink gives off which is very sweet. As mentioned the alcohol smell sits in the background and is accompanied by a quite rich, sugary one that has hints of roasted malts.

Lots of roasted malts and barely in the flavour with some good dark fruits in the mix as well, although they are not a pronounced. The middle is a caramel flavoured one that is quite nice too & this is quickly followed up by a warm & creamy bitterness that is nice without being too strong.

Medium, almost heavy beer that is quite smooth & has medium carbonation.

Definitely too much alcohol coming from both the aroma & the taste make this a difficult beer to enjoy fully.

1001 Beers to Try List:

Photo of mick303
3.1/5  rDev -16.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Poured a really large creamy off-white head. Colour is a dark ruddy brown. Shows nice retention and pretty good lacing.

Smell has a pleasant earthy roastiness, burnt sugar, cooked apples, a light earthy spice, some pleasant hop bitterness. A bit candy-like but also warming, not especially deep though.

Taste has a surge of coffee roastiness, then some burnt roasty character, bitter cocoa powder, coffee bean, heavy malt. A lot of residual sugar sweetness comes through in the mid-point, almost bubblegum like. Finishes dry, earthy, with spice and alcohol.

Mouthfeel is big, quite roasty and malty with quite a bit of boozy alcohol toward the end, moderate carbonation. Why am I left feeling like someone poured vodka into this beer?, more alcohol astringency on finish, dry bitterness.

The alcohol phenols on the finish seem a bit offensive and this suffers from balance issues in places. I did think the flavour was quite good at points, but it never seemed to balance and join together. It became hard to drink honestly, with the high strength they might have bitten off more than they can chew. The last time I had this I remember it being better, so much raw alcohol coming through. This is really bad on the end as it warms, no complexity and tastes increasingly like discount vodka, avoid.

Photo of pin
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of GreenCard
3.95/5  rDev +6.5%
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!

Photo of jakea
3.25/5  rDev -12.4%

Photo of endless1408
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of cypressbob
3.88/5  rDev +4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

500ml bottle

Pours with a dark ruby body, slightly hazy. Fluffy tan head, decent retention, thick and almost syrupy

Smell, sweet maltly aromas, toasted malt, nutty fragrance also

Taste, dry malty body, very thick and heavy , almost stout like, sweet aftertaste with a dry hop finish on the palette

Overall not a bad brew, but a little too sweet and unbalanced, very boozy, i swirlled a mouthfeel and it left my palette with a real alcoholic flavour, like vodka, Its only 7.3 aswell, i've had stuff like storm king stout etc that hide alcohol soooo much better

Photo of seanyfo
4.4/5  rDev +18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

50cl bottle poured into imperial pint glass.

A- dark mahogany with ruby notes in body. A 3 finger creamy head that produces excellent creamy lacing considering abv. Very good retention

S- metallic note, with lots of caramel/toffee malts. No real hop profile to speak of.

T- Syrupy caramel sweet malts in the beginning which is nicely balanced with a subdued hop bite in the finish. Finish is very smooth/creamy. Abv very well hidden.

M- Creamy, full bodied, medium carbonation.

D- Dangerously moreish. Very drinkable, i like my big malty beers and this was no exception. A fantastic malty smooth experience with a delicate hop bite in the finish preventing it from being too sweet/syrupy. Delicious!

Photo of hunteraw
4/5  rDev +7.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Wasn't expecting this to be a scotch ale when I bought it. Not my favorite style, but we'll give it a go.

Appearance: Garnet in color, two finger off-white head with good retention, and lacing.

Smell: warm, hints of vanilla, with some hints of roast malt.

Taste: creamy, some toffee, slight molasses but balanced by hops bitterness. Some dark fruit. Very nice, actually. Not too sweet, which is my usual complaint for this style.

Mouthfeel: Medium body, creamy, good carbonation.

Drinkability: A good beer, by any measure.

Photo of ltdantheman
3.5/5  rDev -5.7%

Photo of Dave1999
3.55/5  rDev -4.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured a very dark brownish red with a huge head which left a lot of lacing.

Smells of malts not much else.

Tastes of coffee and sweet malts,a bit of caramel and toffee even a little alcohol.

Feels smooth very little carbonation, quite thick.

This is an OK beer, the abv is much higher than most scottish ales I've tried so far. It tastes decent but not great. The Innes and Gunn scottish ale was better.

Photo of His_Royal_Hoppiness
3.75/5  rDev +1.1%

Photo of abeeronthebeach
4/5  rDev +7.8%

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McEwan's No.1 Champion from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
84 out of 100 based on 59 ratings.