1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

McEwan's Scotch Ale - The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited

Not Rated.
McEwan's Scotch AleMcEwan's Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

610 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 610
Reviews: 440
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 32
Gots: 14 | FT: 1
Brewed by:
The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited visit their website
United Kingdom (Scotland)

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  8.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No longer exported to the US.

(Beer added by: UnionMade on 08-17-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of McEwan's Scotch Ale Alström Bros
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
Ratings: 610 | Reviews: 440 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Johnq1964
1.25/5  rDev -67.1%

Johnq1964, Aug 11, 2013
Photo of changeup45
1.6/5  rDev -57.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 1.5

5/28/2004. Poured a dark brown body, with minimal head and a little bit of lace. A malty sweet type of taste with a bite to it and a skunky, pretty foul aftertaste which lingers. I've got to wait a few minutes before I can take another sip. Awful. On top of that, I paid $4.50 for this beer at my local pub. I really could barely finish it but can't waste beer. The only positive thing about this beer was that it had an 8% alcohol content. I doubt I will ever get this beer again.

changeup45, Aug 23, 2008
Photo of JDV
1.63/5  rDev -57.1%
look: 3 | smell: 1 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 1.5

Deep ruby brown, medium light tan head that didn't last. Smell at first was like a ball of foil, and after a minute or two, turned to a rich malt, grassy, lightly metallic smell, with stick soy and peaty notes. Taste was similar, with a slight sourness. Maybe it wasn't so fresh, but I drank it within a couple days of buying it. Didn't taste the alcohol really, but it was still pretty poor I thought, and not what I was hoping or thinking it'd be.

JDV, Feb 13, 2008
Photo of wheelinshirt
1.68/5  rDev -55.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

12 oz bottle from Abe's in Bethlehem. I liked Dirty Bastard and I had a bottle of Tracquir Jacobite in the fridge, so i figured i might as well try another wee heavy. I guess i really should have picked something else. If i wasn't so against pouring out beer (i've only ever done it to SA triple bock), I would have.

Poured into a tulip. Color is very dark, almost black but has some dark amber hues that show up when held to the light. Head is modest, retention verging on poor, no lacing.

Smell is dark fruits, raisins maybe, and lots of booze. Very unappealing. Not really getting the caramel and roasted malts in here very much.

Taste is bad. It is like someone made a tincture of raisins in alcohol and added a bunch of syrup to it. Boozy, raisiny, no balance from the hop character, which is absent. Nothing good about this beer. The only thing that keeps it from a one is that it still at least tastes like it is beer (unlike triple bock which got a 1).

Mouthfeel is very syrupy, cloying. More carbonation and less residual sugar would have helped, but it still wouldn;t have saved this one. I struggled to finish my glass, but i did finish it, so i have to give it a 1.5 for drinkability.

Basically, I am very surprised to be the lowest rating for this beer as of yet. I don't understand how it could be rated anywhere above a 75 or so. One person gave it a 5, and another says it is his favorite beer in the world. I must have gotten a really terrible bottle of the stuff or something--there is just no way to explain the disparity. Even still, there are a bunch of people on here that must also have gotten bad bottles of the stuff, and poor quality control does reflect on the brewery. I really enjoyed dirty bastard, but this was just awful.

wheelinshirt, Dec 06, 2007
Photo of schellsbeer
1.78/5  rDev -53.2%
look: 3 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2

Ok....Thats about all I can say. Ok.

Not much of a Scotch Ale person but had to try this one. Name recognition alone says that I should. And so I did. This is my first McEwan's Scotch Ale is this will be my last. Just not my style.

A - Average. Brown. See through. Small head that doesn't hang around long.

S - Yep...Smells like a strong ale. Alcohol is very present in the smell. Somewhat of a turn-off.

T - Alcohol. Don't really care for how strong of an alcohol taste there is. Malty. Way too strong. A few of these and say goodnight. Quick drunk but that is it. Not for me.

M - Thin. Burns going in and going down. Pleasant...Naw, not at all. Good for some, just not for a Parrothead.

D - Nope. Once again, way to strong. Give me a porter or stout.

Enough said. Maybe too much but just didn't like this one. Moving onto the next one.

schellsbeer, Nov 23, 2008
Photo of rastaman
2/5  rDev -47.4%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thin, not even that malty, sweet, ever so slightly peaty and smokey, but hardly even. Really average, scotch ale has never been a favourite of mine, and this is among the worst examples i've had, distgustingly industrial and sweet, what other raters see in this beer, is beyond me, very nasty stuff. Scottish ghetto swill.

rastaman, Apr 04, 2002
Photo of chefduff2
2/5  rDev -47.4%

chefduff2, Jan 06, 2013
Photo of AMson
2/5  rDev -47.4%

AMson, Jul 31, 2012
Photo of DaPeculierDane
2.03/5  rDev -46.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Thin, weak, bland, and boring.

I used to love this beer when I was a kid but since having the opportunity to get to know several better scotch ales, this one just doesn't stand up anymore.

I'm a big scotch ale fan but McEwans first and foremost, doesn't have the body. Secondly, there is almost no peat in the aroma. The malts are sweet but very light in flavor. There isn't much of anything roasted going on here either.

Very smooth but no complexity at all. Some hints of currants and coffee. Burnt molasses in the flavor.

This is an alright beer but it doesn’t stand up in the category when others are available.


Very smooth but no complexity at all. Some hints of currants and coffee. Burnt molases in the flavor.

DaPeculierDane, Oct 12, 2005
Photo of TerryW
2.08/5  rDev -45.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 1.5

Nope, I'm sorry. This is definitely not for me. Thin and sour, takes like molasses, water and alcool mixed up in an old plastic bucket.

Either I got a bad bottle or this stuff is just awful.

Dark, dark brown, short-lived head that settles to a film, reasonably good lace. Flat, sweet and sour, and boozy. Burned molasses aftertaste. Ick.

TerryW, May 30, 2005
Photo of ThatWineGuy
2.38/5  rDev -37.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Poured black, a bit of stewed prune in there. Tan head, one finger, decent retention. Smells of toffee, malt, black licorice ... so far, so good. There's a bit of alcohol in your face but not offensive. Taste is strong, a liquor presence predominates, a bit overpowering taste and mouthfeel. Burnt malt, rather unpleasant; burns a bit. Packs a huge alcohol whallop with an ashes in the mouth aftertaste. I'm having a hard time finishing it ...

So right about then, my beer buddy happened to drop in and I asked him to see if this bottle was somehow off. He said it was just about right for the style. Then he says he's surprized because I've had Wee Heavy a few times in the past and claimed to enjoy it. I don't remember that very well ... but maybe's that's characteristic of the beer? I'll have make a point of trying that one again to find out, but in the meatnime I was disappointed with this style tonight, with due respect to all those who like the stuff.

ThatWineGuy, Sep 08, 2007
Photo of Shadman
2.45/5  rDev -35.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

My first attempt at sampling this type. Noted it had 'Malt liquor' on the label. Not a good first impression.

Appearance: Very dark with little head to speak of. Another reviewer referenced thinned used motor oil..I would concur.

Smell...quite frankly.. almost awful..an off smell that I just can't put my finger on and may have to edit if I try another sampling.

Taste:..an alcohol hit right at the start followed by a sweet syrupy chocolate maltiness. Finishes with a slight hickory smoke flavour.

Mouthfeel: for me kind of thin and syrupy

Drinkability:...maybe 1 after a Robby Burns Night...

Shadman, Jan 18, 2007
Photo of pio
2.48/5  rDev -34.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 1.5

pretty big foamy head, cream colored with tan tint over a dark ruby liquid with some minute bubbles comming up through. quite notable head retention and lace, pretty beer.
dark malty scents of breads and molasses with some hints of spice and vanilla. it dosen't have as much complex as classic hops scent and the alcohol is way evident in the nose, it smells like an ass kicker.
the flavor is sweet and somewhat malty with an unfortunate amount of alcoholic bite. made me wonder after a few sips if this was my first or third beer tonight. there's a coffee type bitter and a heafty amount of molasses notes. not alot of character and ill balanced for my palate, hollow.
the body is chunky and not all together unplesant, it's also kinda bubbly. it's heavy and syrupy and sticky on the finish.
the drinkability took a hit when i found it to be gross toward the bottom, it's sick when it warms up a bit. i had trouble finishing it nd would be reluctant to drink it again. a shame too because i remember likeing these as a kid. damn.

pio, Jan 04, 2004
Photo of BogAl
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

BogAl, Jun 08, 2014
Photo of tfsimpkins
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

tfsimpkins, Feb 10, 2012
Photo of CincyTK
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

CincyTK, Mar 22, 2012
Photo of tangoafterdark
2.5/5  rDev -34.2%

tangoafterdark, Oct 31, 2013
Photo of Yoonisaykul
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 4 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Poured in some sort of conical goblet (fancy water glass?). Had this a few times. It's in most (every?) SAQs so I keep seeing it and buy it on occasion hoping for a palate change which would help me love it. I've always been disappointed. So here's my first review of it which might help me understand it better.

A- Coca-cola colored. Greyish beige, big bubble head which was a little challenge to build but lasts.

S- Like those nonalcoholic malta drinks. A smell I don't enjoy very much. A bit like light molasses.

T-Ah, some hops to the rescue. Very little but more than in those damn malt juices which helps me a lot. So if you're not familiar with malta or molasses, this could also be compared to prune juice. What helps me enjoy this is the ''very'' pale ale breadiness and bitterness that shows up half way through the taste sequence. Finishes with more of a caramel sweetness and acrid bitterness.

M- Carbonation is also similar to those malt drinks but finer and creamier. Medium body. Slightly oily finish.

D- No good. As light as it may be, I don't like the taste and it's too sweet. Alcohol is well hidden though.

Kind of sickening to me, and not being one to waste beer, I'm kind of in a hurry to get it over with.
I don't feel like I'm drinking beer when having this. As I've thought to myself many times before:'' Never buying this again'' but I know a year from now, I'll probably buy it again, hoping for the best. I do think I enjoyed it a bit more than last time though.

Yoonisaykul, Nov 27, 2010
Photo of barleywinefiend
2.58/5  rDev -32.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Poured a dark ruddy color with a tangy, alcohol aroma that hits you up front. Very assertive, tangy caramel and prune with a bittersweet finish. You would have to really like Scotch ales to be completely taken with this one. Among the worse Wees I have ever had and its from UK...go figure.

barleywinefiend, May 17, 2008
Photo of mithrascruor
2.63/5  rDev -30.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

12 oz. bottle poured into a mug.

Appearance: Pours a very dark ruby-brown color. Light tan head adheres to the glass.

Smell: Very little smell -- a bit of malts and sugar. Other than that, I couldn't identify anything.

Taste: Malts and dark sugars, for the most-part. The finish and aftertaste is accompanied by some fruits, like figs and plums. Initially it also seems a bit watery. Halfway through the bottle alcohol becomes noticable -- after that point, only the alcohol and the sweetness really stand out. I guess one gets desensitized to the other flavors, and it becomes very un-nice.

Mouthfeel: Quite smooth, with very minimal carbonation. Medium-bodied.

Drinkability: Starts out well, but degrades quickly, due to what I've mentioned above in the taste notes. I'm finding it tough to finish this glass.

I like this style of beer in general, but this one didn't impress me. The alcohol is too prominent and it seems to be lacking many subtleties. I'll pass in the future.

mithrascruor, Apr 07, 2007
Photo of Johnroby
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Johnroby, Aug 15, 2013
Photo of ThisDudeAbides
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

ThisDudeAbides, Dec 24, 2012
Photo of Stinger80OH
2.75/5  rDev -27.6%

Stinger80OH, Jul 22, 2012
Photo of xtremejammn
2.8/5  rDev -26.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This is an ok scotch ale I found to be pretty decent.

A: Extremely dark with little head activity, and before the head quickly fades it's a light brown head.

S: Smell's like expensive scotch. What a surprise.

T: Very strong taste of scotch, little hoppy taste to it, with a hint of burnt licoriche.

M: Feels like vegetable oil on your tounge, and a weak graniness to it. Far too bubbly.

D: It may be bubbly but it's drinkable. Goes down smooth but not too smooth. Nothing special.

This is an ok scotch ale, nothing to bad about it, i'd reccomend it to any dirty bastard fan. Cheers

xtremejammn, Aug 11, 2006
Photo of eballard
2.83/5  rDev -25.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

This beer poured a dark amber color with red highlights and a good sized off-white head that had a decent retention that left a light lace on the glass it had a sweet fruity smell of molasses and currents. It also has a pretty strong alcohol smell.
The taste was sweet and malty at first with a candy aftertaste. The whole beer was extra sweet with not enough of the dark malty or hoppy taste that you would expect from scotch ale. The feel is smooth and clean but at the same time heavy and thick. You can feel the syrupy beer going down with very little carbonation. There is an alcohol warming as you drink it with a little bit of a lingering warmth as you finish. This is an ok beer but I was not very impressed. It is very sweet and not really to my taste. It has an ok flavor and a smooth quality but it was way too far on the sweet side for me.

eballard, Aug 14, 2007
« first ‹ prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | next › last »
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
86 out of 100 based on 610 ratings.