1. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  2. 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
85
very good

581 Ratings
THE BROS
75
okay

(view ratings)
Ratings: 581
Reviews: 436
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 34
Gots: 11 | 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)
View: Beers (27) |  Events
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Latest | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of McEwan's Scotch Ale Alström Bros
Ratings: 581 | Reviews: 436 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of jlindros
jlindros

Massachusetts

4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I've heard all these crazy rumors that the distributor stopped shipping this to the US, a new distributor, but not, etc. Anyways, I've seen it for quite a while and still there at Mass Liquors in Worcester, MA. Either way I can still enjoy it, and I've seen quite a few people looking for it, so anyone who sees this review and looking for it send me a BM.

A: A big fluffy head rises up and over the sides of my oversized snifter glass, but just enough of a pour that it doesn't overflow the edges, just rises up over the top. It leaves a slight lacing as it fades semi slowly. the beer is super dark brown basically black with almost no light sneaking through.

N: A scotch ale definitely. Lots of dark malts, brown sugar, and more brown sugar, molasses, a slight creamy malt, a little porter like roasted malt, a little dark fruit with all that. A nice nose.

T: Starts pretty sweet, actually very sweet. Lots of brown sugar again, as the nose implied. Lots of dark fruit with that, some raisin and plum. There is even some Belgian candi sugar flavors. A little dark malt roasty flavor, crystal malts, and I think Munich malt. A slight boozy tingly tongue feel with all that and slight warming booze as a good scotch ale should have. A touch of smoked malt too. Slight fluffy malt flavor and somewhat rich as well.

M: Slightly heavier body with decent carbonation.

F: Still very sweet, but dries off quite a bit in the feel of it. Then quite a bit of brown and candi sugar flavors lingering, with more dark malts. Smoked malt, and even a little bitterness there. Chewy malt lingering as well. A very slight boozy taste on the finish, but not very much. There is a slight minerality on the roasty malt flavors too.

Almost the staple of what a typical scotch ale should be. Lots of sweetness, perhaps too much, roasty and dark malts, a little boozy quality, little smoked malts (probably could have used more), and a smooth rich texture. I can see why so many people are looking for this beer. Tasty, and I could drink this more often in winter.

Serving type: bottle

06-06-2010 03:35:18 | More by jlindros
Photo of WesWes
WesWes

New York

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

The beer pours a dark ruby red color with a thin off-white head that fades to lacing. The aroma is good. It has a heavenly malty aroma that boasts of pale and lots of crystal malts. It seems a bit sweet, but with a warm alcohol scent. The taste is good. It has a rich malty flavor that goes down slow and warms on the finish. It has a refreshing fruity yeast finish and excellent mouthfeel. It is a full bodied beer with adequate carbonation. This is a fine wee heavy Scotch ale. It has great aroma and flavor. This is a brew for those cold fall or winter days.

Serving type: bottle

06-13-2004 22:22:32 | More by WesWes
Photo of jwc215
jwc215

Wisconsin

3.45/5  rDev -9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Pours deep brown with a very thin head that almost disappears, but hangs on with a gentle swirl.

The smell is of sugar-coated dark fruits (plums, raisins) with woody earthiness. A touch of mint and something a touch "funky".

The taste is of dark fruits with a balancing minty earthiness. Black currants and a touch of aniseed mix in. Warming, rather sharp, peppery alcohol gives it a kick. Something "flat" in the finish, almost cardboard-like.

The feel is creamy with an almost syrupy just hanging on to full-body. Lingering sweetness sticks to palate.

A "decent" wee-heavy though I can think of livelier, more complex/tastier versions of the style. This is a slow-sipper to end the day with.

Serving type: bottle

08-02-2007 03:38:33 | More by jwc215
Photo of Rochefort10nh
Rochefort10nh

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +31.9%

12-02-2011 18:13:38 | More by Rochefort10nh
Photo of kojevergas
kojevergas

Texas

3.08/5  rDev -18.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a .25cl tulip in a cafe in Belfort, France. 7.2%. Reviewed from notes taken in June 2011.

A: Pours a one finger head of nice cream, fair thickness, and average retention. Body colour is a dark ruby-black.

Sm: Caramel, chocolate, malts, toffee, and alcohol.

T: The notes from the nose are all present in the body, and come together nicely for the climax. Caramelized malt ties it together but feels overdone. The balance is decent. Fairly complex, but far from unique. Built fairly well for the style.

Mf: Coarse enough to bring out its flavours, but otherwise smooth and wet to aid drinkability. Complements the flavours nicely.

Dr: Easy to drink and of above average quality, but it's ass expensive in France at 3 quid per half pint. It's a nice little Scotch Ale, but not good enough to warrant buying again. I'll stick to Old Chub for my go-to Scotch Ale. It does hide its ABV well.

C+

Serving type: on-tap

12-06-2012 21:22:59 | More by kojevergas
Photo of barleywinefiend
barleywinefiend

Washington

2.58/5  rDev -31.9%
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.

Serving type: bottle

05-17-2008 00:26:48 | More by barleywinefiend
Photo of tempest
tempest

Pennsylvania

3/5  rDev -20.8%
look: 3 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I don't know about this one, maybe it was a bad bottle. It looked ok to start with. The smell, however, was way off. It might have been skunked but it smelled kind of like an old sneaker with beer spilled in it. Yeah, the flavor was mellow and alright with caramel grains, nothing too nutty. I don't think I'd try this again.

Serving type: bottle

04-07-2007 05:06:10 | More by tempest
Photo of Billolick
Billolick

New York

4.22/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12 ounce bottle, no freshness dating. Pours dark molassas in color. Peat, earthyness and malt in the nose. White, tiny bubble head and leaves a fair bit of lace. Sticky, smooth malt, carries the day. Notes of earth, must, peat, caramel,toffee, cinnimon etc come foward here. Rich and syrupy, tasty stuff. Nice rich flavors balanced by a dry finish. Worth trying, nice brew for a cold damp night.

Serving type: bottle

04-22-2004 01:13:26 | More by Billolick
Photo of oriolesfan4
oriolesfan4

Maryland

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bought this at my local store for about $1.50 for a single.

This was a pretty good beer I must say. Pours a very dark red, almost black.. akin to a porter. Smell is of sugars and caramel malts, I almost get a sort of 'rum' smell in my whiff. The taste is very unique; a hint of warming alcohol first, followed by some flavorful caramel malts, all with a background of smokiness taste in the background. Interesting to say the least.. but hell it's a good beer, I'd definitely try it again.

Serving type: bottle

10-02-2008 22:38:39 | More by oriolesfan4
Photo of jdhilt
jdhilt

New Hampshire

5/5  rDev +31.9%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Pours a five finger light tan head that fades slowly leaving a good lace. Deep mahogany color. Light-medium carbonation and medium bodied. Malty nose. Flavor is smooth, not too sweet, hops mellow, higher ABV is hidden. Really the standard for scotch ales. $1.99 for a 12oz bottle from Tull's Beer & Wine Wells, ME.

Serving type: bottle

04-12-2007 22:53:31 | More by jdhilt
Photo of Georgiabeer
Georgiabeer

Georgia

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

05-11-2014 22:04:01 | More by Georgiabeer
Photo of DoubleJ
DoubleJ

California

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The plaid design inside the oval on the bottle label induces visions of Scottish bagpipers in their kilts. I'm already feeling Scottish because of that. Though I think if they really want to capture a greater feel, they should ditch the coat of arms and replace it with a castle. Just my opinion. Twelve full ounces in my bottle, and the ABV sits right in my alley, at 8%. On to the beer:

Into a snifter this goes, and it's a ruby brown to milk chocolate colored, topped by a whipped, creamy head. Modest tones of caramel and rusty grain at first, changing to dark fruits as it warms. The taste brings to it a kick in the beginning, but follows through with raisins, dates, and a brush of roasted barley flavor. (Update; Not as smooth as some of the other Scotch Ales though). Thick bodied in feel, but goes down nicely for its size.

I wasn't sure what to expect given this was my first Scotch Ale. Apart from a so-so smell in a beginning, it was good all-around.

Serving type: bottle

11-07-2007 06:42:54 | More by DoubleJ
Photo of Wasatch
Wasatch

Utah

4.28/5  rDev +12.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

First Scotch Ale for me. Pours a dark brown with basically no head, nice lacing though. Has a sweet malty scent. For an 8% brew it has a little aclohol kick which disappears quickly, I like that. I would say this has a medium body with a very nice after taste. Watch yourself on this one, you could drink a few to many. LOL

Serving type: bottle

07-12-2005 01:00:01 | More by Wasatch
Photo of ppoitras
ppoitras

Massachusetts

3.98/5  rDev +5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12ozer, purchased at Main St. Liquors, Monson, MA, as part of do-it-yourself mixed 6 pack.

Poured into an imperial pint glass, small beige head formed and quickly disappeared. Brew is a beautiful dark brown, with reddish highlights. Slightly above average lacing, what little that does stay behind doesn't move an inch. Malty aroma, with slight tinges of light fruits and ethanol. Quite malty in the mouth, but smooth like silk on the tongue. The fruity and alcohol flavors comes together at the end in a great duo. An excellent representation of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-12-2004 00:40:06 | More by ppoitras
Photo of biegaman
biegaman

Ontario (Canada)

3.4/5  rDev -10.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

When I was first getting into beer, this time nearly two years ago, this was a beer I remember thinking fairly highly of. I opted to wait awhile before re-reviewing...we'll see what I have to say now.

330ml bottle, pours with an average level of head, chalky white with bubbles resting throughout. A dark body, lovely highlights certainly not quite yet opaque. Various shades of brown. Aroma presents only very faint suggestions of molasses, wood, tar, figs, and nutty malty notes. No roast and obnoxiously minerally. Mouthfeel nowhere near as sticky or strong as I recall, and is actually rather flat and unarousing. The flavours are simple and meak. Some scotch I suppose, but alcohol absent. Light suggestion of raison, dark toffee. Underwhelming. Certainly not what I thought before I knew any better...

Serving type: bottle

04-11-2007 19:19:20 | More by biegaman
Photo of BillRoth
BillRoth

Maryland

3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

12-05-2013 01:08:38 | More by BillRoth
Photo of beerthulhu
beerthulhu

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Poured a medium brown with a slight tan head that quickly faded.

S: rich, sweet chocolate flavor with some coffee.

F: there was a creamy rich flavor caramel sweetness, toasted malt, rich dark fruit (raisins) and some dark caramelized sugar notes.

M: The mouthful was rich and creamy, softly carbonated leaving a nice silky, sweet caramel coating on the tongue.

D: Drinks nicely for an 8.0abv. has distinct alcohol (scotch) tang in the end.

Serving type: bottle

02-21-2008 00:46:15 | More by beerthulhu
Photo of Viggo
Viggo

Ontario (Canada)

3.83/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a clear dark red/brown, big thick beige head forms, nice chunky lace on the glass, good retention, thick layer. Smell is sweet, caramel, winey, molasses, alcohol, all malt, touch of chocolate. Taste is similar, very sweet and malty, toffee, light chocolate, bread, alcohol is pretty well hidden, sweet caramel finish. Mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation. Pretty solid, one dimensional but goes down pretty easy for such a big brew.

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 02:21:53 | More by Viggo
Photo of Mebuzzard
Mebuzzard

Colorado

3.5/5  rDev -7.7%

07-15-2013 05:57:32 | More by Mebuzzard
Photo of Bighuge
Bighuge

Minnesota

3.28/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Clear dark ruby appearance. Creamy, somewhat bubbly, beige head sits on top. Good staying power. Laces adequately. A sweet malty aroma, but not overwhelming. Taste is rather inhibited for a Scotch ale. There's some matly tones, but not nearly deep or complex enough to rate this highly. Some traces of alcohol land of the palate throughout. A caramel matliness is the domineering characteristic. Medium to full in body. Not a bad beer by any means, but compared to my "Standard" for all Scotch Ales, McRogue, this one is nowhere near the quality.

Serving type: bottle

11-05-2002 19:32:51 | More by Bighuge
Photo of DrJay
DrJay

Massachusetts

4.18/5  rDev +10.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Very dark red (nearly brown), clear, with ruby highlights and a thin, yet persistent, off-white head. Moderate bready maltiness with alcohol and fruity esters evident. Lots of flavour, mostly malty with some noticeable caramel. Light earthiness is present at the finish along with alcohol flavour and warmth. Deep fruitiness, similar to cherries or currants, mixes well with the sweetness. Slightly slick and syrupy finish. Low carbonation and full-bodied.

355 mL brown bottle with best before date clearly marked on rear label.

Serving type: bottle

10-21-2004 01:44:31 | More by DrJay
Photo of PEIhop
PEIhop

Massachusetts

4.25/5  rDev +12.1%

08-03-2013 01:00:04 | More by PEIhop
Photo of Gusler
Gusler

Arizona

3.6/5  rDev -5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This is a "Staple" beer, one I keep on hand at all times, as I do Optimator, and a few others. Pours a nice deep brown, generous beige head, and fair lace. The nose is malt laden and slightly sweet, hints of lightly toasted grain, front is sweet and has a fair malt profile, the top is moderate in its feel to the palate. Finish is hop spicy with a fair to average acidity, the hops relatively spicy and the aftertaste quite dry, good drinkable scotch ale.

Serving type: bottle

10-26-2002 17:32:33 | More by Gusler
Photo of afsdan
afsdan

Colorado

4/5  rDev +5.5%

03-28-2014 02:09:39 | More by afsdan
Photo of Derek
Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +6.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Best before: 31 05 06
#L33405

A: Black with a slight redish hue. Small tan head, but it leaves a little lace.

S: Dark malt with a hint of tar.

T: Sweet & syrupy, but balanced by the bitter dark malt. Only a hint of bitter aftertaste & alcohol warming. It's like a dopplebock, with a little fruity Ale flavour. Hops... are there any hops in this?

M: Moderate to heavy. Syrupy. Moderate carbonation.

D: No overpowering flavours, so it should be approachable to the amateur. Enough flavours to keep the geek drinking!

Serving type: bottle

09-08-2005 01:16:17 | More by Derek
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
85 out of 100 based on 581 ratings.