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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.
very good

594 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 594
Reviews: 438
rAvg: 3.79
pDev: 14.25%
Wants: 33
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)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 594 | Reviews: 438 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of RJLarse


3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

I picked up a couple of these at a specialty shop to taste and review. I poured this beer into a pint tumbler.

Pours a deep walnut brown color, and clear, with a red/copper hue when held up to the light. The head is off-white, rich and foamy. The head is quite resilient and produced some lacing on the glass.

The smell is quite strong, sweet and sugary. It has an aroma of liquor, and to me smells a little like Elmer’s glue (in a good sort of way).

The taste is sweet with a mildly bitter finish. It tastes like butter scotch, brown sugar and smoky molasses. The aftertaste is also a bittersweet combination. The taste of alcohol or liqueur is also present.

Mouth feel is moderately heavy (wee heavy I think they say in the UK), incredibly smooth and a bit syrupy.

This is a drinkable beer. Certainly not an everyday kind of beer, and it’s probably best described as a “desert beer.” It is a very smooth and sweet tasting ale. I would certainly have it again.

02-20-2006 01:57:43 | More by RJLarse
Photo of chrisms86


3.43/5  rDev -9.5%

I hate to criticize a Scottish Scotch ale but this one wasn't quite right. The appearence was great, slightly opaque black with a decent sized head. The taste was a bit cheap, a bland nose with a sharp bitter bite. The smell was more inviting but couldn't make up for the flavor, which was very good but not good enough for someone like me who is very picky about this type of brew. Recommended maybe for someone just getting into Scotch ales.

02-08-2006 19:58:42 | More by chrisms86
Photo of brentk56

North Carolina

3.98/5  rDev +5%

Appeaerance: Pours a clear cola colored body with a thick creamy head that sticks around and leaves a good bit of lacing

Smell: Rather modest, but with scents of caramel malt, biscuit, peat and some raw grain husks

Taste: Malty caramel flavors dominate, as you would expect; finishes rather sweet, with a clear dose of alcohol on the finish

Mouthfeel: Rich and silky mouthfeel with a reasonable amount of carbonation

Drinkability: Not as smoky or as peaty as I would have expected, and I have tasted better Wee Heavies, but nonetheless a nice example of the style

01-16-2006 00:02:00 | More by brentk56
Photo of Mandrake

Nova Scotia (Canada)

3.68/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a deep reddish brown with a creamy tan head that stays well. Smell is a little faint, malty sweetness and some alcohol as well. Tastes of caramels and honey, with a faint metallic undertone and bitterness in the finish. Mouthfeel is creamy and warming, very pleasant on a cold night, and drinkability is good. A pleasant ale, but not exceptional.

01-07-2006 02:41:20 | More by Mandrake
Photo of andjusticeforale


4.13/5  rDev +9%

This is a beautiful amber gold color with a moderately retentive head.

The smell is nice; There is a bright sweet malty nose and pub ale smell to it.

Upon first taste the syrupy big mouthfeel is evident. There is sweetness, both honey and alcohol, which are complimented by the body weight. There is a hint, and I mean a very faint hint of some sort of bitterness which may actually be alcohol but mimics a slight hoppiness. There is a complex succession of flavors from bitter to sweet to bready and wheat biscuity at the end.

At 8%, this is a big friendly ale which if consumed, in any quantity, will certainly take the chill of a Scottish winter’s eve.

12-27-2005 12:44:33 | More by andjusticeforale
Photo of plaztikjezuz


4.22/5  rDev +11.3%

What a wounderful beer. The color of deep rich dark brown with a slight amber head. the aroma is full of sweet malt and a little plum, ever so slight hopsack. the flavor is very malty, little rock fruit like plum, but over all dark roasted barly sweetness. a very good example of a scotch ale.

12-22-2005 03:22:27 | More by plaztikjezuz
Photo of Phatz


3.98/5  rDev +5%

Oh caramel sweet caramel! Looks, Smells, Tastes, even Feels like caramel and molasses with alcohol. I love it!

Appearance: Pours a mahogany brown. It looks dense and syrupy as it pours (a bit like molasses. A small white head.

Smell: Thick! A full aroma of malts and caramel and a bit of scotch / alcohol finding it's way through.

Taste: Carmel, roasted malts, a bit of dark fruit, and chocolate, and then more caramel or maybe molasses. It is a very nice sugary taste.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth, heavy. A bit sticky.

Drinkability: As much as I really enjoy the taste, I can only handle about two of these. They are so heavy in the stomach that it is not a beer to drink all night. It is a perfect choice for after dinner.

Hope this is helpful.

BA tophu introduced this beer to myself and froggyfrog back before we knew about BA. I liked it back then and it is one of few that used to drink which I still enjoy. Thanks Toph.

12-21-2005 05:57:53 | More by Phatz
Photo of ahking


2.93/5  rDev -22.7%

Poured with little to no head and there was no lacing. A very nice mahogany brown color, deep and rich looking. Heavy toffee flavors with a little bit of smoke, coffee, and toasted malt. Hops are not present in the aroma. It smells husky (like grain husks). Fairly sweet. Slightly bittered. Mouthfeel is rather thin for a Scotch ale. I am not so much a fan of this, nor McEwans IPA. There are a lot of better beers out there for your money.

12-08-2005 03:04:37 | More by ahking
Photo of bahumutx


3.48/5  rDev -8.2%

Served from a 12 oz bottle into a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pours a dark ruby/copper in color with a creamy tan head.

Smell: Smells of malt, caramel and slight hops and alcohol. Also can pick up some roasted malt and slight coffee smell.

Taste: First tastes that hits the tongue is a caramel and brown sugar taste. Very sweet. Ends with a roasted malt flavor. There is also some alcohol warming that takes place.

Mouthfeel: Thick and smooth with the right amount of carbonation.

Drinkability: This is a sipping beer in my opinion and I would only have one of these in a sitting.

12-04-2005 01:28:24 | More by bahumutx
Photo of trevorwideman

Manitoba (Canada)

3.95/5  rDev +4.2%

330ml Bottle. Pours a nice coffee colour, and a frothy brown head. Nice lacing, a pretty-looking ale....

Smell is of dark, heavily roasted malts, with a slight hoppy, caramel sweetness, very pleasant. Taste is sweet, slightly alcoholic, and a nice roasted bitterness on the way down. I don't find the alcohol very well hidden in the taste, but the balance between the natural beer flavours and the alcohol is good. Mouthfeel is thick and heavy, as befits the style. This is a wonderful sipping beer, and good for a cold winter's eve. Quaffable, even with the high ABV. Just the thing to warm my Winnipeg bones...

11-19-2005 02:02:39 | More by trevorwideman
Photo of DrZarkov


4.53/5  rDev +19.5%

McEwan's Scotch Ale is all around one of the best beers I have ever had. Nothing is too amazing about its appearance or its mouthfeel, but its taste and drinkability are amazing. Scotch Ale is my favorite style of beer and this one is on the very top of that list. It has a hint of carmel to its taste, but without the coffee hints that some Scotch Ale beers have. Also absoultely no bitterness. I highly recommend this beer to everybody and especially those who enjoy darker beers!

11-17-2005 15:39:11 | More by DrZarkov
Photo of CAMRAhardliner

Ontario (Canada)

3.98/5  rDev +5%

Pours a near black with lots of cherry and brandy shades. The head is shortlived with medium amounts of lace. The aroma is sweet with a raisin bran malt character. Theres also some light spicey hops and caramel in the nose. The taste is thick with malt layers. Theres a nice grainy husky flavor that leads to sweet bready and desert like middle. Fruit and rum flavors also emerge in the middle. The mouthfeel is very thick with malt and spicey alcohol flavors.

This is a great Wee Heavy, more complexity than I remember. Then again the last time I drank this I was in University and ignorant to craft beer. This is a must try, one of Mcewen;s best.

11-17-2005 04:39:31 | More by CAMRAhardliner
Photo of philmath

Quebec (Canada)

4.83/5  rDev +27.4%

THE beer which introduced me to the marvellous world of drinking GOOD beer. First, I was rather reticent towards the products of beer, my experiment being rather limited to the Boomerangs, Tornades and other malt-hybrid drinks. What struck me the most at the beginning, it's this incredible aroma of coffee and brandy. The taste is extraordinary! Sugar, sugar and even sugar! The caramel and the molasses are very present in mouth. Still talking about the taste, i can't forget the presence of roast bread. An ideal beer for the long winter nights.

11-14-2005 19:23:06 | More by philmath
Photo of Ricochet


2.93/5  rDev -22.7%

Complex and un-beer like. This is a different kind of drink, but not my kind of taste. I think I've only had one or two scottish ales, so I'll try to keep this fair. If you love these, cheers.

Smell. At first, I almost thought this beer had gone south. It smells like a wine but really really sweet , almost like wine that has gone back to grape juice rather than going to vinegar. It appears dark brown and with little head and fizzes quite a bit. Mouth was thick, not much alcohol, but that sour-grape aftertaste took control and finished as if it was champaign. So, it tastes... Malt and hops, but heavy on the prune and pungent alcohol lingers. Deep licorace notes in the back also. There are a lot of flavors in this beer, but nothing really to rave about.

One and done for me. Having just had a double IPA, then switching to this after dinner, I can see why I appreciate the Pale, Porter and Stout over all else. Nice to challenge with different flavors.

11-10-2005 06:28:50 | More by Ricochet
Photo of Winter


3.68/5  rDev -2.9%

Pours a clear dark brown with crimson and copper highlights. Two fingered thick and creamy off-white head. Vinous nose. Raisins, plum, toffee. The mouthfeel is full and smooth. Rich, roasted malt flavor. Middle unleashes a flavor of mollasses drenched raisins. Alcohol is present yet not overpowering. Leads to a rather nice warming sensation as it goes down. The finish is dry. I'd recommend letting this beer warm a bit before consumption. Nice scotch ale.

11-09-2005 04:02:15 | More by Winter
Photo of xoqx


3.75/5  rDev -1.1%

I think I had this beer at just the right time – after a big meal. It’s dessertish in its sweetness, and I really enjoyed it. The color is dark brown with a 1 finger head the settles to a ring of foam. The smell is, in and of itself, sweetness. There smell to be a fruity and sugary architecture to this beer. The taste is caramelly sugary and molasses oriented. There’s not much going on hop-wise here. The feel is smooth and outrageously creamy. I should drink this on its own and see if I like it as much, but for now I can strongly recommend it for an after dinner beverage.

10-29-2005 23:55:14 | More by xoqx
Photo of DarkerTheBetter


3.43/5  rDev -9.5%

I like the color of this beer. It’s dark brown and barely transparent. Smells boring though. There’s subtle malt in it, but it has an odd popcorn overtone. Not too good. Flavor’s all right and has a good quality malt, but I suspect some of the sweetness isn’t grain related. The finish is also disappointing. It’s sour and yeasty with a bit of metal. Can’t complain about the mouth feel. Nostalgically, this was one of my first real beers. Although it no longer knocks me off my feet, maybe it would be a good introductory beer for someone just getting into stronger beers.

10-22-2005 22:36:28 | More by DarkerTheBetter
Photo of marcobrau


3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

Ah, the venerable McEwan's Scotch Ale, an old favorite Scotch Ale. This particular bottle of McEwan's Scotch pours a medium brown with a good amount of carbonation, foaming up quite a bit in my snifter. The white head settles to a collar of foam. I sample the aroma of burnt grains and molasses. The aroma quite as complex as I remember it being. I like the molasses-like flavor of this brew, balanced by the subtle bitterness of roasted grains. Hops aren't really present in this brew, but I know they are there. I seem to recall this beer being a bit more complex, fuller-bodied and not so sugary tasting. It makes me wonder if they've cut a bit of the grain bill with sugar. Scottish and English malt is some of the best in the world -- where has it gone in this beer? Perhaps my tastes have changed (or I'm too spoiled by own homebrew) in the 15 years that I first tried this beer, but this used to be a hearty brew to sip, and it seems almost quaffable to me now. One thing is for certain; that 8 percent alcohol is still there!

10-20-2005 01:42:26 | More by marcobrau
Photo of DaPeculierDane


2.03/5  rDev -46.4%

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.

10-12-2005 15:32:29 | More by DaPeculierDane
Photo of EPseja

New Jersey

4/5  rDev +5.5%

Served in a pint glass at about cellar temperature (45-50 degrees).

A - Pours a clear, deep chestnut brown color with dark brick highlights. Starts out with a full inch of creamy tan head that settles down to a respectably cohesive mat that seems to anchor itself to the rim of the glass in anticipation of the curtain-like lacing that follows.

S - Somewhat vinous, quite sweet and heavily malty. Dark breadiness. Straightforward, but lacking anything "extra" of particular note.

T - Sweet sweet malts dominate the beginning, middle and finish of this beer. Hints of a winelike alcohol are present, but subdued. There is also a wispy floral trace that resides just below the surface of the malts... Very "homogenized" in its taste, verifying the straightforward character noted in the smell. However, it must be noted that for a beer of such strength, it is wonderfully well balanced, keeping the alcohol tame.

M - Absolutely creamy and delectable! The amazing, tiny bubbled froth envelopes and contains any alcohol sharpness that would otherwise make this 8.0% beer a bit fiery in the swallow. Superb.

D - The mouthfeel makes this otherwise straight-up Scotch Ale an incredibly drinkable beverage. But be careful! At 8%, this beer is like getting a two-for-one special in each pint!

09-13-2005 01:16:07 | More by EPseja
Photo of Derek

British Columbia (Canada)

4.03/5  rDev +6.3%

Best before: 31 05 06

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!

09-08-2005 01:16:17 | More by Derek
Photo of macpapi


3.98/5  rDev +5%

I have always been curious about McEwan's Scotch Ale. It seems as if there must be something behind the merits of a S.A. straight from the Highlands, with a bottle label containing a classic red based tartan. Despite that feeling, I approached this beer with reservations. I generally do not buy into hype, but gave it a fair chance. Was impressed.

McEwan's S.A. pours a nice dark brown color with a small and quickly dissipating tannish head. Despite its relatively dark color, bubble action is noticeable throughout the glass. It has a deep-roasted malt aroma, with a very noticeable sugary presence. The smell is not terribly deep or complex. Hops are negligable. The taste, however, is a nice combination of malt, coffee and caramel flavoring. It is a bit syruppy, but the overall sweetness is a welcome quality. The eight percent alcohol content is smoothly intermixed in the general flavor. Really impressed by the mouth feel. Full and creamy. This beer is very substantial on the tongue, and packs little aftertaste.

Overall, I am surprisingly impressed by this genuine Scotch Ale. It lives up to what I figured would be undeserved hype. Very smooth and easy to drink. Makes the classic saying, 'If it's not Scottish it's craaap' seem accurate--at least in comparison to this one.

08-29-2005 23:55:02 | More by macpapi
Photo of jayc333

Ontario (Canada)

3.9/5  rDev +2.9%

Poured a cola brown colour with very minimal head and lacing. Doesn't appear to be all too carbonated.

Smells quite inviting. Very malty, sweet and caramelly, with a hint of nuts, perhaps chestnuts.

Caramel shows up strong in the taste, sweet, but not too sweet. Maybe the reson for that being the nuts balancing it out. The 8% ABV was present at the end, but showed no real threat.

Mouthfeel is quite thick on the palate, carbonation was there, but nothing unbearable.

Decent beer, this being the only actual Scottish import where I live, I can see myself buying again.

08-20-2005 18:58:56 | More by jayc333
Photo of tgbljb


4.28/5  rDev +12.9%

I first tried this beer svereal years ago and was not impressed. I still had a bottle in the fridge so I thought I would give it another try. Poured a deep copper color with attriactive head. Smell is of dark caramel and very enjoyable. Taste is excellent with sweet caramel notes. Good malty finish. Much too easy drinking. I'm glad I gave it another try.

08-09-2005 23:23:05 | More by tgbljb
Photo of pentathlete


3.53/5  rDev -6.9%

Dark ruby brown with a nice tan head. Smell is rather weak, sugary and mild malt. Taste is sweet, with a malty wash around the mouth ending in a bathing of alcohol. Finish is long, but not everlasting. Mouthfeel is a bit thin for this level of sweetness. Of course, this pours down the gullet a bit too easy. At 8% that could make for a rough night. Use sparingly.

$1.79 for a 12 oz bottle at Once Upon a Vine.

08-09-2005 00:36:04 | More by pentathlete
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
85 out of 100 based on 594 ratings.