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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

615 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 615
Reviews: 441
rAvg: 3.8
pDev: 14.21%
Wants: 34
Gots: 17 | 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: 615 | Reviews: 441 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of skizziks
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle into a tulip. Pour raises a 1" fine tan head which falls quickly leaving some nice mottled lace. The beer is a deep brown with ruby highlights.

Aroma is heavy with malt, a little smoke, and some burnt sugar.

Flavor starts strong with brown sugar, very sweet and thick with some chocolate. A little bitterness on the long malty finish with a little lingering smoke. I know there isn't any peated malt or anything like that, but I get a distinct impression of smoke in the aroma and taste, subtle, but definitely there.

Mouthfeel is quite full and smooth with low carbonation. A little thick, a little velvety. This is a really nice rich beer to spend some time with. Not incredibly complex, but very satisfying.

skizziks, Jun 20, 2006
Photo of ernie
3.5/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Strong, sweet and sticky - just what we expect from Scotch Wee Heavy. It's a typical Scotch, with lots of malt and caramelized sugar, rich fruity tones both in aroma and body, complex finish, long aftertaste and a wish for something else after emptying the bottle.
Anyway, a perfect dessert drink. Worth a try - in small volumes.

ernie, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of KoG
3.65/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Small tan head that dissipates quickly atop a dark brown liquid.

Smell is a bit weak, light alcohol and some malt but no hop presence. Lightly fruity.

Taste is sweet and the alcohol is well hidden. Light spicy flavor with some dark fruit and a bit of caramel. Pretty good taste, but a little sweet to drink a few. A bit more bitterness would balance it nicely.

Not a bad brew, not very sessionable but great for a nightcap after a hearty meal.

KoG, Jun 16, 2006
Photo of NiceGuyMike
2.95/5  rDev -22.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Very dark with fine yet small head. Very little lacing.
Smells of earthy alcohol slightly metalic.
Earthy sweet caramel malts. Very strong heavy after taste that includes heavy alcohol.
Heavy mouth feel
Too strong on all fronts to drink much of.

Perhaps I'm not a fan of this style.

NiceGuyMike, Jun 10, 2006
Photo of etxparch
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

My first taste of this style. Poured into a pint glass which developed a nice head of light tan foam, but dissipated quickly. Nice lacing left on the glass.
Bright reddish-amber color, some carbonation. Smell is malty/nutty combination. Taste to me seems a little "chewy". Not too thick, and not too watery. Overall very pleasant for this type.
As for the drinkability, it is a nice session beer. Very smooth. The 8.0 ABV is pretty sneaky, as in it doesn't taste bitter or strong like some beers with high ABV's. Will be getting more of this in the future.

etxparch, Jun 03, 2006
Photo of rodrot
3.9/5  rDev +2.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer poured a dark reddish/garnet color with a half inch light tan head. Carbonation was moderate and left a nice layer of lace on the glass. Aroma was malty, caramelly and slightly winey. Taste was very malty sweet with notes of smoke, caramel, ripe fruit, prunes and alcohol. The beer finishes with a sour/winey note and a good burst of alcoholic warmth. The beer was medium bodied and pretty easy to drink. Hops take a backseat here, as they should. I've heard rumors that Scottish Courage is going to stop exporting their beers to the U.S. I hope to hell not cause this is one brew that I'm gonna miss.

rodrot, May 13, 2006
Photo of asabreed
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Huge red / amber / copper body. Layered lacing, and about a 1/2" head after drinking the brew.

Smell: Lots of malt, slight smoke and dark fruit. A slight scotch aroma. Nice but nothing spectacular.

Taste: The dark fruit is there, and the dark malt, a bit cloying but not too much. I like the smokey flavor to it, and I like how they're doing it.

Mouthfeel: Beyond cloying, but there's still much fullness there.

Drinkability: Looking forward to having this again. A style that I'm hoping to have more of soon enough.

asabreed, May 08, 2006
Photo of TheBungyo
4.13/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I was for some reason initially surprised at the color of the brew. I expected something completely opaque but as I poured it looked like diluted coke. Not to fear though, in the end, it showed up as dark ruby brown. And yes, nearly completely opaque. The head made a half hearted showing, while the nose was only a bit more active. I detected caramel, scotch, and berries. Taste is wonderful! Caramel, brown sugar, cherries, and alcohol. Hops make no showing but I really don't care as this is one tasty brew even without them. Mouth is full and sparsely carbonated.
The first time I tasted this I was a beer novice and tasted soy sauce for some reason. Now that my palate has matured I have seen what a tasty brew this is. As one wise reviewer did before me, I may cellar this for a while. I can't imagine what several months might do to it!

TheBungyo, May 06, 2006
Photo of Orrshow
3.7/5  rDev -2.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – This beer looks good. It’s extremely dark with a slight red hue. The head is about two fingers and is a very light brown color. The retention is good and the lacing was extensive.

Smell – I can smell hints of chocolate off the bat. Brown sugar arises as well as caramel. I also detect a slight scotch aroma which gives away alcohol (duh).

Taste – I find the taste to be a touch lacking. I taste strong dark malts and dark sugars. There is a slight alcohol burn from the scotch flavor but not a ton. I also sense some chocolate and molasses flavors with hints of dark fruit.

Mouthfeel – Quite good. Carbonation was nice and toned down and the beer was quite thick. No major complaints.

Drinkability – Not bad here. I can’t say every sip enticed me to drink more but it wasn’t hard to drink either.

Not a bad beer. I think this could make a very nice introductory scotch ale.

Orrshow, May 05, 2006
Photo of Budlum
4.22/5  rDev +11.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

From notes:

Pours wonderfully dark, slightly cloudy with thick, tan head. Peaty aromas with hints of alochol. Roasted malt tates are immediate with spicy, peaty notes similar to a good Islay scotch. This is a great drink on a cold winter day. The some-what high abv becomes present near the finish of a bottle. The benchmark representation of a Scotch Ale.

A recent tasting:

Recently, I have cellared one of these for 15 months. Can you cellar this brew? I wasn't sure but considering the style, texture and alcohol content I figured it coudn't hurt to try. I rather impatiently waited 15 months to sample the last from a case. It was certainly worth the wait! The results were wonderful. Cellaring created much milder and subdued flavors without the loss of body. One word to desribe the change would be a mellowing effect on every strong point of the beer without losing the stand-out qualities.

Budlum, Apr 23, 2006
Photo of meathookjones
4.38/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Very dark reddish brown body with an inch of tan foam. Some streaky lacing left around the glass. Mild sweet dark fruits and a nice smokiness come through in the aroma. Flavor starts with more ripe dark fruits with some sweet caramel. Smokiness and some earthy notes cut through the sweetness as it finishes. Pretty thick and smooth body. Easy drinking stuff with a enough going on that I could have a few.

meathookjones, Apr 20, 2006
Photo of sinstaineddemon
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

A - this Scotch pours a dark reddish brown, with an off-white medium thickness head that laces rather quickly

S - a very pleasant aroma, sweet, hoppiness and a lemon scent, with a slight alcohol kick at the end

T - wow, this is real smooth, it has a sweet syrupy feel, like butterscotch, and at the end is the same alcohol kick, but well balanced, a great scotch brew

M - smooth and satisfying, a great mouthfeel, very pleasant to drink

D - easy, very easy to throw back, smooth and sweet, this is real nice

sinstaineddemon, Apr 18, 2006
Photo of santanas95
3.85/5  rDev +1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured a deep red, nearly opaque color with a decent head (1/2 to full inch). Thick malty aroma, with jut a hint of hops. Something sweet in there lurking, toffee I think. Same for the taste. Sweet, thick malts and a toffee-like flavor. Light on the hops and bitterness. Nice alcohol warming. I thought that the sweetness got a bit cloying toward the end of the glass... almost too much.
I've had this a number of times prior to actually sitting down to review it, mostly before I started attempting to pick out favor profiles. This wasn't as spectacular as I remember it once being, but it's still pretty damned good. I couldn't drink it all night (mostly because of the 8% ABV), but a good representation of the style I feel.

santanas95, Apr 12, 2006
Photo of Luigi
3.1/5  rDev -18.4%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Deep brown ruby color. Creamy tan head that sticks around for the life of the beer. The aroma is sweet. Caramel and roasted malts. Very sweet on the palate. A little overwhelming at times. Chocolate, plums, roasted malts and alcohol. No real balance. The body is medium-full and slick on the tongue. A can see myself enjoying this brew one at a time. The sweetness kind of kills the drink ability.

Luigi, Apr 10, 2006
Photo of scruffwhor
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Poured a half finger head with pour retention. Colro was a nice deep amber and no lacing.

Smell- Very creamy and almost entirely void of any hops. But something mad me sense Saaz.

Taste- Starts out with a good deep toasted malt character taht makes this brew pretty sweet. That toasty flavor develops into cream, straight cream.

Mouthfeel- Medium to thick body on the palate mixed with a bunch of creamy malty goodness.

scruffwhor, Apr 02, 2006
Photo of akajimmyd
3.58/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Appearance – Dark brown, hues of red. Robust pour creates a head that filly my standard pint glass. Did not retain well.

Smell – Sweet malts and some nutty aromas.

Taste – Starts with some sweet caramel. Nutty flavors but darker fruit dominates the middle. Boozy throughout.

Mouthfeel – Creamy and full bodied. Heavy.

Drinkability/Notes – Doesn’t leave me craving another but drinkable enough. Not too special. Did not pair well with a soft Havarti.

akajimmyd, Mar 27, 2006
Photo of russpowell
3.15/5  rDev -17.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours dark brown with a bubbly 3 fingers deep tan head that settles to about 1/4". No head retention or lacing

Smell: Sweet malt, toffee & fruitty notes

Taste: Super swet with raisiny notes. slight woody notes& dryness on the finish. too damn sweet for me, maybe with ice cream??

MF: Slight undercarbonation and thin. My senses would never guess this beer was 8%abv

Drinkable enough if you can get past the sweetness. Had this in Belgium and it was better,,,

russpowell, Mar 11, 2006
Photo of allergictomacros
4.15/5  rDev +9.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A - Dark, dark red brown. Good creamy head with lots of lacing and retention.

S - Sweet, molasses. Some red fruit maybe.

T - Big malty toasted flavours. Hops in the aftertaste clean up the palate.

M - Thick and creamy. Very rich and smooth. Warming.

D - I like this a lot. It's quite strong but the alcohol isn't very obvious.

allergictomacros, Feb 25, 2006
Photo of BEERchitect
3.95/5  rDev +3.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Wow, powerful and bold without trying too hard. Big caramel and toffee aromas and flavors become almost chewy in texture. Nearly molassas and dehydrated fruit flavored. Grapes, figs, dates, and nut flavors are highly pronounces. Lighly buttery and hoppy. Very malty and sweet. Bold toast flavors offer a subtle bitterness without any charred characters. Finish very sweet and lightly alcoholic. A bit tacky and cloying. Still a very good beer.

BEERchitect, Feb 23, 2006
Photo of mjc410
3.73/5  rDev -1.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Poured into a snifter.

A: Near opaque, almost stout-like appearance, but not quite, as light does show deep brown-amber at the edges. Only a slight ring of lacing wraps around the glass, not much head to speak of.

S: Sugar, rum?, not sure what else I can pick up on. Oh, alcohol, and a slight bit of nuttiness. A bit of a sour smell, too. Strong, but not too complicated.

T: High alcohol goes through the whole taste. Also, a sugary feeling. I don't know how else to describe it, but it has that common Scottish Ale taste. It is remarkably smooth though, as long as you sip it slowly.

M: Slight tingling of carbonation, not as thick as expected.

D: A "once a session" beer. Definitely enjoyable as long as you take it easy.

mjc410, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of acrawf6
4/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours out a deep dark amber, little ruby red on the sides. Small head, about a quarter of an inch that is slightly tan. Went down quickly.... might have poured it a little too soon.

Smells toasted and caramized from the malty aroma and a little sweet. tiny bit of smokyness to it.

Taste is quite creamy. i first tasted some hop flavor to it, but the malts kick into second gear and throws out roasted malt flavors. Alcohol is obvious, but a little hidden, seems to effect the mouthfeel more. caramel is in here too. aftertaste is roasted and a little smoky.

Mouthfeel is full, a lot to do with the alcohol. good balance. good carbonation.

Overall a solid beer. not the best in the style, but still good.

acrawf6, Feb 21, 2006
Photo of RJLarse
3.75/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

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.

RJLarse, Feb 20, 2006
Photo of chrisms86
3.43/5  rDev -9.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

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.

chrisms86, Feb 08, 2006
Photo of brentk56
3.98/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

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

brentk56, Jan 16, 2006
Photo of Mandrake
3.68/5  rDev -3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Mandrake, Jan 07, 2006
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
86 out of 100 based on 615 ratings.