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.
very good

578 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 578
Reviews: 435
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: 578 | Reviews: 435 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of blakesell


4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured from bottle to pint glass

Appearance- Nearly black but caramel colour when held up to the light. Slight carbonation ring around the outside, not a huge frothy head. When carbonation dissapates, there is always a bit of carbonation leftover that looks like mold but it dissapears soon enough as well.

Smell- Peaty and sweet. All malt character is lost in the sweetness. Hints of fuggles dance in the background.

Taste- Sweet and malty, a strange flavour that I believe is from the peat smoking when brewed, this is a guess.

Mouthfeel- Sticky and sweet, high abv creates much warming, and may not have been the best idea on a hot July day. I like it nonetheless.

Drinkability- Strangely, very. Even with the high ABV of 8%, I could still attempt to drink it all day long. Of course I would end up passed out at the end, but I would likely try.

This is thus far my favourite scotch ale. Even compared to the amazing Traquair House, this one still stands out.

Serving type: bottle

07-19-2007 22:22:05 | More by blakesell
Photo of feloniousmonk


4.43/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is the beer whose yeast was dissected by the brewers at Moortgat, as they invented Duvel. Big, tan head, dark color. Strong aromatics, rich notes of toffee, cocoa, butterscotch, nuts. Soft on the palate, leading to a remarkably chewy testure. Thick chocolate notes coming in now, riding on through the finish. Solid malt, low hops, very easy-drinking and rewarding with every little sip.
This would be excellent with rich, hearty, spicy food. Classic!

Serving type: bottle

01-16-2003 15:29:51 | More by feloniousmonk
Photo of cdkrenz


4.4/5  rDev +16.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

$9.39/six pack
Dan's Liquor
Plover, Wisconsin

Appearance - Black pour with a light bown head. The head lasts about 2 minutes and is about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch deep. As the head fades it leaves a ring along the inner edge where the beer meets the glass. The darkness of the beer really surprised me.

Smell - This beer smells very good. It has a thickness to it that I really enjoy. There is a malty scent that takes me away to an open field of tall brown grasses lined with deep green oaks. I don't know how I got there.

Taste - The Ale tastes like it smells. It's rich and has a thickness that's becoming. There is a tiny bitterness that adds to the quality. The flavors don't overwhelm one another. They each allow enough time to all be enjoyed with each sip. It starts of sweet and finishes as I mentioned before with a faint bitterness. The transition from one flavor to another is seamless and intriguing.

Mouthfeel - While the taste is smooth the feel is not quite there. Don't get me wrong. The feel is good but not great.

~ I look forward to finnishing off this sixer. I'll most likely enjoy a few of these Scottish treasures after some serious mountain biking.

Serving type: bottle

05-19-2007 23:32:32 | More by cdkrenz
Photo of meathookjones


4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-20-2006 16:55:48 | More by meathookjones
Photo of funkengruven

Ontario (Canada)

4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This stuff Poured a deep brown with a nice puffy slightly tan head that sits perfectly in the glass.

Smells rather nice too, roasted malts and some caramel notes in there. The flavor is beautifuly balanced, roasted malts, some prune notes and a finish with a delicate smoothness that I've rarely experienced with a beer with as high an ABV as this. Nice and easy to drink and overall very enjoyable.

This is a great ale, and definitely worth having again.

Serving type: bottle

07-02-2006 21:42:50 | More by funkengruven
Photo of putnam


4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I bought this bottle in 1999.
It looks fine with a mocha cream head that lasts. The aromas are shy at first but, as it warms, there is a deep, integrated complex of black walnut, Russian black bread, and perfect cappucino. The flavors are perched atop a rich velour of beaver fur and feature notes of sweet broiled caramel, rarebit, maple timbers and Alpine spring water. Better than it was three years ago, but not exactly bliss either (a little watery in the mid-palate.)

Serving type: bottle

10-14-2002 13:59:10 | More by putnam
Photo of kmpitz2


4.38/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured a nice dark tea color with a thin cover of head overtop of the beer. The nose was caramelized sweetness...very nice, but not as much or a roasted note as I had expected. The taste had a bit of a roasted character, but most of the flavor was sweet caramel/brown sugar malty goodness. A nice flavor overall. The moutfeel was moderate to thick. Drinkability on this one was okay. The malts seemed too sweet and not really balanced. It was a good beer, but just not my favorite.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2004 03:42:27 | More by kmpitz2
Photo of avylover


4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

This is one I remember loving but it's been ages (pre-BA) since i've been able to find it. Well I've procured a sixer, so here's a review.
Pours out a clear dark brown-mahogony color with a smallish white head. Aroma is full of caramel malt, along with a meaty Bovril type aroma. Very nice taste, which at first is subtle, then explodes into a malt monster. Sweet & bready malts dominate the platate. Caramale flavors zing across the tongue, along with the burnt food/meaty character. There is a good tinge of alcohol here too, but nothing offensive.The mouthfeel is full and thick, yet slick and not syrupy. Drinkability is high, especially for something so rich. This is my benchmark for scotch ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2004 23:38:27 | More by avylover
Photo of bloberglawp

Quebec (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours dark copper brown with orange hues (using a large flute-like beer glass makes this one nice to look at). Good white head, light retention, nice lacing.

Aroma of rich malt, burt caramel, and english malts, hummm. Caramel and malt flavors, little bitterness flavor but present in mouthfeel.

Easily available here (can't say that very often here in Canada) and there are very few others of this kind to compare, still I'm happy I can sip on McEwans Scotch ale.

Serving type: bottle

09-17-2006 01:07:12 | More by bloberglawp
Photo of Reidrover


4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had never tasted this brew from McEwans..I am from Scotland and i used to drink McEwans Export at home ( same as me dadd)..a Scottish macro.
Well it comes in a very handsome 12 oz bottle .
the appearance is good nice dark mahogany brown coour with half finger head which persists.
I loved the extraordinary fruitiness of this beer great refreshing scent if that is possible.
Wonderful sweet taste for a brew so strong..i taste blackcurrants and even raspberry in this with a deep coffee after taste.Fels good on the tongue smooth.
Very drinkable for a strong ale..better watch this one if you have a few at hand.
All in all a great beer for sitting by the fire with the wife..nice.

Serving type: bottle

02-22-2003 19:18:50 | More by Reidrover
Photo of Long813

Ontario (Canada)

4.35/5  rDev +14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

G: Stein

A: Dark red-brown, almost opaque body with one inch tan head with pour retention, leaving pour lacing.

S: Very sweet and biscuity malts. Toffee, caramel, biscuits, and some dark fruits [frigs, raisins].

T: Just like the smell, the toffee and caramel are dominate with very subtle raisins.

M: Medium body with light carbonation. Leaves a sweet toffee finish. Not bitter at all.

D: An amazing beer. This is the first I've had of this style and won't be the last. The sweet malts are not overpowering at all and the alcohol content is hidden very well.

Serving type: bottle

11-24-2009 03:05:02 | More by Long813
Photo of Dizzy


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a darker reddish brown with a creamy tan head which recedes into a thin film. Aroma is all malt, almost smells like an old ale or a barleywine. I'm picking up aroma reminiscent of raisins. Taste is malty, some carmel elements there. Medium bodied with a little bit of a bite from carbonation and some alcohol burn. This stuff is great.

Serving type: bottle

08-31-2006 02:57:03 | More by Dizzy
Photo of IntriqKen


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Nice half finger on top of an opaque coffee brown pour.
Aroma is definately alcohol with little else to compliment it save barely the presence of burnt sugar malt.
Taste is toasted burnt malt with a coffee undertone smooth sherry like alcohol.
Overall, I found this scotch ale smooth, creamy, and warming without anything being obnoxious. Very balanced and true to style IMHO.
I will definately look for this one again. Great to sip at the end of an evening.

Serving type: bottle

08-24-2006 05:37:49 | More by IntriqKen
Photo of animal69


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

my fav. scotty ; pours a deep copper color w/ a fluffy off-white head which dissapates quickly and leaves a good lacing ; a nice malty aroma, w/ some fruity date/raisin undertones, slightly alcoholic as well ; a sweet malty flavor, a caramel/nutty delight w/ some fruity esters balanced w/ a faint hop bitterness ; not to thick, med. bodied, yet robust w/ alot of dextrins & just enough co2 to keep it around ; what can i say, it's McEwan's, it's 8.00% ABV, it's drinkable until you can't stand, anyway, i could drink a gallon of this ( and have ), the top style example too, i believe....

Serving type: bottle

11-06-2007 06:37:33 | More by animal69
Photo of 99bottles


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance: Dark reddish brown body, with a creamy 1/2" of off white head that has less than average retention, but laces the inside of the glass.

Smell: Malt, malt, malt and more malt. This is swimming with malted barley and sweet sugary carmel aromas.

Taste: This is a very malty ale. It has a load of sweetness and the thick malts taste of butterscotch, carmel, toffee, maybe scorched brandy (meaning no alcohol burn), light roasted nuts, brown sugar and vanilla. A keen pallete might pick up on light flavors of peat moss. I detect little to no hop flavor. I really like this as a Scotch Ale, though there are more flavorful and balanced examples of the style out there.

Mouthfeel: Rich and sweet, this isn't heavy in any way. Moderate carbonation keeps the heavy malts afloat and quaffable.

Drinkability: This is where I think this beer shines. You'd never know this was a Wee-Heavy with 8% ABV just by tasting it. It goes down so smooth that I think I could drink these all night long. I think this is my favorite Scotch Ale, and certainly the easiest to sip. A very good beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-22-2004 00:21:15 | More by 99bottles
Photo of steelreign

New York

4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Man....I must have gotten a different batch than some of these people reviewing this brew... this is a much better brew than I would gather from reading the overall score for it.

The appearance leaves some room for improvement - it pours a dark amber color, looks like a Pepsi. Head retention is almost non existent. The aroma lends some nice malty, bready notes and very slight hop aroma. Do I detect some alcohol as well?

Taste. Well, what can I say? This is a MALT BOMB!! Like a velvet hammer!! This is where it is at for a wee heavy scotch ale to me. The sweet taste of dark malt, dark fruit, nuts, molasses...etc. Whatever. This is a winner for me.

Mouthfeel is so creamy and lush...truly awesome. No bitterness to be found. Slightly sweet aftertaste, which is fine by me. I guess I am different, but I love this beer! Recommended!

Serving type: bottle

09-24-2003 19:08:43 | More by steelreign
Photo of BeerManDan


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured so dark brown that it was on the verge of being black, with a light brown foam that disapated quickly. The aroma was of a sweet malty nature with a slight smell of alcohol. The taste was a sweet malty, fruity flavor with a hint of prunes. Not really bitter, but just enough of sweetness to off set the bitterness.

Serving type: bottle

01-10-2003 12:59:09 | More by BeerManDan
Photo of theAlaskan


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Stumbled onto this one and figured, why not. Served in a pint glass.

A: has a very deep brown/ mahogany color. Even after a rather vigorous pour, I was barely able to coax a 2 finger head, which promptly fell to a nice film on the surface in the time it took me to walk from my kitchen to my computer upstairs.

S: Really not much to write home about. Granted, I don't have the best nose, I still didn't get much. I got some wonderful roasty malts, a little coffee, and just the barest hints of hops... I might even be imagining it.

T: This is where it's all at!!! Right off there's a creaminess that is reminiscent of an oatmeal stout, deep, rich chocolaty flavors, coffee notes, a burnt/ smoky flavor that actually adds a lot to the taste, and some caramel/ brown sugar like sweetness

M: wonderfully thick, not for those turned off by dark, thick, viscous beers. carbonation starts off a hair prickly, right on the border of being too much. Then it slowly fades and gradually reveals the many layers of flavor. leaves a rather sticky coating that is really sweet.

D: Very drinkable, goes down really easy. at 8% it's about twice what you would call a session beer.... so if this WERE to be your session beer, you session would end very, very fast.

O: Friggin Scot's and their "Wee heavy", "wee" heavy my ass... this thing packs a punch that you won't feel till its too late if you're not careful (which I wasn't). My father is not one to mooch and for the most part, is indifferent to most of the beers that I get, but, as of the completion of this review (about 30 Min.), has sucked down half of my sixer! I too believe that the last beer won't make it the night- and I just bought the damn stuff tonight! This will never be out of stock in my fridge.

Serving type: bottle

05-12-2009 04:23:44 | More by theAlaskan
Photo of mattcrill


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aroma: Wet grains, carmel, grape jelly, a bit of malt sweetness.

Appearance: Deep ruby red to brown pour with a tan 1" head. Looks very inviting.

Flavor: Raisins, carmel, malt sweetness that is balanced by some alcohol drying. No hop character noted which is appropriate. I really enjoy the balance that is achieved by the sweetness and the alcohol. Seems like I've had a run of unbalanced beers lately so to be able to savor this one makes it truly an enjoyable experience.

Mouthfeel: Medium bodied and firmly carbonated. Lingers on the palate and makes it hard to savor this one.

Overall impression: I must say that I've neglected this style but no longer! This is a fantastically balanced beer and I will continue to explore others like it. Strongly recommended.

Serving type: bottle

08-18-2006 19:28:43 | More by mattcrill
Photo of MarkBeer


4.33/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

this is very malty at the opening with a twinge of caramel.

upon downing it, the taste resembles a very dark beer. very malty with heavy caramel presence that makes it a bit sweet. it also gives a bitter character that mellows into a sweetened deal.

I'll have to try it from the mug in the near future. it may turn out differently due to more carbonization released, making it less bitter, dare I venture to say. but, straight from the bottle, it is easier to imbibe if you're used to dark, bitter ales.

Serving type: bottle

02-24-2007 17:57:01 | More by MarkBeer
Photo of CrazyMike

Alberta (Canada)

4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

As soon as I saw a Wee Heavy beer, I knew I was in for something different. The apperance is thick black with moderate head, simple and ideal. The smell is dark and laced with chocolate and caramel.

The taste is very rich and ballanced with a bitterness. A hint of caramel and toffee and a bit of a darker fruit. Considering first impressions from the appearance and smell, it's suprising how moderate the body is. Very drinkable and with a sweet aftertaste.

Overall, very good beer and an impressive introduction to strong Scottish beers.

Serving type: bottle

04-05-2007 06:06:33 | More by CrazyMike
Photo of clvand0


4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer pours a dark brown color with slight red hues. It has a small head and not much lacing on the glass. The aroma is sweet and malty with small hints of the alcohol. The taste is fairly sweet also. There is also some fruit in the taste, but I cannot pinpoint what it is exactly. Very smooth - the alcohol is only partially masked in the taste, but blends very well. The aftertaste is somewhat dry, but still pleasant. Good Beer - but you have to get used to the taste before it can be appreciated well.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2003 21:40:32 | More by clvand0
Photo of MDekker


4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I split this with my brother, using two regular wine glasses. It poured about a dark ruby color, with a little slightly off-white head. Quite nice looking, actually. The aroma was very sweet and malty (a little toasted), with a meaty note in it that made me think of bologna (baloney). The taste was well-balanced. Even though a little up there in alcohol, you couldn't tell very much. It was again very malty with a slighty bitter finish. Hints of a dark fruit, like raspberry. In the mouth it was very pleasant, with a good thickness. Overall, I enjoyed this scotch ale a lot, and could have consumed more. In a small scotch ale competition, I preferred this one to Founders' Dirty Bastard.

Serving type: bottle

08-14-2006 00:55:28 | More by MDekker
Photo of ipogios


4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark amber colour with nice thick white head. The appearance of this beer is excellent. As far as flavor is concerned, malty and light caramel tones. Strong Ale with 8.0% ABV. Quite impressive Beer...



Serving type: bottle

11-22-2002 14:55:36 | More by ipogios
Photo of tjwarren


4.3/5  rDev +13.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A friend of mine has been after me to try this but I thought of other scotch ales that I did not like as much so I resisted. He was right. I was wrong.

I expected more of a brown ale but it poured dark and thicker than expected. Nice thick head that dissapated but lacing lingered.

Smell was sweet, very malty, very appealing to me as a sweet tooth kind of guy.

I was pleasantly surprised by the taste. I had a Weyerbacher Heresy the night before and felt this was similar. Maybe too sweet for hop heads but right up my alley. I believe if you like Imperial Stouts or RIS's you will like this.

Smooth mouthfeel. No complaints. It went almost too quick since it packs quite a whallop.

Probably not a food drink. I ate some nuts with it and they were a nice snack for it. It is kind of a beer that stands by itself. Not real versatile but very, very good. Better than I thought it would be. I wanted another right away but I think two would probably put me in a coma. Not a session beer by any means. Great nightcapper if you ask me. A stay at home beer.

Glad I tried it. Will be back for more.

Serving type: bottle

05-06-2009 02:45:43 | More by tjwarren
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
85 out of 100 based on 578 ratings.