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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

583 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 583
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)
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Ratings: 583 | Reviews: 436 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of BeardedSquash


4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A: Deep brownish red. A slowly receding tan head. Healthy looking beer that laces the edges all the way down.

S: Malt and earth up front. A rich smoke and grain mixture. A wound down sweetness with a touch of vanilla and cinnamon. No apparent hop aroma.

T: This is a well rounded beer. I love Scottish ales and there is a reason this is a staple. Malt, malt and malt, with an alcohol back. Sweet at the swallow.

M: Wonderful for this style. I rich beer needs an equally rich mouth. Almost chewy.

D: All night long. For 8% ABV, this could easily pass for a session beer. Great around a fire pit.

Serving type: bottle

07-13-2007 02:10:12 | More by BeardedSquash
Photo of rodenbach99

Quebec (Canada)

4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

bouteille brune de 355ml.

belle couleur brune avec reflet rouge, malheureusement la mousse avait disparue avant que je la voie, nez de pomme verte, de malt, un peu sucré, la bouche est ronde, goût de malt, elle a du corps, belle finale sucrée. bonne bière.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2007 23:49:20 | More by rodenbach99
Photo of SirSketch


4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

A - very deep amber in color. beautiful beige head with good retention and very small, fine bubbles.

S - extremely malty with hints of chocolate and caramel. if I tried really hard, I could catch a whiff of hops. the alcohol is apparent in it's aroma, as well.

T - I found this scotch ale to be very nutty and chocolaty. modest hop bitterness and low hop flavor. I also found this beer to be a little sweet.

M - amazing. low to moderate carbonation (expected) and full bodied. it has an amazing creaminess to it that helped it go down very smooth. it left my lips dry, but it left me wanting more, regardless

D - excellent

I am fairly new to the style of scotch ales, but, surprisingly, I very much liked this beer

Serving type: bottle

06-17-2008 01:00:31 | More by SirSketch
Photo of ViveLaChouffe


4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark brown with a big lacy tan head. Smells of burnt malt. Nutty.

Taste is surprisingly creamy and smooth. Rich, sweet and malty . Nutty undertones. Smoky and spicy. A bit salty? A lightly dry and bitter finish in contrast to the overall malty sweetness. Very malty and sweet aftertaste. Body is a bit lighter than I'm used to with a Scottish Ale but it's very well balanced and remarkably drinkable for a beer of 8% ABV. Very solid brew to add to your selections.

Serving type: bottle

10-10-2003 02:31:32 | More by ViveLaChouffe
Photo of Offa


4.05/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This is a smooth, easy-to-drink, yet still tasty, characterful wee heavy.

Deep red brown, not quite black, it has a medium tan head that shrinks very slowly to a permanent thin, foamy top. It leaves even rings of lace resembling icicles.

The aroma is sweet brown bread, butter, caramel, caramleized prunes, along with hints of wine and whole wheat bread.

The taste is fairly simple but rich, full-bodied, smooth and mellow. It has strong fruit, especially cherries, toast, hints of chocolate and red wine, and spices. The feel is zesty and rather lively despite light oiliness. Alcohol adds a nice, full warmth without being too evident. The result is a beer that may lack complexity of some wee heavies, but still has plenty of firm character, some complexity, and is also extremely smooth and easy to drink.

Serving type: bottle

11-03-2009 19:32:08 | More by Offa
Photo of padjo1


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

In presenting this review it would assist the reader to know that this is the first of the Scotch Ale style I have tried. Being a resident of the southwest coast of the USA, (Southern California for the geographically challenged), one doesn't have as many opportunities to have a go at this reputable category.

Appearance: Dark brown, an auburn when held up to the light.
Nice billowy head that leaves a white lace throughout.

Smell: MALT, fruit underneath (orange peel, figs, raisins or currants), and delicate spice (cinnamon, cloves, and perhaps nutmeg and just a little bit of coriander).

Taste: Very malty with hints of molasses. Not much chocolate.

Mouthfeel: Thick and chewy. High gravity.

Drinkability: High points are given to the complexity. Can't drink tooo much of this beer. It's just too heavy. That's not a bad thing though. The alcohol is a little overdone. Dare I say, the character of the malt needs to be more pronounced?

Serving type: bottle

05-15-2003 15:00:01 | More by padjo1
Photo of joshwlt


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured it fairly rigorously into a pint glass has a cola color with a fluffy, receding, sticky light brown head. Can see carbonation sticking to the sides of the glass. Smells sweet with dark fruits, toffee and caramel. Yeah this is interesting. Creamy texture with a silky raisiny, caramel flavor. Slight alcohol presence, but fairly hidden. Fairly sweet but has a bitterness to match (slighty woody, spicy with just the tiniest hint of smoke)... still on the malt end of the spectrum. I really like the creamy yet not overbearing mouthfeel of this brew, and it goes down fairly easy. My first scotch ale and very tasty and drinkable ale.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2008 01:19:02 | More by joshwlt
Photo of hustlesworth


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A- very dark brown, nearly black, with the slightest hint of reddish mahogany and rosewood highlights. head is creamy and frothy and light khaki in color and leaves a huge amount of drippy lace as it settles to a dense glob and finally very nice looking thick soapy ring.

S- nicely roasted malt and tart boozy dark fruits, date, fig, prune, raisin, and a sweet floral marshmallow toffee fragrance whose vapors seem to flow over the lip of the glass. honey roasted nuts, lightly toasted cereal grains, and sweet pipe tobacco also come to mind as well as dark molasses and burnt brown sugar.

T- hugely woodsy and chocolate, very whisky-ish, as if it had been sitting in oak, with a head spinning kick to the first sip, warming as it goes down. tons of roasted barley, i picture an industrial coffee roaster, dark fruit syrup, blueberry, prune, and currant. toasty burnt caramel, some alcohol, and earthy, mildly musky english hops. mineral water fades in and out of this crazy 4-way balance of sweet, sour, bitter, and roasted, not incredibly complex, but a definite flavor bomb with an almost overwhelming fruity mocha-coffee taste.

MF- rich and full with a powdery grainy feeling, i can almost chew it, really feels like a mass of fine particles suspended in liquid, like if i strained it though a coffee filter i could imagine the grain separating from the water. this one is totally wee heavy, on the whole palate and in the gut. feels similar to a stout but with medium carbonation and a definite whisky feeling.

D- i haven't had the world's finest scotch ales, a style that i find to be very intriguing, but i am thoroughly impressed by a beer from such a large european brewing company. i am also thoroughly buzzed from 12oz of this stuff. easy to drink one but a few more and i could get myself into some trouble. heh.

Serving type: bottle

06-21-2008 18:50:10 | More by hustlesworth
Photo of BeerBard


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a headless "beer-bottle-brown" and smells like "beer". Taste is a smoky, malty sweet butterscotch....thick and full. Can't miss the alcohol...I sense the threat of a hangover with any more than two bottles, but I suppose it depends on your expertise. Doesn't taste bad, but is eccentric due to the sweet malt and few hops in the brew. It's a unique beer that will be sampled at least annually at my house. Funny, but I can't imgine any meals going with this; as strong as it is, it would be best as an aperitif, after-dinner drink, or general all-around aphrodisiac...depending on who your eating and drinking with, I guess.

Serving type: bottle

10-18-2003 06:01:06 | More by BeerBard
Photo of Alchemist


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

This beer brings back many memories for me as it was one of my favorites back in the eighties when craft brewing was getting geared-up. This is my last bottle, perhaps ever, since it is no longer available in the US.

The characteristic garnet color and malty aroma are inviting.The mouthfeel is very viscous, almost chewy. I detect the taste of dark fruit, like plum that is pleasant in the aftertaste.

If you prefer malty beers, scotch ales are a great place to start. Those who are not fond of hops will really enjoy them. A good nightcap beer. McEwan's is a good, quality example of the style.

Serving type: bottle

03-21-2012 22:44:45 | More by Alchemist
Photo of arizcards


4.08/5  rDev +7.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

My trip to Idaho was an interesting one as my brother introduced me to this fine Scottish ale.

Poured fairly dark but did not retain it's head. The smell of the wonderful toasted malts made this ale very alluring before the first taste. The taste was very good but with a little bit too much of an alcohol finish. The mouthfeel was smooth. The drinkability of this is very good-this is one beer I will definitely have another sample of.

Serving type: bottle

06-10-2003 18:52:36 | More by arizcards
Photo of hyuga

North Carolina

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Dark with a very light tan head with decent retention. The color and head alone make you want a taste of this beer. As it reaches your nose, there's no doubt that this is a scotch ale. Strong scotch/alcohol smell with hints of creamy coffee. Smoky, chewy, and malty flavor with definite alcohol presence. Makes me want to eat spicy chicken. When served at the proper temperature, this is one of my favorite beers. To me, very drinkable, but it can be too strong for some.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2002 12:31:17 | More by hyuga
Photo of soupyman10

District of Columbia

4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark brown, near black color with some amber hints. Nose is fairly mild, mostly caramel malt, not much else. Taste is crazy strong on toffee. Some slight alcohol hints, a little hops at the end, but overall this is like liquid form McIntosh's Toffee bar. Tasty. Feel is medium bodied, solid carbonation. This one is seriously crazy, as in a liquid candy bar of some kind. It's not particularly complicated, but it is entirely delicious, if you like a super sweet beer.

Serving type: bottle

07-23-2007 02:49:06 | More by soupyman10
Photo of beerphilosopher


4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Others have said this, but it's true for me too ... this is a "staple" beer for me. One of my all-time standbys, so forgive me if I'm a tad biased. Pours a fairly dark reddish brown color with a mountainous tan head with staying power. Spotty lacing in the pint. The nose evokes caramel malts, molasses, roasted barley and oats, and a slight floral notes. Palate is quite sweet in the beginning, but quickly becomes a more balanced play of sweet malt and dry hops. Lovely. The mouthfeel is solidly medium, warming alcohol in the mouth, and a terrific warm, yet semi-dry, finish. Hops become more noticeable in the aftertaste. I really enjoy McEwans Scotch Ale. The taste brings back pleasant memories for me. A very solid Scotch Ale and a standard for the style if you ask me. Great stuff.

Serving type: bottle

03-08-2007 00:18:32 | More by beerphilosopher
Photo of sulldaddy


4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A friend of mine gave me this bottle that was in his cellar for about 2 years. Said he didnt like it so he gave it to me. I have liked these fresh so lets see what an aged one has in store.

I pour it into my pint glass and immediately notice a very rich sweet aroma, cant put my finger on it, melting brown sugar. Some hints of alcohol as well.
An off white head foams up about a cm and fades quickly to next to nothing on the top layer of the brew. Very dark mahogany in color. Almost no light passes through.

The first sip reveals, the carbonation has really flattened on this one, making the beer very smooth and drinkable but still maintaining a very malty flavor presence. Strong sweetnes with raisinesque undertones. The alcohol flavor is very well hidden as no warming or bite is noticed. The texture is fairly thick and has some syrupy characteristics.

The finish is a little sticky in my mouth. Heavy malt sweetness remains long after Ive swallowed.

This is quite a tasty brew! Only difference I notice in the older brew isless alcohol presence and lower carbonation. Good flavors!

Serving type: bottle

12-11-2003 01:43:17 | More by sulldaddy
Photo of Jarod


4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This beer poured into the glass root beer colored with red highlights. The head was thick, creamy and full, tan/cream in color that went from darker to lighter as it stretched to the rim of the glass. The lace was present and sticky as it was pulled down the glass. The aromas that came out of the glass were of sweet dark malt, some roasted malt tones, caramel, sweet dark berries, some yeast and alcohol were present but faint. At first sip I said to the wife that I like this beer, nice and smooth with some sweetness in both the nose and the taste. Flavors of sweetness filled my mouth, sweet malts, sweet dark berries, some sugars, roasted malts, the warmth of alcohol all danced across my tongue in harmony and without a single hop to be found which surprised me. This beer left a creamy sensation in my mouth and was a very pleasant experience. This bottle was # 8 in a list of six (for that 40% discount on six-packs) that I handed the bartender. Lucky for me they were out the other 2 so that I could experience this sweet dark elixir of goodness.

Serving type: bottle

03-20-2003 08:13:56 | More by Jarod
Photo of ThaBobfather


4.1/5  rDev +8.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Pours a dark bark color with a light cream medium head topping.
Smells got some sweet malts and maybe a burnt syrup character.
Taste starts with bold malt, is sustained by a syrup/candied taste, and finishes with a bit of spiced bitter.
Finish is crisp with a very sweet, sugar malt after-taste.
Drinks very smooth, the thick/chewy body still goes down great.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2009 00:45:34 | More by ThaBobfather
Photo of bsp77


4.11/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into Snifter.

Appearance: Dark brown with ruby highlights. Thin tan head.

Smell: Brown sugar, toffee and lots of very overripe dark fruit.

Taste: Very sweet with brown sugar and dark fruit that has been sitting on the counter for a few days. Some light toffee and chocolate. The finish has some counterbalance from spicy hops, but this still stays in sweet territory. The mix of overripe fruit and spice really reminds me of Dark Belgian Ales.

Feel: Full body that is fairly sticky. Low carbonation. Slightly warming.

Overall: This was one of my favorite beers from many years ago and I am thrilled to try it again. It actually tastes somewhat similar to what I remembered but, at the time, I did not recognize that there were Belgian elements to this Scotch Ale. Overall, it is sweet and decadent but not quite cloying. Good stuff.

Serving type: bottle

07-15-2014 04:06:43 | More by bsp77
Photo of tastybeer

North Carolina

4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Pours a dark reddish brown with a fine foamy light cocoa colored head that holds an 1/8" throughout. Aroma is thick caramel, butterscotch, toffee, fruity plum alcohol, and peat. Different parts of the smell seem to stick out alternately throughout my session, but overall there's a steady sweetness. Taste is also sweet. Peat, caramel, butterscotch, mollasses, some burnt coffee, and cocoa too. Finish leaves an alcohol tingle. Mouthfeel is slightly chewy and sticky sweet. Very slightly dry and bitter fruits stick through the aftertaste. More of a thick body than I expected. Pretty drinkable overall.

Definitely a good to have around beer.

Serving type: bottle

06-29-2006 00:11:08 | More by tastybeer
Photo of andjusticeforale


4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

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.

Serving type: bottle

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


4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

12oz bottle into mug (not worthy of the snifter in my opinion).

Dark ruby red hue, almost as dark as a porter. Solid tan colored head which holds well. Very solid lacing down the glass.

Light bready malts and a slight sweet caramel scent, but for some reason the scent that sticks out the most to me is Elmer's glue. It's not a bad smell, but it's what I think of when I sniff. Overall a sweet smell.

Sweet and creamy malt flavors coming from a medium bodied beer. The sweetness actually lingers throughout the entire experience, with a bit of the darker malts coming through at the end lending a little bit of bitterness. The alcohol is hidden considering it is at 8.00%ABV. Sweet and smooth finish which transitions to a slightly drier one as it warms a bit.

I really enjoyed this one. If you like sweeter beers, this one is probably for you. The alcohol is hidden well, so be careful not to let it sneak up on you. Recommended.

Serving type: bottle

10-31-2006 04:00:48 | More by BeerSox
Photo of 3Vandoo

Quebec (Canada)

4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A very pitch ruby with deep deep ruby tints. No head at all, only appeared to be polite and quickly left, pratically no carbonisations.

Smell is alcoholic, deep caramel and phenolic, some hints of sweetness are coming out too.

The beer reminds me of Porto to an extend, maybe because my bottle was cellared for a year and a half. The beer left a nice touch of carbonisation that came to trick the palate. Some fruity touches are there, especially cherry. Hide very well its alcohol content and very smooth for its style.

Serving type: bottle

05-27-2005 04:04:37 | More by 3Vandoo
Photo of jlindros


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 packetknife


4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Reddish-brown, thin head. Smells like maple syrup. Maly and maple, sweet and thick. Heavy but smooth. I really like this on its own, no food close to it.

Serving type: bottle

06-01-2002 21:01:47 | More by packetknife
Photo of FACSman


4.13/5  rDev +9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 3.5

Wow, Solid Scotch Ale/Wee Heavy...Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz bottle. Dark, chestnut brown color with a thin head and very little lacing. Not much aroma to speak of, a little stale, but I think I may have recieved a bottle past its prime. Flavor - Sweet malty deliciousness...MMM. As for drinkablility, I might be hard pressed to drink more than 1 or 2 of these 'turkey dinner in a bottle'

Serving type: bottle

12-13-2008 03:25:19 | More by FACSman
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
85 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.