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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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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: 583 | Reviews: 436 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Brent


3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Dark ruddy color with a tangy, alcohol aroma that hits you up front. Very assertive, tangy caramel and prune with a bittersweet finish. A little cloying in the end. You would have to really like Scotch ales to be completely taken with this one.

Serving type: bottle

08-17-2001 23:16:47 | More by Brent
Photo of SLeffler27

New York

3.05/5  rDev -19.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

This ruby-brown elixir rests in my thistle glass with a full head of itsy bitsy bubbles that recede rather quickly to a thin lace.

Rich and malty. Scents waft up followed by sweet and earthy raisins.

Starts malty with sweet caramel and butterscotch. The alcohol is stronger than suggested by the 8% and has a nice, bitter finish.

This is a smooth and creamy ale without the anticipated warmth of alcohol and leaves a sticky film on the lips.

This one is a nice sipper for after dinner.

Serving type: bottle

06-08-2008 21:23:49 | More by SLeffler27
Photo of kojevergas


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.


Serving type: on-tap

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

North Carolina

3.1/5  rDev -18.2%
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.

Serving type: bottle

04-10-2006 03:25:10 | More by Luigi
Photo of Reverand


3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

First off I love Scottish ales and was really excited to taste McEwans. Unfortunately I was somewhat disappointed with the over all tasting. First off the color is incredible, a deep mahogony color with a decent head. Taste wise, the high alcohol 8% certainly is predominent and not some of the other flavors. This brew is definitely a sipping beer not one to pound down with your friends.

Serving type: bottle

02-20-2002 16:50:08 | More by Reverand
Photo of RushLimbmalt


3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 1

This beer poured very brown, almost chewy in appearance. A definite meal in a bottle :) It had a pleasant, malty,sweet smell that seems to be the norm for ales brewed in Great Britain. It's taste was a bit odd , but this is the first Scotch Ale that I have ever tried. It was almost like burnt raisins soaked in alcohol...The peaty, earthy taste was a interesting change from the normal everyday beer. All in all it was an ok experience and I would rank the drinkability much higher, but after half a beer I already have a warm fuzzy feeling going on... Not a session brew, unless you want to wake up in a strange place.

Serving type: bottle

07-31-2004 04:22:13 | More by RushLimbmalt
Photo of Moxley

New York

3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

A - Poured a dark brown, flat cola color with a short tan head.

S - Barley. Lot's of barley. Which I was excited about trying this beer because I haven't had many barley beers and I've always been interested.

T - Thick, sweet malt flavor. A little like a cheap sweet red wine. I love red wine and this was not good. I guess it's probably a very good example of a barley beer, and those of you who like that sweet, thick, port wine type of beer - this is the one for you.

M&D - Creamy, yet a clean finish. Too sweet for my liking. The mouthfeel was my favorite part of this tasting. It was creamy, yet didn't leave my mouth feeling slimy or sticky.

Glad I got to try a Scotch Ale. Thanks Hyland24.

Serving type: bottle

05-03-2008 01:37:45 | More by Moxley
Photo of slitherySOB

Ontario (Canada)

3.13/5  rDev -17.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

When it first pours, their is a beautiful foam head. It quickly settles, leaving behind something that looks like Coca Cola. Smells of damp earth, malts, dark fruits and... I don't know. Something odd. Reminds me of being a child. Very sweet start. Bready, caramel and figs. Finishes sweet as well, with a bit of a roasty bitterness. Mouthfeel is a bit thick and chewy. Not a bad beer, but nothing special.

Serving type: bottle

11-15-2006 05:46:12 | More by slitherySOB
Photo of russpowell


3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
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,,,

Serving type: bottle

03-11-2006 16:06:28 | More by russpowell
Photo of LarryV


3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 2.5

Pours a deep reddish color without much of a head. Big malt aroma, but an underlying vinegary smell similar to cider vinegar.

Taste is malty sweet, too sweet for my preference. The vinegary overtone is present in the flavor too, not overpowering but distracting. Overall, it's the sweetness that puts me off and makes me give it a low drinkability rating.

Serving type: bottle

12-17-2006 00:42:00 | More by LarryV
Photo of tallar


3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Appearance- Pours a dark brown color with an amber hue. A nice 1" tan head of fine bubbles forms, falling fairly quick to giving away to a little lace.

Smell- The aroma of this stuff isa not a strongpoint by any means. It's fairly weak, with alcohol and muted sweet caramel notes dominating. Then again, for the style it's not bad.

Taste and Mouthfeel- Sweet, full-bodied, slightly sticky, but smooth: Exactly what's to be expected for a Scotch Ale. Caramelized malts, alcohol and a hint of fruit predominate. Not the most complex Scotch Ale I've had and it's not all that drinkable, but it's not that bad. Still I've had better.

Serving type: bottle

06-20-2006 23:30:03 | More by tallar
Photo of giblet


3.15/5  rDev -16.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

this is some good stuff baby! it is full bodied and strong. you wont likely have very many in a row...would likely smoke you if you did!

i had this and came to the conclusion that i need to try more of the Wee Heavies.

certainly worth a try. you will have to have a full and mature sense of taste to enjoy this one!

suckem up and movem out!


Serving type: bottle

06-25-2007 17:12:18 | More by giblet
Photo of Shumista


3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle into my beer mug.

A-McEwan's Scotch Ale pours a deep dark brown with a just slightly off white head. For some reason the nearly white head sitting atop such a dark brown beer doesn't seem right.

S- Sweet brown sugar and caramel. A little bit of coffee and dark fruits. Much fruitier smelling than other scotch ales I've had.

T- Very sweet, sweeter than other examples of the style I've had. Caramel and brown sugar like in the smell. The coffee is not too noticeable in the taste, but the dark fruits are very prevalent.

M- Medium to full bodied, low carbonation. The alcohol provides a noticeable warmth.

D- It's too sweet for me to want another one.

Overall, I've had much better Scotch Ales that were brewed right here in Michigan in Founders Dirty Bastard and Dark Horse's Scotty Karate. I don't think I will buy this again. The fruitiness was unique but other than that there isn't much to make me come back to it.

Serving type: bottle

03-26-2009 01:54:02 | More by Shumista
Photo of Arithmeticus


3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Poured chilled in shaker pint, chez white

A: very dark; huge head; great lacing and excellent carbonation
S: all malt, very light
T: treacle, molasses, brown sugar; no hops, and out of balance; bit of ripe banana. @buzzlitebeer: "platonos maduros 2 weeks old" Well, I'm not so sure, but it does not best exemplify this style.

Not bad overall, but don't rush out to get one.

Serving type: bottle

02-01-2014 20:38:15 | More by Arithmeticus
Photo of Nytemare


3.18/5  rDev -16.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance: Dark, rich red. Slightly off white head. Very little retention. Virtually no lacing.

Smell: Smells like overripe plums or some other dark fruit. Kind of sickly sweet.

Taste: Much better than it smells. Some sweet dark fruit, balanced by a slightly bitter roasted malt. Leaves a roasted malt aftertaste that lingers with some warmth from the alcohol. Not bad.

Mouthfeel: Kind of oily, but smooth. Leaves a thin film in the mouth that clings to every surface.

Drinkability: With 8% abv, I'm not sure I'd drink a lot of this, but it's not too hard to swallow every now and then.

Overall, not my favorite, but I've had worse, way worse. Would drink again, but I won't go looking for it. Not that I have to, around here it seems to be the only scotch ale you can find.

Serving type: bottle

09-26-2003 02:36:42 | More by Nytemare
Photo of tone77


3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a brown 12 oz. bottle. Has a very dark brown color with a 1 inch head. Smell is of caramel and malts. Taste is of caramel, alcohol, a bit nutty, finishing slightly sour. A lot going on, but somehow not gelling together. Feels medium bodied in the mouth and has average drinkability. Overall this makes for a decent brew.

Serving type: bottle

08-23-2010 14:20:57 | More by tone77
Photo of marc77


3.2/5  rDev -15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

The tan head is persistant enough to leave a lace. Dark garnet in hue w/ a bit of chill haze. Lots of sweet toffee and sugary prune notes in the aroma. Slight roasted grain sharpness is there as well. The hop nose is secondary, but a hint of floral Kent Goldings can be perceived. Medium bodied, and the low carbonation provides a very smooth mouthfeel. Roasted barley bitterness hits the palette initially, and a strong sugary sweetness follows. Hop bitterness is far too low to offset the residual sweetness. Finishes w/ no surprises-- roasty, sweet and almost syrupy. It's a pretty good Scotch Ale, but the sweetness borderlines on being cloying, and malt complexity was a bit lacking. A good brew if you're in the mood for something sweet. This would make a great (albeit expensive) vanilla ice cream float!

Serving type: bottle

04-23-2002 18:18:52 | More by marc77
Photo of CharlieMopps


3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A: Black with deep ruby hue. One-fourth inch head with weak retention, little lace.

S: Not very inviting or sumptuous. Malty scent with a smell of sweetness or light fruit, but again, not very strong.

T: An almost soft drink-like syrup taste, but weak. Slight toasted malt introduction overtaken by sweet licorice sugar taste and an oddly bitter ending. Felt a bit unbalanced, no real hop notes present.

M: Very light bodied but not so great on the palate. Somewhat smooth but harsh sugar flavor lingers and kills the mildness of this beer.

D: Dessert-y. Could stand to have a few, but would probably opt not to.

Serving type: bottle

09-27-2006 03:59:36 | More by CharlieMopps
Photo of prosper

Alberta (Canada)

3.23/5  rDev -14.8%
look: 5 | smell: 2 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Poured this and wow, expecting big things here. Clear, dark brown with an intense frothy tan head of dense little bubbles. Leaves some nice lace on the way down.
Smells no so great, sadly. There's a sour note that dominates that I just can't get over. Also noticeable are plenty of yeast esters and a solventy zing there, not unlike some other high-alcohol beers. Sort of reminds me of scented soap, or some sort of candy. There's hops on the aroma, but very faint. Goldings, maybe?
Taste, fortunately, is better than the smell. It's got a nice balanced profile to it; a sort of sweet thickness to counterbalance that odd sour bite. Hops are very understated; you have to go looking for them. I don't detect any roasty, biscuit or nutty flavours, or much of a grain profile at all. It's very odd. There are some burnt notes on the finish, after the sweetness has dissipated.
Texture is great. A thick, creamy full bodied mouthfeel. It coats the inside of your mouth with its thick syrup-y body, and slowly fades away.
Drinkable - sure. Like most high-alcohol brews, you kinda have to be in the mood for one, but it sure is easy to enjoy when you are.

Serving type: bottle

09-25-2008 01:35:48 | More by prosper
Photo of Jason


3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

Presentation: 12 oz brown bottle with no freshness date.

Appearance: Dark brown with a tarnished bronze hue, good head retention that leaves behind some sticky lace.

Smell: Sweet and mildly alcoholic with undertones of dark sugar, roasted malt and black currants. Smells of a coffee liquor or similar.

Taste: Incredibly smooth and creamy with a slick and almost syrupy mouth feel within the full body. Quite sweet on the palate, cloying at times. Lots of residual sugars floating around with very little hop character at all. Fruitiness is very light with hints of black currants. Malt flavours lack a bit in depth and complexity. Alcohol warms the mouth. Faint roasted malt flavour give a coffee like influence and a bitty dextrin grain leaves an odd feeling in the mouth further in the finish.

Notes: Undoubted as good dessert beer or as a night cap with a cigar, to drink on its own is too much for some. Big time sipping brew that should be consumed at cellar temperature. As far as Scotch Ales go, I have had better and locally brewed at that.

Serving type: bottle

07-03-2002 18:31:43 | More by Jason
Photo of Cynic-ale


3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

08-04-2013 08:45:50 | More by Cynic-ale
Photo of JMS1512

New Jersey

3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

02-13-2014 02:29:36 | More by JMS1512
Photo of marcobrau


3.25/5  rDev -14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

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!

Serving type: bottle

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

North Carolina

3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

10-04-2012 12:25:12 | More by JeffreyJDavis
Photo of soulcougher


3.25/5  rDev -14.2%

06-03-2014 22:23:00 | More by soulcougher
McEwan's Scotch Ale from The Caledonian Brewery Company Limited
85 out of 100 based on 583 ratings.