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Samuel Adams Scotch Ale - Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)

Not Rated.
Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

963 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 963
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 3.75
pDev: 14.4%
Wants: 42
Gots: 19 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams) visit their website
Massachusetts, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  5.40% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: Todd on 05-19-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 963 | Reviews: 609 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of advill88
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish amber with a creamy white head.

Smell is of predominantly of caramel malt, with an ever so slight hint of smokiness.

Taste has the same caramel maltiness up front, with a slightly stronger smokiness than in the nose, with a touch of hops to balance. Mouthfeel is medium-heavy bodied, with moderate carbonation and a slight creaminess.

Drinkability is quite good for the style. This is a very good scotch ale, and an excellent beer in the Sam Adams lineup. For some reason it reminds me ever so slightly of Old Fezziwig, but better.

advill88, Jan 24, 2010
Photo of brownbeer
3.85/5  rDev +2.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Reddish in color with a fluffy, tan head.

The aroma is earthy, with wood smoke and caramel.

The flavor is of slighty caramel balanced by a hint of smoke.

Pretty good beer. It's clean, malty, and smooth but fails to really distinguish itself as a scotch ale, aside from the slight smokiness. Unique but not great.

brownbeer, Jan 23, 2010
Photo of morebeergood
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into an imperial pint glass. Dark auburn red color. Very large white head. Good looking beer so far. Smelled a lot like peat smoke. First sip was mostly foam, and you can almost taste that scotch whisky flavor. The next sip more liquid, and the flavor was a bit more subdued. But that heavy smoky flavor was there throughout. My only wish was that this beer had a bit more body to it. That would make this brew fantastic. Very drinkable with a low abv and intense flavors. One of the more underrated and unknown SA beers on the market.

morebeergood, Jan 18, 2010
Photo of DesMoinesMike
3.9/5  rDev +4%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This wee heavy is a wee impressive.

My perfect pour glass was filled with is brew the color of very dark copper topped with a finger of foamy white head but had little carbonation. The aroma was malty with a touch of cinnamon. The taste of malt and caramel was a nice blend, with a spicy touch to it. It was rather smooth and finished with much enjoyment.

DesMoinesMike, Jan 12, 2010
Photo of Evocatus
3.98/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

It has a dark red-amber color with a beige head that dies to a collar relatively fast. Aroma is a combination of tea and bread/malts. Taste is similar to semi-sweet tea. There is some caramel in there, some smokeyness, malts, and hoppy finish. Decent thickness, not too much carbonation. I would definitely buy a pack of this alone.

Evocatus, Jan 08, 2010
Photo of Rayek
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Deep reddish copper color with good clarity. Cream colored head is frothy and has above average retention. Leaves a fair amount of lace.

S: A bittersweet toffee smell is balanced with aromas of black tea and dry earth.

T: Bittersweet overall. Malt has a taste of sugars that have been heavily caramelized. Bitterness does a good job of providing balance. It brings a good Earl Grey tea flavor to the mix. Finishes with a lingering bittersweet toffee flavor.

M: Medium light body is dry and has the right level of carbonation.

D: A good Scottish Ale is one of my favorite styles. SA Scotch Ale is a nice take on one.

Rayek, Jan 02, 2010
Photo of John_M
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Slatetank had aged this for some years (think he said this was from 2001), which IMHO probably improved it a bit.

The beer pours a brownish amber color with OK head retention and lacing. Nose is odd, with a lot of sweet malt, but with butterscotch, smoke and sweet fruit. Flavors replicate the nose on this moderately sweet beer, but with some noticeable soy sauce and apple juice. The beer is fairly peaty and sweet, and there's something of a couph medicine flavor to this beer. Mouthfeel is medium bodied and drinkability is OK.

An interesting beer. I think it's starting to fade, but time has done some interesting things to the nose and flavor profile.

John_M, Dec 05, 2009
Photo of Stinkypuss
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A stoway found deep in the fridge from another time...

Pours an amber brown with a solid foam head. Good lacing forming rings to remind of sips gone by.

Aroma of bready malts. Seriously bready, like fresh baked bread.

Flavors of scottish style malt. Characteristic of whisky malt, peat and caramel. Slight roasted edge. Hops have died down to an earthy bitterness. Toffee and caramel prevelent. Hints of cocoa. A well rounded brew all in all.

Mouthfeel is full bodied with a malty finish.

A solid ale with a good amount of character. Not overly strong and a nice session beer.

Stinkypuss, Nov 30, 2009
Photo of plaid75
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured a medium amber hue with a one finger frothy white head. There was good retention and lacing.

The smell featured a moderately sweet malt with a peaty smokiness.

The taste consisted of a smooth smoky sweetness and a light grassy hop.

The mouthfeel was toward the lighter side of the style.

Overall a very tasty malt driven ale.

plaid75, Nov 13, 2009
Photo of chetripley
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I have been happy with Sam Adams offerings, some more than others, but I am most pleased with the ales they brew, especially this one. It was the second Scotch Ale I have had in as many days and my appraisal was the same.

The color is a dark amber, and appetizing in its fullness. I think SAs are all born under the lager birthright, so I never expect much of a head and more fluid characteristics with a good amount of carbonation. This is the same.

Good strong smell that elicits the malts that I am expecting soon.

Malty and strong flavor, a slight sweetness, followed by slightly dry then smooth aftertaste. Usually don't find a smooth aftertaste in such a malty offering.

Usual SA higher carbonation that contradicts the heavy malt and scotch characteristics, and which are not altogether too bad.

I can drink again and again. Doesn't weigh me down.

chetripley, Sep 28, 2009
Photo of stakem
3.95/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a deep amber with less than a finger head that dissolves fairly fast. After a couple sips there is barely a translucent film across the top of the beer. Despite the lack of the head, it leaves a bit of lacing on the glass. Nose has a bit of malty sweetness, very pleasant. Also can smell hints of smoke and maybe something to the effect of Pete. Taking a sip you can taste a bit of smokiness as well and a slight bit of hop bitterness in the very crisp finish. Mouthfeel is a bit light and carbination is perfect. One delicious brew that is quite easy to drink.

stakem, Sep 02, 2009
Photo of MisterClean
4/5  rDev +6.7%
look: 5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Taken from a competition.

A - Pours a fairly clear dark amber with 2 fingers of off-white head. Dissipates slow and leaves beautiful lacing.

S - Caramel, cinnamon, clove, and pear esters.

T - Caramel, cinnamon, clove and bittering hops.

M - Full bodied, malt dominance, and a sweet cloying.

D - Really good beer. SA makes some great looking beers that taste great too.

MisterClean, Aug 28, 2009
Photo of SykDoc
3.6/5  rDev -4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass. It pours a nice ruby red and a 1/2 inch light tan head forms leaving a thick and full coverage lacing. Moderate carbonation visible and no sediment.

The aroma was a bit weak to me. It includes notes of banana and a yeasty bread with a mild caramel sweetness. A smokey/roasted component is also present, but again mild.

The taste was a bit metallic to me. A is a nice level of caramel sweetness and bread again with an earthy component but the metallic part seemed a bit too much for the other flavors.

The mouthfeel demonstrates a medium bodied beer with good carbonation for the taste and would have been even better without metallic. It goes down fairly lightly, not leaving much feeling, but a little dryness.

Overall, I was a bit put off the the taste. I think this beer has the potential for being very good if the metal component weren't so overwhelming. I will try this again another year and see if this reduces.

SykDoc, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of goblue3509
4.05/5  rDev +8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a very light brown color with an one and a half finger off white head to it. There is decent lacing left behind. The smell is of caramel malt and smokey earthy malts at the back end. The taste is of smokey malt, with caramel and chocolate notes being faint to round out the flavor. The mouthfeel is slightly thick and moderately carbonated. Overall the drinkablity is good, the ABV is average so it doesn't detract from the drinkability.

goblue3509, Aug 05, 2009
Photo of TubaManJack
3.83/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A cooled bottle into a mug.

Appearance- A deep oaked hued body with a slight khaki head. The head retention and lacing are minimal. Slight Carbonation.
Smell- A smoky body and a bit of roasted grain.
Taste- A peaty flavor not found in all Scotch Ales. A biscuit sharpness with caramel and slight bitterness. My favorite from the Brewmaster's Pack.
Mouthfeel- A slightly heavy body but its lightened by the carbonation. Its in line with other Scotch Ales Body.
Drinkability- My favorite from the Brewmaster's Pack. A solid selection for six packs in the future.

TubaManJack, Jul 17, 2009
Photo of sarahspat
2.88/5  rDev -23.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3

Dark rusty brown, but clear. The head is a shade darker than eggshell; thick and frothy.

Smells very musty and mossy. Some caramel.

Tastes smokey, like a fire roasted pizza. Also more moss and earthy qualities. Small amount of caramel in the background. Also, a hint of sweet chocolate. Overall, it's decent, but I do detect some artificial-tasting notes, which bring it down.

It's alright, but really doesn't come close to some other Scotch Ales I've had.

sarahspat, Jul 16, 2009
Photo of JohnQVegas
4.3/5  rDev +14.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Bottle into Sam Adams lager glass. Best by date of Oct '09 on the side.

Pours a dark amber, on the brown side, somewhat reminiscent of the color of dark black tea. Head is two fingers, dense, refuses to let go of the walls of the glass a sit gradually settles into a thin cap. Impressive looking beer.

Nose is very nice as well - peaty smoke comes through as well as a rich, fruity caramel sweetness.

Taste is really top notch - possibly my favorite Sam Adams beer. Peaty smoke complements and acts as a balance for a malt note that's caramel sweet, rich, toasty, and hinting at chocolate and biscuit. Very light fruitcake-like fruitiness as well. The smoke and malt elements combine with the fantastic mouthfeel to give this one a richness that I'm really digging. very, very well done.

Mouthfeel is thick and rich, creamy and really fantastic. Top notch feel on this beer, perfect if it wasn't a bit sticky.

Drinkability is excellent as well. sweet and rich, but nicely balanced.

Wow. A new bar-raiser for Sam Adams. This is to them what Black Forest Lager is to Saranac for me - a singularly fantastic beer that rises above their normal lineup by a good bit.

JohnQVegas, Jun 17, 2009
Photo of RJLarse
4.45/5  rDev +18.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

From the Brewmaster's Collection (2 bottles of 6 different beers) poured in to a pint glass.

Pours a rich amber color, with garnet red hues, and a foamy off-white (approaching beige) head. As the head dissipates there are darker creamy swirls in the foam. Hundreds of tiny bubble slowly rise in the glass.

Smell is an earthy smoke flavor. A little peat perhaps, and some roasted grain scents.

The taste is a sweet caramel or butter scotch flavor up front, with a mildly bitter smoky finish.

Mouthfeel is very full-bodied. There is a rich thick character to the beer.

Very drinkable. The ABV is under control. I'm not much on the style, and had low expectations going in to the one. It might be the most drinkable Scotch Ale I have ever had.

RJLarse, Jun 15, 2009
Photo of KenC411
4.25/5  rDev +13.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Appearance: Pours a deep cherry with a full two finger head. Dissolves without peaks, but leaves thick lacing on the side.

Smell: Sweet roasted notes with hints of caramel and butterscotch.

Taste: Sweet butterscotch initially followed by malt and roasted flavor. The body is sweet and a almost nutty, and it closes with a hint of hops.

Mouthfeel: Thick and powerful. Medium carbonation.

Drinkability: This very complex beer is meant for sipping and basking in the brilliance of this great beer. It is a shame that they only sell it in a 12 bottle multi-pack.

KenC411, Jun 13, 2009
Photo of ThaBobfather
3.48/5  rDev -7.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Pours a classic brown color with a topping of medium/light bodied tan head.
Smell is sweet, with some caramel, almost a smoked character.
Taste has notes of coffee, some sweetness through the middle.
Finish is very dry with some caramel notes near the end of it.
Drinks very well, body is a little lighter than some scotch ales, but it drinks solidly.

ThaBobfather, Jun 11, 2009
Photo of Squelch
3.55/5  rDev -5.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Brilliant ruby read color. Crystal clear. Medium brown moderatly sized head that sticks around. Very beautiful beer

Smell: Smells of roasted malts. no hop aroma.

Taste: Roasty acrid flavors dominate up front, followed by toasty malt flavors. No hop flavor evident. A bit harsh.

Mouthfeel: Acrid puckering from the roasted malts. Medium bodied.

Drinkability: Ok beer. I would drink it again but it is not a staple for me

Squelch, Jun 10, 2009
Photo of Ragingbull
3.7/5  rDev -1.3%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Dark amber/brown in color. Little to no head. No discernable nose. Clean attack and finish with a mild malt flavor. The mouthfeel of creaminess is tempered by a slight bite. This beer is pretty pedestrian for its type, but its a convenient way for folks to try the type since it comes in the sampler packs offered by Samuel Adams. There are better versions of the style and worse versions out there.

Ragingbull, May 29, 2009
Photo of thryn
4.63/5  rDev +23.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

A beautiful mahogany hue with off-white head that doesn't last but leaves a layer of foam behind.

The nose is roasty and slightly smoky -- not overwhelming but very nice.

Ah, but the taste. I love this beer and desperately wish that SA would put it in six-packs. It's nicely smoky, with a roasty peat malt flavor. There is a bit of caramel and biscuit, maybe even a hint of raisin. Mild bitterness at the back, balanced finish.

The smoky character of this is what sets it apart -- I think it's Sam Adams' best beer.

Sits a little heavy on the palate, but isn't super-dense. Carbonation is minimal.

At less than 6% abv, it's almost sessionable. Would without question be a staple in my fridge if it were available in sixers.

thryn, May 28, 2009
Photo of melagnus
4.33/5  rDev +15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - pours into snifter with an off-white smoked frothy head. The thickness is two fingers thick and a residue of lacing forms on the glass as it slowly dissipates. The color is a mystical dark cherry amber. SRM comes in somewhere between 16-18 (Deep-Amber to Amber-Brown). Medium carbonation creates frequent rising bubbles that pop at the top of this tantalizing substance, which also leaves a slight foamy film to enjoy.

S - Malts! According to the label, four malts in all. Most likely a Munich Malt was used as the base, as caramel comes through quite quickly on the nose, though this could also be a result of Caramel Malt; dried fruits billow forth! One of the malts is peted, as an intoxicating boozyness mixed with smoke travels deep into the nasal cavity. Dark chocolate nodes come through on the softer side as well, which leads me to think a Pale Chocolate Malt was utilized. If hops were used, they definitely don't come through the malty gooyness that seems to entice the sense to take a sip!

T - The slightest bit of tongue numbing sensation occurs on the sides of the tongue, which would call attention to the splash of hops utilized in this brew. Overall though, it tastes much more like a finely balanced cup of brew enjoyed at sunrise, with a smokey finish. Sweetness floods the front-middle part of the palate with something toffee-like in nature.

M - Warmth finished this beer off in a lovely hypnotic way, though powdery comes more to mind, as some form of chalkiness coats the palate. Slightly-full body would be a final note and though chalky, a smooth gluiness helps balance it out!

C - A delightful beer that drinks very traditional. Balance has definitely been attained and definitely is very impressive for an American interpretation of the Scottish Export style, or 80 Schilling Scottish Ale as it once would have been referred to. Being that Sam Adams calls this beer Scotch Ale, which would refer to a Wee Heavy, or 120 Schilling style, yet the ABV is only 5.4% ABV it is slightly misleading. Just a final note, ABV of 6.2% - 8% would be a Wee Heavy or Scotch Ale, yet 4.0% - 5.2% ABV would be a Scottish Export style. A very drinkable beer nonetheless and pairs quite superbly with the 61% Cacao and coconut Playa del Coco bar by Seeds of Change, though I believe a chocolate bar without coconut in it might be a better fit :)


melagnus, May 24, 2009
Photo of endincolorado
4.08/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance- Deep chestnut brown, with ruby highlights. Nice tan head that recedes fairly quickly. Nice sticky lace.

Smell- Roasty malts are pretty powerful in the foreground. Some sweet hazelnut, and a faint peaty aroma.

Taste- Great, roasty malts. More nutty sweetness. Slight peaty bite in background.

Mouthfeel- Medium-full body, with great carbonation to help give a creamier texture.

Drinkability- Scotch ales are among the best drinkers in my opinion, and Sam Adams' is no exception.

endincolorado, May 18, 2009
Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
85 out of 100 based on 963 ratings.