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

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Samuel Adams Scotch AleSamuel Adams Scotch Ale

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974 Ratings

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Ratings: 974
Reviews: 609
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 14.44%
Wants: 43
Gots: 21 | 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:
Beer added by: Todd on 05-19-2001

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 974 | Reviews: 609 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of TubaManJack
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
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.

Photo of sarahspat
2.86/5  rDev -23.5%
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.

Photo of JohnQVegas
4.28/5  rDev +14.4%
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.

Photo of RJLarse
4.43/5  rDev +18.4%
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.

Photo of KenC411
4.23/5  rDev +13.1%
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.

Photo of ThaBobfather
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
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.

Photo of Squelch
3.56/5  rDev -4.8%
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

Photo of Ragingbull
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
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.

Photo of thryn
4.56/5  rDev +21.9%
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.

Photo of melagnus
4.32/5  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 :)


Photo of endincolorado
4.07/5  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.

Photo of henrysunset
3.96/5  rDev +5.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Dark mahogany beer, clear of sediment with tall head of consistent fine tan bubbles.

Smell is sweet and malty, a bit citrusy and tart.

flavor is quite light for the dark appearance, extremely clean flavor is balanced. biscuit and earth flavors. Toast is pronounced but not overabundant.

Very smooth and easy to drink. Enjoyable and drinkability is high for the style.

It is a mild take on the style, but a good one.

Photo of ArrogantDeadGuy
3.3/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A: Rich molasses color on the pour with no real
head to speak of and scant lacing.

S: The aroma is distinctly sweet and malty.

T: The alcohol is definately present as is a
unpleasantly bitter after taste. After
checking the date I assume that the after
taste is purposeful. This starts nicely and
ends poorly.

M: A bit watery and seemingly under carbonated

D: Drinkability is average at best maybe better
with a meal, I'll have to try that next time.

I don't have an incredible wealth of knowledge involving scotch ales so I hesitate to be too harsh. I'll try a few more and perhaps reevaluate.

Photo of earthboundagain
4.3/5  rDev +15%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Presentation : 12oz brown bottle with date clearly marked. I love the kilt pattern label.

Appearance: A dark ruby color with a super sticky creamy off-white head sticks around.

Smell: Ok this one is hard to describe because it is so unique. Hints a caramel and butter, and smoke. Also a sticky sweetness almost like cooking molasses.

Taste and Mouth Feel: Body is super rich and chewy but is still smooth and well-rounded. Sweet caramel, faint burnt sugars, light chocolate and toasted malt flavors. The peat smokiness really adds to this beer and brings it a very unique taste. You can taste some hops but they are not overpowering. Some earthy and herbal tones help to bring in some balance.

Notes: I had to buy a whole pack to get just two of these but it was worth it. This is one of Sam Adams best brews. We should all email them to see if we can get this to come back fulltime.

Photo of moosiz
3.16/5  rDev -15.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

I poured this from the bottle into a pint glass.
there was little to no head retention whatsoever with light carbonation.

Smells of sweet caramel and roasted malt.

crisp semi-sweet malty character with a bit of a "strange" aftertaste, almost sour.

nice light interpretation of this style. not sticky or overdone.

very drinkable if you like this sort of beer.

Photo of CityBoy1986
3.75/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a pint glass from a 12 oz. bottle. The freshness date is October 2009.

The pour is a dark copper with two fingers' head. Retention and lacing are decent.

The nose is subtle but full of dark fruits and earthy tones. The taste is more of the same, with some toffee throughout. It begins sweetly and progresses to bitter by the end, with a dry finish.

The mouthfeel is medium-to-heavy with a certain amount of stickiness and a lot of carbonation. Drinkability is okay, but I am not too sad that there are only two bottles in the pack.

It's a decent beer, but it's not something I would go out of my way to find. If offerred one, I certainly wouldn't refuse.

Photo of jadpsu
4.25/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark reddish brown with a decent off white head along with decent brussels lacing. Head only has slightly better than average retention.
Smell is sweet with some caramel,coffee, along with some fruity esters that are way back there.
Taste: full body with toasty malts and some caramel. Hops show up to provid some balance to the more pronounced malts, I seem to even get the flavor of sherry in there.
Smooth and, drinkable with a pronounced dry finish.

Photo of Riccymon
3.2/5  rDev -14.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

Poured from the bottle a dark reddish-brown with a fast-fading finger of brown head. Both smell and taste contain a lightly spicy malt flavor and a little caramel sweetness, with the taste having a stronger, lasting spice. The taste reminded me a bit of SA's Holiday Porter. Mouthfeel is a little on the thin side for me, and leaves the mouth a little sticky. All around, a very average but drinkable scotch ale that I enjoyed, but won't necessarily seek out in the future.

Photo of ThePeskyDingo
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Pours a 1 finger light tan head that dissipated rather quickly. Good retention. Dark brown amber color, hard to see through. A wall of lacing is left behind.

Smells like dark fruits, malt, and hints of hops.

Tastes of roasted malts, hops, well balanced.

Mouthfeel is smooth and dry. Starts bitter and ends with the malts.

Drinks alright. Could probably only have a couple in a night.

Photo of Duhast500
3.5/5  rDev -6.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12oz bottle into a pint glass.

The color is a dark amber/red with two finger's of foamy off-white head and some nice lacing left on the glass.

The smell is a bit roasty malt aroma. Some nice toasted bread with a bit of smoky aroma as well.

The taste is bit on roasted malts that has a smoked flavor as well. There is a slight butterscotch flavor that leads into a more smoky favor with a touch of tobacco.

The feel of this beer is medium bodied and smooth but does have an extra amount of carbonation. Is really easy going down and is one of the better beers brewed by Samuel Adams and is quite tasty.

Photo of BeerFMAndy
3.74/5  rDev 0%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle in a Duvel Tulip (closest to a Thistle I've got). Best by Nov 09 notched.

A - Dark mahogany ruby color topped by a small and weak head with little retention. Needs agitation before smelling.

S - Strong sweet malty caramel smell with some yeast and bread hints. Also, smoke is in this beer slightly. A little spice too.

T - Dry and malty, not as sweet as the smell. Slightly hopped with a bitter finish and a smokey flavor. Yeasty flavor is evident too.

M - Dry and crisp with a nice bite to it while still being fairly smooth on the way down.

D - Good interpretation of the scotch style that is quite drinkable for its flavor. I enjoy this beer.

Photo of wnh
3.66/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

12 oz. bottle poured into a snifter.

Pours a mostly opaque reddish-brown, but a brilliant bright orange-tinted garnet when held up to the light. Slightly murky. One finger of light cream head, slightly creamy. Lots of bubbles rising to the surface. Good lacing that sticks quite thickly to the edge of the glass.

Nose is sweet and malty, with smoky undertones. Overall first impression reminds me of whiskey. There are some earthy notes in the background, though I can't nail down exactly what; my assumption is peat, since peat-smoked malt is one of the ingredients here.

Very malty flavor, though not discernibly sweet. Earthy hop flavor balances the malt, with an accompanying bitterness to round things out. A slight caramel sweetness lies underneath it all, primarily detected during inhalations. Lingering finish that starts sweet before turning pleasantly bitter. Leaves me wanting--though not particularly craving--another sip.

Chewy mouthfeel, almost as though part of the malt was pureed and mixed with the wort. Slightly sticky, with a hint of oiliness. Mouth-coating to the extent that the flavors stick around with obnoxiously making their presence known.

My first Scotch style ale, and it's got me intrigued. I'd probably never want to drink six of these even in the time period of a few months, but the two that came in the mixed 12 pack are more than manageable.

Photo of ZimZamZoom
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

Nice autumn brown color and a small tan head that clings nicely to the glass as it falls. Pretty.

I get some deep caramel maltiness with a slight peat smoked edge to it in the aroma. The taste is really heavy on the peat malt, with some nice sweet caramel flavor trying to get through as well. It does go a bit bitter in the end, with the peat smoke flavor fading slowly along side.

A nice medium bodied sipper here. It's not going to kick your ass of course but I would probably not hit two of these in a row just because the flavor is a bit intense. I'm not saying it's bad in any way. Just...bold!

Glad to finally try this beer.

Photo of DrJay
4.07/5  rDev +8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Clear coppery dark amber with a fluffy eggshell cap of foam. Lots of lacing, mostly chunky-style, with good head retention. Malty aroma, notes of caramel and sugary sweetness, plus the added bonus of well-balanced peat and smoke character. I certainly didn't expect that! Low bitterness with caramel and malt sweetness that didn't end up cloying. Peat was more subdued in the flavour, but made its presence known in the finish. Medium bodied with decent texture, average carbonation. Easy drinking for a beer with some peat character. A pleasant surprise, but seems more of a scottish than scotch ale to me.

Photo of NatetheGreat
4.33/5  rDev +15.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is an excellent brew. Beautiful deep ruby/brown with good tan head.

Aroma is sweet but also pungent hops that add a very earthy smell (typical from SA IMO). Some whiskey/smoky character also in the nose. Taste is very close to aroma. Thick malty flavors with some fruitiness and surprisingly balanced earthy and bittering hops, but still allowing the malt complexity and the smoky-bourbon/whiskey character to be center stage. Excellent. The smokiness unwraps even more as the brew warms, reminiscent of smoked cheddar or gouda and some meatiness - sounds weird but tastes great. I had it with beef stew and it worked very well.

Feel is velvety smooth and carbonation is adequate. Very drinkable and just a really great beer.

Samuel Adams Scotch Ale from Boston Beer Company (Samuel Adams)
84 out of 100 based on 974 ratings.