Maclay's Traditional Pale Ale - Sleeman Breweries Ltd.

Not Rated.
Maclay's Traditional Pale AleMaclay's Traditional Pale Ale

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57 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 57
Reviews: 36
rAvg: 2.41
pDev: 24.9%
Wants: 0
Gots: 3 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Sleeman Breweries Ltd. visit their website
Ontario, Canada

Style | ABV
English Pale Ale |  5.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: Bestuurder on 08-04-2005

No notes at this time.
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Ratings: 57 | Reviews: 36
Reviews by ThinkAgain:
More User Reviews:
Photo of LXIXME
2.63/5  rDev +9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.75

Smallish white head slow recedes above a clear bright washed out golden colored beer.

Light sour grain malts aroma with a light soapiness to it.

Light grains come through in a lightly sour and lightly bitter tasting beer.

A light dry aftertaste without much taste to it with this light bodied beer.

Not to much going on with this beer, might find a home on a beerpong table if the price is right.

Photo of biboergosum
2.93/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

I admit that I didn't exactly pay that much attention when buying this can - the Scottish insignia and overall design reeled me in.

This beer pours a clear pale golden colour, with a few fingers of thin soapy white head. It smells of white grain, and skunky hops. The taste is white grain, a bit of sweet corn, a kind of almost bitter marzipan, and grassy, slightly skunky hops. The bubbles are a bit too much, and interfere with taste perception at first. The body is decently weighted, with a small amount of creaminess. It finishes dry, and clammy, but no skunky aftertaste.

Not a bad brew, definitely on par with the typical Sleeman offerings. But how is this not false advertising? Does the 'Thistle Brewery' actually exist, and was it established in 1830 in Scotland? What a load of advertising crap.

Photo of Sammy
2.82/5  rDev +17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A light yellow colour, like a Eurolager, a little head. Above average carbonation, a little grainy high malty taste, a bit of wheat here, and a little bitterness. Somewhat quaffable otherwise on the bland side.Appropriately undercarbonated. Medium to thin mouthfeel.

Photo of eat
2/5  rDev -17%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

Pale as piss after drinking a couple litres of water and about the same colour too. Lots of visible carbonation, though it doesn't produce any head to speak of. The one finger of airy white head disappears in all of three seconds.

Smells astringent and mostly of dough. Some hop-like scent is present, though I can't be certain it is actually hops.

Taste is of faint apple juice, grainy adjuncts and a dull bitterness. Moderately drying finish with lingering grain.

Body is as light as the colour. Carbonation reminds me of Pepsi.

This is really below average stuff here. Usually these cheap beers at least have decent drinkability. If you're looking for cheap macro beer, Labatt 50 kicks Maclays ass. Even Canadian or Blue might be better than this foul sh*t. They're trying to pass this off as a pale ale??? I can barely consider this beer. 2's across the board, pretty much sums up my thoughts on this beer: not impressed. What more can you expect from Sleeman?

Photo of Phyl21ca
3/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Can: Poured a golden color ale with a huge foamy head with better then average retention. Aroma of light semi-sweet malt with no discernable hops presence. Taste is also dominated by somewhat refreshing semi-sweet malt. No noticeable extract or adjunct was noticeable which is already a good start from a somewhat shady brewer. Overall, I thought this was a refreshing beer but still lacking in character to make me want and seek this again.

Photo of IronDjinn
2.12/5  rDev -12%
look: 2 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

I almost had this pegged for a Sleeman product before I even checked the label for the fine print.

Pours out a very pale clear straw when held to the light, a small dash of white head that settles quickly to a thin cap.

The aroma reminds me of a faint macro lager, some corn and grain, yet not really offensive in the end either, pretty plain.

Well then, this stuff actually *did* taste better straight out of the can/bottle. Exposed to the elements it is very bland, to the point where I'm not really registering anything besides a hint of grain and the texture from the carbonation. It doesn't taste "bad", it simply just lacks flavour. Heck, re-label it a lager and market it against Coors Lite, it'll do well!

Photo of nafnikufesin
2.2/5  rDev -8.7%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

"Traditional pale ale" turned into a mediocre Canadian lager courtesy of Sleemans.

Appearance - Bubbly pale yellow appearance.

Smell - Mediocre; no hint of the hops that should be present in a pale ale.

Taste - Sour malt after taste with almost no hint of hops to balance. Again, tastes like a mediocre lager at best, but nothing resembling a pale ale.

Mouthfeel - Crisp, light-bodied.

Drinkability - Goes down like water. That's fine if I'm drinking water, but I'd rather have a beer.

Photo of spinrsx
2.42/5  rDev +0.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

473ml Can

Appearance - Clear yellow colour with a small size fizzy white head. There is an average amount of carbonation showing. There is some faint lacing on the sides of the glass. The head lasted for only a few minutes before it was gone.

Smell - Bread/grains, corn syrup, malts, apples

Taste & Mouth - The beer has an average amount of carbonation and I can taste corn syrup, breads/grains and just a hint of malt. There is also an odd vegetable like taste to it. It ends with a grainy aftertaste with a bit of a spiciness.

Overall - There are much better options in the cheap beer category. This one had an odd taste to it that i couldn't put my finger on. I wouldn't buy this one again.

Photo of BigBry
2.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

355 ml silver can. In small letters on the front, the "Thistle Brewery", but the side label says Sleeman Brewing, Dartmouth.
Pours a pale, clear straw color, a small white head that quickly shrinks to a thin cap, then disappears altogether.
The aroma is faint corn and grain, not really 'pale ale'. Should have known better than to expect a 'Traditional Pale Ale' as per the label. Lacks flavor, just another macro lager taste. Pretty disappointing, for the style.

Photo of thehyperduck
2.5/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Tallboy can from the LCBO. Had it before, but not in a few years.

Pours a familiar golden-straw colour, with slightly more than a finger of pearl-white, fizzy head that is mostly gone within a few minutes. It's pale alright, but looks more like a lager to me. The aroma is grainy, with definite adjunct tones and some grassy hops.

Other than the fact that it is very mild, it has very little in common with legitimate EPAs. Grainy malts, with some corny/rice sweetness. Light apple juice fruitiness. Some weak, grassy hop notes toward the end. Clean finish without much aftertaste. Very watery and light-bodied, standard macro levels of carbonation but plenty drinkable.

When I was attending university (in Guelph, where Sleeman brands are popular - perhaps with logical reason because they always seem fresher there), I lived in a house with three friends and each of us would take turns buying 24s that we consumed collectively. Each of us had our favourite brands, and by the end of the semester, one side of the dining room was filled to the ceiling with cases of James Ready, Sleeman Honey Brown, Moosehead, and of course Maclays. We hauled the wall of bottles in and traded the deposit money for a couple more 24s of the same brands... and some Fosters, because we wanted to try something more exotic, I guess?

Maclays might technically be an ale, but they really shouldn't advertise it without putting an asterisk beside the word. For a buck-a-beer, it's reasonably good value though and if I were comparing this to other macros I'd have to give it at least a C+. If you are looking for comparables, think Lakeport.

Photo of DoctorStrangiato
2.1/5  rDev -12.9%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

Poured a 473-ml can into a pint glass.

Appearance - poured a faint yellow colour. Not much character.

Smell - some clean malt, but very little. Very sparse aromas.

Taste - clean, but watery. Soda-like flavour. In fact there are Non-Alc brews that have as much flavour.

Mouthfeel - good balance, pretty smooth. The fact is it is bland, so it basically flows into the mouth without any value added.

Drinkability - a beer like this shouldn't make the claim that it's a Scottish Pale Ale. More or less, it's a waste of time to consume this.

Photo of CrazyMike
2.77/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 2 | overall: 2.5

Overall, I thought the taste was okay. The smell is a bit fruity. Taste wise it's a little watered down but refreshing. A bit sweet with little aftertaste. With a mouthfull the taste quickly turns to water however, but it's not to bad if you take a good swig.

For a Pale Ale I would say it's not as good as pricier beers such as Alexander Kieths, but for a bargain beer I would say it's worth a try.

Photo of dragonofblood
1.8/5  rDev -25.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Was handed a bottle of this by a friend at a party after I ran out of Steam Whistle. My friend told me he'd "rather drink this than Coors Light any day". Not exactly the best way to sell me a beer.

Appearance: Bright yellow, fairly clear. Not too much carbonation and the head lasted all of 4 seconds.

Smell: A sweet smell with some kind of off-fruit. Not too much to take in.

Taste: Well, my friend was right, it IS better than a Coors Light, but that's not saying much. The taste was very sweet in the front, but not a malt sweetness. Probably some kind of flavouring additive. No bitterness to speak of.

Mouthfeel: Thin and watery.

Drinkability: The beer is very "drinkable" due to the fact that it drinks like a glass of water, but overall a very disappointing beer. Will definitely never buy it and I will probably never drink it again.

Photo of tinman9898
3/5  rDev +24.5%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Having sampled many Maclays Alloa Ales from the Thistle brewery in Alloa before it closed I was eager to sample some of the Canadian brewed efforts brewed under licence by Sleemans. I contacted Maclays (Now Maclay Inns) in Alloa and they sent me four cans. I have to say they are not anything like the Maclays Alloa brewed ales and more like a typical Canadian style beer.

Quite gassy, extremely pale and with some after taste. Not bad as an everyday budget range beer and is certainly drinkable but cannot compare with the original Maclays ales from the Thistle Brewery in Alloa (Scotland).

Certainly not the same as a traditional Scottish style IPA.

Photo of jayc333
2.82/5  rDev +17%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Pours a bright yellow with a small white lace. Looks to be pretty carbonated.

Very sweet smell, with hints of fruit.

Average tasting, nothing exceptional.

Watery mouthfeel with not as carbonation as expected. Goes down very smooth.

Not bad, yet not great. I would take this if it was offered to me, but I wont be picking up for myself again.

Photo of funkengruven
2.35/5  rDev -2.5%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 2 | overall: 3

Picked this up expecting a Scottish pale ale, and got something totally different.

To sum it up as simply as possible, this looks, smells and tastes like a bland macro lager. Mouthfeel is very thin but there is some malt aroma in there, vaguely. It's drinkable in the sense that it's not disgusting, but it really is not a very good beer. I wouldn't bother with this one again.

Photo of Frozensoul327
2.65/5  rDev +10%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

A: Golden yellow color. Small head of foam. No lace. Some small bubbles slowly rising to the top from the bottom of the glass.

S: Light hops, sour grain, some granny smith apple aromas.

T: Sour maltiness. Weak hops. Not a whole lot going on. Quite bland. Slightly dry aftertaste.

M: Only one way to describe it; watery. Little carbonation on the tongue, and no thickness or density.

D: I could take it or leave it. Most likely leave it. Canadian Macro brewing has done much better.

Notes: Pass on it.

Photo of bmacaskill
4.1/5  rDev +70.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Huh. A Canadian BBB (Bargain Basement Beer) with a pedigree!

Maclays is a Canuck rebrewing of a (supposedly) Scottish pale ale. It's Sleeman's last grasp (gasp?) at the buck-a-beer market in Canada, their desperation move to retake market share lost to the major market $24-for-24 shift (remove the 'f').

For poor ol' Sleemans, it's gotta be hard to be an up-and-comer; you succeed by every measure, only to see the cottage slot turned upside down by bargain beers. Imagine: your success at $42 for 24 slides desperately when the biggies cave and start offering discount beer.

The counter-strike? Your own $24/24, but one with a little cachet. No bohemian here, no honey-gold, but rather a sweet little Scottish licence, and a licence fulfilled in the Maritimes, no less. However, if there is a Maclays in Scotland, then that Maclays has little to fear; this is Canada's own factory lager with a celtic knock.

But on to the essentials, and the essentials are surprising: this is a nice drinker! It's clear, clean, refreshing, and with none of the excessive sweetness that so plagues this category. Slightly hoppy, tart and (oddly) a little wheaty, this brew is categorically exceptional. It easily beats the (supposed) premium Canadian slosh (Blue, Canadian, Keiths), and has a slightly astringent finish to boot.

I guess it goes without saying that this is my new favourite Canadian "Canadian" -- if I'm going to drink a prototypically North American lager, then I'm drinking Maclays.

Photo of DenisKolkin
2.48/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Wanted to do a formal review of this one so revisiting. 473 ml can served cold into a pint glass. Purchased for $2 CDN.

Appearance - weak pale golden straw color. Decent finger of head was poured but doesn't last long. Some visible bubbles and the tiniest string of lacing left behind. Looks like a macro.

Smell- some grainy notes and a bit of a cooked vegetable wrapped around metal vibe as well. Smells like a macro.

Taste - very bland, I guess some coarse grainy flavor. Tastes like a macro, although probably a bit better than some.

Mouthfeel - it's wet and has a little less than average carbonation. Feels like a macro.

Overall - there's not too much good to say about this other than that it rates on par with macros, and as far as English pale ales go, it's pretty bad. I suppose there's a bit of bang for your buck here, but in this area, why not pay 10 cents more and get Spaten for an incredibly more satisfying brew?

Photo of LeesinkyZaika
1.51/5  rDev -37.3%
look: 2.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 1 | feel: 2 | overall: 2

What utter crap masquerading behind a label with "traditional pale ale" and the association with Scotland. I won't even waste my time going through the indices in describing this concoction... Cheap swill. Period. Even Budweiser and Tsing Tao are a step above this shit!

Photo of BBP
2.4/5  rDev -0.4%
look: 1.5 | smell: 1.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A- Very clear light gold. Minimal head.

S- Industrial tin smell. Almost an artificial malt aroma.

T- Smooth and malty, however the malt taste tasted so far from natural, almost as if they used some Five minute malt mix. Uninspirational hops as well. More on the sweet side.

M- Good and smooth, but dry afterfeel.

D- Went down easily. Could down a few in no time. If I had a low low budget, I'd drink more of it.

Photo of GodOfBeer
1.92/5  rDev -20.3%
look: 1.5 | smell: 2 | taste: 1.5 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 3

Very popular buck a beer, but how can this be called a Pale Ale? But woe to thee, do not be deceived by this "Scottish" beer because there is nothing Scottish about it. It tastes more like a cheap macro lager, mostly corn and adjuncts, nothing good about this beer at all except to maybe to get hammered with, but that's why there is Pabst!

Photo of ecoastman
2.93/5  rDev +21.6%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Drinkability - very easy to drink but I wouldn't go back for another if there was something else new to try. A good lawn mower beer that's better than an average macro (but then again I guess these guys are a macro...).

I must say that I'm not impressed with what appears to be false advertising. Sleeman needs to explain themselves...did they buy a Scotish company? Or did they all get combined when Sleeman was bought out? Screw it - I won't be buying this again anyway. I'm going to penalize them for "appearance"...just out of spite.

Appearance - crystal clear amber yellow with good carbonation to provide a decent head. No lacing.

Smell - very mild buttery malt but with corn nuts. Now I'm hungry. Corn nuts are good - just not in my beer.

Taste - nothing remarkable but nothing offensive. Some graininess. This is going to get a high drinkability score but there's nothing exciting here.

Mouthfeel - Light, watery and smooth to start. Some courseness in the finish due to the higher carbonation.

Photo of pootz
2.7/5  rDev +12%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 3.5

Bottle: poured a sickly pale gold color with a rapid vanishing white cap. Softly carbonated...between that and the fact it leaves no ring or lace on the glass, you’d swear it was a flat beer. Aroma is sweet with light fruity notes. Watery mouth feel , sweet but not malty, attenuated hop character and a wet cidery finish... sweet but bland flavor profile. Flavor profile similar to Keiths. A very commercial, forgettable pale ale made to sap off some Keith’s sales...oh yeah there’s an extra has the same subtle, funky adjunct taste in it as every other Sleeman brew.

Photo of CAMRAhardliner
2.15/5  rDev -10.8%
look: 2 | smell: 2 | taste: 2 | feel: 2.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a really pale straw color, like coors light. The crackly big bubbled head doesnt last very long and leaves a small amount of lace. This doesnt look like a pale ale. The aroma is very weak with some mildly musty malt wisps and not much else. the taste is very light with some clean bready malts and a small amount of earthy English hops. There is a slight cardboard flavor in there as well. The mouthfeel is light and prickly, like BMC swill. The finish is lacking in hops with just a small of sweetness.

This is an immensely bland pale ale. It reminds me of Alexander Keith's.

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Maclay's Traditional Pale Ale from Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
62 out of 100 based on 57 ratings.