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Heavy Horse Scotch Ale - Big Sky Brewing Company

Not Rated.
Heavy Horse Scotch AleHeavy Horse Scotch Ale

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
86
very good

219 Ratings
THE BROS
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no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 219
Reviews: 103
rAvg: 3.81
pDev: 12.34%
Wants: 3
Gots: 9 | FT: 0
Brewed by:
Big Sky Brewing Company visit their website
Montana, United States

Style | ABV
Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Rotating

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: brownbeer on 03-31-2010

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 219 | Reviews: 103
Photo of donnierickles
4.28/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

I had a single bottle of this left after a heavy night of drinking and found it almost a year later! Let me tell you, it was AMAZINGLY smooth after I unknowingly aged it. I will be buying this everytime i see it. I am a scotch ale fan and this is an excellent beer.

Photo of sporklift87
3.51/5  rDev -7.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Growler from brewery poured into snifter. Pours a finger of tan head that fades rather quickly into a thin film, with moderate lacing. Clear, and reddish-brown. Sweet, rich and roasted malty nose, with notes of toffee and dark fruits. Earthy malty flavor, notes of raisins and prunes, rather straightforward. Slightly metallic undertones. Mouthfeel is syrupy, with medium-heavy body, and moderate carbonation lingering on tip of tongue. Decently balanced. Overall, I like the feel and the nose, but I find the flavor lacking much complexity. Enjoyable, and sessionable. I have had better in this style, but I would still buy again.

Photo of Darkmagus82
3.8/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3.75

Poured from bottle into a pint glass

Appearance – The beer pours mahogany color with a one finger head of fizzy off-white foam. The head fades rather rapidly, leaving a decent sum of foamy lace on the sides of the glass.

Smell – The aroma of the beer is very sweet with a ton of caramel, toffee, and some butterscotch. These sweet aromas are complimented by some lighter dark fruit smells of a cherry and plum nature as well as some bready aromas that has a lighter level of a toast smell mixed within. Overall the aroma is quite sweet and very inviting.

Taste – The taste begins as the nose would have let on, with a good sum of a rather caramel and toffee sweetness. Some lighter dark fruit flavors of raisin are there as well, mixing with the slightly bready flavors of the brew nicely. As the taste advances the fruit fades a bit all while with the caramel taking on some more buttery tastes leaving the sweet to take a slightly more butterscotch flavor overall. All the while however, more roast comes to the tongue, which along with it, brings some molasses. A hint of an earthy hop hits the tongue at the very end, mixing with the slightly more roasted and sweet flavors of the brew nicely and leaving one with a quite pleasant flavor to linger on the tongue.

Mouthfeel – The body of the beer is on the slightly thinner side for the 6.7 % abv. scotch ale with it containing a carbonation level that is rather average to a little bit higher. For the style I would have likes a slightly thicker body and bit of a lower carbonation to allow for a more sticky feel for the more sugary and slightly roasted flavors of the brew, but even with that said the feel was pretty good overall and it did make for a rather easy drinking style.

Overall – A quite tasty scotch ale that isn’t too overwhelming. The flavors and smell are fantastic but a little thicker of a body may have slightly more fitting. Overall though it was a rather good drinker.

Photo of pat61
4.25/5  rDev +11.5%

Prying off the cap releases spicy British malt aromas with a touch of roast.
It pours deep bright mahogany under a 2" rocky tan head that slowly collapses to 1/2" and leaves thick lines of lace on the glass marking each drink.
With the first sip dark sugars, dark caramel to toffee, some dark malts, a little roast, and a light nuttiness seasoned with British malt spices and light grain roll over the tongue to finish with a medium firm hop accent.
The body is medium to a little above and the carbonation is a hair below medium.

Photo of HuskerTornado
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

12 oz bottle poured into tulip glass. Pours a dark brown with ruby undertones with a tall off-white head that settles into a good quarter inch or so with plenty of lacing.

Smell is of sweet, dark roasted malts, some dark fruits and some smokiness.

Taste is of dark caramel malt up front complimented by dark fruits, with woody, smoky flavors coming through as well, finish is a nice balance of the sweet and the dry.. Mouthfeel is pretty thick, soft and creamy.

Overall, a very good, well balanced scotch ale.

Photo of Brenden
3.73/5  rDev -2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

I've got no complaints with this beer's look; it's a nice, thick ruddy brown, opaque except in the very bottom of my tulip, where a hint of carnelian or the like shines. The head is creamy and, while not huge, sizeable enough and quite dense.It leaves a ring right where it tops off and follows with webbing and patching.
Lots of dark fruits, somewhat sweet but more tangy, a bit of straight up dry wood, something powdery, a bit of nut (more almond than walnut), a very light touch of smoke, and a vague hint of leaf make up the aroma. It may be yeast that kicks in that dryness (like kindling or split dry oak), but it gets stronger as it goes. The aroma fades with time, too.
The taste brings out more molasses and brown sugar, though not exceedingly sweet by any means, with lots of earth and some dark grains. While nice, I'd actually prefer it a little sweeter. Some herb and leaf even it out, lingering into the finish, where a bit of a peat flavor meets the tongue. For the transition, it goes almost briny.
The feel is this beer's strong suit. it's not phenomenal, but it hits the balance in the strength of body, provides ample crispness and smoothness, and remains consistent to the end.

Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Appearance: Deep amber in color, with a robust tan head, thick, patchy lacing, and slight carbonation - which required a strong light to see.

Aroma: Rich aroma of sweet dark, caramel dominates, as well as a little smoke and earth. The caramel is dominant in the aroma.

Taste: Opens with dark caramel malt, sweet alcohol and a bit of wood that reminds me of French oak. Earth and a little smoke are present, but offer proper deference to the omnipresent dark caramel. Roasted nuts are also notable, and the hops offer a restrained herbal bite, but are just supporting players to the dark caramel malt. The finish is dominated by dark caramel, earth, and smoke.

Mouth feel: Smooth, soft, very full, with just a hint of carbonation.

Drinkability/notes: A graceful example, which exhibits all the glory of the style without seeming harsh or overbearing.

Presentation: Packaged in a twelve-ounce brown glass bottle with a pry-off crown, served in a New Belgium Brewing chalice.

Photo of BierJager89
4.13/5  rDev +8.4%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

A: Pours an opaque mahogany with a thin mocha head.

S: Raspberry, some citrus hop character, a touch of sweet, caramelized malt in the nose. Very pleasant.

T: Raspberry comes out immediately, with some bitter orange that turns sweet toward the finish, where the sweet malty backbone arises, but only briefly, before smoothing out and blending with all the other flavors in the aftertaste.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: A very well balanced, surprisingly fruity scotch ale. Definitely recommended. This is a great brewery and a very good beer.

Photo of Mavigo
4/5  rDev +5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a tulip.

A: Pours a ruby amber color with a short tan head that dissipates fast leaving a small remnant tan ring around the edges of the glass, minimal lacing

S: Slight bitter/sour aroma, tangy, wheat, brown sugars, raspberries, orange peels, caramel, toffee, all around sweetness with hints of some bitterness.

T: Quite sweet, wheat, cooked brown sugars, vanilla, malts, barley, hints of fruit, oranges

M: Medium bodied with medium amounts of carbonation, good balance

O: This was good overall, I normally never get the chance to have a scotch ale and I bought this on a whim and was glad I did so. Recommended.

Photo of superspak
4.1/5  rDev +7.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into tulip glass, best before 11/21/2013. Pours crystal clear deep ruby red color with a 1-2 finger dense khaki head with good retention, that reduces to a thin cap that lingers. Light spotty soapy lacing clings on the glass. Aromas of big caramel, raisin, fig, apple, toast, brown sugar, brown bread, light chocolate, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Very nice aromas with good balance and complexity of malt and yeast ester notes; with good strength. Taste of big caramel, raisin, fig, apple, toast, toffee, brown sugar, brown bread, chocolate, light roast, herbal, light pepper, and yeast earthiness. Lingering notes of caramel, dark fruit, toast, toffee, chocolate, brown bread, brown sugar, light roast, and herbal on the finish for a good bit. Very nice balance and complexity of malt and yeast ester flavors; with great robustness and zero cloying sweetness after the finish. Medium carbonation and medium-full bodied; with a creamy, moderately slick, and lightly chalky mouthfeel that is nice. Alcohol is very well hidden with minimal warming present after the finish. Overall this is an excellent scotch ale. All around great balance and complexity of malt and yeast ester flavors; and very smooth to sip on. A very enjoyable offering.

Photo of BeerWithMike
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Sampled back on 10/6/13. Chilled down to 36 degrees F in my beer cooler and poured into a brandy snifter glass.

Pours a very dark brown than has a small tan head that leaves good lacing when sipped. Good carbonation. The aroma of caramel is right up front around with some dark fruit like plum or berries. Very nice. the taste is also very pleasant with hints of caramel, butterscotch, toffee and malts. Great balance of flavors. Not a summer brew as this is a little on the heavy side. Great brew for cooler months for sure.

Photo of Steamer
3.92/5  rDev +2.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

I like the dark look of this beer; when held to the light, ruby hues can be seen. Hops stand out in the smell, not too much different than an amber ale but a little sweeter. The taste is very smooth, the malt comes through with a slight caramel flavor; pleasant after taste, a well blended ale. Mouth feel - medium body and carbonation. Overall: An excellent take on the style. I'll have to try more of Big Sky's offerings, they have yet to disappoint.

Photo of WoodBrew
3.99/5  rDev +4.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

The Heavy Horse is a good Scotch Ale....not to heavy and not to sweet. The beer pours a clear brownish amber with thin off-white head that is leaving a spotty lace. The scent has sweet malt and touches of peat and scotch. The taste is a nice even beer with heavy malt backbone with a touch of honey sweetiness. The mouthfeel is medium in body with good carbonation. Overall the beer is good...and definitely sessionable.

Photo of jimmah120
3.75/5  rDev -1.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

12oz bottle with no date, into tulip style glass

look is a dark ruby color, small ring of off-white lace. smell is roasted malts, alcohol, rye, chocolate. taste is malt heavy, with a slight english hop presence. finishes chalky and chocolatey, not a hint of the ~7%.

too drinkable. *mmmmhhhhugggghhn*

Photo of archyquaffer
3.36/5  rDev -11.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a brown bottle into a sampling glass. A moderate pour produces about 3/4 inch of tan head. The beer is a deep but not dark reddish brown with very active carbonation, and is quite appealing to look at.

Plenty of caramel on the nose, with hints of plum or berry. The taste is also quite sweet, with flavors of caramel, butterscotch, cola, port, and maybe a hint of tobacco. Just a touch of lingering bitterness on the tongue, with a bit of tang. Fairly creamy mouthfeel.

Overall, a beer that's worth a try. It's maybe just a bit too sweet for my taste, with quite a kick at nearly 7 percent ABV, but a pretty good sipping beer.

Photo of Sark
3.89/5  rDev +2.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Appearance- Red brown with finger of super-smooth light beige head

Smell- definite notes of caramel and a light oak, hops add a light bittering on the end

Taste- up front are the brighter aspects of the malt and aged flavors which mingle with the sweeter malt character mid-tongue, on the finish is a robust toasted bitterness that fades semi-quickly

Mouthfeel- medium/full bodied with a smooth, yet not milky, texture

Overall- The aromatics are this brew's strong points, the taste could have been given a bit more bold characteristics but was still plenty flavorful. Kettlehouse's Coldsmoke still holds the title for me in this category.

Photo of Fatehunter
3.42/5  rDev -10.2%
look: 2 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured no head, only a couple small bubbles on the surface of an opaque dark brown colored body.
The aroma is nice. Like fresh baked whole wheat bread.
The taste is characteristically sweet with a touch of lemon bitterness.
The texture is thin with low carbonation.
Drinkable.

Photo of Bitterbill
3.1/5  rDev -18.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

A- this pours a deep copper-red with a 2 finger head of foam. It looks gorgeous.

S- lots of malt in the smell...caramel, some toffee, a bit of a nutty aroma.

T- heavy on the toffee, lots of sweetness, huge grain note, light nuttiness. That grain and sweet malt is a bit overpowering.

M- I'd call it full bodied with the right level of carbonation.

O- aptly named brew...Heavy. Too heavy on most counts and not something I'd buy/drink again.

Photo of Murrhey
2.92/5  rDev -23.4%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured from a standard pressure-cap 12oz bottle into a pint glass in high elevation Kalispell, Mont. Reviewed live.

A- Two-finger creamy white head. Thick and succulent head. Melts down into a manageable floater. Marshmallowy. Walnut-colored body with medium carbonation. Head's nice, body is mediocre.

S- Scotch, roasted malts, marshmallow. Roasty and nice aroma.

T- Roasty and a smidgen of alcohol. Mallow-y again, roast malts.

M- Slightly creamy with a medium-bodied feel.

O- Mediocre, but not bad.

Photo of MikeMilanoDesign
4.74/5  rDev +24.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

smell: notes of berries and cocoa.

appearance: deep and dark with a bit of a ruby red hue

mouthfeel: refreshing and clean with an airy end

taste: hints of berries and citrus right after an initial, but short, toffee flavor. ends with hints of banana and cocoa. super refreshing

overall as normal big sky has created another great beer. its not super big but its def a great session ale thats a bit on the heavy side.

Photo of bmwats
3.87/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 4.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Poured from a 12 oz bottle into a handglass.

A: Medium brown and ruby. Pours a 2 finger, frothy, white head. Settles slowly. Thick beer ring lacing.

S: Buttery malt syrup, caramel, plum, raisin, and sweet tea.

T: Roasted malt, plum, licorice, and a little maple syrup.

M: Full and hearty, but not thick and syrupy as the nose gives off. Something of a shallow feel ultimately.

D: Sip and enjoy.

Atmosphere is excellent. Great head, and some thick lacing. Nose is complex combination of malt, fruit, and tea. Candied malt flavor accentuated with plum, some light bitter licorice and some sweet maple syrup. Overall, this is a really good quaff.

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.05/5  rDev -19.9%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

(Served in a dimple mug)
A- This beer has a deep slightly dense glowing caramel brown body with a light tan head supported by a gentle carbonation.

S- The clean aroma has hints of soft brown malt but not much else.

T- The woody caramel flavor is dry that taste a bit oxidized and a water taste to follow. There is a brown malt note in the finish with a faint black roasted hint that lingers for a brief second.

M- The medium-light mouthfeel has a gentle carbonation

O- The flavor is very soft and a bit thin with some stale characterizes. I didn’t taste any of the rich malt flavor or any pot caramel or any of the other wonderful characteristics of a scotch ale.

Photo of Dope
3.95/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

A: Pours dark brown with a huge fizzy light brown head. Small streaks of lacing left behind after it fades away. Decent retention.

S: Sweet with lots of caramel and raisin. A little bit of brown sugar and toffee.

T: Again, sweet. Quite malty with a good amount of raisin. It's mainly caramel here up front with some cocoa and earthiness. Sweetness fades into the middle, leaving more of a dried fruit and toffee flavor.

M: Medium bodied and smooth.

O: Not a bad scotch ale. It's on the sweet side which I tend to prefer. Relatively simple but tasty and goes down easy.

Photo of StaveHooks
4.14/5  rDev +8.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12oz bottle served in a Southern Tier tulip

A - Clear dark chestnut with a yellow tinted head.

S - Dripping with caramel and toffee malts, dried figs, raisins, bruised peaches, toast with jam.

T - Sweet caramel and toffee malts, raisins, dried dates, brown sugar, some nutty earthiness in the background, pecan shells come to mind. Has a woody alcahol flavor towards the end. Finishes toasty with a touch of hops.

M - Medium body with good creamy carbonation.

This was better than expected. Not extremely complex but super tasty. It's like a comfort beer, lots of flavor packed into this 6.7%ABV. This will be great to have handy this winter.

Photo of Mgm54
4.35/5  rDev +14.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Serving Style - poured into standard pint glass

A - Nice deep amber color, what I would expect for a beer like this

S - Very malty, with a hint of booze. What a scotch ale should smell like. Also has a hint of citrus to it

T - Big malt up front, with a bit of booze, but not as much as others I have tried for the style, but does finish a decent taste of booze and molasses. A bit of molasses sweetness up front as well. Great malty taste, a proper example of the style, if not a "wee" bit less "heavy" than most.

M - big, thick, and malty, as a scotch ale should be.

O - if you haven't liked scotch ales before because of the booze, try this one, it is much more subtle on the booze. Great beer.

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Heavy Horse Scotch Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
86 out of 100 based on 219 ratings.