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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
84
good

110 Reviews
THE BROS
-
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 110
Hads: 247
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 3
Gots: 16 | 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: Reviews & Ratings
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Reviews: 110 | Hads: 247
Photo of woemad
2.23/5  rDev -40.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

Pint consumed at Capone's in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Hadn't seen it before, so I decided to try it.

Poured a dark, reddish mahoigany color, with a thin, off-white head that left scattered spots on the sides of the glass.

Malty sweet in the nose. Vaguely caramel, with some extremely faint peaty notes. Fruity "off" notes as well that didn't seem to meld with anything.

Taste was very similar to the nose. Sweet flavor combined with an overbearing apple-ish fruit flavor that was all wrong for the style. Peaty flavor way, way, way in the background.

Ridiculously heavy-bodied, with a thick, cotton-mouth mouthfeel. Yuck.

Not even remotely impressed with this beer. Afterwards, when talking with the owner of Enoteca, I mentioned this beer and he told me he believed it was replacing either Powder Hound or Slow Elk. Now, I wasn't a huge fan of either of those beers, but I sure don't remember them being anywhere near this bad. Avoid. (937 characters)

Photo of Hoploaf
2.32/5  rDev -38%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 1.5 | overall: 2.5

I am a huge have of Scotch style ales, but unfortunately this one was a major dissapointment. No head to speak of, bubbles were stuck to side of glass. The mouthfeel was like weak coffee, and the taste was like weak coffee to boot. This is the kind of Scoth ale I would expect miller or Budweiser would make. The impression of using the cheapest of ingredients is overwhelmingly apparent. If I made this as my own home brew it would be considered a fail. (455 characters)

Photo of ccrida
2.4/5  rDev -35.8%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 2 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

On draught at The Viking in Spokane, served in a mug, Heavy Horse is dark chestnut with a small off-white head that leaves light, scattered lace.

Smell is pretty sweet, some pie spices as well as caramel. Bit buttery as well.

Taste is less sweet, but this is still all about the malt. The diacetyl is more pronounced, and not that good. There's also a booziness to it, it tastes *a lot* like a watered down bourbon and coke.

Mouthfeel is medium light, flacid.

Drinkability isn't too high, didn't like this beer, some off-flavors, leaving me not impressed. (563 characters)

Photo of seeswo
2.66/5  rDev -28.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2.5

Pours a slightly see-through brown with a tannish head. The nose is light caramel and breadiness. None of the smokiness/particular roasted malt character I always hope for and sometimes fail to get off of a scotch ale. A little concerned already that this is going to be a Scottish Ale. Taste is pretty light - caramel malt and bready sweetness in a package with a thin flavor and a thin body. No depth in the flavor. Seems to be short of the style. Someone mentioned that it was more like a odd brown ale than a Scotch Ale, and I would say it represents something more like a Scottish Style Ale or a Brown Ale than a Scotch Ale. Overall, this is not nearly my favorite representation of the style. (698 characters)

Photo of Mitchster
2.89/5  rDev -22.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2

$1.80 for a single at Jacks. Brewed with pale, crystal chocolate, and "roast" malt per the website. Hopped with Hallertau Tradition and East Kent Goldings. 20 IBU, 6.7% ABV

Pours out to a sparkingly clear deep garnet brown, forming a tall whipped dark yellow head with excellent retention and superior sheets of sticky lacing. Mild to moderate carbonation. The aroma is of caramelized sugar, cola syrup, cherry, lightly soured milk, and hazelnuts. Mouthfeel is smooth with a medium dense body. Somewhat syrupy. The taste is a recap of the aroma...essentially an Imperial Brown if you want to think of it that way...nutty, lightly toasty, cola and carob. Overall, a little sweet. No smoke.

This is a decent beer, but nothing that gets me excited. It's run of the mill, and the cola cherry carob combination makes my stomach a little queezy. (841 characters)

Photo of Murrhey
2.92/5  rDev -21.9%
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. (508 characters)

Photo of Fnord
2.93/5  rDev -21.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 2

Appearance - Very dark red with a creamy off-white head.

Smell - Brown sugar, Karo syrup, alcohol, and a bit of maple.

Taste - Starts very sweet with the alcohol becoming very noticeable in the finish. Aftertaste is more syrupy alcohol taste. I'm surprised it tastes this alcoholic considering it's only 6.7%.

Mouthfeel - Thick mouthfeel and medium carbonation.

Notes - It can be difficult to make a beer that tastes strongly of both sweet and alcohol without reminding me of cough syrup. This one doesn't cut it, unfortunately. Though the maple and brown sugar help, I still can't recommend buying this beer. Better luck next time, Big Sky. (645 characters)

Photo of FanofHefe
2.96/5  rDev -20.9%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

Served on- tap in a pint glass. Deep brown color, just a touch of red hue. Creamy, tan head with good retention and good lacing along the glass.

A little weak in the aroma department. Some light caramel malt and a hint of bready yeast.

A little better in the flavors, but odd for the style. Again, strong on the caramel malt, but with a more roasted flavor in the taste. Some wood flavor, almost as if it had been in a barrel. Finally, some tea-like flavors.

Overall, it seems more like a woody brown ale than a scotch ale, so I marked it down there a bit. (560 characters)

Photo of StoutHunter
3/5  rDev -19.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 2.5

I picked up a bottle of Big Sky's Heavy Horse Scotch Ale last month for $1.49 at The Lager Mill. I have been drinking a lot of Dirty Bastard's lately and I thought I would switch it up and try Big Sky's example of the style, so lets see how it goes. No visible bottling date, but I know it's a spring 2012 release. Poured from a brown 12oz bottle into a imperial pint glass.

A- The label looks good and it had a nice scene of a horse towing some lumber up a dirt road, I like it. It poured a darker brown color that took on a nice bright copper/ruby red color with three fingers worth of creamy light tan head that died down to a thin layer that stayed till the end and left some nice lacing. This is a good looking Scotch Ale, I have no complaints.

S- The aroma starts off with loads of malts that have a higher amount of medium sweetness and impart some some grainy, brown bread, medium roast, and a slightly smokey aroma. After that comes a good amount of sweet dark fruits with raisins and plums sticking out the most. Next comes some more grainy and bready aromas and a really slight alcohol aroma. This is a proper smelling Scotch Ale, it has all the aromas that I look for in the style.

T- The flavor seems to be bland and muted compared to the aroma. It starts out with a pretty large amount of malts that seem to dominate the flavor of this beer, they have much lighter amount of sweetness then the aroma led me to believe, and it imparted some grainy, brown and white bread, along with a light toasted flavor. Wheres the dark fruits that I got in the aroma. I found the taste to be unimpressive, I wish it was much more like the aroma, it was pretty one note and bland.

M- Smooth, slightly creamy, on the light side of being medium bodied, and it had a nice amount of medium carbonation. The mouthfeel wasn't bad, but it wasn't great either, it needed to be thicker.

Overall I wasn't impressed with this beer and I though that it was a little below average for the style. The look and the aroma were going in the right direction but when it got to the taste it really fizzled out and left me wanting much more. This beer had OK drinkability, it went down smooth, but the flavor was pretty bland and it couldn't hold my attention, one is enough for me and I'm ready to move onto something with more flavor. What I liked most about this beer was the appearance and the aroma, they were both were they should be for the style. What I liked least about this beer was the flavor, it seems like all the nice things I picked up in the aroma never made it's way to the taste and that really hurt this beer. This beer was priced well but the lackluster taste really holds this beer back and I would much rather have a Dirty Bastard, I can't say that I would recommend this beer. I find Big Sky to be a pretty solid brewery, but I was a little let down with beer as it really didn't deliver when it came to the flavor, you guys make some good and solid beers, it's too bad this is not one of them, better luck next time, looks like I'm back to the Dirty Bastard's. (3,069 characters)

Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

12oz bottle. Pours a copper brown with a medium light tan head that retains well and leaves some lacing.

The aroma is subdued - peaty caramel malts with a little fruit and perfume.

The flavor is sweet caramel/toffee malts and a touch of fruit with some smoky peat and a dry lightly bitter finish. The mouthfeel is medium bodied with low carbonation.

Overall, a solid Scotch ale - not my favorite style. (405 characters)

Photo of rhoadsrage
3.05/5  rDev -18.4%
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. (671 characters)

Photo of SpecialK088
3.06/5  rDev -18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Had this at the mud lounge on tap

A-good deep amber color. No real head or lacing to it but that's not a huge surprise.

S-not alot at all going on in the nose. Get some very feint dark fruit notes as well as some light malty ones

T-while a pretty complex beer in flavor I felt they kinda wiffed on the style. It was Slightly roasty when you very first take a drink then right after that I got a very small hint of the scotch ale and the middle and finish were more like an over hopped brown ale.

M-fairly thin bodied not quite watery but just above. Slightly oily feeling

Overall it was an alright beer. Had a very bitter hoppy finish for a scotch ale I think reviewing it style in mind was what brought my grade down had I not known this was a scotch ale I probably would not have been able to tell you it was. (818 characters)

Photo of Bitterbill
3.1/5  rDev -17.1%
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. (444 characters)

Photo of jsprain1
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

A- Red-garnet, very clear with a very light brown head that is one and a half fingers and lays firm at a slick. Minimal lacing.
S- The smell is very mild with a very slightly peaty malt with some light coffee and medium caramel.
T- The taste is pleasing at first but very mild. Caramel and just a bit of coffee. A touch off woody flavors.
M- Medium body, maybe a touch lighter than medium. Body is fairly dry for as malt forward as this is.
O- It's ok but on the spectrum of scotch ales, there are many that are above this. (523 characters)

Photo of phishsihq
3.18/5  rDev -15%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Heavy Horse Scotch Ale pours a clear chestnut brown color, and is capped with a thin tan head that leaves only a minimal amount of lace. Sweet and toasty malt aromas dominate the nose, with some spices and fig/plum hints hidden in there. Rich, malty flavors including caramel, toast, and toffee while slight underlying wisps of smokiness, peat, and fig tease the pallet. Lower in carbonation, Heavy Horse is medium in body and a solid release from the folks at Big Sky Brewing Company.

Cheers! (494 characters)

Photo of UrbanCaveman
3.19/5  rDev -14.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

12 oz bottle, poured into a shaker pint at ~40 degrees F.

Appearance: Pours a clear, if dark, garnet-ruby brown, where the shadows of one's fingers are visible with no blurring on the other side of the glass. Forms a rather short-lived finger of beige head, which dies to a ring swiftly.

Smell: Toffee-sprinkled dark bread, being eaten near a patch of damp clay that lends just a hint to the aroma. There are also faint suggestions of some old fig and black cherry.

Taste: The flavors open with a mixture of an ashy-clay bitterness, sweet toffee, and dark bread, with the ashes and clay forming a sort of bedrock which underlays the remainder of the palate. Notes of tanned leather and fig waft through the sweetness, along with some hints of old, soft, damp wood. The finish leaves a lingering aftertaste of bitter clay, sweet toffee, and aged black cherry.

Mouthfeel: Light and thin, this is a chuggable beer, not a sticky or creamy one.

Overall: I'm not displeased with having picked up a sixer of this beer, but I don't know that it's a repeater for me. Between the thin mouthfeel and the, to me, somewhat heavy-handed approach to the earthy hops, I've had much better scotch ales. (1,190 characters)

Photo of Schwarz31
3.26/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

A good dark copper color. Light uniform carbonation. Nice solid head with long legs. At first sniff, there are light biscuity notes, a second sniff brings more of the same. Flavor is a robust malt, with a prominent alcoholic aftertaste. Mouth feel is nice and creamy with a light pleasant tingle of carbonation. Overall, not bad, but not remarkable. (349 characters)

Photo of morimech
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Clear crimson color with one finger of head that had decent retention before settling to a thin cap. Quite a bit of spotty lacing is left on the glass. Aroma of caramel with notes of peat with some grassy hops. Flavor is caramel with a hint of peat and smoke. Just a little grassy near the finish. Seems very dry for a Scotch Ale. Nothing terrible about the flavor but there is very little to make one excited. Body seems a little thin for the style as well but has nice carbonation. Easy drinking beer which is a little dangerous considering the ABV. Nothing really to savor to slow consumption. I expected something better from Big Sky. (638 characters)

Photo of dwilson01
3.33/5  rDev -11%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

poured from a bottle into my arrogant bastard pint glass, a huge tan colored head tops the brew of a deep red caramel colored body.

The nose is very malty, maple, toffee, and brown sugar are the heavy hitters. I don't get any hop aroma to speak of.

The first thing I thought when I tasted it is that it seems like a suped up brown ale had sex with an amber ale and this is their kid. It's pretty interesting, a lot of malt flavors like the maple and brown sugar come through but there is an underlying layer to this brew made of spices like nutmeg, cinnamon and cloves. I get an ever so faint dark fruit/raisin flavor also which is interesting.

The mouthfeel is solid, sits pretty heavy because it's not carbed at all but still goes down pretty smooth. (756 characters)

Photo of archyquaffer
3.36/5  rDev -10.2%
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. (640 characters)

Photo of HaysAmerica
3.4/5  rDev -9.1%
look: 3 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a 12 oz. bottle w/ faint markings of 070611 on the side into a small snifter. Can only assume this would be the best by date as I am reviewing this in April '11. Clear, dark ruby red color w/ a off white head that quickly fades. Lacing is decent.

Nose is malty sweet w/ some caramelized sugars. Almost a slight milk chocolate powder smell comes out. No hop presence in the smell of this beer. Taste is quite malty & sweet to match the nose. A slight hop presence/bitterness on the back of the palate which lingers for several seconds. Malt is what keeps coming to mind as I think about this one. Perhaps some chocolate malt. Appears to be a well balanced beer from the taste of it. Given this style of course. Very minimal hop presence as this one goes down. That is, until this one warms up to 60F & then hops come out a lot more. I like my beers luke cool & this new smell throws me for a bit of a loop.

Mouthfeel is medium. This one is appropriately mouth coating. As the beer warms up a little more, the lingering hop on the back end becomes a little more pronounced. Has a little bit of a warming effect, not sure if the alcohol has much to do w/ that or if it's really just all the various malts that went in to making this one.

Overall, a decent rendition of this style. Would have it again but wouldn't really go out of my way to find it. At 6.7% ABV, it's not quite a session beer. I might buy some if I find it when the temps go up & BBQ parties come around. (1,484 characters)

Photo of zhanson88
3.41/5  rDev -8.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Appearance: Heavy Horse Scotch Ale pours out a clear, deep ruby color with lighter mahogany highlights. About a finger of beige head forms, which has nice retention and lacing. Pretty solid looking brew.

Smell: Some light biscuity malts can be smelled right up front. Digging a bit deeper reveals some definite caramel notes, as well as some overripe banana scents and some floral and herbal hops. I pick all of this up, but it does take some digging. Not very apparent off the get-go.

Taste: A lot of biscuity malts up front as well as caramel. Overripe banana fruitiness comes out next, and that is followed by mostly herbal hops and lesser floral. Pretty nice tasting beer, really. Nothing real flashy, but solid.

Mouthfeel/Overall: I wish this beer had a bit more body to it. Pretty light bodied, but not overcarbonated which helps out a bit. Overall, a decent Wee Heavy. At first I thought it was a regular Scottish Ale and was borderline wowed, but when I saw that it was in the Wee Heavy class changed my assessment to solid and still above average, but unspectacular. (1,078 characters)

Photo of Fatehunter
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
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. (276 characters)

Photo of JohnnyHopps
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from a bottle into a pint glass at a restaurant, the ale produced a slight head. As scotch ales go, this one appeared a dark reddish brown with a certain degree of cloudines. The aroma was not incredibly potent, but did produce a mild wheat flavor. One may have to really search for an aroma here. The initial taste was a moderate level of scotch sweetness with a wheat backbone. This flowed into the aftertaste which was mildly warming and yet somewhat sour. Overall, this is a mild scotch ale. It would not stand-out in crowd of elite scotches, but it is an easy drinker. (580 characters)

Photo of Kiwano
3.42/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

A - Reddish brown with almost no head - thin layer that dissipates

S - OK some fruit

T - Slightly sweet - malt comes through with some stone fruits ? and bready

M - Could be a bit more carbonated but fine

O - A decent beer- would be nice if a layer of flavor cut through some of the sweetness after the initial taste (322 characters)

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Heavy Horse Scotch Ale from Big Sky Brewing Company
84 out of 100 based on 110 ratings.