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: 243
rAvg: 3.74
pDev: 12.57%
Wants: 3
Gots: 15 | 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: 243
Photo of mikesgroove
4.05/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

caramel in color with a light tan head on top that reached a height of around an inch before fading and leaving the top of the glass mostly bare. Light lacing on the sides as well. Aroma was spectacular. Rich notes of caramel and toffee, oozing with butterscotch and sweet herbal notes. Light hint of a boozy alcohol touch to it at well, but it played out quite nicely. The first sip made me fall back in my chair. Simply brilliant. Rich butterscotch and toffee flavors roll across the tongue. Enormously sweet like a wonderful piece of hard candy, each sip seemed more compelling then the one before it. Sublime. Nice herbal hop notes playing it up quite well and the smooth, delicate caramel finish with a light touch of booziness is just what the doctor ordered (764 characters)

Photo of LXIXME
4.2/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from an inch or so above the glass leaves a nice big light brown head that settles into a pretty decent lacing above a clear dark burnt reddish colored beer.

Butterscotch, and roasted caramelized malt aroma with a slight alcohol hint aroma is transfer to the taste just about the same, maybe a touch more alcohol in the taste.

The aftertaste of this medium bodied ale is a light dry with hints of alcohol, I was pretty pleased with this beer, you should check it out if given the opportunity. (501 characters)

Photo of awmiller
4.42/5  rDev +18.2%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Another entry into the AW BHoF! Big Sky nailed it with this brew; simply nailed it! It pours up a deep mahogany body with a nice 1-finger head that hangs around for quite a while. Scents of rich malts and dark fruits like cherries and plums precede the flavors of sweet malts, caramel and dark fruits. Put the sense of smell and taste into overdrive by breathing in through your nose just as you are drinking some of this fine brew!! Oh yeah! There’s just enough hit of hops to make this one amazingly fine brew! This is a easy brew to drink so keep track of how many you enjoy! (580 characters)

Photo of chugalug06
3.8/5  rDev +1.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

A - Nice dark purple color. Lots of reds and browns. Head pours aggressive with little staying power.

S - Nice deep woody scent. Mild vanilla scent. Super strong raisin scent.

T - Silky. Very deep vanilla taste. Lots of strong deep grape flavors.

M - Slightly dry and slightly bitter. Very nice carbonation and body.

O - Nice brew from BSB! Definitely worth purchasing if you're able to locate it. Cheers to this unique brew. (430 characters)

Photo of TheSarge
4.47/5  rDev +19.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a standard pint glass, and this produces a finger thick light tan head, and has a clear ruby red colored body.

Has a hearty aroma of sweet bready malts, dark fig and raison, and a little hint of peat.

Raison is upfront in the taste, along with cherry, and maybe some overripe orange.

Feels full in body, though a little lower in ABV than most wee heavies. Makes this beer a little more enjoyable. Very complex for the weaker ABV. Daddy like. (456 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)

Photo of pitasoup
3.83/5  rDev +2.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Thanks to flexabull for another blind beer.

A: Clear dark brown, about the same color as a standard glass bottle plus a hint of ruby. Billowing two inches of off-white head that is very slow to subside. 4.5

S: Raisins, caramel, metallic, a touch of leather and cardboard. faint hops if any. 4.0

T: Rich caramel and biscuit malts. Barley. Raisins, a bit of plum and coconut. Very subtle nutty and smokiness as it warms. abv is hidden well but I suspect 8% area. 3.5

M: medium to medium-full body. creamy and smooth with a slightly dry finish. 4.0

O: nice smooth, not quite sweet yet. This might be much tastier with another year or two. 4.0 (645 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 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 tavernjef
3.46/5  rDev -7.5%
look: 4 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Deep crimson brown with a smearish body of clearness. Small, dense, compacted, dark beige foam sits briefly before fading to an always present thick ring and moderate lacing in small waves of sheeting.

Soft, faint aroma of barely there raisin, purple grape, and roasted grains.

Taste is a simple quick tone of malt sweetness. Short toned maple and raisin switch with some brief caramel and toasted doughy breadyness. Finish has a bit of the Scotch ale tint to it with a slight cloying malt stick and warming toasted malt.

Body is just about medium to light medium with a smooth clean profile to the palate. Malts mostly prevail, but comes up a bit short for a being a solid Scotch ale. The body and drinkability are probably the best aspect of the entire experience of this Heavy Horse other then its solid appearance. About what you'd expect form Big Sky if its not their bigger beers. (890 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 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 robbrandes
3.91/5  rDev +4.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 22oz bomber, into a wine glass (fundraiser dinner, no choice on glassware!)

pours a very clear, deep amber; nice thick head with great retention. The smell is blend of caramel, burnt sugar and toasted malt.

wasn't quite sure what to expect, but Big Sky has struck a nice balance. I was worried the relative dearth of hops would make the huge malt profile annoying after a couple drinks, but that was definitely not the case. Almost brings to mind a 'light' barleywine. I kept thinking about eating a plain ice cream cone; but that's OK, I like ice cream cones...

Definitely would enjoy this again. (615 characters)

Photo of Nerudamann
3.88/5  rDev +3.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a bottle into a snifter glass.

Look - a deep red color, only when held up to the light. About a finger or two of yellowish/white foam that dissipates quickly.

Smell - more malty smelling than hoppy smelling. Also a bit of a hint of grapes or grape juice, or fruitiness in general. It has an odd "aged" quality to it, like it was aged in wooden casks.

Taste and Mouthfeel - there's a sweetness at the very beginning, in the middle it's crisp and a little bitter, but the bitterness leaves in the finish. It feels like it wants to go to a dryness in the end, but doesn't. Carmel quality there somewhere too. Texture is well balance, but a little more toward the creamier side. ABV is noticeable, but not overtly so.

Overall - a good brew, with very good and noticeable stages in the tasting. (805 characters)

Photo of Zorro
3.9/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

Clear brown colored beer with a small light brown colored head.

Smell is sweet and malty with a moderate amount of smoke. Smells of scorched grain and burnt sugar. That is about all for the smell.

Starts out sweet and smoky with a fair taste of burnt sugar. Smoke gets stronger as you drink this. Stout bitterness in the aftertaste.

Mouthfeel is quite thick, think Oatmeal Stout type thick.

Drinkability is fairly good. This covers all the things you expect in a Wee Heavy. Only problem is it isn't outstanding. This is an excellent gateway beer or example of the style without being extreme in anyway. I probably will purchase this again. (643 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 bsp77
3.73/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Serving glass: Poured from bottle into tall glass. Best by date of June 22, 2011.

Appearance: Clear mahogany with an almost yellow head.

Smell: Caramel, toffee, and cherry are fairly strong. Some floral, spicy and metallic English hops. Smells more like a English Strong Ale than a Scotch Ale.

Taste: Fairly sweet with loads of caramel and dark fruits such as cherry, figs and raisins. Not as much hops as noted in the smell, just a light spicy and metallic finish. Straddles the line of cloying, but somehow the flavor profile works for me.

Feel: Moderate carbonation, medium body, odd finish. Since I did not knock the Taste score for almost being cloying, I while knock the Feel score for the residual sweetness.

Overall: Pretty good Scotch Ale. A little sweet and the finish and aroma is a little odd, but for some reason I simply like the taste. Isn't that good enough? (879 characters)

Photo of BilbosNuts
3.89/5  rDev +4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a snifter glass.

A: Pours a dark brown color with a deep reddish hue when put up to light. It has a medium to large head with good retention.

S: Some spices including some pepper notes were detected in the smell. The alcohol is also significantly noticeable.

T: The taste is mostly of roasted malts. It tastes kind of bready and toasty as well. There are also some hints of chocolate and coffee.

M: It has a medium body that drinks smoothly. It has a chewiness to it and is not very carbonated.

D: It is a very drinkable beer. I haven't tried many scotch ales, but this seems like a good example of the style and was very enjoyable. (649 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 ForWhatAlesYou
3.95/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

12 ounce bottle into a pint glass

A: Deep mahogany brown. 1 finger, tan, bready head.

S: Not getting a lot of aroma. Slight malt, ripe fruit, alcohol.

T: Overripe banana sits underneath a deep malt. Alcohol carries dark fruit, syrup, candy, and a light peatiness.

M: Thick, rich attenuation. Small carbonation.

D: Very drinkable. Good all around. (351 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 flexabull
3.78/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Pours a dark garnet color with a very nice tan head. Looks good.

Aromas are oaky, malty, nutty, and with some dark ripe fruits.

Taste is pretty subtle for a scotch ale. Slightly sweet malts, brewed tea, faint fruit flavors, and some nuttiness, and maybe some crisp apple... but I'm not finding a lot of big flavors here. Finish is crisp, with a mineral like hoppiness.

Mouthfeel is pretty good, smooth, with crisp carbonation, wish it had a little more body though.

All in all, a pretty good take on the style. Not a big powerhouse of flavors like others in the style. But this is nicely balanced, and tasty enough to be well worth a try. (642 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 BeerFMAndy
3.77/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 5 | smell: 3 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle poured into a Sprecher nonic. 6.7% ABV, 237102, 231210 printed on the bottle stacked on the neck.

A - Heavy Horse pours with a gorgeous bronzed ruby mahogany color with perfect clarity and is topped off by an incredible dense khaki head. Great retention despite no carbonation bubbles through the beer and thick, Swiss-cheese-like lace caked to the glass. Perfection is appearance.

S - Heavy Horse has a classic aroma of toasted malt with notes of caramel, toffee, and a pinch of nuttiness but is hindered by a dry, strong mineral finish.

T - Malt driven with very tasty toffee notes playing with gooey caramel and a dense breadiness. A lingering sweetness with underlying nuttiness is golden here. The mineral flavor barley comes through.

M - Medium-bodied and very smooth with a slick finish that's only held back by a seemingly absent, (in reality, it's just low) carbonation level.

D - A slow starting but powerful horse this beer is, Heavy Horse certainly pulls it's weight. Tasty and absolutely gorgeous, it's not a perfect brew, but it's a treat of a scotch ale nonetheless. (1,099 characters)

Photo of BuckeyeNation
3.65/5  rDev -2.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"The stable wears out a horse more than the road."

--French proverb

Brick red with glittering topaz highlights and an attractive slice of buttered wheat toast colored foam. The head develops a moonscape surface as it melts, while a high collar of lace is the only glass decoration so far. A single shredded sheet sticks... eventually.

The nose is somewhat underpowered and lacks an olfactory hook. It's brown-caramel malty and earthy, with just enough boldness and definition with warming to earn the above score. There's work to be done on the palate.

Heavy Horse Scotch Ale favors the light end of the style spectrum in terms of both malt content and ABV. It's also darker than most wee heavies (which tend to showcase mid-range malts like caramel), thanks to the use of chocolate and roasted malt. Let's call it two parts light Scotch ale to one part Scottish stout.

All things considered, BSBC HHSA is pretty good beer, but I'm not sure it deserves the solidly good taste score. As in the nose, time and warming are helping to turn up the intensity knob a bit. Flavors include caramel, cocoa, baked nuts and bitter tea leaves. This must be a fairly fresh bottle since there were only 20 IBUs to start.

The mouthfeel is easily big enough for the ABV and has the well-calibrated carbonation that is a hallmark of this brewery. No complaints here.

Big Sky deserves more love than they typically get. Their IPA is still one of my favorites, and they knock a few other offerings out of the park as well. Heavy Horse Scotch Ale, despite not being the bee's knees, is still good beer that is enjoyable to drink. Nothing else really matters in the end. (1,655 characters)

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