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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.
very good

110 Reviews
no score

(Send Samples)
Reviews: 110
Hads: 250
Avg: 3.77
pDev: 19.1%
Wants: 3
Gots: 17 | 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
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
Reviews: 110 | Hads: 250
Photo of tavernjef
3.46/5  rDev -8.2%
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.

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Photo of KarlHungus
4/5  rDev +6.1%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This beer pours a brown color. The head is one inch in height, and recedes slowly into a firm cap of lacing. The aroma is of caramel, toffee, nuts, cream, and hints of vanilla. The taste is similar to the aroma. What I think really makes this beer wonderful is that no one aspect of the flavor or aroma dominates. Instead everything seems to work well together in perfect balance. The mouthfeel is medium-full bodied with moderate carbonation, and a velvety texture. Overall, this is a good Scotch Ale that I will certainly drink again.

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Photo of morimech
3.33/5  rDev -11.7%
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.

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Photo of DavoleBomb
4.39/5  rDev +16.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a perfect pint. Somehow this only have 3 other reviews despite my purchasing it a couple months ago.

3.5 A: Clear medium amber color. One and a half fingers of frothy tan head. Retention is about average and a short ring of lacing is left.

4.5 D: Deep caramel and toffee. Huge toastiness that is just such a pleasure to take in. It's pretty simple, but it sure as hell is potent and it smells wonderful.

4.5 T: Taste is much like the nose. Big caramel and a huge toastiness. Toffee underneath. Flavors slap your palate silly. Big nuttiness. Such perfect harmony among the flavors and a potency to keep you loving it.

4.0 M: Medium body. Good moderate carbonation. Light creaminess. Good here.

4.5 D: Damn good beer. Big, bold flavors that you can't help but love.

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Photo of Fatehunter
3.42/5  rDev -9.3%
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.

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Photo of StoutHunter
3/5  rDev -20.4%
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.

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Photo of Dope
3.95/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

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Photo of jsh420
3.8/5  rDev +0.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

best by 01-05-11

pours bright dark ruby brown with a 2+ finger head that left spotted lacing

smells of dark fruit and sugary caramel malts

taste is like the nose - i dont pick up on any scotch flavors - i taste more burnt malts and some tang of some pale malts hidden away

mouthfeel has a medium body with plenty of carbonation that give it a crispand creamy feel with a great dry finish

drinkability - now i am not one for this style but this is a beer i would want the next time i grill up a fat ribeye

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Photo of yemenmocha
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours a chestnut brown, perhaps rich/dark shade of amber in there. Light tan head. Nose has dark fruits and caramel candy. Similar results on the palate with caramel, dark fruits, and an almost cough-syrup candy like component. Finishes sweet with cough syrup aftertaste. Easy drinking and light for a Scottish Ale.

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Photo of flexabull
3.78/5  rDev +0.3%
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.

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Photo of Mitchster
2.89/5  rDev -23.3%
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.

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Photo of arizcards
3.81/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Picked up a single from TW Arrowhead in early April for $1.79. Best by 07/10/15.

Beer poured a ruby brown with a nice head on the initial pour.

Nose is bready with not much else going on.

Taste is bready, caramelized malts lend to a nice sweetness with ample hopping that prevents cloying.

Mouthfeel is medium bodied and pretty smooth.

Overall this is a nice Scotch ale that sticks pretty well to the style. Give it a shot if you see it!

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Photo of Beaver13
3.03/5  rDev -19.6%
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.

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Photo of Pegasus
4.03/5  rDev +6.9%
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.

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Photo of thebigredone
3.59/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Had this on nitro, which really fucked up my ability to taste this. Would likely have tasted better on regular draft. The above rating reflects the subpar nitro presentation.

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Photo of seeswo
2.66/5  rDev -29.4%
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.

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Photo of jsprain1
3.18/5  rDev -15.6%
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.

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Photo of woemad
2.23/5  rDev -40.8%
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.

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Photo of bsp77
3.73/5  rDev -1.1%
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?

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Photo of bmwats
3.87/5  rDev +2.7%
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.

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Photo of bump8628
3.97/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Deep mahogany, an inch of loose tan head manages to hang on for the entire pint. Obvious caramel, toffee, and fruitcake with a fairly balanced, dry finish. Mild bitterness and hopping. Clean and drinkable. This one lacks the really full malt depth to be great, but the flavors and balance make it worth going back for another bottle or two.

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Photo of TheSixthRing
3.55/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Appearance - Pours a deep ruby brown with a 2 finger head, decent retention, and the resulting lace is thin and semi-sticky.

Smell - Lots of sweet caramel and toffee on the nose, the kind usually reserved for English bitters.

Taste - Sweet and sugary esters take the form of sweet toffee with notes of caramel. Hops are near undetectable. Sip after sip, it's unbalanced richness tends to get too sweet to enjoy.

Mouthfeel - Medium body. Carbonation is a bit on the low side.

Overall - Very rich. Anyone trying to session this might find themselves regretting their decision after the first beer or two. Consider this a one off dessert beer.

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Photo of StaveHooks
4.14/5  rDev +9.8%
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.

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Photo of JuicesFlowing
4.42/5  rDev +17.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.5

Poured into a shaker pint glass.

The beer is a gorgeous deep ruby/mahogany. A dark cream colored head recedes to a layer of bubbles with massive sheets of lacing.

The aroma is sweet and malty, with a woody, buttery note. Lots of caramel too.

The taste starts off sweet and warm, with tons of roasted malts coming to the front. Loads of warm melted caramel are all over this brew. A spicy, buttery oak body carries on with some spicy notes in the finish.

The mouthfeel is pretty heavy, toasty, and warm.

Overall, just another delicious brew from Big Sky. At 6.7% ABV, this is actually a pretty nice brew for a late September afternoon. Makes for a great Autumn beer.

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Photo of SkeeterHawk
4.17/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I must preface this review with the fact that I can't pour this beer into a glass where I am right now, so my appearance and some aroma notes will be a bit perceptive.

Appearance: The beer is pretty clear with a small head of mixed sized bubbles that faded mostly back into the beer within about 45 seconds or so. There are a few bubbles rising, but they don't do much to maintain the head.

Aroma: There is a good bit of toasty malts in here that remind me of British malts with some caramel and very reserved hops. I really don't pick up the sometimes overdone peaty presence. There is a nice dark caramel presence that is becoming much more noticeable as the beer sits a bit. There is a mild spicy note also coming out as the beer warms that is quite pleasant.

Taste: Pretty much the flavor coincides with the aroma. The caramel is a bit bigger player in the finish than I anticipated from the aroma. It leaves a bit of a slick impression on the back of the palate, but this isn't like Diacetyl or anything. The overall body is medium with ample carbonation so that the beer seems a bit lighter than it is.

Opinion: This is a pretty good beer. I wouldn't say that it classifies as a strong scotch or anything, but it comes across as more like a 80 schilling or something with mild Peat. Regardless, this is a nice beer and I am glad that I tried it...and would drink it again as it has a well-blended balance.

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